When I talk to coaches about who their ideal customer is (or ICA if you’re a bschooler :)) , I often get the same answer:
“Me- a few years ago right as I was starting this whole wellness/personal development journey.”
While this answer SEEMS perfectly logical, I think can be seriously problematic in unexpected ways.
So before you go building you website, writing your copy and putting out a marketing campaign based around this person, let me explain what I’ve learned.
I was in the same boat as you. I had this huge passion for health and wellness born out of a years’ long journey to heal myself from the inside out. I seriously showed up and did the work for 5+ years and am happy to say in a lot of ways, I have grown and made some pretty great strides in getting my life (and health) to a better place.
I decided that I REALLY wanted to help others get their stuff together too- and felt pulled towards beginning a coach. A life coach with some health thrown in for good measure. (Side note-Later I realized biz coaching is more my thing but that’s a story for another day)
So I began meeting with clients and I thought hey- I will teach what I know. I will work with women who struggle with anxiety, I can teach them to meditate, be mindful, move forward to a life that feels really good. I began to draw in people who had those same struggles as me when I started, or even me a couple years into the journey.
But here’s the problem: if they are truly that early on in their journey…
They will struggle to get their coaching homework done.
They will be challenging to listen to because well- things aren’t going so well in their life. Every week, they are struggling with a lot.
And when you sit down to yet another session with someone who’s almost always going through a really hard time, you will likely feel yourself sympathizing with them. Which is only natural- you really care about them. But it brings down your mood.
And in time- you will start to feel quite tired and drained by all these struggles. And that is just NOT sustainable if you are hoping to build a business that is fueled by passion.
You have to fill your own cup in order to help others.
The other big issue is that they are probably going to have a hard time scraping together the money and FEELINGS OF WORTH to be able to PAY you.
So what’s the alternative?
Have you ever tried working with clients who are in a pretty similar place to where you are?
I had a hard time with this idea because frankly- these people seem to be doing pretty well. They are smart, they are moving towards their goals- they’ve got it together. Why the heck would they need MY help?
But that’s the thing- we still want (and need) to keep growing, even once we’ve made progress. Just look at you- are you done yet? Do you still want more? I thought so.
It’s okay to work with people who are only half a step behind you. I would even argue that it’s okay to work with people who are on the same darn page. (Gasp!)
It’s ok to work with people who have a ton in common with. In fact, it’s actually REALLY FUN.
Because even those people need a coach who can listen, help them sort through their thoughts and experiences, and can come up with a plan to help them take smart, consistent action.
And it really helps YOU as a coach to work with people who inspire you. Energize you. Challenge you to show up even more in your own life (and business.)
Exchanges with these clients can fuel your passion and creativity like you wouldn’t believe.
I’ve seen it in my own work and also in my clients’. At first, they are sure it’s also about “me 5 years ago.” But when they stop and really think about how it feels to work with someone like them? Light bulb moment.
Intrigued? Try this for homework:
- Gather a group of beta testers and do some free/discounted coaching sessions with people who are in a similar place to you. OR use your email list to offer a new coaching package geared towards these types of people. The copy-writing should be easier because these people think like YOU. You already have the inside scoop 😉
- Coach at least 5 people who fit this type. Do some journaling or chat with a coach/friend about how it feels to work with them. What are you liking? What are you not liking? How do their sessions feel compared with the ones you were doing before?
And finally, All those lovely folks who are a little early on in their journey, the ones who aren’t quite ready to be your DREAM 1:1 clients? They are probably going to love your blog, newsletter, and social media posts. You can inspire them and help them grow and maybe one day, they WILL BE ready to work with you. To show up and make some big changes. But regardless, you can help them through your free content. So keep creating and know there are people out there who need to hear what you have to say.
Tell me in the comments: have you ever worked with clients like you? How did it go?
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