When you start a coaching business, it seems like everyone is always saying to pick a niche.
It's kind of annoying, but there's a reason for it.
Simply put: it makes getting clients much easier.
Because people like to buy specific solutions, not general ones.
For example: let's say you were diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer. Would you rather pay to see a general physician or would you want to see the doctor who is known for focusing specifically on that form of lung cancer?
Hopefully this never happens to you, but you get the point.
The more specific you can be about who you serve and what you help them accomplish, the easier it will be to get clients.
Let's start with the first component of a niche: WHO you serve.
Or, click a link below if you want to skip to a specific section of this guide:
"The more specific you can be about who you help and what you do for them, the easier it will be to get clients."
A Quick And Easy Way To Identify Your Target Market
You've probably already heard that it's important to get clear on who you serve as a coach.
"Market to everyone, reach no one." That sort of thing. You understand it logically.
But there's a problem: you're scared that if you narrow in and focus your marketing on one group of people, you'll never get enough clients. You don't want to pick wrong.
So, what do you do?
Well, if you listen to most marketing experts, they'll tell you to create a "customer avatar."
That's a terrible idea. And I'm going to tell you why.
WHY I HATE CUSTOMER AVATAR EXERCISES
If you've never heard of a customer avatar, it's basically a detailed description of a made-up character. So you think about this fictional person's age, location, gender, problems, etc.
The idea is that once you build your avatar, all of your marketing becomes easier because now you have something to reference.
This makes complete sense in theory.
In practice, it's 100% useless.
Because when most coaches build these avatars, they don't have enough information about their target market.
So they're basically guessing. They spend all this time doing a theoretical exercise and feeling productive. Meanwhile, they haven't interacted with any potential clients the whole time.
And since the whole avatar is based on theory, it still doesn't tell you whether there are enough people like that who will invest in your coaching.
So, what's a coach to do?
HOW TO NARROW YOUR NICHE WITHOUT GUESSING
Here's the approach that has worked best for me and my clients:
Choose someone real to base your marketing off of.
(I know, crazy concept right?)
There are two way you can go about this:
1) If you've already worked with someone who you would consider an ideal client, use them as your avatar. Think back to what made them an ideal client. Then use those attributes to get specific in your marketing.
2) If you haven't worked with someone who you would consider an ideal client, be your own avatar. Think back to a time when you were at your lowest and most ready for change. Then use that version of you to get specific in your marketing.
The reason these two approaches work is because they keep you grounded in reality.
You can figure out where to find more of those types of people. You can figure out what you would need to say in order to make them interested in learning more. And you know that if you're able to attract them, they have a good chance of actually investing.
THE MAIN TAKEAWAY
Don't guess when it comes to target market. Just build on what you know by focusing on the 20% of your current audience or client base that is going to yield 80% of the best case studies, referrals, and revenue for you.
Or, if you're just starting out, focus on serving a former version of you.
Once you've done that, it's time to move on to the second component of a niche: WHAT you help people accomplish.
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21 Proven And Profitable Coaching Niches
The key to nailing your niche is to combine your real-world expertise and experience with your coaching skills.
So, I want you to think about the areas of your life where you've achieved great results yourself.
To get you started, I've compiled a list of 21 proven coaching niches and examples of each. Most of the examples I use are clients or colleagues of mine. A few of them I don't know personally but based on my research they all seem to be successful.
Each of the these niches falls into one of three "channels". I call them channels because these are the three big areas of life that people tend to be receptive to coaching. Even if you can help clients with lots of different things, it's helpful to focus your marketing on just one of these channels as a sort of access point, and then choose a specialty within that channel.
Here are the channels, in no particular order:
- Health and fitness
- Relationships and dating
- Business and career
Let's dive in...
HEALTH AND FITNESS
1. Weight loss. This is one of the most proven and profitable niches out there. For better or worse, our society values appearance very highly. Not being at your ideal weight can create all sorts of confidence -- not to mention health -- problems. If you can help people look good naked, you can make a lot of money as a coach.
Example: Shaughn Koukos*
2. Muscle/strength gain. This is another great niche. Since gaining muscle means gaining weight, it often attracts a different group of people from the weight loss niche. Be aware that whether you help people with weight loss or muscle gain, people are going to be paying attention to how you look and they'll want specific plans to achieve the same thing.
- Example: Christian Thibaudeau
3. Stress/anxiety. As our lives become faster and more complex, many of us are experiencing new levels of stress and anxiety. Not everyone will be receptive to working on their anxiety, but there are certainly people who are aware of the toll it's taking on their health, work, and relationships. Find those people and you have yourself a coaching business.
- Example: Tim JP Collins
4. Wellness/health/natural healing. This can be a tough niche compared to something like weight loss because it's often difficult to sell prevention. The more you can use your health coaching to solve a specific problem for a motivated group of people, the easier it will be to get clients (this is true even if your approach is holistic and helps with lots of things).
- Example: Sara Best
5. Performance in a specific sport. When someone has a specific sport or competition that they want to do well in, they become very motivated to get help from an expert. This is "coaching" in the most traditional sense of the word and it's not going away any time soon.
- Example: Robin Legat*
RELATIONSHIPS AND DATING
6. Dating. As long as there are single people on the planet, there will be people who want to improve their dating lives. My advice? Start by focusing on men OR women at first (not both), since each group may want different things and will definitely require different messaging.
- Example: Evan Marc Katz
7. Relationships/marriage. Just like dating, there will always be people who want to improve their relationship or marriage. The thing to remember here is that most people (especially men) aren't going to look for coaching unless the relationship is in trouble. If you can find and help those people, you're in business.
- Example: Laura Doyle
8. Parenting. One of the biggest challenges people face is being an effective parent. Whether it's dealing with specific disabilities, school, confidence issues, or bad behavior, many people are more than willing to spend money if they believe it create a better future for their kids (and their marriage).
- Example: Matt Hall*
9. Divorce/post-breakup. Bouncing back from a breakup can be hard. Many people lose their sense of self and struggle to create a new life as a single person. If you become the go-to coach for this big life transition, you can create a full roster of very grateful clients.
- Example: Annie Huang*
10. Sexuality/intimacy. Many of the negative emotions that we experience as human beings can be traced back to sex. If you are able to help people experience greater intimacy (even if it's in their non-sexual relationships) then you've found yourself a profitable coaching niche.
- Example: Abby Spindelman*
BUSINESS AND CAREER
11. Investing/retirement. Whether it's through real estate or another form of wealth-management, people want to know how to manage their money. Make sure you are qualified to give financial advice and use client case studies to help build your credibility. Also, keep the focus on what your potential clients want, not on what they know they "should" do.
Example: Doug Andrew
12. Growing a business. General business coaching is certainly a well-established niche at this point. The challenge is that it can be a bit too broad if you don't narrow in on a specific target market or become known for a unique approach. Handle that and you're golden.
13. Money mindset. I'm always a little bit hesitant to recommend coaching niches that are all about mindset. But when we're talking about creating financial abundance, that's a whole different story. There are definitely people who have challenges around money that they are ready to get handled - just make sure you market to the ones who are receptive to a more spiritual or alternative approach.
- Example: Denise Duffield-Thomas
14. Marketing. When businesses fail, it's almost always because they don't have a steady stream of customers or clients. If you have a unique approach to marketing, or if you help a specific type of business, this can be a great niche to get into. I should know!
15. Time management/productivity. This can be a tricky one because most people don't actually care about being more productive. What they care about is what greater productivity will get them (more time with their kids, more money, etc.). So, if you choose this niche, make sure you focus your messaging on the results that you get people and not on the process.
16. Finding your passion/purpose. This was actually my very first niche as a coach, and it can be a good one. What people usually want here is to get paid to do work that they love, so make sure you focus on how their purpose can translate to their career and finances. Make sure you aren't attracting people who have inertia and are using their lack of clarity as an excuse not to take action.
- Example: Jacob Sokol
17. Career transition/starting a business. I've grouped these two niches together but you can certainly choose to focus on just one. There are also plenty of sub-niches here depending on what industries you want to help people in. The bottom line is that people often get restless or frustrated with their current work and they may want some support in making the leap to something new.
- Example: Liz Traines*
18. Transformation/creativity. This niche can be a tough one since it's so much broader than the others. In order to succeed as a transformational coach, you'll need to develop an audience that really resonates with your view of the world. You'll also need to show how the broad self-development principles you share relate back to success in specific domains of life.
19. Leadership. There can be a few different elements to leadership coaching. Sometimes it's about helping the leader get more out of their team. Other times it's about helping the person develop personally. Either way, the executive coaching niche is one of the most well-established niches you can enter into.
20. Peak performance. Some people, especially those in athletics and financial services, are willing to pay good money to perform at their best each day. Find 'em and coach 'em.
- Example: Todd Herman
21. Sales. Whether it's business owners or sales managers, there will always be people who want help closing more deals. If you want to help people specifically with sales, make sure you choose clients who don't have a marketing problem. Otherwise you may not have enough leads to work with.
- Example: Kendrick Shope
*A star means that this person has been a client of mine so I know for a fact that they have made money in their niche.
THERE YOU HAVE IT
So, those are 21 coaching niches for you to consider.
I know it can be tempting to start off broad in your coaching business, but I'm going to encourage you to focus on just one or two of these areas to start. You can always expand out to other niches once you have traction.
If you're having trouble deciding what to help people with, think about the areas where you're most passionate.
And if you're not sure what you're passionate about, keep reading...
"If you're having trouble deciding what to help people with, think about the areas where you're most passionate."
Stop Saying You Don't Know What You're Passionate About
I get so many emails from people who want to know what they should do with their lives.
I never know how to respond. I don't know what you should do with your life. I'm not you.
The good news is that you probably already know what you're passionate about. You're just too scared to admit it. The emotional stakes are higher for things we care about.
Most of us have been trained by society to ignore our own truth. Eventually, we start losing our ability to see it at all. Our "truth muscles" atrophy.
In this video, I lay out the three steps you must take in order to retrain that muscle so you can finally identify and follow through on your passions:
Stop waiting for someone to tell you what your passion is or what your niche should be. You know the truth. And you'll be the one who misses out if you don't act on it.
You may think you need certainty before doing something courageous. But it doesn't work that way. Every coach I know who is making a living doing work they love had to take the initial plunge before they got any real clarity.
So let's start somewhere and see if we can get traction...
"The good news is that you probably already know what you're passionate about. You're just too scared to admit it."
How To Find Your Niche In Two Simple Questions
The biggest mistake I see people make when they are trying to get clear about their niche is that they make it about themselves.
Your sweet spot is about the people you serve and what they want from you.
Question 1 (the WHO question): Who do you want to be a hero to?
Question 2 (the WHAT question): If you could wave your magic wand and give everyone you work with one result that would have them not only live more fully but also die more peacefully – what would it be? (credit: Tad Hargrave)
Once you answer those two questions, it's time to put the answers together.
Nail your niche in just 5 days with this free challenge:
Putting It Together: How To Explain What You Do
The most basic formula for describing what you do is "I help [target market] accomplish [specific result]."
As in: I help coaches fill their client roster. I call this a Curiosity Hook because it has people engage with you if they're interested.
The ultimate test of how well you explain what you do is whether or not you are referable.
If people can listen to you and think of someone specific who might benefit from your coaching, that's a good sign.
When someone asks "what do you do" what they really mean is "what can you do for me or someone that I know?" So when you just use a label like "life coach", they don't have enough information to answer the question of whether you can help them or people they know (i.e. you're not referable).
Go ahead and write down 3-5 potential Curiosity Hooks. Then choose the one that you feel most confident saying. And you're done!
"The ultimate test of how well you explain what you do is whether or not you are referable. If people can listen to you and think of someone specific who might benefit from your coaching, that's a good sign."
Still Not Sure About Your Niche?
I get it.
For the first few years of my coaching business, I used to drive myself absolutely nuts trying to figure out my niche.
No matter how long I spent thinking about it, no matter how much time I spent in Evernote, I never quite felt like it was "there." And that lack of confidence leaked out into every part of my business.
I had no idea where to find people who wanted my coaching.
I had no idea how to invite them to a free consult.
And when I did have a free consult, it always seemed like they wanted to "think about it" and I'd lose the sale.
The year I finally nailed my niche was the same year I broke 6 figures in my business. This validated what I had suspected all along: that my niche had been the missing puzzle piece to more clients and money in my business.
I don't want you to miss out on clients like I did. That's why I've put together a free 5-day challenge to help you nail your niche once and for all.
If that sounds like what you need, click the button below and sign up.
Thank you for the important work you do in the world,