Excerpt from Rhonda Hess Interview
Niche Markets, Tribes, and How to Triple Your Income.
Bart: Good evening everyone, this is Bart Baggett, and you have found 100 Coaching Tips.
We’re going to talk to Rhonda Hess, and she’s really an internationally-recognized
business coach and founder of the Prosperous Coach. And I have to tell you, I had a little
-meeting with her and she is literally a genius with helping professional coaches really become a go-to resource.
I mean, for highly profitable niche markets.
And that’s what we’re going to talk about tonight,
is we’re going to talk about niche markets,
how you find your niche market and specifically
how that translates to more dollars for you and more free time.
So when people wake up in the morning, they’re thinking about an outcome.
You know? “Gosh, I really, want to go to Hawaii.” “Oh, you know what?
I really have to drop 30 pounds.” “You know, I really want to figure out my niche.”
Bart: “I really want to lose weight for summer.”
Rhonda Hess: Right.
Bart: A very specific outcome which then would lead them to, you know, a health coach or a wellness or a travel.
And it’s interesting—let me transition—you now, after 10 years of being a coach, or 15 years, you actually have become sort of a specialist for coaches.
Rhonda Hess: Yeah.
Bart: And that’s interesting because now coaches is one of your niches, which is why I’m so happy to have you on this call, because it’s also one of our niches. I mean, we serve coaches, we try and find the best and the brightest coaches. Some have things to sell, some have nothing to sell. We kind of mine those little secret people.
You have become sort of a coaching niche success strategist. How did that come about?
Rhonda Hess: Well, I’m really stubborn. I will admit to this. I’m one of those people who never gives up on my dreams. You know, once I get it in my head what I want, nothing is going to stop me, that’s the way that I am.
But I will also be okay with failing my way to success because I know that that’s the way that all of the famous people we know who are wildly successful have done it, they have failed their way to success.
So when I fail, what I do is I think, “Okay, how can I figure this out? How can I create a system that will, you know, help other people who are going through this, shorten that learning curve?” Because that’s what I really love to do. I’m really good at breaking down the steps, making it really transparent and simple, and, you know, helping people move forward in that kind of, with that kind of pathway and blueprint, you know?
And so I’ve helped hundreds of coaches now make the shift to, away from a struggling kind of a topical niche where they’re just trying to figure out how they’re going to get the next client and it’s agonizing for them, to choosing a niche market to serve, a group of people to serve that will—we’ll talk about, you know, what the characteristics of that are in just a second. But that’s how you have a highly profitable niche, is you change your mind first, away from thinking, “It’s all about me and what I want to coach about,” to thinking about, “It’s all about the people I serve and what they really want.”
Does that makes sense?
Bart: And you mentioned the word tribe, which I think is a wonderful term in the 21st century, because you can even see them on Facebook, you can see them self, basically they identify themselves within groups, and hopefully you’re one of those people—or at least you understand how to coach those people.
And I was chatting with one of our previous guests and he says, “You know, we’ve got 30-year-olds coaching 59-year-old CEO’s of companies because they’re so skilled at coaching and so strategic, that relationship is just like the trainer at the gym.” So you don’t necessarily have to be part of that group, but you have to at least really understand and respect and sort of run in that tribe, so to speak, would you agree?
Rhonda Hess: I do agree. You know, I think a big misunderstanding for a lot of coaches is they think that they have to have expertise in order to coach about anything more specific or more supportive toward a particular target market, than one of those big tracks that I was mentioning, you know, like spiritual coaching, relationship coaching, career coaching. Those are big tracks. Those are tracks, not tribes. Those are tracks. They’re not really niches. They’re grand, they’re big niches.
Bart: Yeah. I was reading one of your books today and although one of them is in the free gift basket, so if you haven’t been to the area of 100 Coaching Tips and looked at the gift basket, one of Rhonda’s PDF’s is in there, and it’s really, really valuable. So I’m not sure which book this was in, but you mentioned a woman that was very good, and she said that she had success coaching a financial planner in life coaching. Do you recall this story?
Rhonda Hess: Yes.
Bart: And explain that, because I thought that was so good because she wasn’t a financial planner, yet she became, I guess, wildly successful as the financial planning coach. Elaborate on that so I don’t miss any of the details, because that was a great kind of case study for what we’re talking about.
Rhonda Hess: Great. Yeah, I love sharing Kristen’s story because I think it’s such a great example of how you can go from a topical niche, or what I call a fill-in-the-blank coaching niche, you know, wellness coaching, for example, to targeting a market.
So what happened was, Kristen came to me three years into her business and she just, you know, she was really in kind of a dire situation. You know, she had quit her job, she had all this expertise in worksite wellness and she really thought that it was going to be easy for her to move right from that corporate world, where she was doing worksite wellness, into serving people who wanted wellness coaching.
And you know, she came to me and was not really able to pay her bills with the money that she was making and she was really, really frustrated and, you know, worried about having to go to her parents for a loan and things like that.
Rhonda Hess: And I said, “You know, I think that the problem is, is that there’s a disconnect. You know, wellness coaches are not a top of mind resource for people who want to heal or get well or lose weight. They’ll think of 10,000 other things before they’ll think of a wellness coach. So, you know, unless you have a really high profile and are out there in a really big way, I think you’re going to struggle selling wellness coaching.” And so I encouraged her to think about her favorite clients.
Well, it’s really interesting because she happened to have two clients who had stayed with her for quite a long time who were her favorite clients and she hadn’t realized this before, but they were both financial planners. And she realized, you know, she kind of slapped her forehead and said, “Oh, my gosh, I’m coaching financial planners.” And we laughed at it, you know, because if I had suggested to her, “Hey, you know, why don’t you coach financial planners?” She would’ve just said, “Well, I don’t know anything about that and I couldn’t help them be better financial planners and I don’t know anything about, you know, managing money.” But she realized, she’d already been coaching these people. And not only that, they were her favorite clients, because she found out that financial planners are really coach-like actually in their approach to serving clients, they really, really want to help their clients have great lives. It’s not just all about money and shuffling money around, you know. They’re really involved in their client’s lives. So she targeted financial planners.
And so here’s what happened to Kristen. Her income went up 700% as soon as she did this.
Rhonda Hess: And, you know, I will credit, you know, Kristen with so much of this because she didn’t just decide and then sit there, okay? She didn’t just decide that she was going to financial planners and sit and wait for them to contact her or change her website and hope that somebody was going to find her that way. She went out and she met, you know, she went to events where financial planners gather. She contacted the big associations for financial planners and shared with them that she had some presentations she could deliver for them. She made sure that she got her articles in all of the big resources for financial planners.
And this is again, you know, one of the reasons why it’s so great to target a niche market, a group that already gathers, is because she sort of has these captive people, you know, this captive audience. Very, very quickly she became very well known in Colorado by the top financial planners here.
And so she started getting invited to go out with these financial planners when they would have business meetings, she would be an advisor. Now, she wasn’t an advisor about wellness, she wasn’t an advisor about financial planning. She was an advisor more as a coach would be an advisor, you know, to ask the right questions, to help facilitate the meetings, to, you know, take into account the values and the, you know, the places people really want to go with what they’re doing.
She found out that financial planners really want to get their big ideas out. You know, they’re kind of tired of being thought of as a commodity. They wanted to, some of them, write books. Some of them wanted to, you know, create some sort of a program or a product that they could sell that would give them some reoccurring revenue.
And she wasn’t an expert in any of these things, okay? She just used her coaching tools to ask the powerful questions, to listen really closely to what these people really wanted, and to help them, you know, help guide them in that direction.
So, another thing, really quickly I just want to say about Kristen, is as a result of doing so well with this particular target market, a lot of the people that she served, a lot of financial advisors or wealth advisors that she served, started introducing her to wealthy families. They started saying, “Wow, you know, the people we’re serving could really use your help, too. Because, you know, they’ve got multigenerational families and sometimes that can be a little bit difficult, they’re all trying to do something with this amazing wealth that they have. And they want to, you know, leave a legacy, they want to create something. So we’re thinking that we can bring you in and have you coach them.”
Rhonda Hess: And so she’s doing that. And now she’s even joined an organization that focuses in on the boomer generation—I’m sorry, the boomer generation and their NextGen children, who, you know, are multigenerational families who really want some support to find out what they really want to do with this, you know, privileged wealth that they have.
Bart: So she’s really letting the market dictate her next program because now that she’s one of them, and she listens and surveys and they’re introducing them to within that niche, she’s really just listening and then saying, “Yes, I can help you with that,” yet it comes with such referral and credibility and now she really knows how to serve them. So that’s a really good way to get, I love that metaphor and that analogy, because she’s getting in that pond, she’s the financial planner coach right now, but now she’s spreading her wings and doing so much more because she’s listening to what they really need and want.
Rhonda Hess: Yeah. And by the way, I just want you to know, she’s not selling financial planning coaching. What she is doing is making it clear to people who are in that niche market that she understands their concerns, their challenges, and what it is that they really want, and that she’s going to help them get there. And she pulls out her coaching tools to help them get there.
And by the way, her wellness tools, too, because she’s constantly working with them on developing the courage and capacity, the physical capacity, to do what they want to do.
So, you know, it’s holistic coaching, she’s actually letting them bring the agenda.
Rhonda Hess: What a unique thing that is, I mean, that’s what we’re taught as coaches, is that we allow the client to bring the agenda and then we listen and ask questions and serve them, drawing on their wisdom to get where they want to go.
Bart: I’m going to give you a quote from your own book here. I’m reading Five Secrets to a Highly Profitable Coaching Niche. And one of your quotes is, “Imagine how much easier it is to attract the steady stream of clients, if you know what your market reads, the associations they belong to, and where to connect with them on social networking sites.”
I think that’s so brilliant, it makes so much sense, it almost sounds logical, but yet we don’t do that because we spread ourselves a little too thin.
Rhonda Hess: Yeah, it’s a freedom to focus. Focus is what has gotten me where I am, you know? It’s what helped me make hundreds and thousands of dollars every year and it’s what has helped me become well known with my target market.
It’s such a freedom to focus in and I think it’s just something that we don’t trust because we’re afraid that we’ll make the wrong choice.
End of a portion of the transcript.
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