Sometimes, you just have to be blunt as a spoon. Tell it like it is. Even if it might hurt a little.
And to be honest, sometimes I feel I have to do that with some of my subscribers who are thinking of going into personal development blogging.
Some of the most difficult cases to deal with are people looking to enter (or who already have) the niche of personal development. Not because they’re difficult people. They’re not! They’re great people! But, the problem is that they have no real direction and nothing but a general desire to help people (and make money doing it, of course).
It is tough, too. When I see somebody tell me they want to help people and want to build a business making a few thousand per month… but they are wanting to start a site talking about stuff like:
- Self help
What I find most of the time is that it is the people who are still trying to figure out their own path through life who are most likely to want to start a blog to show others how to find their own path in life.
It is just a wee bit circular. 🙂 The blind leading the blind.
But, even more importantly to their stated goal… it just won’t work.
How does one even go about creating an online business around mindfulness? Or inspiration? What the heck will you put on there? Motivational quotes? How’s that going to pay the bills?
Personal development is not a market. It is too broad. It is like saying your niche is life.
People search for problems they wish to solve. They will pay money for problems they wish to solve. For it to be a problem, it needs to be concrete and real to them.
Do people go to Google and search for “how to help myself” or “how to get inspired”? I can say this… if they do, that person is way too aimless to buy anything to solve it anyway.
No, when people are looking to solve problems, the problems they wish to solve are usually more concrete and specific.
I’m not saying there aren’t people out there looking for true self help. There are. But, let’s look at what usually happens there…
- They medicate themselves. This is highly unfortunate because I think mind-altering drugs are just horrible things to do to yourself or others. However, the reason it happens is because they don’t know what else to do and that pill is concrete and specific.
- They latch onto a big personality. Some people really do have such a strong personality and brand that they can make an impact in more general self help. Think Tony Robbins. And even he has pretty specific things he does, with specific offers.
- They seek something more specific. Some problems might, by nature, find themselves in the realm of personal development. But, the thing that brought them in in the first place is more specific. Like quitting smoking, or losing weight, or overcoming confidence issues at work. Regardless of what it is, the outcome is specific and known in advance.
But, for the average person looking to start up a blog and make a real business out of it, just coming in there with a general sense of trying to help people feel better just isn’t enough. It needs more meat on the bone than that.
So, here’s my recommendations for anybody thinking about a personal development blog…
Seriously, just park that idea. It had the best of intentions, but it isn’t likely going to get you where you wanna be.
Instead, fine tune that idea to something more concrete and specific. Remember, many of those personal development things come into play in the context of something far more concrete. You see personal development stuff in the world of entrepreneurs all the time, for instance. But, let’s face it… they’re thinking about that stuff in the context of making more money. The money is more specific. They had real business concerns. In the mix of that, then people might get into some more personal improvement type stuff.
So, by “concrete and specific”, I mean that you need to be helping people solve a problem that they can see and feel, that is REAL to them, and that they want to do something about. Can you picture them going to Google and looking for it?
And, if you’re in a position where you’ve racked your brain and you can’t think of any way that you’d be able to help somebody using your own skills or knowledge, well… you can always explore affiliate marketing as a business model. It is actually a great fallback, in many cases.