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I have been tracking and analyzing the U.S. self-improvement market, as an independent business analyst, for 22 years, since 1994. The self-improvement business is huge and growing—an estimated $9.6 billion in the United States alone. It encompasses programs and products that promise to enhance us: physically, spiritually and financially.
Self-improvement takes many forms: losing weight, stopping smoking, improving one’s marriage or relationship, making money from real estate or some other business, improving one’s reading speed or memory, gaining sales skills, becoming more organized or managing your time better, learning new marketing or computer skills, honing one’s public speaking, and more.
This is a very fragmented market, with no trade association or trade journal, or annual conference. It’s also a business populated by mostly privately-owned companies and lots of small scale entrepreneurs.
The market, according to Marketdata Enterprises, consists of the following:
– Motivational speaking
– Personal coaching
– Public seminars
– Self-improvement books
– Audiobooks market
– Holistic institutes
– Training organizations
– Websites & Internet mastery courses
It has been estimated that 70% of self-improvement customers are affluent females, usually of Baby Boomer age. In the U.S., these customers typically reside on the East and West coasts.
The Opportunity To Be A Guru
Many people now want to leverage their life/work experience and make an income and career in self-improvement, but don’t know how to get started. Do they write a book? Do they hold seminars and webinars? Do they try to break into the paid speaking circuit? Or, do they become a personal coach?
Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, Brian Tracy, Brendon Burchard, Suze Orman and many other multi-millionaires did not wake up one day and say: “I’m going to be an expert.”, and instantly have their books hit the bestseller list, book $50,000 speeches, and appear on TV. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. They had a plan, a blueprint, and they learned from others already in the business.
I estimate that it takes at least $2,200 to enter the motivational speaker business and $2,500 to become a personal coach. This assumes that the person joins a national trade association or speaker’s bureau, and/or gets certified, which is highly recommended.
Blueprint For Success
The things that I’ve noticed in my analysis of the most successful entrepreneurs in the business of self-improvement include the following:
• They are experts in specific niches or topics, rather than generalists. They also build their “brand”.
• They have written a book or several books, that puts their philosophy or knowledge in writing. Many times, it becomes a bestseller.
• They develop many products or services derived from that book, including: podcasts, webinars, paid speeches, workshops, live seminars, teleseminars, coaching and consulting.
• They have multiple distribution channels for their products & services (see above).
• They cross-market and cross-promote extensively with other experts.
• They utilize the Internet to reach a broad audience, inexpensively.
• They have multiple price points for their products and services, to reach consumers with different budgets.
• They are constantly creating new content, blogging, and building their email list and number of Facebook and Twitter followers.
• They delegate and train staff to deliver their content, not trying to do everything themselves.
Today, technology has made it much easier and cheaper to self-publish, to create your brand, and to reach millions of consumers via the Internet via YouTube videos and a website. It seems as though everyone is an author and an expert in some field.
However, with this change, a lot of the new content being created is of inferior quality and dubious value. Contrary to popular opinion, not everything on the Internet is accurate or useful, just because it’s free. If you want to become a self-improvement “guru” or expert, make sure your book, webinar, DVD, etc. is original and useful. And, for heaven’s sake, have it checked for proper spelling and grammar.
Quality, not quantity, should be your focus, whatever self-improvement market segment you choose. And, don’t expect overnight success. It rarely happens. The biggest names in this business worked for years to establish their reputation. Take time to hone your craft or write that book. It will pay off in the long run.
One should be organized, be a very good writer (or find one to work for you), be a relentless marketer and networker, and be an excellent communicator. Tenacity and a love for what you do goes a long way as well.