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?
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.
Coaches 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.
There are many theories about the best way to choose a coaching niche. Start broad and let it find you. Focus on a topic you know. Go with your passion. Or my favorite, target a narrow and hungry audience for quick success. All of them have some appeal. Some are more effective than others.
Ultimately, you want a coaching niche that helps you use your special gifts to do good in the world while you do well financially.
However you come to it, when you land on the right niche for you, it’s as if all the doors of opportunity open up and prosperity flows in. It solves so many problems:
- How to talk about what you do without selling generic coaching
- How to authentically inspire enrollment
- How to leverage your efforts for a bigger impact and result
Test your coaching niche to see if it will payoff here.
What if the coaching niche you’ve pursued isn’t helping you? What if it’s actually holding you back?
It happens, and it can be painful, especially if you’ve invested a lot of time and money. Then it’s hard to let go, even if it’s not working. Release it. There’s a better path ahead.
If you’re determined to do good in the world while doing well financially, then it’s worth asking whether you should choose a coaching niche or not. There are some very compelling reasons why you’d want to niche as well as a few circumstances where niching would not be right for you. I’ll cover both in this post.
In the “pro” column, targeting a viable coaching niche opens wide the doors of opportunity and prosperity by helping you:
- Solidify your brand.
- Earn more by specializing.
- Become well known quickly.
- Break through filters and capture more attention.
- Get more of the right kind of referrals.
- Build “social proof” with colleagues and future clients.
- Focus and leverage everything you do so you can work less.
- Stand out in the crowd of service providers.
- Positively impact a unique group of people.
Since the nineties, when coaching became a profession and consulting of all types burgeoned, there are more solopreneurs in the world than ever before. That means niching is more of an advantage than it used to be. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to get your share of attention from potential clients if you don’t stand out strongly in some way. Your niche helps you stand out in the most complete and long lasting way.
The best way to attract clients shifted dramatically when social networks sprang up and became massively popular. People started sorting themselves into sub-sub-groups based on messages that attract them, and filtering out everything else. It’s changed how our potential clients focus their attention, form alliances and make buying decisions.
Seth Godin’s game changing book Tribes talks about these groups and urges entrepreneurs to become leaders of a tribe.
What does this game change mean to you? If you want to do well financially while you do good in the world, it’s more important than ever before to stand out in the crowd of service providers and stand up for a unique “tribe” of your own which means choosing a viable coaching niche. You can do this!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you have to be a social networking expert to attract clients steadily. I’m saying that the phenomenon of social networks has changed the way people are attracted to mentors and professional resources. It’s reduced the effectiveness of standard selling and marketing techniques.
Responding to the Sea Change
Leading coaches, consultants and trainers have felt this sea change, and have been making shifts in the way they attract clients.
I encourage you to follow suit. Stop trying to convince people to buy your coaching, consulting and training. Instead, show your tribe (also called a coaching niche, target market or target audience) that you understand them and can help them get where they most want to go right now.
If your message is specific and hits the mark, they will follow you, refer other like-minded people to you, and help you raise your star while doing what you love.
You can learn a lot by seeing how other business owners are doing things, not to compare yourself to them, but to catalyze your own ideas. What’s behind the decisions entrepreneurs make? What kind of technology are they using? And how do they plan to serve their target audience?
I’m pulling back the curtain so you can have a peek at what we’ve been up to at Prosperous Coach. It’s BIG!
First, a word about continuous improvement. I don’t know about you, but almost as soon as I write a blog or launch a new program, I have better ideas. I hear from my clients what’s confusing, overwhelming or stopping them. And then I figure out how to help them solve those problems and streamline things for them.
To me that’s all part of service. For you too? A business can’t be in cruise mode forever. Innovation keeps things fresh for you and the people who follow you.
Take a peek at what’s new at Prosperous Coach…
My Coaching Niche Gets a Refinement
You know how the more you work with clients, the more clear you become about who YOUR ideal clients are? I’m making another refinement to the profile of my ideal client…
You see, entrepreneurship really does it for me. It makes me sing, dance a jig and get a high beam smile. So reluctant entrepreneurs — perpetual students, hobbyists or folks who aren’t motivated to do well financially while they do good in the world — won’t want my support unless they are 100% ready to power up.
I love quizzes and assessments because they open my mind to new perspectives. They encourage me to evolve and transform the way I think about something. How about you?
Coaches often ask me “What do you think of this coaching niche?” Sometimes I can say definitively whether a niche is worth pursuing or not. But more often I ask a set of powerful questions to draw the conclusion. When it comes to whether your coaching niche will pay off for you, what’s really important is your opinion based on a few critical factors.
So, I’ll provide the powerful questions here and you can provide the answer. Give yourself 1 point for each question where your answer is “Yes!” And let your answers educate you about how to shift your niche.
(A NOTE TO NEW COACHES or those just getting started in your business: Let these questions be a guideline to choose a highly profitable niche and set yourself up for success from the get go.)
Where the Clients Are
1. Can you name 3 direct ways to get in front of at least 50 potential new clients in your niche right now?
If you’ve already picked all the “low hanging fruit” in your niche market — friends, acquaintances and colleagues — I’d recommend narrowing your niche. A more narrow and targeted niche helps you leverage your time and focus your message while authentically inspiring people to engage you and refer others.
Large niches such as women in transition, baby boomers, empty-nesters and many other popular niches may seem highly accessible until you realize those people don’t gather anywhere together or have much motivation to hire professional support for those issues.
A viable niche market is like a deep well where you can reliably draw out your next 10, 20, even 100 clients.
Some part of you already knows this… it’s a rare person that wakes up in the morning thinking “I need a coach!” That person is “initiated” into the value of coaching because they or someone they know has had a positive experience with coaching. But that’s a small percentage of all the people in the world.
So why are coaches working so hard to convince people to buy their coaching?
I floundered around with this fruitless approach myself in my first three years of my business. Then I realized, that selling coaching is a very sales-like approach and I didn’t want to do it anymore. It takes a lot of energy for little return and doesn’t build much momentum or ease over time.
Each new prospect has to be convinced. It’s like starting over with every sample session. And too many say they can’t afford it because they perceive coaching as a luxury.
It’s not very coach-like is it?
Think about it. We’re taught to work with clients holistically, focusing in on their agenda — what is it that they want today. And then we use our skills, listening and asking powerful questions, to draw out their wisdom, help get perspective and work through obstacles so they walk away with the outcome they came for.
Coaching is client-centric. But selling coaching is not.
So, what would be a more client-centric approach to attracting clients? There’s a tried and true way. Every successful change agent, entrepreneur and professional has done this. They target a specific group of people, find out exactly what they want — that tangible outcome they woke up wanting this morning — and show how they can help them get there.