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Archive for July, 2016

Your Niche Is NOT a Person: How to Nail Your Niche So You Can Grow Your Business and Make a Bigger Impact

by: Melinda Cohan, July 29th, 2016

You’ve heard it a million times before: “Choose a Niche.”

It’s common—and solid—advice. I know, it can be so annoying when you hear it. In fact, that advice used to make me want to punch someone in the face! But when I changed my perspective, I began leveraging the power of the niche, and I was able to grow my business and make a bigger impact.

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Why?

Choosing a niche allows you to fine-tune your marketing, to make it laser-focused and effective. It enables you to support your clients on a deeper level.

But …

So many new coaches misinterpret this advice and believe that choosing a niche means they’re confined to supporting a certain type of person; that they’re forever limited in how they can use their coaching gifts. Further, it may seem like choosing a niche forever limits your revenue. (I know, I’ve experienced this mindset, myself.)

As a result, many new coaches decide not to select a niche, believing their passion is bigger than that. (Incidentally, this is a Hobbyist’s mindset, which doesn’t work once you’ve moved up to the next rung of the ladder on the entrepreneurial scale.)

The root of this problem is in how people define “niche.”

So often, coaches mistakenly come up with a client avatar, and call it a niche (for example, if you’re a relationship coach, you may believe your niche is 30-year- old men on the brink of divorce, who earn a certain amount and have 3.2 children).

If that’s not a niche, then what is?

The dictionary defines “niche” as a specialized but profitable corner of the market.

To take it one step further, we consider a niche a set of challenges a common group of people face … and the results they desire.

When it comes to nailing your niche, then, you must identify a specific set of challenges your coaching can overcome, and results it can achieve. Then, you must find the most common collection of people who face these challenges and desire these results.

From this perspective, you can focus on a select group to make your marketing laser-focused, but you can still attract different types of people from many areas.

For example, TCC helps people overcome these challenges: not making money, struggling to get clients, and overwhelm. The results they most want: to get more clients, earn more money, and make a huge impact. When we look at all the people in this niche, we zero in on coaches. Our marketing is geared toward coaches, but we also attract many others in this niche, including nutritionists, personal trainers, consultants, massage therapists and more.

Let’s go back to the relationship coach example.

It’s your passion to support people in relationships. But your niche is not the men, or the women, or the couple. Your niche focuses on the top 3 challenges those men, women, and/or couples face when they’re in relationships … and the top 3 results they desire.

Make sense?

What’s really awesome about defining a niche in this way is that it actually frees you up to work with more types of people.

You’re not tied down to marketing to men, OR women, OR couples. Instead, your marketing focuses on all the people experiencing the top challenges and desiring the top results you previously identified.

In other words, may actually have the chance to work with men and women and couples!

Here’s where it gets even better: when you can clearly articulate your niche according to challenges and desired results, you can create more effective marketing copy for your website, sales pages, program descriptions, email campaigns, and more.

Because you’ve dialed in on those challenges and desired results, you can use the same language your ideal clients use. This conveys the message that you understand what they’re facing and can help them.

Your marketing becomes laser-focused. And when your marketing is laser-focused, it attracts, engages, and converts potential clients.

So, yes – nailing your niche is a must! It’s a key foundation to your marketing success, no matter which marketing strategy you use. (And, as a huge benefit, it will help you avoid failed marketing attempts that cost you time, money, and energy!)

How confident are you that you’re able to deliver what you’ve promised in your marketing … that you’re able to help your clients solve their challenges and achieve the results they desire?

If you want to pinpoint critical issues and identify steps you can take NOW to feel more confident about setting up, marketing, and succeeding with your coaching business, take our free Business Confidence Quiz now.

The quiz delves into the 5 critical keys to a successful coaching business: attract, convert, engage, support, and refer, and when you complete it, you’ll receive personalized tips to help you become super-confident, organized, and professional in your coaching business. It takes just a few minutes, and it’s free. Take the Quiz here, now.

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Hobbyist vs. Business Owner – Understanding the Distinction

by: Melinda Cohan, Jul 25th, 2016

Are you a Hobbyist, or a Business Owner?

Understanding the distinction is a crucial step in your entrepreneurial journey. This single insight can seriously impact the level of success you experience in your business, and with your coaching.

Failing to understand it may cause you to hit the upper limits of your success without your even realizing it … and no matter how great your efforts, you will not see the results you desire.

Over the past two weeks, I published a 2-part series on The Evolutionary Scale of an Entrepreneur, in which I described the following 5 rungs on the ladder:

  1. Technician
  2. Hobbyist
  3. Business Owner
  4. CEO
  5. Shareholder

In case you missed those posts, a Technician is typically someone who secures a job doing something she’s really good at, and that she truly enjoys doing.

Most coaches/entrepreneurs have the courage to move beyond Technician, and become Hobbyists … and that’s where they often get stuck. They fail to move on to the next rung: Business Owner.

Why?

Because while they set goals and intentions as Business Owners, they operate from the mindset and commitment levels of Hobbyists.

Here’s the great news:

When you can bring your mindset and actions into alignment with your goals and intentions, you can finally move from Hobbyist to Business Owner … and reap the rewards, which include increased cash flow, greater fulfillment, and more FUN!

As a quick note, neither Hobbyist nor Business owner is good or bad, right or wrong. They’re just 2 different ways of running a business. The point here is that to achieve the level of success you desire, your mindset must align with your goals and intentions. When you create this alignment, you experience peace, results, and happiness.

Take a look at the following chart, which outlines the distinction between Hobbyist and Business Owner in several key areas of a business.

 

business-vs-hobbylist-Long-version

Thanks to all of the above, Business Owners coach more clients, make more money, and make a far greater difference in the world.

Now, both Hobbyists and Business Owners can be great coaches.

They just have different mindsets, actions and goals for their business.

So let me ask you an important question:

Are you reaching the level of success you desire? Are you making the impact you want to make?

If you are, then exactly where you are is perfect, whether you’re a Hobbyist or a Business Owner.

If you’re not, take a closer look at the distinction between Hobbyist and Business Owner to identify where you are and where you want to be.

Then, place your attention on closing that gap, and as you move up to the next rung of the ladder on the entrepreneurial scale, you’ll start experiencing the level of success you envision for yourself, while having the desired impact you wish to have on this world.

Stay tuned for next week’s article, in which I discuss the truth about defining your niche. Here’s a hint: your niche is not a person! (Gasp! I know – and I can’t wait to share this information with you!)

Why is this an important part of this 5-part series? Well, when you move to the Business Owner rung of the ladder on the entrepreneurial scale, you absolutely must create a clear foundation for your marketing, just as you do in the back end of your business. Nailing your niche is critical, before you can even begin getting “out there” and landing clients.

Meanwhile, if you are ready to be the Business Owner you know you can be, so your business can make its biggest impact, start by pinpointing critical issues and identifying steps you can take NOW to feel more confident about setting up and succeeding with your coaching business! Take our free Business Confidence Quiz now.

The quiz delves into the 5 critical keys to a successful coaching business: attract, convert, engage, support, and refer, and when you complete it, you’ll receive personalized tips to help you become super-confident, organized, and professional in your coaching business. It takes just a few minutes, and it’s free. Take the Quiz here, now.

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The Evolutionary Scale of an Entrepreneur: Where You Really Are, and How to Step Up to the Next Rung on the Ladder! Part 2

by: Melinda Cohan, Jul 20th, 2016

Note: This is the second article in a 5-part series designed to guide you in aligning your business mindset, actions, and goals, and therefore supercharging your productivity and success. If you missed Part 1, you can read it here: Part 1 (part 3, part 4, part 5)

No matter how you envision your “success” you can follow specific steps to climb the ladder rungs of the Evolution of the Entrepreneur.

As promised, this week I’m outlining the 4 rungs of this ladder, and how to move from one to the next, so you can run your business AND live your life with the success and freedom for which you work so hard! (There is a fifth rung, Shareholder, but we’re not covering that, here, since the vast majority of coaches work their way up to the fourth rung, CEO, and stop there – this allows them to still participate in their favorite activities while their team members take care of everything else. On the other hand, a Shareholder usually views their business as an investment, and doesn’t work in it or on it at all.)

For each rung—Technician, Hobbyist, Business Owner, and CEO—I’ll list mindset (outlook), self-identifiers (this is how you’d introduce yourself at a networking meeting), common thoughts, biggest commitments, biggest fears, and driving motivations.

As you read through them, you can begin to identify where you really are in your own evolution. (After all, you have to have absolute clarity as to where you are now, so you can identify your current mindset and actions and ensure they align with the mindset and action of the rung where you want to be.)

Here we go!

TECHNICIAN. The simplest way to define a technician is someone who is getting paid to do the work she loves. In Part 1, I defined a technician as someone who is inherently gifted at something, and who may even consider this a calling. When she is doing “that thing,” she dips into the ‘zone of genius.’

Most technicians stay in a job, working for someone else, getting paid as much as they can for what they do.

Mindset:“Just let me do what I love, what I’m really good at … so I don’t have to worry about anything else.”

Self-identifiers: “I’m a do-er and have extreme focus on the task at hand.” (In this case, that task is coaching.)

Common Thoughts:

  • “I just want to {coach} my clients.” (NOTE: “coach” can be replaced here with whatever service you provide.)
  • “I can’t believe people pay me to do this {coaching}! I love it so much, I’d do it for free!”

Biggest Commitments: Safety and steady cash flow.

Biggest Fear(s): Having to get a job doing work she hates just to make money and take care of responsibilities. At the core, we can further define this as sacrificing happiness to take care of responsibilities.

Driving Motivations and Desire(s):

  • To find a great job making great money doing “that thing,” while creating a decent lifestyle around it (again, safety is at the core).
  • Financial security.

 

HOBBYIST. A hobbyist is often exploring her talents in her off-time, working for fun beyond that 9-5 J-O- B. She almost can’t believe she’s getting paid to have so much fun! That’s pretty much where it stops – FUN!

Mindset: “It’s safe to explore my talents as a {coach} in my off hours, and people payme to do this! They pay ME! I don’t have to work for another company to do this!”

Self-identifiers: “Right now, I’m just dabbling in the world of coaching. I fit this gift or calling of mine into my existing world—which means my real job, my family, and other responsibilities take priority. Still, I love getting paid for doing work I love, and this brings me great joy.”

Common Thoughts:

  • “If I can help someone, great! If not, that’s okay too.”
  • “I have a job that makes me decent money, and I’m stable while I also get to
  • “I love helping people and making an impact.”
  • “I wonder if I could do this full time as my only job and sole source of income?”
  • “I hate marketing and don’t like sales; I just want to coach.” enjoy the fun of doing this work that I love and that lights me up.”

Biggest Commitment: Safety.

Biggest Fears: The hobbyist is afraid she won’t get to pursue her calling and greater purpose because of her job, her family, and other responsibilities – at the core, she is afraid that she has to sacrifice her professional happiness and fulfillment to take care of responsibilities. She loathes marketing and sales, and hates the thought of feeling like a pushy salesman. She’s afraid she’ll run out of time, energy, money, and/or passion before she realizes her dream, or of having to get a “real” job if she fails at her passion. As a result of these fears, she often ends up stuck between being a Technician and fully going for it as a Business Owner.

Driving Motivations/Desires:

  • Actually making money doing the work she loves while making – and witnessing – the difference and impact she has on people’s lives. (At the core: being of service to others.)
  • Financial survival: because it’s “safer” financially, she maintains “real” job so she’s sure to pay the bills, and coaches on the side.

 

BUSINESS OWNER. A business owner does the work of the technician while taking consistent action to overcome the fears of the hobbyist. In other words, she gets to work in her genius zone while finding ways to make great money AND a big impact, doing what she loves.

Mindset: “I’m creating a well-oiled business machine that generates consistent results in terms of clients and cash flow, so I can do the work I love while getting paid for it AND making a big impact.”

Self-identifiers: “I have a nice lifestyle business doing the work I love while making great money and working with amazing clients!”

Common Thoughts:

  • “I feel like I have a ‘real’ business.”
  • “It’ll take too much time to delegate tasks. Besides, I can do it more quickly … I’ll just do it myself.”
  • “If it’s got to be, it’s up to me.”
  • “There’s not enough time in the day to do everything that needs to be done.”
  • “I can’t believe I get paid this much to do work I love doing!”

Biggest Commitments: Steady cashflow and scaling the business.

Biggest Fears: The business owner is afraid that in order to grow her business, she’ll have to work long hours, which will take away from her family and other important things in her life. She fears burnout as a result of doing everything herself, and wonders whether she’ll overcome her fear of marketing and sales. She doesn’t know whether she has what it takes to “do this” consistently, and isn’t sure whether she’ll be able to pay herself what she wants to make.

Driving Motivations/desires:

  • Accomplishing more while doing less.
  • Working smarter, not harder.
  • Creating a “lifestyle” business that keeps her in the lifestyle she’s become accustomed to or desires.
  • Consistent cash flow and financial stability.

 

CEO. The CEO is all about scaling her business so she can work less, earn more, and make a huge impact in the lives of her clients and her team members.

Mindset: “I will inspire my team so it becomes their passion to fulfill my passion.”

Self-identifiers: “As a visionary leader, I’m a source of inspiration.”

Common Thoughts:

  • “What people, resources and technologies do we need in place in order to reach our goals?”
  • “Is this the right direction for the business?”
  • “In what other ways can we scale?”
  • “I can’t believe that other people’s passion is to help me fulfill my vision!”

Biggest Commitment: Creating a well-oiled machine that runs better without her.

Biggest Fears: The CEO worries about whether she and her team members have what it takes to implement the goals she has for her business while providing exquisite support and delivery in effortless, fun ways … or, whether they’ll kill themselves trying to implement everything! She wonders if the decisions she’s made, the risks she’s taking, and the direction she’s going will turn out to be wrong, and cause the business to close down. She worries about being able to pay her team members and herself.

Driving Motivations/Desires:

  • Scalability.
  • Wealth.
  • Creating an inspiring culture that helps people be their best.
  • The tantalizing questions: Can I really do this? Can I create a team that handles everything and that runs better without me?

 

SHAREHOLDER. As we mentioned earlier, a Shareholder usually views her business as an investment, and steps away from the running of it. The vast majority of coaches don’t become Shareholders; they still want to be involved, especially with the activities they enjoy.


Whew!

So … now that you know more about each rung of the ladder of the Evolution of the Entrepreneur, which rung are you actually on?

So often when I talk to start up coaches, their goals are in alignment of that with a Business Owner.

However, their actions and mindset are in alignment with that of a Technician or a Hobbyist. This disconnect keeps them stuck. It’s like a vicious tug of war!

On the one hand, they still desire the financial safety of being a technician where someone else pays them to do a job, or that of a hobbyist where they have the freedom of maintaining a full-time job while enjoying coaching.

On the other hand, at the heart-and- soul level, they know the only work they want to do is that which fulfills their higher purpose.

They have just enough courage to step out of the safety zone to go for it—pursue their calling—because their heart is speaking so loudly. Yet they move forward into business ownership while keeping the mindset of the hobbyist.

Here’s the thing:

As a coach, you simply have to do the work that comes naturally to you—your zone of genius. As a business owner, you have to not only do the work of the technician, but you also have to think about and plan for all those pesky (but necessary!) business details. You have to attract, engage, convert, and serve clients, get paid by them AND get referrals from them.

Being a business owner is no joke! But when you adopt the mindset of a business owner and have that outlook, things become much easier.

Alignment of your mindset, words, actions and goals creates an internal shift, and you become more committed than ever to doing whatever it takes to succeed.

Stay tuned to your inbox for next week’s article, in which I dive deeper into the Hobbyist vs. Business owner discussion, to help you understand the distinction and identify where you are (and, if it’s not where you want to be, how to reach your goals).

Meanwhile, if you want to pinpoint critical issues and identify steps you can take NOW to feel more confident about setting up and succeeding with your coaching business, take our free Business Confidence Quiz now.

The quiz delves into the 5 critical keys to a successful coaching business: attract, convert, engage, support, and refer, and when you complete it, you’ll receive personalized tips to help you become super-confident, organized, and professional in your coaching business. It takes just a few minutes, and it’s free. Take the Quiz here, now.

 

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The Evolutionary Scale of an Entrepreneur: Where You Think You Are Versus Where You Really Are

by: Melinda Cohan, Jul 7th, 2016

Note: This is the first article in a 5-part series designed to guide you in aligning your business mindset, actions, and goals, and therefore supercharging your productivity and success. (episode 2, episode 3, episode 4, episode 5)

Do you remember the first time someone referred to you as an entrepreneur?

I’ll never forget the first time someone called me that. It was like a badge of honor—one I didn’t deserve.

I didn’t consider myself an entrepreneur; I was a coach. I thought: An entrepreneur is someone who takes big risks, does their own thing and is SUPER smart and savvy. I don’t know anything about business! I’m not business savvy. Sure, I’m a good manager and great at the work I do, but to own my own business? No way!

After all, at that point in my life, I had been fired from my job and had decided to turn what was then a fun hobby—coaching—into something that could support me financially.  And that was exactly how I thought of it: coaching was something I was really good at and loved doing; I consider it my higher purpose, even – and I also got paid for it. (Which of course, is just awesome, right?)

The thing is, I was a “technician” (or as some would call it, a “practitioner”), getting paid to do something I was good at – and something I loved.

That’s a FAR cry from being an entrepreneur.

For me, the technician mindset was all well and good, until someone else saw me as an entrepreneur… and that was the spark that allowed me to begin to see myself as one, as well. That’s when things really changed for me. In fact, that’s when I was able to achieve rapid growth and success with my coaching.

What does this mean for you?

If you’re in the “I’m a coach,” mindset, you may set goals and intentions as a business owner, but you still take action as a coach – as a technician.

Therefore, you don’t grow your business as effectively as you could.

If you can get into the business owner mindset, your actions will align with it, and you’ll supercharge your productivity and success.

That said, let’s talk now about the evolution of the entrepreneur.

Imagine, for a moment, a ladder.

The Evolution of the Entrepreneur starts at the Technician Rung.

The next rungs are Hobbyist, Business Owner, CEO, and Shareholder.

I want to ask you to take a moment right now to decide which of those rungs you are currently on, in your business.

Don’t think about your answer too long—just throw it out there.

Now, I’d like to invite you to answer a few questions to help you determine which rung you’re really on. 🙂

Then, in my next article, I’ll outline the specific characteristics of each rung, and how to move from one to the next, so you can run your business AND live your life with the success and freedom for which you work so hard.


 

The Quiz:

  1. When someone asks you “what do you do?” how do you respond?
    1. “I’m a coach”
    2. “I help people” (or some extended variation of this)
    3. “I own my own business where I coach people”
    4. “Through my products and services I help people accomplish XYZ”
    5. “I’m invested in businesses”
  2. When it comes to being an entrepreneur, what are your biggest fears?
    1. “Will I have to get a j-o-b so I can make enough money?”
    2. “Will I hire the right people?”
    3. “Will I be able to scale my business and leverage my full team?”
    4. “Can my team members and Directors really do as well as me, and take care of this business as if it were their own?”
    5. “Will this bring me my expected return on investment?”
  3. When it comes to being an entrepreneur, what are your greatest desires?
    1. getting paid to do something I love
    2. helping clients, making money, and having a big impact
    3. working smarter, not harder
    4. leveraging a team to scale the business so it runs without me
    5. creating consistent passive income
  4. When it comes to marketing, which is the most accurate?
    1. You get furious when someone tells you to pick a niche.
    2. You dabble in different approaches, rather than having a consistent strategy for bringing in a steady stream of clients.
    3. Your marketing is effective and you see a steady stream of clients and cash flow as a result of your efforts.
    4. You have multiple marketing strategies in place, and they’re all generating steady streams of clients.
    5. You’re researching vertical markets you can serve.

 

The Analysis:

If your answers are mostly A’s: you’re operating from the mindset of a Technician.

If your answers are mostly B’s: you’re operating from the mindset of a Hobbyist.

If your answers are mostly C’s: you’re operating from the mindset of a Business Owner.

If your answers are mostly D’s: you’re in the mindset of a CEO.

If your answers are mostly E’s: you’re in the mindset of a Shareholder (if this is you, congratulations!).

Why congratulations?

You’ll have to wait for next week’s article … 😉

Stay tuned to your inbox for Part 2 of this article series, in which I outline the characteristics of each Rung, and provide you with specific steps for moving right on UP the ladder … from Technician to Shareholder.

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