by John LaRosa (USA)
Personal development or self-improvement is big business in the United States—estimated to be worth just under $10 billion per year. This fragmented ‘industry’ is comprised of motivational speakers, seminars, books, audiobooks, holistic institutes, websites, apps, and various training organisations. These providers seek to help us improve our physical and spiritual well-being, our work skills, our relationships and our finances—for a fee.
The industry has no unifying trade association, or annual conference/expo, or even a trade magazine. Rather, it’s mostly a collection of individuals and privately-owned companies. Therein lies the challenge for the analyst—how to obtain accurate and timely information from experts and gurus that shun interviews, and are very competitive and paranoid about letting their competitors know what they are doing. Some companies are public and have annual reports, 10Ks, Franchise Disclosure Documents, and press releases, but not many. I have been coping with this challenge since we began tracking the market in 1994.
I have not seen any official data or reports regarding the size and composition of the market outside of the United States, other than some global data about coaching produced by the International Coach Federation. Clearly, more research is needed.