Coaching is the second-fastest growing profession in the world, rivaled only by information technology.
The multi-billion dollar coaching industry is booming, and entrepreneurs from around the world are taking note. As of late, it’s becoming “trendy” to become a personal development coach, especially for millennials.
Millennials, take heed: the growing popularity is also something to be wary about. With everyone marketing themselves under the broad description of “coach,” it can be extremely difficult to stand out and get noticed.
That’s why 5-time Oprah’s Lifeclass guest and Hay House author Lucy Sheridan has opted to brand herself as a “Comparison Coach,” catering to individuals who chronically compare themselves to others on social media. Before you question how there’s a large enough market for that, know she’s got clients from across the globe seeking her out for her unique offering.
I caught up with Sheridan about how she’s successfully pioneered and profited from this niche on this week’s podcast episode, “How To Be The #1 Expert In Your Industry w/ Comparison Coach Lucy Sheridan”
Sheridan’s interest in social comparison stemmed from her own experience being addicted to social media during a vulnerable time in her life. She recalls being absorbed with the successful lives of friends while, behind the scenes, her life was suffering.
“There was a lot of Facebook-unfriendly stuff going on, you know, things that no filter and no careful words could put a good spin on,” she says.
For two years, she remained fixated upon others’ digital highlights and envied what appeared to be out of reach for her.
It was around 2010 that she began to seek out help by reading self-help books. She found healing in the openness and transparency of the self-development community, and was inspired to give back by launching her own coaching practice.
She noticed that her online content got the most traction when she shared about social comparison — it sparked more views, and triggered more engaged conversations. It became increasingly apparent that people resonated with her experience and were hungry for information that addressed the root of the issue.
Sheridan responded to the calling by centering her coaching solely around banishing comparisons, being the first to claim herself as an authority in the niche. “I just kept on bloody banging on about it,” she says. “Give the people what they want! Calling myself the comparison coach, using snippy lines… I don’t leave any of it to doubt, or talk about anything in general terms.”
Her website currently reads, “Absolutely Focused on Helping Gen Y Go From ‘Compare and Despair’ to #ComparisonFree.”
It’s Sheridan’s focus and ability to niche-down that’s made her in-demand and attracted the kind of clientele base every coach dreams of.
By focusing on a very specific problem, such as those struggling with comparison issues, she was able to attract an audience very quickly on what she offers; instead of focusing her work very generally to appeal to the masses, a common mistake that most millennial coaches make when they are getting started.
If you find yourself struggling to gain traction in your own business, consider it may be that you are trying to appeal to too large of an audience.
Below, Sheridan shares how getting clear on your niche can make you successful.
Call to mind personal experiences that you struggled with and overcame. Think really specific — things that aren’t often talked about, or that might seem “taboo” to discuss. Oftentimes these are your best niche markets, because nobody’s offering a solution or providing a safe space to open up about them. Within your personal experience, get clear on what you learned, how you overcame it, and how you could help others.
Bring your own interpretation to the table.
Even if you can’t think of a totally “unique” experience, you can put a unique spin on a common experience that will help you to stand out. “It’s all how you package it,” Sheridan says. “Ultimately, everything is a copy of a copy of a copy, so what’s your spin on it?”
Stop trying to be “everybody’s” coach.
If you try to be “everybody’s” coach, you’ll end up being no one’s coach, because people are tired of general coaching that doesn’t help them overcome their specific problems. Structure your business around your niche and market yourself as a distinct kind of coach. You’ll be surprised how many people around the world are actually just looking for help in that department, and are going to seek out you.