This seems to be the eternal tear-your-hair-out question- and stressor- for coaches these days. We know that the marketplace is saturated with people offering 1:1 work, group programs, and e-courses. That anyone Googling “I want a ______ coach” will find a few thousand options- and that there is an abundance of coaches who love feathers, the word “authenticity”, Clarissa Pinkola Estes quotes, and loving our bodies.
I know, I know. Rub a little sand it in, why doncha.
Business coaches will tell us to “niche”- to find our speciality, the thing that makes us stand out like NO OTHER, and to ride that wave all the way to Six Figureville. To drill down to the specifics of the client we want to work with and speak directly to her. Because otherwise? We become “just another coach”, swimming in a sea of similarity while other people who do the same exact work we do have wait lists and thousands of blog hits.
I’ll come clean: I know I’m hitting on a coach’s sore spot. I’ve felt it. I’ve agonized over it- what the hell IS my niche? Who AM I writing for? How can I make myself stand out in the crowd when there are so many other coaches out there to choose from who have flashier websites and a whole team of marketing experts making them sound amaaaaazing?
Trying to “niche” my business felt like trying to stuff myself into a pencil skirt and heels when what I wanted was bare feet and a summer dress. I mean, let’s be honest- I live in the jungle. Nobody wears pencil skirts around here, and I didn’t choose this lifestyle to pigeonhole myself in order to fit in to some marketing landscape.
Nor did you choose coaching so that you could draw restrictive lines around who you are and what your “niche” is based on your analysis of what “niche” hasn’t been filled yet. In fact, the words “niche” and “brand” feel completely stifling to me. Call me a rebel, call it guerrilla business. Whatever.
It’s about what feels good to me.
Once upon a midsummers eve, it was time for my coaching practice to evolve. But after months and months of journaling, filling out “Ideal Client” profiles, experimenting with different taglines and hashtags and “specialities” (anxiety? perfectionism? body love?), I was frustrated and ready to throw it all out the window. It felt like every angle was already taken and I was SO NOT SPECIAL.
Until I was having a meltdown day where NONE of the words I had so painstakingly brainstormed seemed right, I was floundering trying to rewrite my homepage, and I realized-
All I want to do is live my life and build my business in the way that feels good and right in my heart.
Heart Centered Living.
And there are hundreds, if not thousands, of people out there with the same deep craving. Thus was born my new “niche”: living a Heart Centered Life. The women who work with me speak my language. We realize we’ve read the same books. We’re eachother’s soul sisters, we honor our hearts’ desires, we laugh and cry together, and we tell each other we love each other. And we mean it. I call in women who really resonate with me because I’m showing up as me.
Your potential clients don’t want to see a carefully crafted “I want to stand out from the crowd” identity. They’re smart, burned out on being sold to and they can see straight through something so planned and schemed.
What they want is to know who YOU are. What frequency you’re on, where they might connect with the real you. What you’ve experienced in your life and how that will help them to become better people.
So while Ideal Client worksheets can be helpful as you’re writing sales pages or creating your e-courses… the very heartbeat of your business must emerge more organically than that.
So if you’re done with “nicheing” and ready for something that feels a little more like home, try these 3 things:
- Read all of your primary website copy- homepage, about page, and offerings page- aloud to yourself. Does it flow like you would normally speak, or does it sound and feel a little off? There are a wide variety of ways your copy could sound ranging from uber-professional to super casual or even cheeky, but it has to sound true to you. Do you really use those words in your coaching and your every day life? If not, can ‘em. Take this mentality into your social media presence too. Is it you?
- What are the few core concepts you find yourself constantly coaching or talking about with your friends and clients? Is there a theme or a central desired impact that weaves through all of it? Rather than try to overlay a niche or speciality onto what you do, let the way you work naturally become your niche. If you could give the TED Talk of your life… what would you say?
- You’re going to be able to support your clients best- and present the most authentic and real products and presence for them- if you can really understand and resonate with their struggles and successes. This isn’t to say you need to search for your own clones, but consider- what elements of your experience and story are the most inspirational, or helpful, or were the most life-changing for you? Tap into your own deep vulnerabilities, questions, and challenges, and open yourself for your potential clients to connect with those places. From these challenges-turned-strengths will emerge your “speciality”.
Or, shall we say, your “niche”. But maybe we can find a better word. I’m supporting my clients to live from their hearts and their truth. Maybe it’s time for us coaches to do the same.
Heather Day is a Transformational Coach, yoga teacher, and a guide for those who seek to live a Heart Centered Life. She helps people who have fallen out of balance to return to center with intuitive and practical tools for body, soul, and lifestyle. You’ll find her eating papaya, teaching yoga and coaching from her home in Costa Rica. Get her free meditation series to overcome fear and find your own Heart Center, and connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.