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Choose the Perfect Health Coaching Niche in 5 Steps

May 9, 2018

I’m Kim.
I’m an M.D.-turned-coach and I’m dedicated to helping you build your dream career + lifestyle. Welcome to my blog, where I write (and podcast) about wellness, business + success!
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Are you a health coach struggling to decide which niche to build your business around? You know you need a specific niche for success, but you don’t know how to choose.

No worries — I’m here to help!

Before we get started, I have a free workbook that you can download (17 pages of prompts and exercises to help walk you through this process!). Just click on the thumbnail below to grab it:

Okay, got it? Good. Now keep reading. Because in the article below, I’m going to outline my 5-step process to choosing the perfect wellness niche for your health coaching business. (You could also watch my YouTube video on this topic, embedded below!)

The concept of choosing a specific niche is something that makes a lot of health coaches break out in a sweat. Which niche is the right one? Will it be too limiting? Will you get sick of it? Is there any demand for the niches you might consider specializing in? How do you know what to do?

Here are my 5 STEPS to choosing the perfect health coaching niche for your business.

Step #1: Start brainstorming about your “WHY”

By this, I mean WHY you want to be a health coach. Why you are drawn to this business, this life…and what your purpose is here, how you want to help people.

At this stage we’re just brainstorming. So make yourself a cup of tea, pull out your journal and sit down for a stretch of time to free-form write about what you love about the wellness field. Who are the type of people you love to work with? What topics do you love to talk about? What experiences and training do you already possess?

What inspired you to start this business? What do you believe in? Who do you admire professionally and why? What sort of things do you do in your free time? What would you be doing if money were no object?

I also want you to consider what you WANT out of your business–what’s your hope? How do you want your business to look? Do you want to coach 1-to-1, or do online courses? Build a large company with a big team under you, or stay scrappy and flexible so you can travel the world? What’s your vision?

Step #2: Now go deeper.

After your initial brainstorming, I want you to go deeper into your own story.

In your journal, I want you to dig a bit deeper and think about what, specifically, brought you to the wellness field? What struggles have you dealt with? Have you had a journey to healing? What have you overcome? What are the most authentic health issues for you, personally?

And I also want you to consider your strengths: What are you good at? What comes naturally for you? What skills and gifts do you possess? What gives you the most satisfaction at your current job? What do people thank you for doing? What do people always seem to ask you for help with–and that you enjoy doing?

But when I say deeper, I also want you to dig deeper into WHO you want to serve:

  • Who is your ideal client?
  • What problems do they have, that they need solved?
  • What are they struggling with?
  • What are their dream outcomes or solutions to their problems? What do they believe in? What are their values? Their worldview?

Step # 3: Analyze

After all that journaling and brainstorming and reflection…I want you to get up, go outside and go for a walk, or a run. A little fresh air, and some time in nature (if you’re like me, it’s a run by the ocean). And when you come back, it’s time to look back over all your pages. What stands out? Are there recurring themes? Generate a shortlist of potential niches. Start to analyze how you feel about each of them. At this point you may want to get specific about your analysis by writing out a list of pros and cons. Explore your thoughts about each of your top options.

Make a short list of your best options, and try them on in your mind. Which one aligns best with your vision for your future? Which one makes you feel excited?

Consider each idea: are you willing to do what it takes to be one of the top in that particular field? Do you have the experience or skills to function within this niche–or the willingness to do whatever it takes to acquire those? Is there a clearly defined, easy to reach market of people ALREADY SPENDING MONEY on this kind of product or service?

It’s important, with whatever niche you choose, that there is a ready market to serve, people who will be highly motivated to buy your services.

Now, you may not know, just yet, if there’s a market, and we’ll be talking about this more in the steps to come, but I want you to start considering your niche from this perspective, because it may make a difference in choosing between two or more options. If all other things are equal, but you suspect that one niche has a more eager market, or one that is easier to reach than others….that may be the way to go.

Step # 4: Synthesize & formulate your niche

Hopefully, at this point, one particular niche has risen to the top. If it feels right, get clear and specific on this niche. At this point, you’ll want to formulate a short sentence or mission statement for your business, your services, or your offer. To nail down the specifics of your with this statement:

I am a health coach who helps [ideal clients—be as specific as possible] who are struggling with [specific issue] to [the service you provide] so they can [the benefit to your clients].

Here’s an example: I am a health coach who helps new mothers who are struggling with emotional eating to create healthy eating habits and patterns so they can get back to their pre-baby weight and feel great.

Or take another example: I am a health coach who helps female university students who are struggling with chronic digestive complaints to clean up their diet and cultivate healthy habits so they can feel comfortable in their day-to-day and get on with life.

Step # 5: Test it out

This testing and evaluation phase has a few steps to it.

First, to get started, you’re going to test it out informally, and with people close to you: talk to a confidante, try out your new mission statement, and see how it lands. Does it feel authentic for you? Does it feel good? What kind of feedback did you get? When you’re talking about it, do you get excited about future prospects? If yes—you’re on the right track.

But once you’ve got some informal feedback from people close to you, and from within yourself, you need to test out your niche in a more rigorous way and do some more detailed market research. Do not skip this step. After all, if you’re pursuing a particular niche, you’re going to be investing a lot of time, energy, and possibly money into it…so you really want to do your due diligence, as much as possible, to make sure it’s going to fly.

So here’s what you need to do:

Survey your potential clients:

With this, your goal is to talk to as many people as you can who fit your target market. Do whatever it takes to access these people. In my experience, Facebook groups are amazing for this kind of research, but there are other avenues. Perhaps you know a number of people in real life who would fit your ideal client profile, or maybe there are acquaintances and people who you could be referred to by a mutual friend…or maybe you need to physically GO to places where you’re likely to encounter your ideal client–like your yoga studio, for example–and just start making conversations with people.

At this point, you’re just exploring and gathering information. You’re not pitching yourself, you’re just looking for information.

Ask people things like: What are your main struggles? What are your frustrations? What would get better in your life if this problem were solved? What does this struggle cost you in terms of lost money, time, or quality of life? What’s your dream solution? Have you ever paid for a service to help you with this? Would you consider paying for something that would help?

Then, once you’ve got loads of data from several people, you want to survey some industry experts.

Talk to industry experts:

I want you to make connections with at least a handful of professionals who are working in this industry–ideally in this niche, but it can be a closely related niche if not your exact one. Have conversations with them, an actual phone chat or in-person, or email conversation–whatever works. These are people who are successful in this field. Gathering this info can save you enormous amounts of effort, possibly years of struggling with common, novice errors. Again, Facebook groups (like Health Coach Squad) can be great places to find peers and experts–many are at the same stage as you, but you’re looking to find people who are at least a few years further down the path than you.

Questions to ask them:

  • How did you find your first clients?
  • What were your first 1-2 years in business like?
  • What were the biggest mistakes you made–or that you’ve seen novices make–when getting into health coaching?
  • What was the biggest waste of time?
  • In your opinion, what skills are crucial for success in this business?
  • What advice would you give yourself if you could go back to those first few years as a health coach?

As you do this final step, testing and surveying and gathering real-world information…you may discover that you don’t have this quite right. You are getting a lot of signals back that your niche isn’t landing quite right.

But that’s okay! It’s better to know that NOW, than a year or two down the road, when you’re frustrated and fed up…and broke. Head back to the drawing board and repeat the steps as often as you need to.

I strongly recommend that you do not move forward until you’ve made a decision, and chosen a clear direction.

Let’s Recap!

The five steps to choosing the perfect wellness niche for you, are:

  1. Brainstorm on big picture themes, your why, etc.
  2. Go deeper and really take a deep look at your own story, your own journey, and who you really want to serve.
  3. Analyze everything and generate a short list of possible niches.
  4. Run your ideas through a short list of questions to select your best one, and formulate it into a mission statement.
  5. Test your idea through potential client surveys & expert interviews

Okay, that’s a lot of stuff. There were a lot of questions in there, and your head may feel like it’s going to explode.

Which is why I invite you to check out my guide & workbook, specifically designed help coaches select the right wellness niche for their businesses. (I’ve updated and improved my previous worksheets, and fleshed them out with a lot of new questions and prompts — 17 full pages’ worth — like the ones I’ve talked about here). Go ahead and click the thumbnail below to grab your copy:

Thanks for reading!

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