How do you cross-pollinate to expand your audience? - Alright, then–so you’ve identified what type of business you want to start, or what you want to revolutionize, or what your niche is, or what your message is. Getting started in even one of these directions is enough to make some major headway–you don’t have to have it all nailed down, but you’ve got to have something.
Most entrepreneurs, upon deciding upon one of these factors, get started finding clients in their area.
But–there’s something that more successful entrepreneurs do, again and again: cross-pollinate their audiences.
Meet Creative Coach Connie
Creative Coach Connie is–you guessed it–a creativity coach! (Actually, she’s a figment of my imagination, for this example). She is a mixed-media artist herself who helps women work through creative blocks, creates downloadable programs for working through creative blocks, and wants to be a speaker at creativity-related conventions.
She takes care of the usual things–getting a website set up, getting on Etsy, using social media, blogging somewhat regularly. She’s got a great crew of like-minded mixed-media followers who love what she does. She networks among the Kelly Rae Roberts crowd. She attends artist’s events and workshops. It’s a pretty beautiful thing.
If Creative Coach Connie wanted to know more about how she could build her audience, I would NOT be assigning her the exercise of researching more creativity expos to attend.
I’d tell her to…
- Go talk to some yoga teachers, maybe some Nia instructors. See if there’s a dual sort of “get the physical and creative energies flowing” angle that she might work with them.
- Or perhaps I’d ask her to think about some of the processes that she uses to create, regularly and routinely. How does she stay organized and productive? I’d encourage her to pull together some guest posts on organization and productivity, and start shopping those out to productivity websites.
If none of those were her thing, I’d ask her to do something as amazing like what coach Julie Daley did–get a business and creativity course going at a University!
There’s your core audience, and then there’s the audience that’s interested in your core plus your nearest neighbor.
My core audience is interested in courage (actually–they’re really interested in living 100% fully alive, with the practice of courage).
When I created my information products, I took principles related to the practice of courage to that offering–because don’t we need to practice courage when we take a deep breath and send that email letting someone know that we’re raising our rates? Or hitting “publish” on the potentially controversial blog post? Or even deciding to scale back the 9-5 in order to make your coaching practice your main source of income? Then I infused my marketing message with all of the pragmatic, down to brass-tacks, “Just tell me what I need to know, so that I don’t waste my time” information that I wished I’d had when I started.
A Few Examples
I can think many examples of cross-pollination among the savvy online entrepreneurs. Dyana Valentine has a reputation for being a no-bullshit speaker, and she’s been a walking oracle, doing dream-related work (to the tune of $1,000 a session–and she’s booked). Bridget Pilloud has a reputation for her intuitive counseling, and now she’s also helping people do deep work on prosperity.
Leonie Dawson started with art and creativity, and has created programs on giving up gluten as well as how to grow a business. This is all under the heading of wanting to help people “shine in their life and business.” Some people write her off as a flaky creative, and it’s their loss, because she made more than a hundred grand during her last launch.
Chris Guillebeau started talking about travel and now his best-selling book is about starting a business on a shoestring budget.
Cross-pollinating by subject matter isn’t the only approach–sometimes you can cross-pollinate by the spin you put on something, your unique and fresh take, or the personality that you bring to your subject matter, a personality that no one else has. Danielle LaPorte talked business and added in sensuality and spirituality, making her biz talk magnetic.
Here’s how personality can make a difference: Creativity Coach Connie could have a rabid band of followers if she revealed to all of us that while she creates, she drinks dirty martinis and dresses up in Mad Men era costumes.
Certainly, we’d all sit up and take another look at this person who we might have originally stereotyped as being a shy, quiet soccer mom who happened to get rowdy with glue and scissors one night.
Thinking Outside the Box
It’s interesting to consider what’s possible when you start getting wildly creative with this process.
What’s a career coach’s perspective on the psychology of non-violent communication? How might that be something the career coach could parlay into a speaking gig, a lecture series, a workshop or exercises? How might health-related business intersect with minimalism? What’s a personal organizer’s market reach when it comes to her local foodie culture or gourmet ghetto? (Just one thought that comes to me is this: helping people get organized and make a plan for how to eat healthfully!).
So, back to that pen and paper:
- Write down what market you’re currently in–who’s your audience? In other words, who are your clients, or what do your clients want to know about?
- Then ask yourself what related markets you might already be involved in. Are you an avid cyclist? A practicing Hindu? A baking fanatic?
- Then ask yourself: What do you notice that the people in those areas are interested in?
- And finally: How might what you do with one group of people also be applicable to what you do with this other group of people?
Start by sticking to the groups that you know you’re interested in–because that’s where your passions lie, and you’re going to have the greatest insights into the problems and concerns of that group, which then means you have insights into what you could offer that would assist them.
About the Author
Kate Swoboda is a Life Coach, speaker and writer who helps clients to lead unconventional and revolutionary lives through practicing courage. She’s the author of The Courageous Living Guide, and creator of the Courageous Play and Create Stillness retreats–as well as The Coaching Blueprint, a resource just for Life Coaches. Learn more at Your Courageous Life, sign up for her free newsletter, or follow her on Twitter or Facebook.