In 2005 when I became full-time as a Life Coach the industry bore no resemblance to what it looks like today. When I moved from the UK to Orlando in early 2006 and set up my coaching practice there was almost zero competition.
At that time I could only find another 3 Life Coaches operating in the Orlando area and so by default I got a steady stream of inquiries from people living on my side of town.
Even though I had very little experience in online marketing, no support network and was still a relative newcomer to the coaching business I still managed to stay reasonably busy.
And ‘reasonably’ is the operative word because I was never full. I was never having to tell people I couldn’t get to them for 3 or 4 weeks which is often the case nowadays, however I had enough clients to keep the wolf from the door.
I Was Lucky – Will You Be?
The thing is, I was gaining those clients more from luck than judgment. I had no marketing strategy, I wasn’t blogging, I didn’t have a newsletter, social networking was still in its infancy and not something I was engaged in and my website URL and design was truly horrible.
Even though A Daring Adventure sounded cool (to me anyway) and I love the Helen Keller quote, it meant nothing to anybody surfing the net. It didn’t help with my SEO (search engine optimization) because nowhere in my business name was I telling people (and Google) what I did.
Again I thought it was cool and amusing and again I was wrong.
It was gimmicky and sent out either the message that all I really did was kick peoples asses, or even worse, that I didn’t take coaching seriously.
Yet even as I strived to do everything wrong and make as many mistakes as I could (or that is how it seems looking back) I still grabbed local clients almost by default.
As I write this I am fluctuating between being on the bottom of the first page on Google for the term ‘Life Coach’ and top of the second page.
The way Google uses local results and social media connections (more in future posts no doubt) means that it will vary from person to person and country to country, but that ranking supplies inquiries from all over the world.
There Are No Geographical Boundaries To Life Coaching
Just this year I have worked with clients from Australia, Canada, UK, Bahrain, India, France, Qatar, Russia, Netherlands and of course from all over the United States.
But something really weird has happened over the last 2 or 3 years. As I have got busier and busier and as my profile has grown and my Google ranking increased, so my local inquiries have decreased.
I can now go 3 or 4 weeks without getting a single local inquiry. I’m actually ok with that and I’m even in the process of starting to transition away from face-to-face coaching purely for logical reasons, but it does highlight what is happening in our industry.
Let’s be generous and suppose in 2006 there were 10 Life Coaches in Orlando and I just couldn’t find the other ones (which does beg the question how did their clients?), how many do you suppose there are today?
My guess is well in excess of 100 and probably nearer 200 which means there are conservatively, at least 10 times as many coaches now as there were 7 years ago.
Life Coaching Searches – The Reality Not Shared By Training Companies
That’s a frightening level of growth made all the more so by the fact that according to Google, there were actually less searches for the term ‘Life Coach’ in 2012 than in 2007 (see graph taken from Google trends)
Life Coaching is brutally competitive and getting more and more so by the day. It’s no longer enough to do what I did and just get certified, throw up a website and then sit back hoping the clients will come to you, it simply won’t happen.
You have to separate yourself from your competition, you have to know your target clients, you have to be able to either pay somebody to do your SEO or know enough to do it yourself.
You also have to have a good grasp on social networking, understand marketing including the power of blogging and list building and be able to put your authentic self ‘out there’ into the public domain without stressing over what people will think of you.
Over the coming weeks and months I will be sharing ideas and strategies to help you become not just a more effective coach, but a coach who can attract clients