Office Hours Archive: February 11, 2020

Audio stream


1:00 Full transcript

Since this entire segment was a review and walk-through of Jill’s website and copy, check out her video segment (there are chapter links in the video.) You can also check out the full transcript (linked above).


31:10 Full transcript

Same as Jill–video segment and/or full transcript.


56:46 Full transcript

Same as Jill and Sara.


1:19:45 Full transcript

Becca feels confident that her niche (military wives) can not afford coaching. She knows what they earn (military incomes are standardized and transparent), and she’s just not seeing how anyone will be able to pay it. 

I think this is where many business coaches would say “the money is there, you just have to find it.”

I mean, sure. Maybe. But I think it’s lazy advice. Because guess what–there are markets where people are just unwilling or unable to pay for certain products and services. It’s kind of funny that I even have to defend that point. But we live in a law-of-attraction, manifest-the-magic kind of world. Whatever. 

Here’s why I’m not going to be on Becca’s case about believing her niche isn’t working:

1. She’s made a very consistent effort. She’s done lots of free coaching in her market. She’s hosted more than a few well-attended lunch-n-learns. She’s created content. Has her effort been “massive” and her performance perfect? I have no idea. But I know this: if she were selling weight loss coaching, she’d be making more money right now. Period. 

(I’m not saying she should sell weight loss coaching. Just restating the point that niche matters.)

2. In spite of her consistent effort, she’s not really seeing signs of life. After a great presentation at a lunch n learn, no one is coming up to her and saying “I really need to talk to you about this.” or “Could we set up a time to talk?” or even “I know someone who should talk to you.”

Now, yes, this could be a reflection on the topic of the presentation and/or the delivery. That’s true for all of us. But in my experience, if you’re speaking to a person’s real pain, that person is going to raise their hand and say “I want this.”

3. There’s just no clear before and after in this niche, as far as I can tell. (See below about Mara and Danny.)

4. Enthusiasm matters most. If Becca is struggling to believe in her niche, she’s not going to feel excited about it. And if she’s not excited about it, it’s going to show. So she can either do the working of generating that excitement, or she can put herself in a situation where the excitement comes more easily. 

And, yes, that’s allowed. Sheesh.

if that’s true, she asked me, what about all the content? What about social media? 

I reminded her that there’s such a thing as a niche-less coaching practice. It starts with lots of patience and lots of free coaching, then grows through relationships, referrals, and renewals. Look at that. I just came up with the three Rs of a niche-less coaching business. Trademark, etc. I will sue you. Kidding.


1:36:48 Full transcript

Dara has made the decision to stop doing quilting-for-hire work, which we’ve talked about in the past. She’s ready to focus her energy on growing her audience and selling her one on one coaching. 

The first thing we talked about was how her $197 course would fit into her business. She’s already created the course and paid a decent amount of money to have it hosted on a semi-expensive platform. She’s wondering how much focus to give it going forward, especially as she considers selling her one on one programs at $5,000 to $6,000.

I pointed out the obvious: it takes a lot of $197 transactions to equal even one $6,000 transaction. I understand the allure of selling courses (passive! residual!). I have a $197 course myself. 

But, I told Dara, I’ve never worked for a business that made significant revenue from this kind of offer. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say I’ve never seen a significant percentage of revenue come from that kind of offer. It just takes too many transactions to add up to a meaningful amount of money. So if you’re going to do it, you just have to be prepared to make traffic generation your life. In other words, Facebook ads, SEO, etc. 

But, hey, the course is done, some people are buying it, so it’s paying its own bills. No reason to take it down. 

But you also don’t want to trick yourself into “updating my course,” or “I’m going to add some new content to my course.” Yes, it’s fun, creative, and relatively easy. Unfortunately, you’re polishing a product very few people are ever going to see (unless, as I said, you’re going to get really into traffic generation). 

The other thing Dara and I talked about was her mix of coaching offers. 

She’s doing general life coaching, weight loss coaching, and also coaching around starting a quilting business. She wanted to know what I thought of the diversity of those programs. 

Well, we have good examples (Brooke Castillo and Jody Moore) who’ve also had a mix of promises in their businesses. It’s worked out great for them. 

To me, the key here is making it easy for a prospective client to feel like she’s in the right place, dealing with the right person. If a person who loves quilting and wants to lose weight, she’s going to feel right at home in Dara’s world. If a person who wants to lose weight, but has no interest in quilting, finds lots of quilting-related content and offers on Dara’s site, they might still engage and even buy. But there will be a moment where they pause and say “Weight loss and quilting business on the same site? Am I in the right place?” They may decide, yes, I am in the right place. But that non-quilt-loving prospect won’t feel quite as at home. 
For that reason I’d say Dara would be wise to bring the quilting front and center as part of the identity of her prospect. In other words, Dara coaches quilters in many areas of their lives. And if/when she decides she wants to expand, she’ll probably need to remove quilting from her branding altogether.

In other words: all in on being the coach of quilters or all out on being the coach for quilters. No awkward middle ground.

Mara and Danny

1:53:29 Full transcript

Mara and Danny have spent the last few months figuring out what problem their coaching can solve, i.e., what solution they’re really offering their clients. In the past they’ve helped people feel happy and content without a significant other, but they’ve had an epiphany: the women they’ve worked with in the just want to be married. Period. So, they’re new promise is “we’ll help you get married.”

They asked my opinion on it, and I said I love it. Why? There are certain positioning statements that are instantly resonant because a) they appeal to such a large group of people, and b) they offer such a clear before and after.

“We’ll help you get married” is as clear as “We’ll help you lose weight” and “We’ll help you make money.” Such a clear before and after promise makes it much easier for clients to say yes to coaching.

Yes, this is due in part to the appeal of the after, but it’s also because it’s easier to make a decision when the offer is so clear. 

With other types of coaching, ie “improve your relationship” or “feel better” (both of which are completely fine and can be the foundation of a great business), there’s an extra question before “will this work for me?” That question is “what is this?” Because the post-coaching state is harder to define, the coaching itself is harder to evaluate.  

Not every coaching offer has to be as clear as “we’ll help you get married,” and I don’t mean to give the impression that Danny and Mara will have an easy time. They have to deliver on the promise, after all, or the business won’t thrive beyond the first few clients. But they have done themselves a favor by making clear, bold, compelling promise. And that’s why I love it.

(The other benefit of pursuing this market is that the ideal client like has both the ability and willingness to pay.)