Any one who offers sensible advice about Internet Marketing will stress the importance of finding your niche. The tighter the niche, the easier it is to dominate, to have your voice heard.
Eben Pagan (well worth following on blog and/or Twitter) talks about 3 mega niches – health, relationships and money – for making money online. In some ways Personal Development cuts across all three. In itself, Personal Development is a huge niche, and if you are going after it, it’s a good idea to narrow things down considerably (what aspect of Personal Development, and who are you aiming at in terms of things like gender, age, interests, problems/issues?)
My good friend Martin Avis, publisher of the excellent, zero cost e-newsletter, Kickstart, had this to say about Personal Development in the latest issue of Kickstart.
Personal development training is a huge industry that has its roots in thousands of years old religious writing. Ever since humans came together in societies, there has been a yearning among many to improve our lot in life, to achieve bigger success and to live as better, more organized, more efficient people.
It was only really at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries that the whole self-improvement movement really started to take off.
Early pioneers of what we have now come to know as best-selling life coach courses, such as Napoleon Hill and Dale Carnegie paved the way for a massive explosion of personal growth experts and motivational speakers to emerge – and greatly change the way that 21st century thinking has developed.
It is no longer thought of as strange or maverick to want to improve your life. Tony Robbins told us how to unlock the giant within us all. All we have to do is follow the instructions.
An entire new language of personal development training emerged -Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP for short) has merged the sometimes woolly self help advice that early writers published with hard-hitting, proven psychological principles. It is no longer enough to simply repeat affirmations to bring about change in your life – NLP gives you powerful tools to reprogram your mind away from the things that are holding you back and into patterns that will almost force you to succeed.
Personal development training, as we now know it, really got started with the publication of a book called ‘As a Man Thinketh’ in 1902, by an English writer called James Allen. He told his readers that you don’t necessarily get what you want in life, but you do tend to get the things that you most consistently think about.
At the time, that was a revolutionary idea: that we are in control of our own destiny and that our way of thinking can change our way of being. It became a bestseller and still gets much critical acclaim more than 100 years later.
The people who most took the message, that success comes from thinking successful thoughts, to heart were publishers. They saw the future and the future was personal development training!
Nobody knows how many self-help books have been published in the 110 years since, but the best seller lists always have several high in the charts.
It is estimated that over half a billion copies of self improvement books have been sold, and the real total may be even higher. Type ‘self help books’ into Amazon and they’ll present you with almost 105,000 to choose from. And with the current ebook explosion in full force, the personal development industry is growing even faster than ever before.
Does the vast array of books, courses, CDs, tapes and DVDs that characterize the personal growth market suggest that it is all hot air: castles of hope built on shifting sands?
I don’t think so. It seems to me that the hope that we can change our lot in life, the promise that a few simple actions will turn our circumstances around and the idea that we only have to follow the advice of a few charismatic trainers who have discovered the secret is what personal development training is all about. Yes, it is selling dreams, but dreams can come true.
And it is so much better to live with dreams that can come true than to merely exist without them.