It never gets old. When I start working with a new client and ask them to decide on their niche, the look of their faces and the sound of their voices always look a bit like each other. You see, when people try to sell what they do and their customers don’t come to them, it’s not uncommon to panic at the thought of turning off a huge portion of the market and specializing. To some, this seems literally absurd. But for those who have been bitten by a bullet, go with it and step into a zone of discomfort (where all the big changes are happening!) It can be a complete change of game.
You're probably thinking, "How come?" Often people try to bring in customers and maintain a constant level of sales, service providers (thinking that coaches, counselors, therapists and so on) fall into a dangerous trap by offering what a potential customer wants to buy. They become everything to everyone and thus actually become nothing to everyone. Think of this as follows: if you are a business coach and only work with service business start-ups, between the ages of 20 and 25 in the United States and the UK, you can very easily go to your Facebook or LinkedIn profile and look for just those people. If you’re a business coach and you’re going to work with absolutely anyone who will pay you an hourly rate to put food on your table, the answer to the question of where to start can be an absolute minefield (and a total guessing game).
So how do you decide what your niche is and, more importantly, how will this benefit you?
Deciding on a niche can be a challenge for anyone, and it is often even more difficult for those who spend more time doing their job and doing things the way they have always done. However, there are ways to help you narrow it down and make a decision. Ask yourself:
Is there a particular industry, topic, or individual that particularly interests me and do I have experience in providing assistance? You may realize that, for example, you have worked with a lot of doctors or accountants and that you actually know a lot about individuals in those particular professions.
What skill set do you have to help this person or target audience you previously identified and how would you do it? Do you have examples of your previous work and success or maybe some testimonials?
What keeps this person awake at night and how could you help her solve this challenge?
By answering just these few questions above about who your niche might be and how you could help address the challenges they face, you will better understand your target market.
Next, how do you publicize your niche? You know what services you offer, but it doesn’t help you stand out in the market, nor does it help you find a closed audience. If you write generic content, then it won't actually resonate with anyone, and you certainly won't find people who think, "Wow, this sounds like me." If, for example, you are a digital salesperson who decides that your niche accountants are struggling to create new customers and feel stuck at the same level of income, you can write content that literally says so. They will read it and then feel the need to contact you. In my experience, you’ll stand out a lot more than a generic digital service vendor that offers all the standard services to absolutely anyone who wants to pay the price.
When you decide on your niche, your content becomes appealing to the right audience. And don’t forget: if it doesn’t work out exactly as you imagined, you can always choose another niche. You do not have to dedicate yourself to the chosen niche for the rest of your life.