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September 04, 2006


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Martin Wedgwood

I am a bit late on this one. Didn't have the time to read your latest issues until now.

Your article was a big relief to me as was the comment of Robert Lang. Sitting in my little laboratory I've been inventing tons of positioning strategies in only two years.

I thought to be completly crazy to revise my website and marketing material four times a year. I feel better after reading this newsletter. My latest website is on it's way to an early death as were it's brothers and sisters. I do mind less now.

As Steve de Shazer stated: "Good is what works." I'll stick to that one.

Thank you very much for your great work.

Charlie Lang

I started my business a bit over 3 years ago and have been doing it full-time for over 1.5 years. I did what Robert suggested in this e-zine: I just chose some niches and looked how it worked. I have been developing a website (which is now in its 7th revision!), write newsletters (5th revision), get articles published (over 17 in the past year or so) and along the way all the programs I initially developed have been skipped or at least greatly changed.

Of my first brochure, printed 2,000 times, I had to dump approx. 1,500 of them into the garbage because it was so outdated after 6 months only.

What about my niche? From what I started with, perhaps only 20% is left over, i.e. it greatly changed. I started with a focus on career coaching and ended up building a business with focus on sales training and leadership development.

There is one important point I'd like to share which helped me truly shift my mindset and the way I did things: Understand the difference between being a professional and a business man. You can be both, just at different times. For me it means: when I do marketing and business development, I put on the business hat. When I talk about our programs or when I deliver our courses, then I put on the professional's hat. When you start making this distinction, your behavior will become more focused and clear.

Robert, thanks for this article, it fully resonated with me.

David Cervi - HyperSphere

Well stated, Robert.
I like your use of the term 'fail fast'. Not everything we do in marketing our businesses will succeed - we all know that. So, given that 'failures' along the way are a fact of life, there's little benefit in agonising endlessly about whether we've got it perfect.
At least by launching in and doing *something* we have a chance of achieving something. If it's only 50% successful, we may achieve 50% of something, which is usually better than 100% of nothing.
If we do this enough times, we'll build up an increasingly good idea of what works and what doesn't in a particular business - rather like Edison, who so famously said something along the lines of 'I have not failed 1,000 times.
Sure, some of the failures along the way will bring pain with them. Flawed marketing efforts sometimes generate *more clients* but the *wrong* clients - customers who are a poor match for our business (but whom we take on because we want or need the work at the time).
These kinds of client relationships are seldom long-lasting, often frustrating, and nearly always it's a relief when they come to an end. But in the meantime, two good things can come of them: 1) at least the business has clients (a.k.a. income) in the meantime, and 2) we are brought face to face with what is not good for our business and forced to build the resolve to distance ourselves from it. In this situation, telling an unsuitable client that you can no longer service them is the kindest thing you can do to them, to our business, and to ourselves.
Over time this accumulated knowledge, gained through empirical experience, becomes so ingrained that our intuition will often tell us loudly and clearly what is likely to work. We become better equipped to detect the warning signs early on, and make fewer mistakes.

Susan Raab

Thanks for putting out just the message I needed to read today. Fear of not doing it perfectly the first time is holding me back. Time to just do it and let my psychology catch up!

biren shah

what a time to get your message, robert. just an hour back i was discussing this same thing with a friend and associate of sorts.
i have been indulging in the same 'intellectual masturbating' (as one of my friend calls it) for almost 4 years now.
4 years!
like the client you mentioned, i wanted to be sure what work and what field i was best suited for ('my genius'), and i tried to figure it out in my head - which just had past expereinces, and figments of imagination to rely on.
it was just today that i became aware that i could just plunge in... i HAD to plunge in (though friends have been telling me all this time), make mud, and see what holds water.
right now, i am as confused as i was 4 years back (about what my genius is :-) ). and yet, ironically, i am not confused about what i will do tomorrow. and how will i move on from there.
your mail was a heaven-sent message, that i am on the right first-step.

Andrea Hess

So true! I spent so much time trying to find my coaching niche - business coaching, lifestyle coaching, and, finally, spiritual development coaching. Now I'm primarily an Intuitive Consultant and use my coaching in assisting others access their intuition. And business is great! It took almost a year to yet there, though.

Carol Solomon

I absolutely agree! You cannot *think* your way into a niche. Just be in action and see where that takes you. I started out with helping people lose weight without dieting, which evolved into a large online business.

Now I am getting ready to offer a program for coaches on building online businesses. The truth is . . . you can have (and enjoy) more than one niche.

Nothing holds me back, except having the time to implement all the things I want to do.

Academic Coach a.k.a. Mary McKinney, Ph.D.

And your niche may evolve...
I began with dissertation coaching and found that more and more faculty contacted me until coaching junior faculty became the major focus and majority of my clientelle.

Cathy Bolodo

I agree so much with the article on finding your niche. Why? Because it is exactly what happened to me! I did not get it right the first time. My materials, sales letters, even target market have gone through a lot of revisions for the past six months. Now, thank God, I am reaping the rewards. It doesn't happen overnight. The right formula comes to you as you go out and meet people and do your calls and fail and succeed. It was mostly a 'give-it'your-best-shot' now and review afterwards thing.

Sue Kennedy

What holds me back? Fear mostly, but I am learning to just get things started (as you suggest) and improve as I go along. And it’s true your niche does find you – I resisted kid’s portrait photography for years for silly reasons. Now it feels like the most obvious thing for me to do, and surprising as this may seem it’s actually a good fit with my other business, and more importantly I enjoy it.

With the second business, I actually started photographing client’s children, before I had a website in place, a logo or a marketing plan. I just decided to go for it. Now I’m putting all those things in place and I know they’ll always be work in progress.

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