Identifying your niche or target market may be one of the biggest challenges you face as a new coach starting a coaching business. As a coach you want to help people and when you start out you feel like you would help anyone, right?
As a coach you may not feel motivated by standard marketing principles that tell you that a well-defined niche will contribute to your overall business success. But you recognize that if you want business success you’ll likely have to get more specific about who you’ll be working with.
You hear the question “who is your ideal client?” and you begin working through a description. For some, this is when their niche becomes clear. For others, this is a process that evolves over time.
Recently I was working with a new coach and we were discussing her target market. I asked her to think about what her ideal client would Google if they were looking for solutions that her coaching would bring. Additionally, where do they hang out? What do they read? What are their hobbies? What recreation and entertainment do they enjoy?
“How do I know that?” she asked.
“Where do you want them to hang out?” I asked. “What do you want them to read? Do you want to work with people who are interested in art or in science or in sports?
A brief pause and an ah ha moment: “Well those are two completely different questions! Who is my ideal client and who do I want my ideal client to be are two different questions.”
She had been guided by the belief that there was a “right” ideal client that she needed to look for “out there.” She perceived the need for identifying and getting to know them via external research. With a different perspective, she shifted to thinking about discovering her ideal client by looking internally to describe the clients that she wanted to work with. This shift brought her new energy and insight.
At the risk of offering one person’s story (by permission) that may be understood only by a few, I’m sharing it, certain it will click with readers who need to hear it. For others, if you’re in the process of defining your niche or target market, here are some additional thoughts.
- Invite God into the process through prayer.
- Allow God’s timing.
- Do what you can with the clarity you have.
- Learn more about who you want to coach by coaching.
- Who do you want to coach? Who would you love to work with?
Defining your niche or target market is important because it helps you most effectively focus and leverage your marketing efforts. But focusing on a niche market doesn’t limit you to coaching only in that market. If your heart is stirred to coach someone who does not fit your “ideal client” description you can of course always choose to do that! Use the 80/20 principle. Who has God called you to work with 80% of the time? That is likely your target market.