No market? Find a new dream!

    August 18, 2003

Griselda was getting increasingly frustrated with her new business. 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.

Griselda asked several “experts” 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, Griselda turned inward. She asked her intuition, “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.”

Griselda sat with the information awhile.

Part of her still wanted to believe, “I just have to take more marketing classes and believe in abundance. There’s enough out there for everyone.”

Griselda 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.

Griselda 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. Griselda wasn’t a mom but nobody cared. These sites had good business advice that worked for her as well.

Griselda 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 profitable.

To her surprise, Griselda 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 exposure.

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, surpassing many older, established agents.

But if you find yourself blocked for a long time, you may be in the market for a new dream. Are you beating your head against a wall? Jump over the wall or carve out a new doorway. And your dream — new or revised — will be waiting on the other side.

Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and career/business consultant. Your Next Move Ezine: Read one each week and watch your choices grow!