One of the challenges of finding a profitable niche as a coach, or in any kind of professional service, is that the niche that works best for you isn’t going to be a copy of what works best for someone else.
Here’s an exercise to help you explore where the most profitable coaching niche is for you.
Draw 3 overlapping circles on a piece of paper. The circles should overlap each other a little but not completely. Combined together they form a sort of triangle shape.
- One of the circles is your expertise. This is where you are skilled and able to help people.
- The second circle is your enthusiasm. This is the work that gives you joy.
- The third circle is what’s profitable. What are people willing, and eager, to pay for?
What makes a niche work in a powerful and profitable way is when you position your business right where those three overlap.
Enthusiasm is essential
If your business is positioned where you have expertise and can make a profit, but no enthusiasm, you might make a good living but not enjoy the process.
On the other hand, if you have enthusiasm for your work you’ll show up more for your clients. The work will be easier and more fun for you. You’ll be happier. People will pick up on that and be more interested in hiring you.
Expertise is respected and expected
With only enthusiasm and profit but no expertise you may well be a charlatan or con artist. Yes, there are shades of gray here and there may be appropriate times to charge people money for your services and learn as you go. Expertise is still respected and expected.
People are usually motivated to hire independent professionals to solve problems for them or when they have a burning desire to obtain something. Someone who is strongly motivated to get married might hire a relationship coach or matchmaker to help them with that burning desire. Someone in a troubled relationship may hire a coach or therapist to solve the problem or even to rescue the relationship.
This is one of the reasons why it’s harder to sell broad based life coaching as opposed to something organized around a clear niche or target market. Life coaching is a powerful tool for personal growth but most people have a hard time seeing how it would be valuable for them, without also drawing on expertise in a specific area.
Another issue is that most self-employed professionals are good, honest people who are reluctant to speak too highly of themselves for fear of bragging. Unfortunately for many of us, the fear of bragging results in coming across as lacking confidence. Pay attention to the results you get with clients, pay attention to the common themes. Then you’ll have clear evidence that can help you speak honestly and confidently about your abilities and expertise.
It’s a common myth among many self-employed professionals and coaches that if I just get more training in my field, I’ll get more clients. The way that you position your business and your marketing to highlight the expertise you already have is probably going to have a much bigger impact in your ability to get clients. The most successful – profitable – self-employed professionals have put just as much effort into marketing (education and consistent action) as they did into learning their profession.
Profit is required
Without profit you either have a hobby or a spiritual calling to do good work. Both can be valuable as part of your life. For most people, however, neither of these will pay your mortgage.
Of course, it takes between 1 and 3 years for most self-employed professionals to turn a profit. The sooner you get comfortable with the need to position your business in alignment with what people are ready and willing to pay for the less your chances of going broke.
But don’t confuse that with the need to be very focused on revenue and profit from the beginning. Many self-employed professionasl especially many transformational coaches make the fatal mistake of assuming that focusing on their expertise and personal fulfillment will lead to a profitable business. Some get lucky and land in something that people want to pay for and many others don’t. It’s much better to be very focused from the beginning on limiting your services to what people are ready, able and willing to pay for, rather than hoping you can convince them of their need to for the services.
When you do personal growth and transformational work with clients, their making payment for the services you provide – rather than getting it free – also helps them. It’s a strong motivator for them to do the personal growth work that they need to do.
Optimize for where your 3 success circles overlap
It’s vital to the success of your business that you position it in the center, where your three circles overlap. Sometimes you may have to compromise a bit in one area to make sure you’re inside one of the other circles. Just make sure you stay inside all 3 circles even if you’re right close to the edge of one.
Comment below and share your next step
Share in the comments which of these circles is most challenging to find or to keep your business inside of?