There are about a million mistakes you can make when starting a business, and you shouldn't be afraid of them. Mistakes are inevitable learning experiences, and you cannot succeed without them.
It will save you some time and money though, if you know about this one super common mistake.
There is some version of this that applies to all businesses, but let’s pretend you’re a brand new massage therapist.
The Most Common Mistake I See New Business Owners Make
So, you've just opened your massage business.
The first inquiry you get is someone asking if you do pregnancy massage. The second inquiry is someone asking if you do sports massage. The third inquiry is someone asking if you can help them with carpal tunnel.
To each one of them, you say “Sure!” After all, you’re tagline is “massage therapy for everybody.”
Right? It sounds perfectly reasonable, since you want to help as many people as possible.
But this is actually the biggest rookie mistake we all make when we start out in business, regardless of what our business is: we try to be for everyone.
Everyone is not for everyone.
You have two choices.
- You can be the massage therapist who people sometimes hear about, and they don’t really know what you’re thing is so they don’t know if you can help them with their unique issue, so they may or may not call you since they don’t feel like they really get what you’re about...
- Or you can be the massage therapist who is widely known for specializing in massage therapy for runners and athletes. And 100% of people in your region who google “sports massage” are going to see your name pop up immediately. And when they see “specializing in massage therapy for distance runners” in the tagline of your website, they’ll know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you’re THE ONE for them and they need to call you right NOW.
Then, when they arrive for their session, they feel immediately at ease because it’s obvious you have spent all your continuing education on studying subjects that are relevant to the runner’s body. You’re perfect for them, you’re exactly who they need! YES!
So, not only have they walked through the door of your business without hesitation, but they've also rebooked a monthly session, and they're heading home to tell all their runner friends about you.
That's one way you can build your business. You can continue being the person who is trying to be relevant to “everyone,” thereby creating a place where no one feels like they’ve found their perfect little therapeutic corner of the universe.
Do you see how one of these plans is a straight and narrow path? And the other plan is rocky and winding and...blurry?
Let's Find Your Ideal Client.
So, who is your business for?
Ask yourself these questions:
- Who do you want to work with? Who inspires you? What’s the work you find that comes naturally to you? That fills you up instead of wearing you out?
- Who wants to work with you? Is there a population who already seems to be organically drawn to your business? Who is it? Would you like to see more people like that? Or would you like to specialize your practice in another area?
How To Serve Your Ideal Client
After you’ve decided on your special interest area:
- Start looking for books and training workshops that will help you serve that client.
- Start marketing directly to that client!
Share articles that are relevant to problems that she is facing. Answer a question that you know she is asking. Talk about what you do in your practice that would be beneficial to her unique situation. Do this consistently.
Remember, you can market to “everyone” and weakly attract random people who may not feel supported by your work, or you can market to “someone” specific, and magnetically attract your ideal client. Let her know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are the one who can help her.
Leave a comment and let us know: who did you come to this earth to serve? Was it easy to figure out, or difficult to pin down?