Hermione (naturally, that's
not her real name) was getting increasingly frustrated with her
She had put together an expensive
website. She diligently completed a series of exercises like,
"My Ideal Client," and, "Why I Am Wonderful."
She sent around a series
of articles and some were published in the web's most popular
free ezines. Her mailing list grew to over a thousand subscribers.
She earned a little money from affiliate programs but only a
few clients appeared -- and they asked for discounts.
Hermione asked several " for help.
She learned to distinguish
benefits from features. She created a brand and paid for a logo.
She spent hundreds of dollars for marketing classes that promised
to power up her business. She attended networking meetings, where
she found herself seated at tables with six of her fiercest competitors.
Finally, Hermione turned
inward. She asked her ,
"What's going on here?"
And her intuition shouted,
"I've been trying to tell you. There's no market for your
services! There are four hundred competitors who offer the same
benefits to the same market. And your potential clients have
all heard the story before."
Hermione sat with the information
Her advisors all warned her,
"You're being negative! There's enough out there for everyone."
Hermione refocused her dream.
What had motivated her to start this business? What talents could
be redirected in more profitable -- and less competitive -- directions?
In reality, most of us have
more than one dream. Or we have one dream that can be reached
by a number of different paths.
Hermione wanted to work from
home. She began to subscribe to ezines designed specifically
for home businesses.
Some sites were designed
for stay-at-home moms. Hermione wasn't a mom but nobody cared.
These sites had good business advice that worked for her as well.
Hermione ended up with a
part-time job as an events planner for a local branch of a mega-bookstore.
Most of the work was completed from her home phone and computer.
And she began to create her own niche as a virtual assistant,
one client at a time, helping people make their websites more
To her surprise, Hermione
felt more fulfilled and happy. Clients needed her services! She
helped new authors fulfill their dreams of giving talks
to promote their books. And she realized she could develop a
new coaching niche: helping new authors who wanted more bookstore
Bottom Line: The first question to ask of your
business is, "Can I find customers who are able and willing
to pay for my services?"
And the second question is,
"How else can I fulfill my dream?"
Don't get me wrong: Sometimes
you can beat the odds. You can enter a crowded field and succeed
brilliantly. In my small town, a young man decided to become
a real estate agent, despite a limited number of newcomers and
houses. Within two years, he had become Number 2 in the whole
city, passing many established agents.
But if you find yourself
blocked for a long time, you may be pursuing the wrong dream.
Time to be negative! Why
beat your head against a wall? Jump over the wall or carve out
a new doorway. And your dream -- in a revised version -- will
be waiting on the other side.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D.
Author, Career Consultant, Speaker
*Fast Track to Career Freedom*