“Work with everyone!”
If I hear one more new potential client tell me they were advised to "just work with everyone" to get clients, I'm going to pull out ALL of my eyebrow hair!
I get it- there’s this fear that if you don’t make yourself available to everyone, you’re going to miss out on a bunch of business. Not to mention, you don’t want to walk away from training and miss out on making it your profession just because you don’t know who to coach.
But is trying to engage everyone the way life works?
In your real life, would you make yourself available to every neighbor on your block to hang out? Some of those people are Trump supporters- do you want to have a Fox News watch party on your lawn?!
How do you even market “I work with everyone”?
...Let’s imagine you’re trying to coach everyone. Presumably, you’d message people and say something like, “Hey, I’m a life coach- do you know anyone who needs a life coach?”
Now, imagine what your message’s recipients will think: “Hmmm... Do I know anyone who’s bad at life? Let me see- Oh, Gerald! He’s bad at life. He could use a life coach.”
Ten minutes later, in the email introduction they write for you and Gerald: “Hey Gerald, you know how you suck at life? Here’s Katie, a life coach. Good luck!”
The 1st problem with marketing to everyone:
If you want to survive, financially, as a coaching business- you have to remember that your time is limited, and you’re going to have to do everything for your business- from marketing, to sales, to billing, so remember that you can’t carry thatmany clients. And because you can’t carry many clients, know that you’ll have to charge a lot. “Make me suck less at life” is simply too generalized to be economically compelling for clients.
For coaching to be worth an investment to the client, it has to deliver transformational change that is tailored to exactly what that person needs. How can you provide such specific transformational guidance if you’re trying to help everyone in the world on every. single. issue?
The 2nd problem with marketing to everyone:
Since your marketing is so vague, you’ll have to give away a LOT of free or very low-cost coaching in an effort to convince people you’re worthy- which trains the world that you’re free or cheap.
I did try this strategy once…
When I first started, a dear friend challenged me to announce my business to everyone I knew in my email contacts. And so I did. I offered 30-minute calls.
I got my first client out of it, and they paid $75/session.
Excuse me, but- that’s not a business. That’s a subsidized hobby.
The Antidote: Pick. A. Niche.
Instead of “I work with everyone,” consider this marketing message: I solve this specific problem, do you know 1-3 people who have this problem and want the solution to it?
Finding people who have a specific problem is much easier than “maybe Gerald sucks at life.”
So ask yourself: What’s a problem that you are interested in talking about and guiding people through?
It’s normal for your niche to evolve over time
You may worry about getting your niche 'wrong' the first time.
You probably will. But you'll never know what'll work unless you do something!
I always say picking a niche is like a dance with the universe. You head in the direction you think will work and it will course correct you if it wants something different.
These days, I primarily work with up and coming business owners wanting to start their own businesses, but my first stab at a niche was: “I'm a Dating Coach for Men.”
Because I thought I was! I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area and had dated a lot of men there- and let me tell you... they really needed my help!
Anyway, I went out into the world and announced widely, "I am a dating coach for men." And it worked! Sort of. I got 8 female clients and 1 dude.
Most of my female clients worked with me on executive leadership stuff. Because their ways-of-being at work directly impacted their ways-of-being in relationships.
I liked that focus better.
After that, my coach friends saw how easy it was for me to set up and run a business. So I started helping them for free, till they insisted I charge for it.
It’s ok to find your niche over time. You won’t realize the things that are going to resonate with other people until you start talking about yourself and the impact you want to have, even if it’s not perfect at first.
No matter what, starting the path towards a niche is better than “I help everyone.”