If you’re just starting out in the coaching world and have taken any business building courses, I am sure you have heard of the “ideal client avatar” concept.
BEFORE YOU STOP READING — I hate this exercise and think it sucks… keep reading….
Basically, the idea of the avatar exercise is that you should define your ideal client by narrowing it down to one specific person based on demographics, interests, pain points, and more, so that you can tailor your coaching services to them.
An avatar exercise will ask you to list things like what kind of shoes your client wears, whether she is married or not, how many kids she has, and what books she reads.
It also asks you questions about their psychographics – their values, attitudes, beliefs etc.
It can be a fun exercise to fill out (maybe?), but then you’re left wondering what you are supposed to do with it.
It’s often used as a niching exercise, to which I say…
If you have struggled with the avatar exercise, you are not alone.
It’s an outdated way of thinking about your niche. And here’s why:
- It’s limiting. By focusing on one “ideal” client, you could be missing out on a whole group of people who would benefit from your coaching. What if someone who doesn’t fit your avatar perfectly is still interested in your services? What if they don’t have kids or wear heels instead of flats? What if they value routine and stability and you value freedom and spontaneity? Does that mean they are not a good fit to be your client?
- People are complex. Your ideal client is not just a collection of demographics and interests. They have a complex set of experiences and motivations that drive their behavior. By focusing solely on an avatar, you could be missing the opportunity to connect with them on a deeper level.
- It’s not flexible. What happens if your ideal client avatar changes over time? Are you going to change your whole business to keep up? Not likely.
Look at the clients I work with here at Uncaged.
- I work moms AND women who never want kids.
- I work with 25 year olds AND 60 year olds.
- I work with folks who work in corporate AND those who work as bartenders.
- I work with people whose dream is to take their laptop and work from Bali half the year, AND people who have never left their hometown who have no desire to travel.
Writing an avatar would be hella confusing for my business, and I have been doing this a long time and am VERY niched in.
No wonder it’s so confusing for new business owners!
So, what’s the alternative?
It’s simple: focus on the problem your clients have that your coaching solves.
That is your niche.
All the people I work with have the same problem – they are starting coaching or online service-businesses, and they need help learning how to market themselves and find clients…. even though they are very different people, they all need the same thing
Focusing on the problem and putting less focus on the person allows you to work with a huge variety of people, which keeps it interesting!
Better questions to ask about your clients:
- What is the biggest thing they are struggling with when it comes to X (X being whatever your general niche area is)
- How does this problem affect them day to day; how does this show up tangibly in their lives
- What have they tried to solve this problem in the past
- What has been frustrating about trying to work on this
- How do they want to feel / what do they want to have instead
And unlike an avatar, you shouldn’t just make up answers to these questions on your own.
You should actually go out and talk to the people you want to work with, and ask THEM.
A few good conversations with your target clients will go a LONG way in making sure that your niche is marketable.
Fuck the avatar exercise.
We teach a whole process for doing this kind of “market research” in Uncage Your Business, to help you develop your niche from REAL people who have REAL problems. It’s a game-changer for our students (they ALL say they wish they did this sooner!)
If you want to finally figure out your niche and learn how to create offers you KNOW they want to buy, we’d love to have you in Uncage Your Business. Click here to learn more.