I know “they” all say you do. It’s logical, there’s a lot of “conventional marketing wisdom” behind it, and frankly in the stew of confusion and self-doubt that characterizes the “WTF Phase” of business-building, it can be really comforting to have something that feels so solid.
“I work with executive men between the ages of 30 and 45 who have C-suite jobs, drive BMWs, wear Calvin Klein underwear, refuse to drink Starbucks, and listen to U2 when someone’s in the car and Jay-Z when they’re driving alone.”
Sure, that’s pretty specific. And there’s a lot of power in specificity.
But have you noticed that most of you don’t have anywhere near this amount of specificity about YOU?
I know a lot of practitioners that have this kind of “client image” that’s so specific (even if it’s also fictional) that you feel like you could watch an entire movie about this character. But when it comes to themselves, it’s a gray, fuzzy blob. So they just try to fit the fuzzy blob into this very, very detailed and specific box marked “client image”.
They have no idea who they are, or what they actually do, or why they’re drawing the people they’re drawing into their practice.
So all their ideas about their clients, and their business itself, is from the outside in.
This isn’t sustainable. I’ve seen a lot of people start businesses using this model, and sometimes they’re even quite successful quite quickly, from a money-and-image standpoint. But they always – always – end up hitting the wall within the first couple of years and needing to radically remodel their whole working world.
When you instead look for that kind of specificity for YOURSELF, and especially when you look for the kind of specificity that goes much deeper than what kind of underwear you wear, then you are creating a foundation.
You identify what actually fuels you. What you look like when you are at your biggest, brightest and best. What it is you really do. (Hint – it isn’t coaching. Or art. Or massage. Or VA work.Or web design.)
When you know your foundation, and you align everything you do with that foundation, there’s an electrical, compelling, overwhelmingly clear energy you start to generate that draws people who want THAT.
THOSE are the people you want to work with, because those are the people who want precisely and fully what you have to give, and are ready to receive it.
But they might not all drive the same car. (Some of them might not drive at all!) They probably don’t wear the same underwear. They probably have a very wide range of drinking habits, job titles, secret dreams, and personal quirks.
Even when your people do have a set of similar details, like age or health or life stage or parenting status or career type, there is something underneath these external qualities that brings those specific people (or will bring those specific people) to YOU.
And if you don’t know who YOU are, with great specificity, you won’t understand why.
And this is crucial for building the kind of long-term, sustainable business you want.
Your business is at its most alive, most vibrant, most effective and engaged, when it looks like YOU.
No niche, my dears. Please don’t believe you have to put all your effort, imagination, and creativity into the “client box” and then stuff your fuzzy, indeterminate self into it. (I also guarantee that you are excluding clients that could be really wonderful but don’t match that box either.)
Put that effort into discovering yourself. Let your imagination introduce you to YOU. Build that vibrant, detailed, diverse, specific picture of YOU and then let an organic understanding emerge of who wants all that gorgeousness! Maybe they will look more similar to each other in obvious ways, and maybe they won’t.
But they will have one thing in common – the only thing that matters.
THEY want YOU.