A recent conversation with a friend made me realize it’s time for me to tackle the biggest announcement I’ve made in my business in a long time. Read on for a little context, history, and some vulnerability about where I am and where I’m headed.
When I began working with my first coaching client at the beginning of 2020, I couldn’t have told you what my niche was or who my ideal coaching client was. I knew all of those answers for my virtual assistant (VA) business, of course, since that business had been going strong for a couple of years. But I think it’s fairly common to begin a business like coaching or freelancing or working as a VA and to not actually know, or at least not articulate, who your ideal client is. (And the truth is that sometimes, for some of us we actually have MULTIPLE ideal clients – and while that’s hard to manage as a business owner, it’s the truth for some of us multi-passionate folks!)
This uncertainty or lack of clarity in our marketing tends to happen for two reasons – we’re either living in a scarcity mindset, feeling we need to take every potential offer that comes our way if we want to survive in this business, or we honestly just haven’t done enough work in our chosen field to have made a decision about who we serve best and who we actually want to serve in our work. (And quite often, both of those things are true, to one degree or another!)
But if you know anything about marketing or have ever started your own business or project, you’re probably familiar with the compelling reasons to consider clearly defining your niche. As I began adding mental fitness training and Enneagram work into my business, I had multiple coaches encouraging me to get more specific with my niche so that other people knew who to refer to me and so that I could be a more unique presence, and even a thought leader in the world.
As I looked back at the clients I’d had to date, I started to realize there were a few patterns in who I tended to work with:
- Women in their late twenties to early fifties (with exceptions occasionally on either end, and the occasional compassionate man or non-binary client in the mix)
- People with a creative interest, hobby, or business that they’re passionate about
- Neurodivergence is common (ADHD, highly sensitive, autistic etc.) though they often weren’t aware until adulthood
- Spiritual or spiritually curious in some way (nearly always)
- Childfree (meaning they don’t have any children)
The truth is, we get to decide who we want to work with! And it’s never too late to reinvent ourselves. But when I looked at who I’d attracted as clients to date, ALL of them people I’d really enjoyed working with, I realized that there was wisdom to be had there. And while I am truly open to working with ANY client who resonates with who I am, what I believe in, and what I am called to offer the world, I realized that one of my most particular gifts (and privileges) stems from the fact that I am childfree.
When I use the word childfree, it means someone doesn’t have any children. For me, and for many of us in the world, it’s a great neutral term for people who don’t have any children. Just like dairy-free means without dairy, I don’t have any kids.
There are many ways people self-identify. I don’t choose the word childless, because in my experience, I associate that word with those who, for one reason or another, were not or are not able to have children. While I have a lot in common with those people, given my lifestyle, I am personally “childfree by choice”, meaning I’ve had the privilege of choosing a life that does not involve having or raising a child.
So in the category of childfree, I’d personally include both “childless” people as well as “childfree by choice” people. We all have a lot in common, because we’re able to plan our schedules and set our goals without needing to consider any of the complex needs of children in the equation. We may also have other experiences and concerns in common, like worrying about who will care for us as we age, for instance.
So while I don’t personally know the pain of a person who desperately wanted to have children and couldn’t, I have a lot in common with them, and I am able to bond with them and other childfree women in a lot of areas.
What’s controversial about the word childfree? Well, some people have a hard time when I talk about being childfree. Heck, some people have a hard time when anyone talks about being childfree. Just as people get up in arms about critical race theory or or drag story hour, there are a lot of parents and people more generally who take offense when people talk about their childfree life.
Just a quick scroll through social media shows me gems like this:
“So sad when a woman doesn’t have children to call her own. Lonely life.”
The truth is that our society (and most of them around the world) is built on the assumption that we will be parents, and we will raise children. (Incidentally, it also tells us children will fulfill us and make us happy – and that is just as flawed an assumption!) And because we’re not taught to discern the thoughts we’ve internalized and made autopilot that we’ve inherited from our caregivers and society, many of us don’t even question the assumptions that we’ll have children until we’ve already had them – wild to think about, isn’t it?
Learning to question the assumptions our society makes and that we’ve probably inherited about child rearing is one of the steps toward becoming a wiser, more nuanced, more thoughtful version of ourselves. As we do the work to learn to pause and reflect before doing or saying or getting caught in a thought/panic/emotional spiral because of a particular trigger, we learn to live less from our personality, which is made up of the layers of ways we’ve learned to interact with the world, and more from our sage, wise, internal knowing – that being we’ve been ever since we were born, and that intuitive, creative, intelligent soul that we tap into when we’re meditating or otherwise in a state of “flow”.
I’m childfree. I coach childfree women. I also coach people with grown children, and people with children. But since most of the people who are drawn to my work and who reach out to me are childfree, I’m not going to shy away from sharing that part of my life with you. After all, being a traveler and adventurer, creating a life I love, and helping others to do the same, has been a much easier and natural road for me because I am childfree.
If you’re going through a transition, struggling to overcome anxiety or overwhelm, feeling like you “should” be happier but aren’t, or are ready for the next step in life and wanting some help to get clear on your next life or career choices, I’d be honored to speak with you. Even if you don’t have a clue what you’re looking for but this resonates, let’s talk.
And if you know someone, perhaps someone childfree or whose kids have left home, who might enjoy reading this or speaking with me, I’d be honored if you’d connect me with them.
Just grab a spot on my calendar if you’d like a gift from me – an hour of my time where I can help you to gain clarity on what’s next. Zero cost or obligation. Thank you for reading. Let’s connect.
P.S. If you’re childfree, I’d love to hear what resonates from this message. And if you’re not, do you have any more questions for me? Don’t hesitate to share them too.