Ready to Help

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I’m a life coach with a very specific niche audience. The people who
would use my services would not want others in their community or
social circles to know they‘re consulting me. It’s all very confidential
and perfect for the internet, Skype, and long-distance counseling. But
people have to find me know to learn about me. How can I get myself
out there more? There are plenty of places to advertise but everything
costs money I do not have. I like the idea of a national market, but
how do I reach it?

Ready to Help

Dear Ready to Help:

There’s no expert like someone with the right background, experience,
training, intelligence, instincts, curiosity, creativity, and ability to
relate to people. There’s also nothing that says you cannot become a
self-declared expert. In the life coach market there’s everything from
licensed professionals to self-appointed superheroes (like Jewish Fairy
Godmothers) for which there’s clearly no supervisory or certification
board. Your credibility will come not so much from either credentials or
advertising but from the effectiveness of the services you offer. The
best help you can give yourself is not to buy ad space but to have
others talk about you because of the good work you do or the good
advice you offer. You’re selling benefits, not just counseling.

“Confidential” works against you because many people are reluctant to
tell their friends and family that they’ve consulted someone for help,
so word of mouth doesn’t spread very far. People like to feel self-
reliant, and to have their personal problems kept very quiet. But
“niche” gives you a very specific focus that limits the places to try and
reach your target clientele. Research the community. Identify
magazines and websites and other forms of social networking. Write
articles or a column. Try to get speaking gigs. Volunteer to run a free
workshop. Once you get a few clients you will now more about what
they want and that will help guide you. And you’ll know where to place
the most effective ad.