Sunday, September 30, 2012

What’s A Viable Niche Market?

I laughed yesterday when Larissa, an AT teacher in Canada commented that she was interested in her students, but not as much as I encouraged in yesterday’s FaceBook post! But interest in others is related to interest in you, and this in turn relates to the power of teaching into a niche market. What makes a niche market viable for you?

Well, it starts with being fascinated by the hobbies, skills and interests of your students! Of course that’s easy when they are doing something you love. So harness your passion to their passion and you have the first ingredient - your passion is onside. Next you need to check this: are there sufficient people geographically close enough to come to you for sessions? | How do you figure that out? Well, there’s a formula that’s pretty accurate…

I got reminded of this formula from an exchange with Martin, a new AT teacher in Australia. He’s just starting out, wondering how to make a business work, and I realized how it helps to have some math to lean on…

The formula for figuring out your niche’s profitability is based on the Pareto principle, named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who observed in 1906 that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. In BodyChance we have seen this 80/20 phenomenon in another way - of every 100 people who visit our studio, 20 sign up as members (and 4 go on to become teachers = 20% See?)

So with no other basis to go on, this is a time-proven - but slightly wobbly - basis to plan your teaching success. I’ll assume you’ve already decided your niche - if that is not true for you, I’ll address that in another post. What are the total number of people that are in your niche? (If you need help with that, let me know.)

Now, assume that only 20% of the whole niche is yours to enroll. So if your niche has 15,000 people in your local area, only 3,000 of them would ever take sessions with you. 1% of these (30 people) will be easy to enroll – a website, some well-placed flyers and networking will draw them out. This kicks off your cash flow. The next 4% (120 people) are harder, and you will need to be outgoing to capture them. Together this 5% gives you essential survival, for a period at least.

However, real, sustainable career success is in that final 15% and that’s where your real work is. Think of a reluctant lover: (s)he needs a lot of persuading, but feels charmed to be wooed. You will need all your marketing and selling tools to bring them on board – USP, CTA, websiteS, social media, “stick” strategies, multiple lead generation streams, high CTR, tempting optins, landing pages, squeeze pages, sales pages: the methods are many. None hard to do - but you need strong, conscious intent.

Most AT teachers, in my reckoning, capture that first 5% and then give up. They continue their old job, or take another one, instead of taking on the 15% where a successful career lives.

So how do you capture that 15%?

No single simple answer to that (see my list above) but here’s one essential task to get you started… Alexander’s concepts are universal – you will find them in any skillful behaviour. Once you’ve determined that your niche percentages stack up – i.e. this is a genuine business opportunity - make a list of all the jargon, slang, meaningful stories and folklore that exist in your niche. If you don’t know this, it’s essential homework!

Put all the key concepts into a list, then alongside that list, mark next to each the corresponding Alexander concept. This is the beginning of communicating with your niche. Start with that. From now on, use their words in your marketing materials, NOT AT words. Get it?

Love to hear if anyone's doing this already, or tried my exercise: please share. It encourages me to go on.


  1. Hi Jeremy,

    true, people find it very funny when AT is explained in their terms. They can remember it better and therefore apply it better.

    Thank you for your thoughts. Refined mine.

    Best, Daniel

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