The problem with “personal development” as a niche is that it is SO SO SO generic. It essentially means… nothing. It is like saying you’re in the “lifestyle” niche. It could literally mean anything.
When people come to me with interest in starting a personal development site, I find they are usually fairly aimless, don’t know where exactly they’re going, but they know they just want something that works. The problem is… that is the exact mindset of the other people interested in this, too! You’re literally reflecting back your own target market. And just as you feel a sense of vagueness about what to do, so do they. Which means, they’re not going to find you easily on Google or anywhere else because they aren’t looking for anything specific.
So, that’s the solution to “personal development”: Get Specific.
In other words, solve a real-world problem.
The truth is that solving much more concrete, real problems for people will often also lead to personal development. For instance, let’s say you have a person who wants to get out of a 9-to-5 they aren’t happy with and move into a home-based business. You might think that this is an entirely different market (online business, etc.), but not necessarily. Because a lot of personal issues arise when one tries to make a transition like this. Anxiety, doubts, them getting in their own way. Bad personal habits which might be stopping them. In other words, you could gear a business around this concrete transformation (building a business, making money), but your angle is about helping that budding entrepreneur as a human being. Leave the money stuff to the other guys.
How To Make Your Mark
Starting a site in this niche without a real game plan is a massive mistake and just won’t work. You will NOT make a dent in this market by doing boring stuff like motivational posts, book reviews, and quotes. There’s just no value proposition there whatsoever.
I would explore the market gaps below to look at a potential angle for yourself in this crowded market.
There is another thing to consider, however. And that’s how to actually stand out and get noticed here.
Those who do well in this market have created strong, personality-based brands. And in my bit of looking around in this niche, the only people I have seen that have found success with a more generic “personal development” kind of brand have built STRONG personality-based brands. Common among them are:
- Being VERY prominent on social media with content that is aimed to evoke an emotional reaction and a share.
- Making videos that are well produced and do the same thing
It takes a lot of content, but it also takes getting people to FEEL something. And they’ll associated that feeling with you over time. The more you do it, the better.
That’s what it will take to go the more general route. I can’t say I recommend it. But, it can be done if you have the desire, the tenacity, the time and the funds.
For most people, I would look at a more strategic way to go about things…
First of all, some honest talk. If you’re as aimless and clueless as the people you want to serve, just stop. You have no business doing this. Nothing personal. I seriously and wholeheartedly appreciate that you want to help people. It is noble. But, I’d be lying to you if I sat here and made you feel like it is going to be easy to start a online business in this niche if you don’t have something real you can deliver and the skills to do it. OK?
The hallmark of being able to do something legit in this market is to have something you deliver. An actual SYSTEM. A process to deliver the results you wish to deliver. You can’t just sell time on the phone with them, charge by the hour. So many people try to step into “coaching” like this and they have no idea what to do.
So, first, you need to decide WHO you serve and HOW you will serve them. I personally think you should sub-niche down into something more specific:
- Helping soloprenuers get out of their own way. In other words, personal development geared toward solopreneurs and business owners.
- Helping moms, caregivers with the tough parts of those jobs.
- Helping young people with the stresses of talking to the opposite sex, making friends, etc. In other words, helping their social anxieties.
- Sex therapy. Hey, its a real thing and there’s a lot of people out there with issues with their sex life.
- Getting out of various types of addictions or addictive behaviors, like social media addiction, porn addiction, alcoholism.
- Helping parents deal with their difficulties with their children.
In almost any angle I give you, your first reaction is that it might seem like a different niche – not personal development. And, yes! That’s my point. You ARE solving other, more concrete issues. It’s just that, by their very nature, you’re going to be addressing matters of what you might call “personal development”.
No matter what you do, you need to have devised a system by which you will help people with those issues. Don’t just charge people for “Coaching” and then get on the phone and wing it and play wannabe shrink. You’ve got to have some tools and some ways to do what you do. People should always be buying a solution, not you.
Another potential angle might be to create and sell shorter workshops on various topics. Build a brand (per above), then monetize by selling regular topical workshops. Record them every time and you build up a line that way.