“I’ve got three business interests,” Sally said. “For one, I hold leadership workshops with Fortune 500 companies. Some women in those workshops have started asking me if I’d work with them one-on-one for coaching.
“And I’ve go another topic that’s related to personal growth and spirituality. So …
“How do I set up my new website? And do I have to give up one business area?”
Sally clearly seems to enjoy all three. There doesn’t seem to be a conflict between serving executive women and working for corporations.
Wrap your ideas around one story.
Sally can show how her workshops add credibility to her one-to-one coaching, and she thoroughly understands the role of those who attend. And she can demonstrate that working one-on-one helps her reach participants more effectively in the workshops.
Her clients will most likely tell the story: “
I heard Sally speak at an event with my company. I knew my company had already vetted her credentials: they’re very fussy about who they bring in. Sally seemed to read my mind when she talked about challenges facing women like me. She impressed me so much, I just had to hire her!”
When 3 Ideas Equal One Messy Business
Sally might have to reconsider her strategy if she discovers some of the following challenges:
A Possible Conflict of Interest and Image
She consults with IBM and then an IBM executive seeks help from her one-to-one. Now she’s the advocate for her coaching client and she has to be careful how much she says to her private client and her corporate client.
Sally also faces the challenge of presenting conflicting messages. The Fortune 500 executives see Sally’s site on spiritual growth. and think, “Is she too flaky — even anti-corporate?”
Time Required for Multiple Websites and Social Media
The set-up is the hard part. She’s probably got the resources to pay someone to do the tech, graphics and copywriting.
She’ll need to consider setting up separate accounts on social media, where allowed. Posting to multiple accounts, with different messages, can also be time-consuming. Inevitably, messages targeted to one audience will be seen by another. Will that create problems or synergies?
Allocation of Time for Serving Clients With Different ROIs
Will Sally spend a day preparing an offer for the spiritual clients who bring in less money? She’ll have to pull back her efforts to serve the other targets who are more lucrative.
Sally assumes the corporate women will be skeptical when she talks about her archetypes and spirituality.
But this audience might be responsive, especially after Sally gets to know them. I know a very successful corporate lawyer who regularly consults with psychics; another corporate lawyer told me her male colleague keeps crystals on his desk.
I’ve experienced something similar. My first website and business was MidlifeCareerStrategy.com; I don’t market the career site but still get clients. They don’t seem bothered by knowing I’ve got a marketing education website.
Today we’re seeing a greater tolerance of information businesses and authors with diverse interests.
Tim Ferriss is an extreme example, writing about fitness, cooking, and of course working with ridiculous efficiency. Arlie Hochschild has written nonfiction about emotional labor, family dynamics, and most recently, the impact of rural America on the recent election. Chris Guillebeau’s blog is targeted simply to “remarkable people.” One successful copywriter set up a blog about writing, business, and life.
The reality is, most people evolve in their businesses — especially if they’re working solo.
Their stories tend to be non-linear and heavily influenced by serendipitous events. They start side hustles to get new energy for their main businesses.
One business owner used to refuse any affiliate opportunities that involved mindset or personal growth.
“My audience won’t buy,” she insisted, as she promoted business and marketing products and services.
But one day I noticed she was promoting a workshop on attitude … and then produced a lead magnet on the entrepreneurial mindset. She had broadened her scope, instinctively following her audience’s growth.
Your challenge is to gather your diverse interests into an authentic story
Prepare to be surprised when you realize your audience accepts and even cherishes your complexity.
I’ve written a free tip sheet — 17 Surprising Ways To Use Stories To Grow Your Business. Click here to download yours.