Give Me As Long As It Takes To Read This Post and I Will Show You How To Sell Your Widget


You will fail.

What’s the first thing you need to think about as an entrepreneur?

Hint: it’s what most entrepreneurs think about last and it’s why they fail.

20% of businesses fail within their first year and half of all businesses fail within 5 years. Those statistics have stayed stable for several decades and there are a few reasons why.

But I’m going to tell you one of the most important reasons right now.

They don’t know their market.

They don’t know WHO they are creating their business for.

‘Golfers’ is not a market. ‘People between the ages of 18 – 35’ is not a market. Those parameters are too general, too vague. That information is not enough for you to build products that people want and need.

Now my market is coaches, trainers and speakers. And this blog post can be general as hell because I’m not selling anything. I’m giving out free information for anyone who’s interested.

But I have a range of products geared toward a very specific type of coach with a very specific set of criteria. I’ve been following the same principles of marketing for 25+ years. And when I create and market a new product or service I know exactly who I’m creating it for and I go to them first.

You need to know who you are talking to and selling to before you know anything else.

People come to me all the time and say, “Alex, I have a great idea for a product.” I put up my hand and say, “before you tell me your great idea, tell me who it’s for, and I will tell you if it will be a success or not.”

This usually shuts them up. Why? Because they haven’t spent any time at all discovering their market. They don’t know who they’ll be selling their great idea to, so how do they know who’s going to buy it or where to start selling it?

You can’t be everything to everyone. You can’t even be something to everyone.

You have to be a specific thing to a specific type of person in order for your business to first grow and then be successful.

Successful businesses have the advantage of getting to be more generalized in their approach, especially if they have high visibility. Think Coke. Or the Impossible Burger.

But when you are starting out you need a base and you have to know this base like you know you’re family. These are the people who will support you, sing your praises, refer others and keep coming back for more.

There are three fundamental areas of focus for any business:

  1. Your Message
  2. Your Media
  3. Your Market

As an entrepreneur you have to focus on those three fundamentals in order to be successful. The first two are pretty easy to figure out.

Your Message – is why you got into business; why you became a coach or entrepreneur; it’s also your product: a webinar is your message; a retreat is your message; your book is your message.

Your Media – is how you’re going to deliver your message: social media, Facebook Live, your YouTube channel; it’s also ads, interviews, guest appearances, affiliates, face-to-face, word-of-mouth, etc.

Your Market – is who you’re going to deliver your message to.

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Working firsthand with coaches and trainers I can tell you this third area is where people spend the least amount of time doing research.

They have a powerful experience which becomes their message. They write a book about their powerful experience. And then…nothing. Crickets. Why?

They did not take the time to research who that book would speak to with the greatest impact and then target their media toward that niche market.

If you have a powerful message, and want to have the greatest impact — You need to know WHO your Ideal Market is.  That’s where your Ideal Customer is… and they’re waiting to hear from you. 

Click Here to Get Clear on WHO IS your Ideal Market >>


There are a lot of reasons why businesses fail so frequently within the first 5 years of life, but I will tell you from experience that I see entrepreneurs go into the marketplace with all kinds of great ideas. And they have no clue who that great idea is for.

Not knowing your market contributes massively to the failure of entrepreneurs.

Wildly successful entrepreneurs start with the market.

Any hunter will tell you if you don’t have the skill to hit your target you’re going to go home hungry. You have to have a target to hit.

Don’t start with the instrument you will hit that target with. Don’t start with why you will hit it. Start with learning how to hit that target.

So how do you do that? Where do you aim? And what do you ask????

Know Thy Avatar

You start by getting to know who you will be creating products for, speaking to and helping with your message. And you start with your most loyal customers or clients first. Your Ideal Customer or avatar. An avatar is a 2 dimensional representation of your ideal customer.

You can’t really start to do your research until you’ve sold a few widgets and worked with a few clients. Once you’ve got that under your belt you can start to see patterns in your clientele. That’s what you want to look for and record.

So you start with people you’ve already sold to as well as people you work with as a coach or trainer.

And if you’re a newbie and don’t have any clients yet, start with yourself. Use yourself as the template for your market.

Ok, now what?

Now it’s time to start your research. And, btw, this is research you will continue to do for the whole life of your business. You never stop researching the people you’re selling to and inspiring.


Because your market will change. It will evolve.

People will leave, the demographic will grow older, etc. So every now and then you have to check in and see what’s different and how to speak to those differences and changes.

But where do you start?

Well, I start with a worksheet I created many years ago that helps me record and track those criteria and changes. I call it my Customer Avatar Worksheet because I’m creative.

The first thing I start with is the basics: age, gender, ethnicity, marital status, etc. Basic info that starts to give me an idea of a person.

Then I focus of three unlikely areas:

  • Aspirations
  • Affiliations
  • Attributes

Aspirations –

What are their goals, dreams, desires? What inspires them? This is important because with this information you can create products that help them.

One of the ways I gather info on my clients is an Intake interview and an Assessment deep dive into their lives. What’s working? What’s not? When I know that I create a program for them to address their specific issues and overcome them.

I can’t create programs or products for people I don’t know anything about. An assessment is a perfect way for me to get to know people. Then I take that info and plug it into a larger avatar template.

Affiliations –

Where do my clients hang out? Who do they associate with? What do they read, listen to, watch? When I know this info I know where and how to market my products.

Are your clients (market) bookworms? Do they spend time on YouTube? Are they DIYers? Do they prefer how-to manuals?

When you know this info you know how and where to penetrate your market.

Attributes –

What is my ideal customer’s attributes? How old is she? Is she married, or single? Is it a ‘she’ or maybe a ‘he’? What do they do for a living? Do they have kids?

This is all the personal stuff. This stuff is important because you want to know how to talk to them. For instance, say you’re a personal coach and your client comes to you wanting a better relationship with their kids.

So you write an e-Course called Developing Strong Relationships with Your Kids.

But what if most of your loyal client base doesn’t have kids?

Then you would not want to make the mistake of testing that product on that part of your market. Riiiiiight?

Correct. You would want to know your market enough to develop a strategy to talk directly with the part of your market that has kids. But you’d have to know that in order to develop the marketing strategy.

Aspirations, affiliations and attributes are only 3 areas I focus on when I do market research. I have 8 other areas I research for my customer avatar worksheet. And when you put all that information together you get a specific and clear picture of your target market.

The Purpose of An Avatar

Doing this work is what separates great products from products. A ‘great’ product is a product that people didn’t know they wanted or needed. But you know they did because you did your research.

A ‘great’ product is a product that someone needs and uses.

There are millions, maybe even billions of products on the market these days. But few of them ever get seen or bought or used. Why? Because the entrepreneurs creating and selling those products didn’t ask their market what they want.

What’s the point of doing all this work? Why research and record so much information on your ideal client? So you can sell them products and services they need.

There is a unique blend of marrying your desires and goals as an entrepreneur with the desires and needs of your market.

Yes, you got into business for yourself because of your message: what you want to say to people; how you want to impact the world.

But you have to balance your desires and enthusiasm with what your market wants and needs.

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An Accidental Hero

YouTube has emerged as the ideal platform for market research. And it is giving birth to a brand new generation of entrepreneurs. The most successful people on YouTube are people who listen to what their followers are asking for.

Successful YouTubers have an ongoing conversation with their fans and followers.

“Hey do you guys want to see more content like this? Leave a comment below.”

“Have you guys ever gone through something like this? Let me know below!”

These are examples of how successful YouTubers interact with their market. And followers are not a mute bunch of sheep. They’re Lol’ing, All Capping and tapping their opinions, desires, likes and dislikes all day looooooong.

There is no more pure example of entrepreneurialism at work than YouTube. If you want to be successful on YT you WILL interact with your market or you will die. Period.

Be like YouTube.

Talk to your market. And then…listen.

The Wrap Up

It’s not enough to wake up with the ‘greatest idea known to mankind.’ You have to find out if that idea will sell. You can’t ignore that research. You have to do the work to get to know your market, your followers, your loyal customers and clients.

When you know your base, your base will reward you with supporting your ‘great ideas’ by buying your products and becoming evangelicals of your brand.

When you reward them with products and services that they need, they will reward you back.

But what do you ask? How do you start? What are the questions?

Do you want to know the 8 other areas of research I do for my market and exactly what questions to ask?

Would you like to see who my ideal customer avatar is? She has a name, Coach Carla, and you can meet her.

If you would like a template that shows you what to ask your market, point by point, click here to download my Customer Avatar Worksheet. Start the critical work to understand your market and grow your success right now.

Have you done your research? What’s the most surprising fact about your ideal customer? LMK below! 😉 See what I did there?

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