picking a niche

From Three to One: Choose Your Ideal Client to Move Your Health Coaching Business Forward

I was speaking with a coaching client today who was having some trouble making a choice between three different niche markets.

She had experience, opportunities and passion for each of these groups of potential clients.

I coached her through two things:

  • releasing the fears she had of choosing a niche market
  • deciding which niche market she would most enjoy building a business around

The first thing I asked her was: do you want to be a health practitioner or a business owner? The answer to that question leads in two different directions.

She said “business owner”, as I expected.

A health coaching business owner wants to show people how to better their lives AND make a successful living doing it.

As a new business owner, you don’t know yet what it really takes to be successful. There are a lot of pieces, many of which involve marketing: both putting systems in place and working consistently on it.

I listed off a bunch of suggested marketing strategies for her, and asked her to imagine doing that effectively for three different groups at the same time, while still having fun and having a life.

She got that. “But I see these other people with websites that list so many health issues that they can help with.” I asked if she knew any of these people personally, and if so, how their health coaching businesses were doing. She didn’t. I’ve found it’s very hard to know the real behind-the-scenes of any business based only on visiting their website.

The generalist may have a thriving practice, but feel super busy and pulled in too many directions. Or they may have no business at all.

To have more fun, more time and more money, you want to specialize. You want to be the expert at what you do and who you serve. You want to charge top dollar for your specialized services. That makes it easier to attract clients, to know where to market your services, to find referral partners and to provide the very best results for your clients.

When I started out as a health coach my first two paying clients were a young man who wanted to lose weight and get off anti-depressants, and a woman in her late 60s who wanted to avoid thyroid meds and be a healthier vegetarian. Two very different clients. At the time, I had fun conducting research for their specific needs, creating tailored handouts, buying personalized giveaways and putting a lot of time into preparing for each and every session.

When you’re starting out, all this “busy work” makes you feel successful. It makes your colleagues think you’re successful too.

However, if you remain general, and spend hours researching and personalizing your sessions for every different client, you’ll most likely burn out. It’s very difficult to have a profitable and enjoyable business this way, unless you charge premium rates so you only need a couple of clients at a time.

For the first few years of my health coaching business, all of my marketing efforts were super general, the opportunities that came my way were very varied and things never got easy. My business eventually changed course, and also became far more specialized. Which also makes it far more profitable and fun. I’ve seen the same for my clients who learn to make a decision and specialize.

There’s a matter of trusting yourself here. You can’t make a wrong decision, and your business can and will evolve over time.

Making a decision now allows you to apply all of your business-building energy towards one clearly defined market, and learning a ton about being successful along the way. Later if your target market expands to include more groups, or evolves into something entirely different, you can bring all the skills you learned to that new market. Nothing is lost.

If, on the other hand, you remain wishy washy and broad, you’ll always feel like you’re starting over and going in circles. Unfortunately, the majority of health coaches stay general, become burned out and frustrated and eventually give up and find a job. I understand why it happens, but there is a way to avoid it, if you’re really committed to being in business.

Make a decision, stick with it for six months to a year, and you’ll discover so much more than you imagined. You need to let yourself move forward. Can you imagine how good that would feel? A deep sigh of relief often follows this decision.

To choose your ideal client, or niche market, ask yourself these questions about the type of person you’re considering:

  1. Do I truly enjoy spending time with this type of person?
  2. Would this person have great results from the products and services I would love to offer?
  3. Is this person a good match for my specific expertise, experience and passion?
  4. Is this person clear what their challenges are, and motivated to make changes?
  5. Does this type of person regularly invest in her health and well-being?
  6. Am I connected to groups of this type of person in 3 or more ways?

If you can’t clearly answer these questions about the type of ideal client you’re considering, then she might not be a great fit for you and your business.

Once you’ve made a decision about your ideal client, a lot of ideas will open up for you. Now you can create a clear brand, put your message into content for a custom website, create a free gift geared towards your ideal client to build your list with, write articles on topics of interest to your ideal clients, design talks, groups, teleseminars and programs made just for them.

Now you can experience that sense of accomplishment that comes from completing things and you’re starting to experience flow and ease. This is the recipe for success.

Allow yourself to choose an ideal client – and be as specific as you can – and let yourself evolve to the next level of your business building journey.

Many of my clients struggle with this decision and continue running in circles until they make a choice and we move forward with clarity.

If you’d like to experience new clarity and build a successful health coaching business, start with an Awesome Business Breakthrough Session now. As a loyal Health Coach Weekly reader, you can save $20 off your private Breakthrough Session with coupon code HCW20 now.

To you and your awesome business,

Heather Cottrell

Heather Cottrell shows coaches, bloggers, wellness pros and other mompreneurs how to grow your business online. Get expert support and coaching around content creation, social media strategies and digital marketing specially designed for creative professionals with a mindset for success. Find Heather Cottrell Business Services at HeatherCottrell.com and on Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | LinkedIn.

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