StartUp!'s Ideal Client Sketch: Meet Marsha

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  • #473

    Tea Silvestre

    (Lisa’s note: I wrote this quickly last night and have not made edits. There are some huge grammatical errors, and sentences that appear to be left hanging in mid-sentence. But, you’ll get the drift w.r.t. the character sketch.)

    Ideal Client (or, “the hero”) Character Sketch

    Meet Marsha!

    (The Backstory.) From the outside, Marsha Livingston had it all. She was married. She had two children, and the youngest was about to begin kindergarten. She worked for a doctor in town as a medical assistant.

    But then a divorce happened. People didn’t realize it, but over time they had grown apart. So now Marsha was a single mom, trying to juggle her career and her kid’s schedule. Her husband financially helped and he had the kid’s every other weekend, but he wasn’t there Sun – Thurs to take the kid’s to dance recitals or soccer anymore. And he didn’t help get them bathed or tucked in afterwards.

    She began to feel like she was on a crazy treadmill of work/kids with no balance, and definitely no time for herself. Her kid’s weren’t getting the attention they needed, and lately her boss seemed a little grumpy whenever she had to leave a “few” minutes early to make a kid run.

    Marsha felt dumpy, exhausted, and overdrawn. She started to evaluate her motivation for working for Dr. McDreamy and realized that today she was really only there for the paycheck. She didn’t really love working as an assistant. In fact, when she really thought about her dreams and passion, she realized what she really enjoyed was taking care of people. In particular, “little people “– also known as children.

    So with the help of her parents, she started her first business doing after school care for kids aged 6-12.

    (The Motivation & the Worry.) When Marsha started her business, she was so passionate and excited. She thought it’d be easy to find other parents who needed a hand with after school pickups, with taking their kids to practice, and watching them until they got off of work.

    Having never ran a business before, she didn’t exactly have a full-fledged normal business plan. She went partly off her gut and had asked a few other parents (also her friends) if they saw potential in her idea.

    Six months in, she had a few enrolled children but not enough to really call her business a success. It paid for itself, but it really wasn’t paying her yet. She knew she needed to reach more parents, and that she needed to promote herself.

    And Marsha was shocked at how much time was spent on tasks like emails. In fact, her email was a bit unruly. Some emails were sent from her personal account, others from her business and it was hard to track. And now Outlook wasn’t always sending emails out, so sometimes she thought they had sent when in reality they hadn’t.

    And then there was invoicing of parents and determining the schedule for when kids were coming to her biz. Both of those areas were a nightmare!

    While she had more “time” in theory, since she didn’t have to pick-up her kids until 2:45pm, she was at a point where she had to figure this out AND expand a little more. Marsha was a bit weary, but still completed invested in the idea – but she realized she had jumped in a bit prematurely and need some help.

    If things didn’t improve in 6-12 months, she realized it might be time to close shop and that idea worried Marsha because if this business didn’t work, she wasn’t sure what to do next. Working for someone else wasn’t ideal. She didn’t think she could get help from a folk’s for a second business after failing at business #1. And not working wasn’t really an option for Marsha financially. (Plus, she secretly judged women who didn’t do something with their lives. She was proud of being a hard-worker and doing something meaningful.)

    (The Worldview + Marsha’s Values.) Marsha has always worked hard, so she expects anyone she hires to really listen and work hard for her. She requires dedication coupled with a fair price.

    She doesn’t begrudge anyone a fair salary, but feels like some businesses are just taking her for a ride. She wants to find someone that cares about her success, is knowledgeable about what they do, and a straight-shooter.

    But she also needs someone who is kind at the same time. Her ego is a bit tied up in the business and since she knows it isn’t where it should be, she needs someone who can help without making her feel stupid about it.

    All this means that Marsha will be a bit selective about whom she hires. She’ll want someone who makes her see hope and potential, without blowing rainbow and glitter up her you-know-what.

    (World and Environment.) When Marsha can find an hour to herself, her favorite thing to do is go to her yoga studio for a couple of hours.

    The next thing on her list is keeping up with all of the household chores – yes, even including the laundry – to ensure that her kid’s needs are met. It makes her feel balanced and productive at the same time!

    Marsha wasn’t originally a big social media person, but she know that being friendly on social is crucial for her business success. So she’s started to connect with friends and other parents on Facebook more, but this is mostly on her main account. She has a business page, but it only has a handful of “Likes” and no matter what Marsha did, it wasn’t really growing so she stopped paying too much attention to it.

    She’s also recently started using Pinterest because it has great craft ideas for the kids in her program, and because she likes some of the recipes for dinner at home with her children!

    (The Villian.) What stands in Marsha’s way is time – or more precisely, a true lack thereof – partly because her business processes are not

    At first the earlier “villain” would have been her naiveté, but after six-months in business she has realized that operating a real business requires a lot more time than just the “billable” time with the children. She’s grasped that point and is now trying to figure out how to fit the rest of the pieces together.

    Now she needs now is some actionable guidance on available options and products that’d make running her business more streamlined and promote her business and brand online.

    She doesn’t have the time to figure it all out herself. She needs someone who can make her and her business their “project” and then do the “project management” and prioritize what’s step 1 for her.

  • #478


    Very detailed. I can understand who she is! Good Job!

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