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This episode is about the un-mined gold in your coaching business.
Because I’ve studied the strategic art of niching and coaching niches for so long I’ve noticed something that no one is talking about.
There are niches within your niche that will serve you better than staying broad. There are layers. The surface is not the most exciting or lucrative layer. In fact, it’s many layers deeper.
The Layers of Your Coaching Niche
When I work with my VIP clients we discover a niche ideal for them that’s a few layers down to something more strategic than where they started. Let me give you an example.
- Layer 1, of course, is coaching. Coaching itself is a kind of niche.
- Another layer in might be relationship coaching
- Another layer beneath that is to pick a particular type of relationship, let’s say marriage.
- Then you can niche deeper than that to put some context about the specific PROBLEM you help the married individuals solve.
Now, keep this in mind as I share one of my VIP client’s niches …
Deanna Bryant, whose brand is Revive Your Midlife Marriage helps married WOMEN cultivate meaning and intimacy with their husbands after the kids are grown.
By the way, Deanna has an insightful podcast called Revive Your Midlife Marriage. If you’re a woman in midlife with grown children and your marriage is feeling a bit flat and empty, her show and services are for you!
So let’s break this niche down into components:
- Deanna serves women. (Choosing a gender can help you narrow your niche but alone it’s not enough.)
- These are women in midlife – a tough time of life with specific challenges. (It’s smart to pick a time of life sometimes for a specific audience.)
- In addition these women have husbands. (Not all women have husbands and only some are still with a husband in midlife.)
- AND they want meaning and intimacy with those husbands again. (We know this because Deanna did market research for her audience.)
- She also adds after the kids are grown because that empty nest time is a crossroads in a marriage. (Sometimes the kids are the glue holding the marriage together.)
Do you see how SPECIFIC Deanna’s niche is and can you imagine why that’s an advantage to attracting clients?
Doesn’t Niching Narrowly Mean You’ll Lose Opportunities?
Look, lots of people don’t understand the value of niching. If you niche narrowly your friends and family might question your wisdom because they don’t get it. But their advice to broaden won’t help you.
You might be thinking … “But by narrowing in all those ways Deanna is missing so many opportunities! She’s missing the chance to work with men, to work with unmarried women, to work with women who don’t have grown kids.”
The reality is this … in this world we live in we must compete for attention as a service business. Even if you don’t think of it as competition, it’s there.
Broad Coaching Niches Mean Slow Business Growth
The broader your niche, the less attention you’ll get. Think about how your scroll through your emails, your social networks. In a way we are all always scrolling and waiting for something to grab our attention through RELEVANCE! We ignore what is not relevant. You know I’m right.
If you’ve never read Seth Godin’s book called Tribes, I highly recommend it. It makes the point that you don’t have to serve a huge population. That’s the old fashioned way. It’s better to build affinity with a small distinct group and become a leader for that group.
What Are You Known For?
Which brings me to another layer of niching. I tell my clients to be on the lookout for what will raise their star fast as they build their business and get the word out.
I wasn’t always the niche strategist for coaches. That happened about 2 years in serving coaches, which came about because I co-wrote curriculum for Coach Training Alliance and trained 500 coaches there. When I realized that was the top problem coaches have at the beginning I studied niches and offered help for that BIG problem. That catapulted my business into a much higher level of income, client attraction and expertise.
I’ve said before that I started as a Spiritual Coach and when I didn’t find much traction there, I targeted women entrepreneurs. Keep in mind coaching wasn’t nearly as big an industry then as it is now. I’d hazard a guess and say coaching has grown exponentially every year since 1997.
What that means is that coaches are a “dime a dozen” unless they stand out.
And just choosing a coaching track doesn’t distinguish you. By a coaching track I mean that first layer down in your niche – life coach, relationship coach, health coach, executive coach, career coach etc.
Yes, choosing a track helps but it still leaves you competing and not just with all the coaches in that niche but also any other kind of influence in that general area trying to get attention online.
This may be hard to understand if you’re a brand new coach but when you become a service business owner helping others to reach their goals you have to create your own marketplace.
It sounds super hard and it’s not easy but I can tell you without a doubt that the more your services are differentiated from all others and you stand out – the better you’ll do and the faster you’ll get there.
More clients, better clients, longer term clients, referrals, higher fees and income, more profit— all the things you want will come from standing out.
So back to being known for something. I became known as the coaching niche strategist this way. I was coaching coaches and trying to compete with all the tens of thousands of people offering support to coaches to grow their businesses.
I wanted to joint venture with other people and one such person, Milana, said:
“Rhonda, why would I help to promote you when I offer exactly what you offer? You need to stand out!”
So I looked around at my colleagues – many were direct competitors – and I asked myself how can I stand out from ALL of them? No one was into helping people with coaching niches because … well … it takes a lot of work.
As soon as I began offering specific support for coaches to help them with their coaching niche my business jumped a level and I had co-promoters happy to help raise my star.
The moral to the story is find your STAND OUT thing.
It has to fulfill a BIG problem for your specific narrow target audience. It has to be something so acute (not chronic) that it causes your audience to seek help. Because if they aren’t seeking help for your specialty, you won’t earn. You’ll just give away a lot of free stuff.