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116 | Finding your expertise as a coach In fitness
We often hear coaches encourage people looking to build their business in the online health and fitness space to “ESTABLISH YOUR EXPERTISE.”
I teach and encourage this in my FitsPRO Foundations course.
I don’t think it’s wrong. But I do think it can feel unattainable. Or like “okay but how?” “Do I just pick something, and claim it as my expertise?”
No. And I’d argue most actual experts wouldn’t even call themselves an expert. Others give them that title.
We’ve got a few factors to discuss.
Before we get into HOW you actually establish your expertise, it’s important we talk about WHY this is important in the first place.
Do I consider myself an expert? No. Not in terms of having published literature or reaching millions with my work. Now, publishing literature, conducting research, and reaching millions ALONE does not equate to being an expert. But I do think a combination of these things can be helpful in building an expertise.
I could be wrong. Maybe my definition or view of “expert” is wrong. When I think of experts, I think of world renowned creators, entrepreneurs, or humans in general. I think of Shark Tank, Nicole Walters or Marie Forleo for entrepreneurship, I think of Grant Cardone for real estate and MONEY. And Chalene Johnson for all things social media marketing. I think of Mark Rippetoe, Charles Poloquin, and Joel Jamieson for the strength and conditioning, I think of John Goodman for online training. I am speaking specific to my field and specific people I have studied.
So when compared to these people, no, I am not an expert. Not in my mind.
I think of my and/or your “expertise” as your area of focus. Part of your niche. Rather your niche within your area of focus.
It’s important we determine this so that we can become the “go to” person for “x.”
When people hear pelvic floor, they think of you
Or macros, or mindset, or trail running, or weight loss, or hormone management, or movement patterns and lifting form, or flexible dieting, or pain management, or mobility.
I can personally think of 1-3 people for each of these areas of expertise. That’s the goal, but for you to be one of those humans.
This is your “lane” if you will. People come to you for “x.” Period. That doesn’t mean you can’t have multiple areas of focus, but we do want to clearly define them. For you, and your audience.
Okay? So we want to determine an area of focus or expertise so that you know what the heck you’re doing, and your audience knows what to expect from you.
Mind you, it took me 2.5 years of business to really nail down my “thing(s).” And I think that’s wildly important to point out. Maybe you find yours sooner. Or maybe you find it later. Perhaps you pivot along the way. That’s all well and good.
We have two main pieces of this puzzle to explore.
One is your passion.
What are you passionate about? What area does that passion fall into?
Speaking in broad spectrum, you can think of things like barbell training or kettle bell training, calisthenics. Or maybe you’re the calorie deficit person. Then we can go in the direction of conditions – so pre or postnatal, injury prevention or rehab, strength training for runners. Forgive me if I lean more towards training vs nutrition or wellness. Apply these ideas to whatever area you fall into!
I believe we all have unique interests and that even if 500 coaches are focused on weight loss or counting macros, they will each do with their own approach, and unique touch. So don’t be afraid to start off with that broad topic. For me, for example, I started with movement patterns and barbell training. While behind the scenes, and with my clients, programming was my specialty.
Getting your broad starting point simply helps give you SOME direction when starting out.
What certs do you need or want to get? What can we eliminate? Where can we begin moving forward?
I hope you can see how knowing this passion piece would help create clarity as you brainstorm content, and your overall messaging.
You don’t have to do it all. You don’t have to post or talk about mobility, and macros, and weight loss, and correct form, and mindset, and pain management.
Nor, in my opinion, should you.
Think about it – when someone comes to wherever you exist online – be it a website or IG, or pinterest, or twitter, or a FB group – it should not be difficult for that person to determine what it is that you do; what you talk about. It should be pretty easy for them to figure that out. Thus, let’s get you some clarity by starting with your PASSION.
Secondly we can look at philosophy and messaging.
What lights you up? What is a go and a no-go for you?
That can be within your modality of training or more so like the underlying mindset and approach you take.
For instance – for me, these are:
Performance goals > aesthetic goals
Process > end result
Long haul mentality
And client efficacy.
Under allllllll of my content and offers, the common thread is education and empowering my audience and clients to LEARN so that they may take ownership and enjoy their process.
That’s not specific to my “expertise” of programming or movement patterns. THIS is the picture I am trying to paint.
Within a brand, we have the area of focus or expertise, and then we have the tone and messaging within that area of expertise. Both are important for building a recognizable brand. Which I believe you want to do.
This piece of the puzzle is closely related to, or even pulled directly from, your brand values.
Loyalty, education, efficacy, transparency, hard work. You can *hopefully* see these babies come through my programs and my messaging with my areas of focus – being online health and fitness entrepreneurship, and strength and conditioning. If not, I’ve failed, in my opinion.
I also want to suggest that your passion or area of focus and the mindset therein, will likely be drawn from your personal experience as well. Not always. But It’s worth looking into. I know my focus on proper form, movement patterns and purposeful programing is rooted in my multiple injury and rehab experiences. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.
Maybe your area of focus draws from your personal experiences. Maybe not. Just throwing it out there for some exploration by you.
So, now I have some homework for you.
First off – remember that the only way to determine and/or find your area of focus is trial and error. Unless of course you have studied a specific topic in higher education and beyond.
Experience will be how you find these things – both passions, and philosophy. That’s how you’ll find what resonates with you, and lights you up. And THAT, is a lovely thing.
Second piece of homework – look at brands or people you would consider experts, and take note of how they show up. How do they establish their expertise? Why do you view them as the “go to” person for “x”? And please don’t limit this to health and fitness. This could span allll sorts of topics like fashion to blogging, to talking about loss, to divorce or relationship, to copy writing or linguistics. Experts span many fields, and they don’t all look the same.
In fact, one of my fav things about business is learning from and seeing people outside of my field – mainly on instagram.
So give that a go. Be an observer of experts and how they show up. Not so that you can mimic or copy them. But so that you can draw parallels between them and why you view these individuals as experts. And then of course how you can practice doing the same in your area of focus.
Best of luck to you!
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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.
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