This week, I’m so excited to be starting a new round of my Healers’ and Creators’ circle. It’s a coaching group with six people who are eager to learn how to bring their gifts to the world and be of greater service while sustaining themselves, too.

A couple of the folks who’ve decided to join in the last two weeks have shared with me that they feel like this moment is a perfect time to build a robust platform for their businesses. If you also have extra time on your hands and are working to develop a business of your own, I want to share with you one of the maps I’ll share with my new clients this week.

I call it “Your Business, The House,” and I find it such a helpful metaphor for developing a thriving business full of clients who are eager to work with you. There are five elements to the map:

  1. The interior of the house: Your offerings
  2. The door: Your message
  3. The handle: Who you serve (in one sentence)
  4. The paths to the house: How your clients find you
  5. Other places the paths connect to: The hubs where your clients already gather

Let’s explore each in more detail:

1.Your offerings are the inside of the house. 

Most of my clients are teachers of some sort— coaches, consultants, facilitators, healers, artists, change-makers. They often weave together several modalities to offer transformative experiences to their clients. If this is you, I invite you to imagine that the work you do is like the inside of a house. Each teaching or modality may be a separate room, or it may be part of a room or the interior decor. 

For example, let’s say you’re a therapist developing a private practice. Perhaps you specialize in a particular modality such as Emotional Freedom Technique or Internal Family Systems or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. The different modalities and styles— what you do and how you do it— are inside your house.

All the support that you offer your clients goes inside your house. Don’t try to make the metaphor too literal, trying to match each modality to each room. Just know that the more you invest in designing a beautiful, welcoming house, the more people will be eager to visit and tell their friends about their experience.

Where many practitioners get stuck is that they wish they could spend all their time showing people around the house— doing their work and sharing their teachings. They wish they didn’t have to think so much about actually getting people to join them inside the house— marketing their work. But the truth is that to help your clients get inside your house, you need to focus on what’s outside your house. Next step: the door.

2.Your message is the door to your house. 

For a new client to enter your house, your house needs a door, and your message is that door. Your message lets your clients know what you do, why you do what you do, and (most importantly!) who you serve. Your message lets your clients know if they are a good fit for what you offer. Your message lets your clients know that you get their problems and their longings and that you can help. It helps them know, like, and trust you.

There are many elements to an effective message, but the most important is being able to quickly and clearly communicate who you serve in one compelling sentence. 

3.The door handle is your one compelling sentence.

Your one compelling sentence shares who you serve, the challenges they face, and what they long for. For example, if you’re a therapist, you could have a wide range of sentences: “I help young adults who struggle with social anxiety and long for fulfilling work and relationships.” “I help couples who are on the brink of divorce and want to get clear on the best path forward, either by falling back in love or separating amicably.” “I help senior citizens who struggle with depression and who long to feel fully alive in the final decades of their lives.”

You’ll see from these examples that each compelling sentence includes three parts:

  • Demographic: young adults, couples, senior citizens
  • Problems: social anxiety, being on the brink of divorce, depression
  • Longings: fulfilling work and relationships, getting clear on the best path forward, feeling fully alive in the final decades of their lives.

For someone to feel compelled to step inside your house, there needs to be a very specific door handle. If you are vague or only include one of these elements, for example, “I do couples therapy,” or “I help clients with depression,” or “I work with young adults,” you will likely get some clients. But you’ll likely get less. It’s a paradox, but the more specific you are, the more likely it is that potential clients will feel compelled to reach out to open the door. If people who don’t belong to the group you’ve specified reach out to you, you can always choose to welcome them inside. Strangely, though, the more specific the handle is, the easier it will be for anyone to see it (even people outside of your specified group).

4.The paths to the door are how you market.

Each door has several paths leading up to it. These paths are how you market. For example, you might participate in a weekly networking group, actively engage on social media, position your website to rank high in google searches, offer workshops, attend conferences, and so on. 

There are many ways to create paths that lead from where your clients are now to your house. What’s important is that you develop a few paths that you enjoy spending time tending to and which connect to where your ideal clients already spend their time.

That leads us to the final element, the hubs.

5.The paths connect to hubs where your ideal clients already gather.

Hubs are places where your ideal clients already gather in large numbers. (I learned the concept of hub marketing from Tad Hargrave at Marketing For Hippies. His ebook, Hub Marketing, is a must-read for anyone wanting to build a thriving business, as are several of his other ebooks. ) 

Identifying the hubs you want to focus on is a game-changer. It enables you to reach many potential clients at once, making it way easier, quicker, and more fun to build a thriving business. The concept of hub marketing also brings home why it’s so important to have a specific message. If you’re serving “everyone,” then there’s no way to choose specific hubs. However, when you are clear about your ideal clients, you can also be clear about the hubs to invest in.

For example, young adults with social anxiety are likely to be spending a lot of time at home online, so Facebook, Instagram, or Youtube might be key hubs for you to be showing up at. Couples who are considering a divorce might be spending a lot of time at work, so you might want to connect with employment assistance programs, or they might have school-age kids, so you might want to write blog articles on parenting-related websites. If you want to reach senior citizens, you might want to connect with senior centers or organizations that serve seniors like the AARP.

So, how to practice?

Typically, I close my blog posts with a very practical exercise that helps you implement the teachings in ten minutes or less. Unfortunately, there’s no way (not one that I’ve discovered, anyway!) to implement everything that I just laid out in ten minutes. And it’s exceedingly difficult to build the house, the door, or the paths on your own. It’s so hard that even though I teach this stuff, I still work with my own coach at times when I’m launching a new part of my business.

That said, I don’t want to leave you empty-handed. Instead, I will share a few journaling questions that can help you begin to get clear on who you’re called to serve. I invite you to grab a pen and paper now and spend about ten minutes free writing your responses to the following questions. Enjoy!!

  • Who do you feel most deeply called to serve in the next phase of your life? 
  • Why are they important to you? 
  • How do you feel called to serve them?
  • What kinds of people do you have a special place in your heart for? 
  • Generally speaking, who do you seem to be best at helping? Where do you really shine? 
  • If you had your way, you’d only work with… 

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Much love,

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