In my work as a trainer for new coaches, we focus on helping them refine their niche, and play bigger and stronger within that niche. I’m passionate about this because it took me far too many years (and a lot of wasted money and opportunities) to finally brave up and put a stake in the ground as to what I was keenly passionate to do as a coach. Why did it take forever? Because I was deeply afraid that the more narrow and specific my niche, the more I’d lose business outside that niche.
In fact, it works the other way around. To be a highly successful businessperson, coach, consultant or entrepreneur, you have to understand very specifically who you wish to serve, define the ideal demographics and psychographics, and be bold enough to share your conceptualization of your ideal customer, and explain the powerful “why” behind it.
As a personal example, after my years in marketing in my corporate life, I chose to reinvent my career in the days following 9/11, and I became a marriage and family therapist. During the process of earning my Master’s degree in therapy, I discovered coaching, and fell in love with it. I trained as a life coach as well, and when I launched my therapy practice, I added coaching to the roster of services.
The problem was that, as a “life coach” and even as a therapist, I began addressing and attracting an enormous array of client problems – everything from divorce, depression, drug addiction, suicidality, health problems, physical and emotional abuse, relationship crises, work challenges, money issues, communication problems, interpersonal and family dynamics, and much more. As I gained more experience in each of these areas, I’d find that, in looking at my calendar for the day, I’d feel really happy at the thought of certain clients coming in, and not so happy (or even irritated) at the prospect of seeing others. Digging deeper, I realized that those feelings were driven by how well equipped I felt in helping clients address and resolve their particular sets of challenges, and also, how much passion, energy and thrill I personally felt at delving more deeply into certain areas of life challenge.
I learned through years of conducting coaching and therapy that if you continue to focus on work that doesn’t appeal to you, or drains you, you can’t possibly create the success, reward, and financial compensation that you want. Great new clients and customers won’t come to you if you secretly and unconsciously dread it.
The truth is, we don’t love every challenge equally – there are certain challenges and problems we love to address and resolve, and others we don’t. Knowing what you love to attend to and focus on is the first step in building a stronger business.
Below are 3 more reasons why determining your special and refined niche and articulating it clearly is vital to your businesses success:
Leveraging your personal experience can transform your work
Sharing information that you personally love to teach, and leading and serving people you love to support is instrumental to helping your business grow exponentially. I’ve seen that we often do this best when we’re turning “our mess into a message”- meaning, people who have faced deep life challenges and have found new ways to rise above these challenges are often the most motivating and passionate leaders, teachers and helpers. They’ve been to the dark side, and have come out the other side, and are passionate in helping others do the same.
Tip: Leverage and share your personal experience in life – don’t hide it, even if you think it’s “negative” or “embarrassing.” By sharing more openly and authentically who you really are and what you’ve experienced, you’ll naturally find more and more people who will resonate with your personal story, and attract new clients and customers who you’re personally thrilled to help.
People want help from a true expert
Today, unlike years ago, people have much less discretionary income, and thus, they’re incredibly careful about investing in consulting, coaching or buying services. When they do, they want to be sure that the person they’re hiring is not only a great, respected professional in the field, but also has deep experience in either overcoming or addressing the same challenges they have.
For instance, if they’re going to a coach because they’re having extreme work-life challenges, they relate better and are motivated and inspired more by an individual who’s personally dealt with and overcome those same issues, and can speak the intimate, personal language of challenge and resilience when it comes to this particular area.
Gone are the days where generalized help will work, or attract business. Most people today have limited time, money and energy to invest in their own growth, and when they choose a consultant, coach or other service provider, they want to make sure that every cent is well spent. They want assurance that this helper knows his/her stuff and also is adept at the process of helping another expand past their challenges.
Tip: Dimensionalize the exact areas you want to be an expert in, and then become one. This takes work, commitment and time. As a first step, conduct your own proprietary research to grow your understanding of the challenges faced in this niche, and what contributes to these challenges. Then, develop your own “model for change” that will help people successfully overcome these challenges.
Understand that you can’t effectively help with every problem on earth
Finally, one of the biggest mistakes I see new coaches make is that they claim to be able to help in areas that are too general, big and amorphous. For instance, many coaches share with me that they want to help all “people in transition.” The problem with that designation – people in transition – is that it relates to millions and millions of people around the globe because life is all about transition and change. It’s too broad, vague and overly expansive. Different types of transitions bring up different problems, challenges and issues. Transitioning to being an empty nester is totally different from transitioning to a new country, or to being divorced, or to living as a cancer survivor, or to losing a child.
Tip: You simply can’t effectively help every single person going through transition. Pick the one or two passion-filled areas for you that mean the world, and start there.
Read the original article on Forbes.