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I've been doing some research on coaching and am drawn to the idea of targeting a niche that's going to bring sustainable income because it has people who want to invest in themselves, who are easy to find in groups and who have seekers not currently investing in themselves but are willing to.
I'm not sure that the Christian market I've been building meets these criteria. I have over 100,000 followers on a distinctly Christian twitter account @revtrev, my ministry blog has close to 200,000 page views a month revtrev.com.
Still I get more emails asking me "Didn't Jesus say 'Freely you've received, freely give'?" than I have sales of my products. My response is always, "He said that when He told His disciples to 'Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons and raise the dead' and I never invoice for those things."
I was in vocational ministry for seven years and realize pastoral counselling is not coaching. My pastoral experience was helping a lot of people stand up again and triage trumped personal development. I don't want to be solving people's problems, I want to give them tools so they can solve their own problems (with the help of the Holy Spirit).
My question is: Do Christians want to be coached or is it better for me to look for another niche?
I don't know if Christians as a group want to be coached, but many do believe in learning and growing so it seems like it could fit.
The thing that stands out to me is that you have a huge twitter following. Do what you do well! People must relate to your teachings and your style if you have that kind of following. Don't change paths with that kind of success, find a way to grow your new product from that success.
Thanks Bonnie. I don't know if it's right for me to think "Christians only want things for free" or if I should agree to "receive my living" from the gospel.
I'm passionate about creating positive change so I don't know about coaching people without using the tools I know work to bring positive change.
It's not in my nature to think so much about launching into a new venture so thank you for your input. It's much appreciated.
WARNING: What I am saying is not meant to be directed at "all" Chrisitans...I are one...LOL. Just 20 plus years of observations from being in ministry.
Christians have been taught wrong for decades. They think everything should be free or almost free. They have been trained by well meaning people, but those people have been flat wrong. I would also guess you experienced the training that being in ministry is the highest calling there is, but the pay is the just about the lowest it goes...LOL.
Dan's latest blog on this very subject of "Coach me for free" is well timed.
What makes me feel sad about this is Christians desperately need coaching and training, but they most often are the last ones to go pay for it. They feel it should be free or even more often they feel like if they pray for wisdom and knowledge it will magically appear. They don't realize that when they pray for wisdom/knowledge that will transform their lives God answers with putting someone in their life to help them and you may just have to pay for it.
I just finished conducting a 48 Days workshop and the last thing I told everyone...mostly Christians...go find a workshop or seminar in your area of passion. Have it be one that lasts only one or two days and pay $1000 for it! I told them it will help them in several ways, but the main thing it will do is get you over the mental hurdle of paying that much. This way, in the future you won't blink twice to pay a good amount of money for some very important things and learning. I also told them it will help place a high value on what you are learning.
Yes, I found Dan's blog post very timely. Been wanting to ask him how he balances it with giving away so much on his site for free. I think he's got a good model for income, so he can take the time to build community. I'm getting incredible traffic to my site, but still haven't been able to monetize it. But I think coaching could be part of the mix.
Great question. A couple of additional things that I would add in the conversation are:
1) Look at the amount of folks in the 48Days community who are Christian and are receiving coaching. Don Roulo and I actually met a few months ago because we went to Coaching With Excellence at Dan Miller's. While there, we met many other Christians who were being coached as well, and paying to do so.
2) I don't think that Christianinty is the biggest hurtle. The challenge as I see it is, "Is it worth it?" People will find the money if they believe in what it is that you are trying to help them achieve, regardless of their religious affiliaiton. What is it that you are passionate about helping people achieve? The fact that you are a Christian can be "icing on the cake" but shouldn't necesarilly be what makes your sell. Likewise, the fact that your potential client is a Christian should also be "icing on the cake," and not the reason you are working with him/her. You should be working with your client because he/she can beneift from what you provide. - On a side note, Don and I are both part of a small but growing group for pastor called, "Pastor-to-Pastor" on 48 days and we would love to have you join us! Hopel this helps.
Very interesting topic...
Gary...I really like your comments. You bring out the other side of the sword for me...LOL
I thought about some of the things I said. I may have to clarify my comments about Christians wanting to be coached. I really was addressing how we have been taught in churches over the years. Churches try to reach as many people as they can for all sorts of events and programs. In order to reach the masses they generally try to make it as affordable as possible. Usually they just shoot for covering cost.
This is what I was addressing in my last comment. They try to find the lowest common denominator for those who really need the program or need to attend an event. What it has done is taught people by example that things, no matter how much they will help you, should be at cost or very affordable.
As an example...our church recently did a marriage seminar that had a weekend component to it that was offsite and at another facility. We had food, rent, decor etc. We only charged about $45 per couple. This did not even cover the cost. What was presented and what was done was well worth $150-$200 per couple - small price to pay to have marriage saving information. Pastors and ministers are hesitant to "make money" off an event or seminar. They generally think, "I am already getting paid a salary so I shouldn't take any income off this extra teaching/seminar."
However, when the discussion comes to how much to charge it always comes back to "the people that need it the most can't afford it." It is a tricky thing to balance for sure.
I don't want anyone to read into my comments that Christians don't want to be coached or that churches are terrible for making things affordable. By no means am I saying that. All I am saying is I have seen most churches dig their heels in when it comes to charging fair market value for certain programs and events. They certainly do it out of love and trying to help, but I think we, the church, need to teach people that paying a fair price for things should be the norm, not the exception. The church people will value it MUCH, MUCH more when they have real skin in the game.
I hope that makes more sense now.
I'd say look for other ways to monetize. Heck, with that many visitors, I'd seriously consider selling ads on my site. Also, look at packaging your stuff differently - retreats instead of seminars (or vice versa), curricula instead of books, etc. I'm with Bonnie - don't dump the niche. Just explore other ways of selling.