I’ve not had a baby, but I did work in the mother and baby industry. As part of my job I used to attend a range of trade exhibitions and had regular communication with midwives. Common feedback was how the range of ‘must have’ products and services on the market was overwhelming for new mums; especially first time mums who were feeling particularly vulnerable.
What’s happened here is that when a woman becomes pregnant, she slips into an easily identifiable category which makes her a very easy target for marketing. The essence of ‘niching’ is identifying your ideal customer, their pain points and targeting them with marketing messages. A new mum naturally has many insecurities and is often in a vulnerable place, she wants to be a good mum but there are so many things to consider.
Around this new mum is an increasingly crowded industry where new products are being introduced at every turn. Businesses and entrepreneurs are capitalising upon an easy route to market. This was evident at the baby shows with dragon-style judgment of new products, and where supermarket buyers would have to walk incognito through the crowds.
So why is birthing a new coaching business like becoming a new mum?
The first question on the mind of a newly qualified Life Coach is “how am I going to find clients to pay me?” Underneath this question can be a whole load of insecurities; “Is what I’ve got to offer really any good?”, “do I have to find a niche?”, “do I really have to get comfortable with shameless self-promotion?”
As soon as I entered this category, I must have crossed an invisible line. Maybe I clicked on one ‘how to get clients’ link and then all of a sudden, I entered this new arena where at every online turn I was faced with another compelling headline about how to get clients. So many coaches who had gone before me and trodden this well-worn path, who seemingly had the solution I needed.
The trouble is that they all looked so desirable! I loved the coaching aspect of my work but the selling myself aspect frightened me and brought up a tonne of inadequacies! Stepping out into this new world felt overwhelming and left me feeling like a vulnerable new mum.
They all knew how to speak to my vulnerability and pain. They all knew that I was feeling unsure of my next steps and that I wanted to find my way into authentic business sales that would effortlessly attract my ideal client. It was far too easy to get sucked in and before I knew it, my inbox was flooded with e-books, questionnaires and webinar invitations. I felt lost and completely overwhelmed.
They all looked so effective and, in hindsight, if I’d picked one method and followed it then it probably would have worked a treat. But which one to pick?
So, how have I found my way through this noise?
Firstly, I recognised that there is no quick fix solution to this challenge of finding clients. In fact, I had never come into this expecting one. But I found myself in this post-qualification uncertainty and eager to find somewhere positive to focus my energies.
A fundamental challenge that I’ve had to overcome is to feel comfortable and confident in my coaching. The important thing here was to keep on coaching, no matter what. I also continued working with mentors and receiving (often uncomfortable) feedback on my performance. How could I ever authentically be comfortable selling myself if I didn’t truly believe in what I was offering?
I couldn’t close myself off to guidance and advice entirely because there is certainly a lot of great stuff out there. But I did have to become disciplined, which meant unsubscribing from all the email lists and not clicking upon the tempting Facebook adverts promising me a solution.
The wisdom I’ve gained here is that I am in control of who I choose to follow. I’m so fortunate to be part of a sharing community of coaches who are open about their challenges. I still need marketing advice, so I’ve selected one expert whose approach I respect, and I follow her (my expert is Dorie Clark www.dorieclark.com).
I’ve also created a cherished network of coaches who all have a similar approach and passion for coaching. We are committed to learning and growing together. Yesterday in our Facebook group, we had some sharing about getting clients. After this conversation, I logged back onto my newsfeed to be confronted by a list of clever targeted ‘How to Attract Clients’ adverts. Are they spying on me? Probably!
My disciplined approach has resulted in much more peace, focus and knowledge that I’m putting my energy into the right direction! And instead of finding it overwhelming, I am starting to enjoy the challenge of finding clients and doing it my way!