When I launched my business, my ideal customer avatar went something like this….
Women aged 30 to 55, already had a professional career, starting an online business, most likely have children (or at least a pet)….”
Yep, it was about as unique as a generic black sock.
It’s hard to narrow your niche when you’re still feeling your way into your business. It takestime to get to know your clients and dial in on their pain points. And even though I’d heard the saying “the riches are in the niches,” I was still afraid of leaving money on the table.
Over time my insight grew, as I started to pay close attention to the kinds of clients who were drawn to me, who I loved working with and with whom I got the best results. The key to refining my avatar though, came not from intense focus on my business, but from my personal life.
I realised I was holding part of myself back from my business.
Here’s how it went down. A few months ago, I started working with a new client who is a spiritual energy healer. Half way through our first call, I was totally enthralled by her work and knew that I was going to become her client too.
I’ve been a fan of personal development work since a friend introduced me to Louise Hay’sYou Can Heal Your Life, at the age of 19. Since then I’ve read countless self-help books, experimented with meditation, affirmations and manifesting, and even attended workshops led by the likes of spiritual teacher Marianne Williamson, Tosha Silver and Louise Hay herself.
For some reason I kept this self-help stuff on the down low. I may have been convinced, but I never wanted to have to defend my beliefs to anyone else. It was a kind of shadow side, a keen interest I kept to myself unless I knew I was talking to a kindred spirit.
I immediately felt ashamed by this betrayal. I loved working with this client to bring her gifts into the light and we had developed a beautiful partnership, full of mutual respect and personal growth. Why was I so afraid to voice this spiritual side of my work? What was holding me back from fully embracing this aspect of life that had fascinated me for so long?
Where are you holding back from fully expressing yourself in your business? What aspects of your personal life are you keeping in the shadows?
The second incident concerned a conversation with a client about alternatives to conventional medicine. I described a recent frustrating visit to the doctor, where the only talk was of drugs, not of anything I could actually do for myself such as sleep, stress management and nutrition – all factors known to make a difference for my particular complaint.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m profoundly grateful for the wonders of conventional medicine and what it has done and continues to do for those close to me. I just don’t believe it has all the answers. And I get frustrated when I see people closing their eyes to other factors that can be so important for healing.
As I poured out this point of view to my client, I realised there was a message here for me. I love this stuff. I’m hugely passionate about helping people to understand they do have choices and their everyday actions can have a profound effect on their health and wellbeing. And I care about the healers out there, the osteopaths, the naturopaths, health coaches, spiritual teachers and others whose life-changing results may be dismissed as a coincidence or even hocus pocus, because their method of healing doesn’t fit the mould.
Phew! Feel the heat there?
So what gets you riled up? What makes you rant and rave with passion? Where are you inspired to try an alternative way of doing things, or to step outside society’s norms and make a positive difference?
These two incidents brought me to the understanding that all of this is part of my mission. I want to embrace my “woo woo” side, expand people’s minds, present them with new options, and help healers, coaches and out-of-the-box thinkers connect with those people who desperately need their help.
I know now that my avatar has an interest in personal development too. She’s read Brene Brown or Wayne Dyer or maybe Danielle LaPorte. She’s open to new ways and possibilities of doing things, she’s willing to expand her mind, she believes the power within us is greater than the qualifications we have on paper or the things we possess.
She’s likely a healer in the broadest sense of the word – perhaps a coach, a teacher, an alternative health practitioner, a philosopher, a writer or a speaker. She’s intuitive and compassionate and her work can be life changing.
The irony is that these are exactly the types of clients I’ve been drawing to me all along. the answer was right there in front of me, if only I’d have the courage to step up and embrace it. Understanding all this has given me such clarity and excitement, as if a door has finally been opened for me to connect with my ideal clients over shared interests. As if work is finally allowed to be fascinating and fun and feel like play.
So if you’re still trying to refine your avatar, know that it’s okay. Spend some time journaling on the questions I’ve posed in this blog.
What part of yourself are you holding back from your business?
What’s keeping you from fully showing up as you?
What riles you up?
And how could these attributes apply to your avatar?
Share your insights in the comments below. I’d love to read them.