Earlier this year I blogged about the growth of the self-improvement industry. By self-improvement I’m talking about helping people to improve physically, mentally, financially and spiritually. As you know I take a holistic approach to prosperity and well-being. I believe that every individual has the ability to prosper and reap abundance in this world, but to prosper you need to keep growing in all of these areas – physically, mentally, financially and spiritually. However some companies operating in self-improvement just service ‘segments’. For example weight loss clinics specialise in helping people lose weight. Personally I question the effectiveness of that. Many people emotionally eat because they have not dealt with past hurts, and need to mend spiritually and mentally before they can get on top of their weight. However the self-improvement industry encompasses all of these areas (physical, mental, financial and spiritual). According to the latest research the self-improvement industry in the US is worth $11 billion. I have been encouraging people to think seriously about entering this growing industry as a life coach, motivational speaker or author as more leaders are needed.
I have tried very hard to find out how much the self-improvement industry is worth in Australia, but I’ve not yet been able to find a figure. I did uncover some figures on segments of the industry. For example 17% of Australians seek financial advice on prospering while the weight loss industry in Australia is worth $600 million annually. In Britain the self-improvement industry is valued at more than £500 million, including £60 million in self-help book sales. Again, I say to you, if you have changed your life, why not change the lives of others? If over the years you have invested in making yourself a better person, why not share the techniques that worked for you with other people?
Another interesting fact about the self-improvement industry is that it defies economic trends. In fact it often expands when the economy is shrinking. Self-improvement book sales boomed in the US during the 1970s downturn. When times are tough or uncertain, people are more prepared to invest in improving themselves. These are uncertain times. We are being told that more and more jobs are going to be automated – more workers are going to be replaced by robots. Many people feel that they have to get stronger and better to keep their job or find a new position, consequently they are looking for ways to grow. You know that I do not share this outlook. I believe that everyone has the ability to prosper, yet the reality is that uncertainty prompts people to improve their lives.
The US self-help industry is growing rapidly, somewhere between 5 to 10% a year. Marketdata Enterprise forecasts 6.1% average annual growth a year for the next decade. Live training seminars in America are a $400-500 million business. Around 24 million Americans listen to audio books, valued at about $2.5 billion.
Helping people improve their lives is an established and reputable industry. The start of the self-improvement movement has been dated back to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s 1841 essay Compensation, in which he argued that each person is compensated in like manner for that which he or she contributes to society. In 1848 Benjamin Franklin released the booklet The Way to Wealth. Ten years later the Scottish social reformer, Samuel Smiles published the book Self-Help. The first mega-sellers were Dale Carnegie’s books How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936) and How to Stop Worrying and Start Living (1948). I am proud to have contributed to this industry. My first book, Wake up and Dream, sold 400,000 copies.
But the industry is changing. In 2008 Americans spent $10 billion on self-improvement books, seminars, coaching and programs, but since then the hard-copy book market has shrunk by 50%, because e-books, online videos, APPs and websites have grown in popularity. This is good news. It is much cheaper for a new author to produce an e-book than a hard copy book. Writing and publishing books has never been easier or more affordable in Australia. I am pleased that the self-help industry has embraced technology. I’m an old codger, but I’ve got into webinars. I love being able to speak to people face-to-face through the internet and motivate and encourage them.
Another trend in America, according to the Qualified Self movement, is a more holistic approach to self-improvement. More products are appearing in the US (e-books, online seminars, Apps) that focus on improving the individual’s mental, emotional, spiritual, relationship, physical and financial wellbeing. From the beginning of my career I’ve understood that these are all linked.
This week I also blogged about startup businesses. Startup businesses are companies that are usually tech-based; hence they can attract customers around the world. They are also financed differently to traditional small business. Because the startups expand so rapidly, they attract venture capitalists – entrepreneurs who invest and have input into how the business is managed. According to the US Tech Crunch website, American venture capitalists have invested $200 million into products that help people grow, mainly apps. In the US there are 100 self-improvement apps. In Australia venture capitalists have not yet invested strongly in helping people prosper, but I know that eventually they will see the light and be willing to put their money into startup companies geared towards helping people grow and prosper. The question is: who are the people that will pioneer these products. Will it be you? Startup companies tap into large global markets and the startup business model has proven to be highly successful. Think also about how many people have mobile devices, and apps are affordable and easily available. I guarantee that in a few years this market will be worth much more than $11 billion!
ABOUT PAT MESITI
Pat Mesiti is a best-selling author, coach and educator in the area of personal development. Having built some of Australia’s largest people-driven organisations, Pat understands the power of harnessing human potential. He has shared the stage with some of the world’s great business minds and has sold over millions of copies of his books and materials.