Ep 9 – 12 Ways a Smart Coaching Niche Empowers You

This episode is part of my Smart & Profitable Niche Series. Hey, I know I’ve been talking a lot of coaching niches in my podcast so far.

And I know that topic might make you groan … because it’s so hard to figure out on your own.

But let me clue you in to my strategy in focusing on this topic for a while.

  • 93% of coaches struggle with choosing a smart & profitable niche. It’s a big issue.

Do you have to choose a coaching niche? No.

Some say let your niche find you.

You can just float around, stay a generalist, coach all sorts of people about all sorts of topics.

I think that’s a good way to go if you haven’t consciously chosen to become an entrepreneur. You’re just trying this coaching skill set on. You don’t expect to earn much. You just love the process.

But if you want to leave your current job and make coaching your job … if you’re serious about being your own boss and being the director of your career why not give yourself all the advantages and take the time to niche your coaching business in a smart and profitable way?

It’s a strategic approach, and an internal shift as well, away from thinking like practitioner to becoming an entrepreneur. Treating your business as a living entity that grows and changes with you over time.

I’m about to illustrate the advantages that come with focusing your business on a unique audience and niche. And notice how one advantage leads to another.

One smart decision makes everything easier and empowers you for long term success and exciting turning points in your business and life that you can’t even imagine yet.

First a quick suggestion … if you are agonizing over your coaching niche fill out an application for FREE On Air Coaching.

The way On Air Coaching works is you and I have a private business coaching session that’s recorded and later that session is aired as an episode in this podcast series.

On Air Coaching is perfect for you if you are a trained coach who hasn’t yet landed your own profitable coaching niche.

It’s okay if you haven’t done anything yet to build your business.

It’s equally okay if you’ve tried one or more niches and, for whatever reason, it’s not working for you.

In our session I’ll ask you questions to uncover possibilities. We’ll identify a fantastic target audience for you, and brainstorm what they most want and how to apply your gifts and skills to help them get it.

Knowing your audience and niche will give you a profound sense of direction and focus for you coaching business.

So apply for On Air Coaching on my website at prosperouscoach.com/8.

I’d love to work with you.

Now let’s roll out this cascade of benefits you experience when you do choose a smart and profitable niche and focus your attention on one target audience:

#1 You Have a Solid Direction and Focus

I remember when I started coaching without a niche how aimless and lost I felt. Every day was a head scratch. My brain searching around for purchase. What should I do?

First, I went to friends and family to convince them to hire me — the low hanging fruit. But those clients didn’t stay long. And I didn’t have the heart to charge them much.

I also noticed how hard it was to get them to focus. They brought weak agendas. There wasn’t a clear enough goal or a big enough why. It was as if my lack of focus didn’t inspire them to commit to serious process or changes.

I came away with some fluffy testimonials about the value of my coaching but little sense of true impact.

After exhausting people I knew, I palpably experienced that uncomfortable sensation of having to beat the bushes to flush out potential clients.

My marketing was pitiful but I worked so hard trying to interest people in coaching.

Having a solid niche replaced that aimless, listless feeling with certainty and focus.

#2 Your Message Stands Out and Grabs Attention

It’s not easy to get attention these days. Humans are more distracted than ever.

We flop around social media and websites in a trance. The only thing that breaks that trance is relevance.

Have you noticed how much of the same message is out there and how quickly you skip over it?

But when someone hits a hot button for you, you snap to attention.

How do we as coaches hit the hot button in our messaging?

It’s not going to be by talking about coaching. Because only coaches and wanna-be coaches pay attention to those messages.

What is personally relevant to you is not personally relevant to everyone.

Our brains in a constant state of overwhelm only hone in on specific words, specific problems, specific desires that are urgent to us.

When you focus your business around a smart niche with a unique target audience suddenly you’re able to speak with relevance about what those people care about.

Relevance is how your message gets noticed, liked, shared.

#3 You Know What to Do Each Day

Because you’ve focused your attention on a unique target audience and found out their urgent challenges and desires, the spotlight comes off of you onto them.

And suddenly, marketing is no longer the big scary.

You know what to do.

And if you need help learning what to do, the money you spend on training applies now, because you are 100% clear about your audience and niche.

Suddenly, you have the understanding about where to go to find these people and the courage to speak in a way that attracts them.

You know what they want. You understand their problems. You know more about why they invest in their transformation.

And you’re no longer throwing out random messaging and offers like spaghetti and hoping it will stick.

#4 Your Marketing Efforts Are Leveraged (So You Can Market Less)

Over time your consistent messaging and strategic approach gains power and momentum.

Attention becomes interest and interest becomes engagement.

#5 You Become Known and Trusted By a Community of Engaged People

Trust turns engagement into investment … in your programs.

#6 You Get More Client Referrals

Because you’ve geared your offers to fit your audience’s challenges and goals, your coaching produces more than just warm fuzzy feelings.

Your clients are getting tangible results. The kind of results you can put into a testimonial on your website.

They will refer other people in the tribe to you. Not just a casual referral but a specific testimonial about how your program helped them.

#7 Prospects Seek You Out Already Pre-sold on Hiring You

You’re known, liked and trusted. You’re on the inside of your target audience now.

They Google and find you.

And when they arrive on your website they’ll go directly to your Work With page wanting to hire you.

#8 You Know How to Enroll Without Being Salesy

Enrolling is easy now. There’s no convincing. There’s just a connective conversation that helps ideal prospects to “YES”!

#9 You Command Higher Fees

You’re a leader now. A sought after guide.

Before you tell them your fees they know it will be a significant investment in their growth and they’re ready to leap.

#10 It’s Easier to Create Irresistible Products & Programs

With your experience coaching one target audience who have a set of unique challenges and goals, you grow expertise quickly.

And it’s easy to turn that expertise into workshops, masterminds, retreats and online products.

Write the book. Launch the podcast. Grow!

#11 Big Opportunities Find You

The natural result of your commitment and focus on one smart niche and narrow audience is invitations

Invitation to speak. Nominations to lead a larger group.

It’s surprise time. Your Magic is fully awakened and alive.

I’ve had clients who because they stood out in the crowd were provided platforms to get their word out in a massive way or offered jobs in coaching firms or brought internally into an organization to coach the organization.

Those opportunities don’t show up if you’re a tiny voice in a sea of voices all saying the same basic thing.

#12 You Build a Legacy Business

Coaches have been sponsored, televised and awarded all because they had the courage to niche, specialize and become an advocate for one narrow audience.

Coaches contribute to their families and their communities in major ways.

Some coaches build a business that employs dozens or hundreds. A business that can be sold for a windfall.

It all starts with a smart & profitable niche.

Mentioned in This Episode

My next episode is W/hy Do Some Coaching Niches Fail?

Ep 8 – 3 Crucial Parts of a Smart Coaching Niche

With today’s episode we’re heading into a new series — Smart and Profitable Coaching Niches.

I know you might be groaning about this topic because the whole niche thing feels so hard.

But this is my super power ya’ll.

Helping coaches design a smart and profitable coaching niche is the first thing I help my clients do.

Because … building a coaching business without a smart niche is like building a new house without a foundation.

Think about it. If the foundation is good, the house is solid and secure. It won’t fall down.

If the foundation is crap, the house feels flimsy.

If you’ve been feeling like your business is a bit flimsy and you don’t know exactly what to do every day to attract clients that pay you well … it’s worth your time to get this centerpiece of your business right.

And I’m sorry to say that a majority of coaches that I meet have glossed over their niche or haven’t decided Instead they put up a website selling a certain type of coaching or all types of coaching and it doesn’t work.

If you haven’t listened to my last episode called — Why is Coaching a Hard Sell?check it out here.

It explains why selling a certain type of coaching is hard — too hard to enjoy and earn well. It’s a great primer for everything I’m going to talk about from here on.

Most coaches only consider what they want to coach about. And it leaves out the most essential thing — who you serve and what they want so much they’d be willing to invest money to get it.

Over the next several episodes I’ll reveal my process for helping coaches choose their niche.

First, a quick announcement …

I’m now accepting applications for free On Air Coaching.

The way On Air Coaching works is you and I have a private business coaching session that’s recorded and later that session is aired as an episode in this podcast series.

On Air Coaching is perfect for you if you are a trained coach who hasn’t yet landed your own profitable coaching niche.

It’s okay if you haven’t done anything yet to build your business.

It’s equally okay if you’ve tried one or more niches and, for whatever reason, it’s not working for you.

In our session I’ll ask you questions to uncover possibilities. We’ll identify a fantastic target audience for you, and brainstorm what they most want and how to apply your gifts and skills to help them get it.

Knowing you audience and niche will give you a profound sense of direction and focus for you coaching business.

I’d love to work with you.

Okay let’s dig into this niche thing!

Most Coaches Only Choose a Track

First, let’s define it because in my nearly 2 decades of studying coaching niches there are some big gaps between what some call a coaching niche and what I’d call a coaching niche.

Some people say that a coaching niche is the area you focus on, for example:

  • Health and Wellness
  • Relationship
  • Career
  • Business and entrepreneurship
  • Executive and Corporate Leadership
  • Spirituality

See, to me, these are not quite niches.

I would call these coaching tracks instead. You might have taken coach training in one of these areas and don’t worry because it will be very valuable to you and your clients.

You might have set up your website, messaging and offers to sell that certain type of coaching. That usually doesn’t work well as I covered in the last episode.

Few people buy coaching for the sake of being coached. But they will invest in help to overcome specific urgent problems and to reach their goals.

To be able to speak about specific goals and challenges focus your efforts on a specifc audience.

Choosing a Specialty is a Smart Step

Now some coaches take a wise step towards a smart niche and name a specialty.

For example, a wellness coach might focus on weight loss, or a relationship coach might focus on dating.

That’s smart because it speaks to a specific PROBLEM people have. I’ll come back to these examples in a minute.

If you’ve specialized on a certain problem, take an additional step and target a unique audience.

The 3 Essentials

1. A single narrow target audience.

2. That target audience’s urgent problems and desires.

3. Your savvy solution for that audience which incorporates your skills, talents — everything in your toolbox.

Let’s take these one at a time.

A target audience, also called a target market or a tribe by Seth Godin, is a unique group of people defined by a common set of specific interests, challenges and goals.

I’m reading his latest book called This is Marketing. He says:

“Find a corner of the market that can’t wait for your attention. Go to their extremes. Find a position on the map where you and you alone are their perfect answer.”

– Seth Godin, This is Marketing

For example, what if you are a relationship coach, specializing in dating and you then decide to focus on single parents as your target audience …

Wouldn’t you agree that single parents have a set of unique challenges and goals when it comes to dating?

They have to consider their kids in every aspect of dating and also as the relationship grows.

Pre-Selling a Coach Client Without Selling At All

So suddenly, instead of selling relationship coaching, you become a dating specialist for single parents. You messages and offers are specific using language single parents relate to. And it makes building your coaching business easier in so many ways.

The single parent feel special because they feel heard and understood by you.

When you speak their language in your blogs, podcasts or videos, they trust you and you are effectively pre-qualifying and pre-selling them on your programs.

Another example … let’s say you are a wellness coach specilizing in weight loss and you target corporate executives.

Execs are overworked, overstressed individuals who need help to enhance their performance, feel more confident and present so they can get short listed for a promotion or garner favor with shareholders.

Do you see how in both examples targeting one specific audience would help you as the coach to stand out and attract attention fast?

Getting Attention is Job #1

And it’s not easy. We live in a too busy and highly distracted world. So your message will only snap people to attention if it’s highly relevant and to be relevant it has to be specific.

If you haven’t chosen a track yet, don’t worry about it. You can actually skip over that part.

Instead target an audience that’s easy for you to find and connect with, find out what they want so much they’d be willing to invest in your help to get it.

Coaches serve people. That’s why your coaching niche should be designed starting with the unique audience you serve and their real problems.

Next week I’m going to give you a clear picture of the advantages to choosing a smart and profitable niche.

You’ll be amazed how it can change your day to day as well as setting you up for long term success and and incredible opportunities. 

     

Mentioned in This Episode

This is Marketing by Seth Godin

The next episode is 12 Ways a Smart Coaching Niche Empowers You

Ep 7 – Why is Coaching a Hard Sell?

This episode might blow your mind. But I hope it OPENS your mind.

You’ve probably suspected the truth of this already. It’s been nagging at you but you haven’t known what to do about it.

Coaching is a hard sell.

You don’t want to have to sell at all, but you definitely don’t want to do a hard sell on people!

And, I hear you thinking …

“What the fork, Rhonda!

I’m a coach and you’re telling me

it’s not a good idea to sell coaching?

What else am I supposed to do?”

Bear with me, because there is an important mindset shift wanting to happen here.

Yes, it is a super valuable skill. It absolutely does help people transform. And we — you and I — are completely sold on the idea of it.

But most people are not.

The Origin Story Explains the Disconnect

To help you understand the disconnect between what we know and what our prospects don’t know, I’ll share what I call my origin story.

See if you recognize your own origin story in any of this.

I remember when the idea of coaching sparked in my mind and started burning like wildfire.

I was a Marketing Director of a small corporation. From the outside, it seemed like a perfect job. Great salary, good benefits, weekends off. My boss was the President and an engaging leader. I had authority and a lot of freedom.

Still, each day I came home from work feeling soul-less.

I felt sick on Sundays and dreaded the coming week. When I got home from conferences, I’d cry in the airport parking lot. I was so spent.

I decided I had to break free and deep down I knew that just getting another job wasn’t going to do it for me.

I summoned the courage to go to my boss and I told her I’d be gone in 6 months. In the meantime, I’d like to shift from employee to consultant, train my replacement and work from home 4 days a week.

To my surprise, she agreed to everything I asked. I think she valued me but knew somehow that I was a short termer.

Then, I had more bandwidth to consider what my next steps were.

During coffee with friends I asked what they thought my strengths were and we brainstormed entrepreneurial possibilities.

One friend said: “You’d be a good coach, Rhonda.”

A tingle zipped up my spine and in days I was immersed into a year long training program.

My life flipped over in the most exciting way.

Selling Coaching Comes Off Salesy

I became coaching’s best advocate. I became obsessed.

So you can imagine how confused I was when I talked to people about it their eyes would glaze over and they’d slip away from the conversation.

In a not very subtle way I was trying to convert them. To convince them that coaching was wonderful and that they wanted it.

In reality the only people who really wanted to hear about it were people who were thinking of becoming one themselves.

I’d argue that it is an even harder sell now because there is exponentially more marketing for services out there than there ever was.

And people don’t pay attention unless messaging hits every hot spot for them.

I wrote about topics like limiting beliefs and how to find confidence. There are sooo many articles out there on those topics so it wasn’t surprising those topics didn’t get read. I gave talks on similar topics at Chamber meetings and in libraries.

What happened?

Crickets.

Much later, when a few clients did enroll, they stayed no more than 3 months with me even though they said they loved working with me.

Obviously, I wasn’t earning well.

My problem was, that …

I Mistook What Coaching Is

It’s a skillset, not a solution.

But mostly it’s associated in most people’s minds with services for the elite or for corporate executives.

It sounds expensive but not in the same way as a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes or a two week beach vacation without the kids. People can easily justify those types of indulgences.

Hiring a coach doesn’t hit the desire button.

But people will also spend money on solutions to urgent problems. So this is the opportunity to …

Get Creative with Your Coaching Niche

Let’s say you’re a wellness coach. If you specialized in working with engaged couples you could offer these programs:

20 Weeks to Get Fit for Your Wedding

then later…

100 Days to Build Stamina for Parenting

and later…

120 Days to Lose the Baby Weight

Or, if you’re a career coach, you could specialize in working with women re-entering the work force:

4 Months to Land Your New Job

and

90 Days to Onboard With Confidence

Notice how each offer…

  • is geared to an urgent problem for a specific audience
  • doesn’t mention coaching at all

Once you have paying clients you’ll draw from your skills and tools to help them achieve their goals.

They’ll hire you because your messages and offers hit the mark.

This approach really works when:

  • you narrow your audience
  • the problem you’re speaking about is urgent for them, and
  • the outcome is specific with both emotional and tangible benefits

That’s also how you’ll be able to get and keep the attention of your audience long enough in this distraction-heavy marketplace to build a relationship and inspire them to invest in your programs.

Are you beginning to see how this could work for you much better than trying to sell coaching?

Now I know that hearing this could be a bit of a shock.

And it’s possible you might prove me wrong about this. If you’ve found it easy to be financially successful selling the type of coaching you learned to do, I want to hear your story and so do my listeners.

If, on the other hand, you’ve been stuck with a few happy but low paying clients, this mindset and approach shift could open all the doors and windows for you.

With this kind of focus for your business …

  • you know what to do day to day
  • you know how to find your audience
  • you know how to inspire them to open blogs and click links
  • you build trust and a fan base
  • you’ll know how to help your clients re-up for the next step with you
  • and you’ll build expertise quickly which can be leveraged into books, online training, masterminds and more

Want Help Making This Shift?

Grab a Strategy Session with me. It’s perfect for choosing your audience and nailing down your coaching niche. Or, if you’re already done a good job at that, we could brainstorm irresistible offers.

Let’s get your business on the right track so you can feel proud of it and earn well!

The next episode is 3 Crucial Parts of a Smart Coaching Niche

Ep 5 – The Simplest Coaching Business Model

This episode is part of my Start Smart Series. A listener asked me to talk about the simplest and least expensive way to get a coaching business off the ground. Great question!

I love it when listeners tell me what they want to hear on the show. If you have a specific request, go to my contact page on —ProsperousCoachBlog.com — and get in touch.

High Profit, Low Tech and High Touch

The answer to the easiest coaching business model is ultra simple! It’s 1:1.

If you’re charging enough and enroll your clients into a longer term package, you won’t need many clients each year to make a good income. I only work with 20 – 30 clients each year.

Your marketing could be minimal if you have ready access to your chosen target audience. And because expenses are incredibly low for this business model, 1:1 is the most profitable option.

Think about it … You don’t have to have a website (although you may want to.) You won’t need a team or even a Virtual Assistant to help you with all the tasks because admin is minimal. You don’t need big coordinated marketing campaigns, a strong presence on social media or a bunch of apps with monthly fees.

Literally all you need is a phone and a private place in your home to take client calls. And maybe an inexpensive business card for networking.

You know what I’m describing, don’t you?

It’s the way every service entrepreneur did business before the internet. Don’t roll your eyes. It’s still the way a lot of service entrepreneurs operate.

Sometimes I wonder if it isn’t easier than all the online stuff everyone, including me, does now. But an online business model does allow you to have an international audience, and I love that.

For that analog way of business, you have to be an active networker, go where your clients are, be a good conversationalist and a non-salesy enroller.

When I started, I only offered private coaching. I found all of my clients through networking and speaking.

It was only in my second year that I added in face to face group coaching. Then started doing VIP days – that’s 3 to 8 hours of working with one person in one day.

It was only in year 6 that I shifted to online. I created a Membership Program. Honestly, a huge amount of work for poor returns. Then, I added a high ticket online Mastermind with two yearly retreats. And I sold two self-study online training programs. For one of them, I took a group of 20 – 50 through it quarterly as well with a closed Facebook group.

It was fun doing all of that stuff and I made good money. But it was soooo much work keeping it all rolling. And so much of my income was going to expenses!

That’s often overlooked when coaches choose a business model. The more complicated or technical you go, the harder you work, and sometimes the less money you keep.

There really is no passive revenue except royalties. I was lucky to have the opportunity to co-write Coach Training curriculum for a royalty and that curriculum is still being used.

Market Less, Serve Clients Longer

But you know what I like the most? Getting to know my clients well and doing deeper work. The 30 hour work week with a 4 day weekend isn’t bad either! That’s my lifestyle choice.

So in my 20th year in business, I’m back to working privately with client in a 5 month comprehensive coaching business building program. I also offer a 90-minute strategy session.

So how do you find and enroll 1:1 clients? That’s a question for another episode. But I remember hearing what I thought was an urban legend, when I was in coach training …

Sandy Vilas, the then CEO of Coach Inc, supposedly worked with 80 clients each week, all of whom he enrolled simply by calling colleagues and inviting them to become his client. (To me 80 clients each week is 8x too many.)

That takes confidence plus a large and eager network. And my guess is that Sandy was an extrovert. LOL!

Every Coach Gets to Build Their Own Marketplace

The reality in today’s distracted world is that all coaches will need to find and develop their own tribe or target market. That’s why the wisdom is to fish in the smallest, most specialized pond, that you can.

The more you narrow your audience and then offer specific solutions to that group’s biggest problems, the faster you’ll build a network of fans who don’t really need to be sold on working with you. That’s the best!

And there’s a lot of joy in building a community.

What It Takes to Succeed with Online Programs

When people hire me to help them choose their coaching niche and build a business foundation I always ask them what they want to offer. Many say they want to quickly move into online programs.

I understand the attraction. You help more people transform in less time, which is especially great if you don’t have much time to give to your business right now.

But to succeed with online programs you need several things set up first, which takes time.

You need a fairly robust list — 5,000 people minimum in your target audience and probably more like 10,000 people who already know, like and trust you.

Develop joint venture marketing relationships with other people targeting your audience but who have a significantly different offer. That will help push your enrollment numbers up. (Another reason to narrow your audience and niche.)

If you’ve been listening to my previous episodes, you might have caught the idea that there are developmental stages in a business.

Start Up is the time to walk not run. That’s why 1:1 is the best way to start out as a coach.

Nothing will teach you faster about yourself and your audience than working with clients privately. You’ll learn about your strengths and weaknesses. You’ll figure out your secret sauce — a talent you have that’s unique and leverageable.

And, once you’ve worked with a few dozen clients privately who are all in the same unique target audience, it’s easy to create online programs that more of them will buy.

Mentioned in this episode:

Contact me if you’d like to request a specific topic for the Prosperous Coach Podcast.

The next episode is: 4 Mistakes I Made in Coaching Business Startup (and I lived to tell the tale!)

Will Your Coaching Niche Pass the Test?

Coaches often ask me: “Is this a good coaching niche?” What they really want to know is — will focusing my energy this way repay me with a consistent flow of clients who are willing to invest? That’s the 6-figure question.

First, do you really need a coaching niche?Joint Ventures will help your business reach the masses

Ultimately, there are three reasons to niche: ease, reach and profitability. We choose a niche so we can market less, earn more and help more people transform.

If your intention is to build a solid long-term coaching business that you can rely on for a satisfying income, it’s worth it to choose a smart niche now before you invest time, money and energy on your branding and marketing.

A smart niche helps you:

  • Quickly become a coach in high demand through momentum.
  • Leverage your efforts and concentrate your message, instead of being all over the place.
  • Make a bigger impact and command higher fees.

Test the viability of your current coaching niche with these powerful questions.

4 Ways to Choose Your Coaching Niche

stand out in the crowdCoaches are more business savvy than they used to be. Now, every coach knows that when you land a smart coaching niche, all the doors of opportunity open up and prosperity flows in. It solves so many problems:

  • It’s easier to enroll clients without being salesy.
  • It clues you in about how to connect with future clients.
  • With many niches, you can charge more and clients will stay longer.
  • You can move beyond your region into international coaching.
  • All your efforts can be leveraged for a bigger impact and result.

And, if you choose wisely, you quickly become a coach in high demand. That means you earn more, coach more, and marketless. That’s the way I like to do it.

Enroll More Coaching Clients From Your Website

Is your website enrolling new coaching clients for you? ? Is it also creating a community of future clients? Does it quickly inspire people to share your site?

If not, your site might be a dud — a website that just sits there taking up cyberspace. Here’s how to make your website WORK for you:

4 Secrets of a Client Winning Website

happy with websiteAs you read through these, rate your own website on a scale of 1 -5 with 5 being the best it can be.

1. Be sure every word and image is tailor made for your target audience
The #1 mistake coaches make on their websites is they make it all about coaching. Unless your clients want to become a coach themselves, they will bounce off a site like that in seconds.

Coach – Give Yourself a Raise

A classic problem for coaches and other service entrepreneurs is that they run out of time to:

  • build automated systems that create a flow of future clients.
  • create recurring revenue streams like products and membership programs.
  • expand their potential by reflecting on their business and making continuous improvements.

The problem begins early on like this…

  1. https://prosperouscoachblog.com/coach-give-yourself-raise/Desperate for initial clients, coaches often set low fees and say ‘yes’ to many opportunities that aren’t likely bring a high enough return.
  2. When a client moves on, the income loss is keenly felt and there’s a scramble to enroll more clients “from thin air”.
  3. The limiting mindsets become habitualized for the coach, so new clients are also enrolled for low prices.
  4. Months or years later, it’s hard to breakthrough the ceiling on their income because the belief is that this is the best they can do.

Somethings gotta give.

2 Steps to Break From the Money for Time Paradigm