You know (even if you have those moments of self doubt) that you offer a great service.

But somehow your ideal clients aren’t exactly beating down your door begging to sign up, or to offer you work.

Here are 5 reasons you may not have considered which are acting as barriers to buying, and, of course, what you could do about it.

No. 1 Not being (sufficiently) visible

No-one can hire you or buy your services if they don’t know that you exist. Or even if they saw a couple of posts from you once, but have since forgotten all about it.

Many of my clients tell me they hate ‘self-promotion’. In fact, one collective member recently said,

‘I am as horrified by self promotion on Linked in as I would be by walking into a room full of strangers and potential employers and shouting out my achievements.’

I wouldn’t want to do that either! But we need to consider what the purpose of posting on social media is. It’s not about showing off- that’s unlikely to get us clients. Rather, it’s about making sure that people know how we can help them, and why we might be exactly what they’ve been looking for.

And they won’t know if we don’t tell them.

Which means we can’t help them. So, rather than self-promotion, look at it as providing useful information for those who want it. Those who don’t can just scroll on by.

No. 2 Confusion

Are people really clear about what it is that you offer?

It’s all too easy to make assumptions about this, and assume it’s obvious. But just because WE know, doesn’t mean everyone else does.

Go and look at your social media profiles again and try and see them through the eyes of a stranger. Do they unambiguously tell people:

  • Who you help?
  • What you help them with?
  • How you help them?

If you’re clear about these things, that’s a great start. You just need to make sure you say it clearly, often and everywhere.

On the other hand, if you’re NOT clear about these things, that brings us to a whole other issue… niche.

No. 3 No clear niche

A niche is a way of describing the specific people you help, what you help them with and how.

People often think it’s something like ‘IELTS preparation’, but, in my experience, that’s still much too broad.

Think about all the different kinds of people who take IELTS for different reasons. To be effective, your marketing needs to speak directly to people, and show them that you really understand them, and their needs and wants. You can’t do that if you’re trying to talk to everyone. Instead your message gets wishy washy and watered down, and you end up not really speaking to anyone.

Niching doesn’t mean you can only take a particular kind of client or work, but it does mean focusing your marketing much more precisely.

No. 4 Lack of trust

You may know that the service you offer is exceptional (I hope you do), but how do you expect other people to know this? Working with you may just feel too risky. So, what can you do to put people’s minds at rest?

1. Putting out regular posts on social media, which demonstrate that you know what you’re doing/know what you’re talking about. Want students to recognise that you understand a particular exam inside and out? Give them some great tips.

2. Professional looking posts and profiles. Branding is important. You don’t necessarily have to pay for professional branding, especially when you’re just starting out, but having a smart look and consistent colours will go quite a long way to reassure people.

3. Testimonials. If you can get people who’ve worked with you before to describe what their problems or aspirations were and how you helped solve or achieve them, in a way which allows potential clients to see how you could help them, you’ll build a lot more credibility.

No. 5 No CTA (or too many CTAs).

A CTA is a call to action. These don’t have to be sales-based- you can ask people to comment, or save the post and so on. But all too often I see people posting lovely engaging interesting posts week after week, and entirely failing to mention that they are actually a business and have something to offer.

People just assume they’re a lovely kind-hearted person (they probably are) who wants to share stuff for free.

If you have something to offer, tell people about it, and make it easy for them to take the next step.N.B. Too many CTAs in one post can also be a barrier, as people may feel unsure what to do and quickly give up.

Click the image below to download my free guide with 20 CTAs you could use to give your posts more impact, and reduce barriers to buying.

20 cta ideas- earn learn thrive


If you’re an ELT freelancer/business owner you may feel a bit overwhelmed by all the business advice out there…

Should you start a podcast or a YouTube channel, a mailing list, a membership? Is it a good idea to keep things as simple as possible, or should you be looking to diversify? What does scaling even mean, anyway?!

Would you like some clear step by step advice tailored to your stage of business? 

Look no further. Click the image to answer six simple questions and I’ll send you a detailed PDF game plan for your next steps.