It’s not bad logic. In many ways, business is a numbers game, and the more new folks you find through your marketing, the better chance you have of growing your business.
But this logic only works if your marketing strategy works.
And if you don’t have enough clients, there’s a good chance your marketing strategy isn’t working.
Now this part might sound crazy, but most marketing problems are actually unrelated to the marketing strategy itself.
The problems begin way deeper, literally underground.
The problems are in the root system of your business.
Imagine a tree with no roots. No, really, imagine it.
Doesn’t work so well, right? Yeah, it’s kinda wobbly. Wouldn’t do so great in a storm.
Just like a tree, your business needs ROOTS.
I like to say, if you don’t root, you can’t fruit.
The roots of your business provide the foundational structures needed to market and sell strategically, clearly, authentically and effectively.
So you can get more clients. And make more money. And enjoy your business and your life more.
So what are these 4 things, that when absent, make it reallllllly difficult to grow your business?
1. Your niche
Let’s talk definitions first, since there are many: The ecological definition of niche is:
“the role and position of a species in its environment”
In business terms, that’s
- WHO specifically you work with,
- WHAT problem you help them solve,
- and a little bit of HOW you do it thrown in.
Your niche is like the life purpose of your business. It’s the first and most essential foundation that provides CLARITY to your potential clients and creates a boundary for you in terms of what you do and do not do in your business (which is essential for not getting spread too thin and burning out).
Knowing the purpose of your business lets you speak confidently about what you do (instead of feeling awkward at networking events!), focus your energy on working with people you actually love instead of trying to serve everyone (which is exhausting), and get more referrals (because people actually know who to send to you!). This one alone can bring you more clients ASAP.
But there’s a problem with the way niching is often taught, which is that you just “choose it” and go forth.
In reality, your niche evolves over time.
In the early stages, it may be less clear, but as you work with more and more people, you will learn more about your natural niche… Just be patient with it, experiment, put things out there, get feedback, self-reflect, adapt and so on around the cycle.
Most people don’t know right away what their niche is. One pitfall is actually trying to choose a niche before it’s ripe and spending a whole bunch of money on a fancy website and then changing your mind.
But the bigger pitfall is avoiding niching altogether, by being vague or general in your marketing copy and serving anyone who will take you. If you can’t settle on a very specific niche at first, just whittle it down as much as possible and keep moving forward.
If you’ve been in business for a while, and you’d like to start a group program or up-level your business and make more money, further refining your niche will most likely be necessary. To attract larger crowds (especially on the internet), you will need to specialize even further so that you have an ultra clear focus and result for your offering.
2. Your Message
Once a potential client has established – through the clarity of your niche – that you could be a good person to help them, your message is what really draws them in and has them saying, “I have to work with HER.”
Because, spoiler alert, there are a lot of coaches and healers and consultants out there.
You have to share a compelling message (also called your Point of View) to cut through the din and truly reach people with something they care about.
So as scary as it may sometimes feel to speak your mind, your ideal clients will find RESONANCE with your unique way of seeing the world, with your analysis of what’s wrong in your industry, and your wisdom on how to right it.
And, a powerful message actually polarizes people, so along with that resonance, it may create some dissonance. Yep, you might piss some people off (but they weren’t your clients anyway).
But if you remain invisible and don’t actually say what you truly think and feel, then no one is going to be attracted to you.
And the best part about having a clear message is that you now have the theme and direction for all your blogs, interviews, your About page, and everything else you put out there. Your message should saturate all of your content.
3. Your Framework
It’s one thing to say: I’m gonna get you there. It’s a whole other thing to show them the pathway to their goal.
When you can define how you help people get the results they want, it provides you with CREDIBILITY, and it instills confidence in them AND you (which leads to easier free consultation calls and more clients).
So when I say framework (also called a methodology, process or signature system), that’s what I’m talking about. And you have a framework in you too, it just needs to be drawn out.
Think now about your client work… what do you do first with a client? Then what needs to happen? What are all the steps taken to get them toward the desired result? This is your framework.
The idea is to pull the steps together into a system or set of principles that is uniquely yours and serves as a guide for you and your clients, but is also flexible enough to meet differing needs.
Now similarly to your niche, the framework also establishes over time. Do NOT expect to have a detailed framework when you’ve just learned your modality and started your business. You can design something simple, do it with a few folks and refine it. The more times you do it (with people in the same target audience), the clearer the framework becomes.
If you’ve been doing your work a long time, you probably already have a framework, though you may never have actually mapped it out. You have the opportunity to weave your gifts, wisdom, experience and modalities into a powerful, holistic and transformative process.
Either way it’s time. It adds so much value to your work for folks to be able to SEE the pathway you are guiding them on, and it’s necessary when you’re taking individuals or a group on a longer journey toward their goal.
Plus, your framework is like the curriculum for your school. It’s the basis of all your programs and offers.
4. Your Offer
Last but not least, you need to take your framework and turn it into an offering that gets real results for your clients.
This root is all about TRANSFORMATION: the changes you help people make in their lives through the offering you sell.
And to be clear, you DO need something amazing to sell. And ideally, it’s not one-off sessions or hourly work, which force you to be in constant marketing mode, always needing to fill spots, and working all the time. Plus there’s a ceiling to how much money you can earn when you work hourly, because you cannot endlessly raise your hourly rate (though I’m sure some of you could afford to raise it a bit!).
Instead, the idea is to package up your framework into a journey toward a specific result that your target audience truly needs. And the value of this offering is based on the results or transformation you help people attain, not on the amount of hours or sessions you spend with someone.
Contrary to popular online business coaching belief, developing programs of this kind is NOT simply a way to earn more money, though you will.
I’m guessing you know that it’s actually much more effective and impactful to work with people over the long term. I mean think about what you can do in one session with a client, versus over the course of a few months.
When you develop a program based on your framework, your clients get better results, you make more money, AND you enjoy yourself more, because you’re operating from your gifts and strengths.
Plus, programs prevent you from getting burnt out, because you’re not scrambling all the time to fill sessions and prove your worth every time you work with someone. That’s a high-pressure situation we want to avoid.
Now I’ll be honest, it takes more skill to sell a program than to sell one session (which most people just book from your website after a referral).
You have to learn how to build and communicate the value and powerful benefits of your work. And you need to learn how to have low-pressure, yet effective free consultations. All this together will encourage (the right) people to sign up to work with you without ever feeling pushed or manipulated (because they totally get the value of it).
You Can’t Fruit if You Don’t Root
So how are you doing on these four roots?
Whether you’re new to entrepreneurship, or you’ve been around the block a few times, these roots remain essential to your ease and success as an entrepreneur.
Literally any marketing strategy can work if you’ve got deep, clear roots. But no marketing strategy will work if you don’t.
That’s why it doesn’t make sense to waste time on marketing strategies when this stuff isn’t clear, and could very well be the reason your marketing is not getting you new clients.
But when you’re clear on all this stuff, it is SO much easier to talk to people confidently about what you do, to know exactly what to write on your website, to market effectively, to do those free consultation calls, and to get more clients and make more money in a way that feels authentic and totally un-slimy.
And, finally… these roots are not something you do once and never return to… it’s a constant honing process as you and your business evolve over time.
Want to deepen the roots of your business with my support? I have spots open in the Roots Coaching Circle for early stage and “re-inventing” (Covid or otherwise) entrepreneurs. This program just got way better as now there is a team of branding and messaging experts facilitating monthly calls. Learn all about it and sign up here.