“I’ve got three business interests,” Sally said. “For one, I hold leadership workshops with Fortune 500 companies. Some women in those workshops have started asking me if I’d work with them one-on-one for coaching.
“And I’ve go another topic that’s related to personal growth and spirituality. So …
“How do I set up my new website? And do I have to give up one business area?”
Sally clearly seems to enjoy all three. There doesn’t seem to be a conflict between serving executive women and working for corporations.
In fact, she’s got the potential for a strong story. She can show how her workshops add credibility to her one-to-one coaching, and she thoroughly understands the role of those who attend. And she can demonstrate that working one-on-one helps her reach participants more effectively in the workshops.
Her clients will most likely tell the story, “I heard Sally speak at an event with my company. I knew my company had already vetted her credentials: they’re very fussy about who they bring in. Sally seemed to read my mind when she talked about challenges facing women like me. She impressed me so much, I just had to hire her!
The issues seem to be …
… possible conflict of interest: she consults with IBM and then an IBM executive seeks help from her one-to-one. Now she’s the advocate for her coaching client and she has to be careful how much she says to her private client and her corporate client.
… time to maintain two websites (which is not a big deal once they’re set up — and since she’s a going concern, she can pay someone to do the tech, graphics and copywriting;
… allocation of time for marketing and serving the clients, i.e., will Sally spend a day preparing an offer for the spiritual clients who bring in less money vs. the other targets who are more lucrative.
… how to use social media, because you’re limited to one account and one profile; some people ignore the rule, but that’s Sally’s decision.
… possibility of image conflict, i.e., the Fortune 500 firms see Sally’s site on archetypes and thinks, “Is she too flaky and anti-corporate?”
Synergies can take you by surprise.
Sally assumes the corporate women will be skeptical when she talks about her archetypes and spirituality. But the executive women might be responsive, especially after Sally gets to know them. I know a very successful corporate lawyer who regularly consults with psychics; another corporate lawyer told me her male colleague keeps crystals on his desk.
I’ve experienced something similar. My first website and business was MidlifeCareerStrategy.com; I don’t market the career site but still get clients.
The potential for conflict seems to be a non-event. Marketing coaches tend to be concerned, but most clients don’t really care.
Today we’re seeing a greater tolerance of information businesses and authors with diverse interests.
Tim Ferriss is an extreme example, writing about fitness, cooking, and of course working with ridiculous efficiency. Arlie Hochschild has written nonfiction about emotional labor, family dynamics and most recently, the impact of rural America on the recent election. Chris Guillebeau’s blog is targeted simply to “remarkable people.” One successful copywriter set up a blog about writing, business and life.
The reality is, most people evolve in their businesses. Their stories tend to be non-linear and heavily influenced by serendipitous events. They start side hustles to get new energy for their main businesses.
One business owner used to refuse affiliate opportunities that involved mindset or personal growth. “My audience won’t buy,” she insisted, as she promoted business and marketing products and services.
But one day I noticed she was promoting a workshop on attitude … and then produced a lead magnet on entrepreneurial mindset. She had broadened her scope, instinctively following her audience’s growth.
Your challenge is to gather your diverse interests into an authentic story …and prepare to be surprised when you realize your audience accepts and even cherishes your complexity.
If you’d like to discuss your own path, let’s set up a consultation. We can talk about the direction of your business — and the story-centered content you can create as you make the pivot. Click here to get started.