Why do some coaching niches never pay off?
Coaches, with their big hearts, tend to focus on what their audience NEEDS. But I found out through trial and error that marketing a coaching niche that focuses around needs rarely results in enough clients or income. And I think coaching around needs can wander extremely close to therapy.
People buy support to get what they need from known resources like therapists or doctors.
Coaches that focus their niche, marketing and offers around what their specific audience WANTS —their BIG goals and the BIG problems in that way of achieving those goals — will get more traction, attract more clients and earn more. And by the way — those are things you want.
Another reason why certain coaching niches fail is that not all target audiences are viable — by that I mean the audience is easy to access, full of seekers and eager to evolve. Let’s dig into that and I’ll have lots of examples for you.
Is Your Coaching Niche Targeting Seekers?
Since I started helping coaches choose a smart and profitable niche, I’ve perceived some eye-opening things about what works and what does not. Coaches often hire me when their niche is not working.
Sometimes, I can tell that’s about the approach the coach is taking in their web copy, offers, pricing and content. Sometimes it’s that their audience or specialty isn’t likely to be profitable.
A smart and profitable niche starts with an audience that is full of, what I call — seekers.
- Are driven by their desire to make a meaningful contribution to the world.
- Have social personalities and enjoy influencing others.
- Are always actively working on themselves and their top goals.
- Want to become masters at what they do.
- Purchase educational programs.
- Would invest in vocational training so they can do something they really want to do.
But think about it, and this may surprise you … not all people are attracted to those things. Sometimes that’s circumstantial. Sometimes it’s behavioral.
- Were taught to be fiercely self-reliant. It’s a point of pride. Paying for support feels like a weakness.
- Invest most of their time and money on things they value more than their own personal or professional growth.
As a coach, this concept might seem crazy to you. Isn’t everyone interested in their personal or professional growth? No. Not everyone and not all of the time.
My partner, who is a socially responsible business lawyer, would never invest in a coach to help him be or do something better. He invests his money in experiences to learn about racial justice or climate change or into maintenance for our cabin in the mountains or sports equipment.
Do you know someone like that, who no matter how enticing the program, they would not invest in personal growth?
Sometimes a certain stage of life reduces interest in personal growth. For example:
- New moms will have their focus fully on their newborn. They will be less likely to spend money on themselves. Later, and for different reasons, they might if the niche is well crafted around what the mom WANTS.
- Retirees are putting their money into travel, grandchildren and medical expenses. Sure, there are some retirees who won’t fit that stereotype but they are likely in another audience you could name.
- Newly divorced individuals will be consumed with the stress and trauma of their divorce and most won’t have the bandwidth for personal and professional growth, at least for a while.
At times, some individuals, for whatever reason don’t value themselves highly enough to be inspired by the idea of investing time and money in goals of any kind. That’s one reason why addicts won’t likely be a viable audience unless you are a therapist or have a therapeutic background.
But a person with a chronic health issue might hire a coach if that coach is marketing around the idea of a better life, articulated in specific ways such as more energy for all the things you want to do. That’s a WANT not a need.
I talk to coaches all the time who are on a mission to help people who are in tough situations. I get it. You can give away your time for that. But turning those individuals they are helping into paying clients is usually a problem. They are used to free resources from social programs.
So, take some time and ask yourself … is the audience that you are targeting full of seekers — people who do invest from their own pocket for their own personal and professional growth?
If so, you’ve got the most important part of your niche figured out!
If not, to thrive in your coaching business you may need to let go of your audience and choose another.
Is Your Coaching Niche Likely to Be Profitable?
For a coaching business to thrive you also need a robust specialty — that’s the part of your niche that focuses on your unique skills, background and/or your personal story to help your audience achieve their WANTs and overcome the BIG problems that are in the way of that.
I love helping coaches nail their niche by leveraging their zones of genius or something unique about them because it adds so much passion to the learning curve of growing a coaching business. You do better if you have those things to buoy you up.
Sofia, was a leader in the tech industry and she burned out so badly she had to quit working for a couple of years. She spent that time learning everything she could about wellness techniques to de-stress and take better care of herself. Then, she launched a business helping high-achieving women leaders reduce stress and build greater capacity, to increase their presence and advance their careers.
Do you hear the WANTs in that message? Sofia von Celsing is a successful coach. Her personal experience with burnout, her experience as a high achieving woman leader plus her wellness training make her highly credible to her audience. She is leveraging her zones of genius.
The Problem with Some Topical Coaching Niches
I’ve seen coaches putting themselves out there as Fulfillment Coaches, Confidence Coaches, Serenity Coaches, Abundance Coaches and other somewhat abstract or intangible topics.
While we all want fulfillment, confidence, serenity, abundance and happiness — these are all temporary states of being and people may only invest for a short program or a couple of sessions that don’t cost much.
The reality is you will coach your clients around these topics but don’t build your niche and coaching business soley around them. For example …
I help coaches leverage their zone of genius into a profitable coaching niche and launch with confidence.
Confidence is in my message and it’s important but it’s not the primary focus. It’s a by-product of leveraging their zone of genius into their coaching niche and creating a solid business foundation so they launch with confidence. Wanting the niche and to launch are bigger wants than the confidence but it is also nice to have.
Now, if you’ve targeted one of these non-viable audiences I mentioned or suspect your audience is not viable or you’ve focused your niche on NEEDs or an abstract topic … DON’T GIVE UP! You can reset.
My guess is that you saw the title of this episode and it resonated because you’ve suspected there’s a problem with your niche. I can help you refine your audience and infuse your specialty with something special about you. Let’s have a Nail Your Niche strategy session.