The fastest way to grow your business as a coach, consultant or creative-service provider is to niche down. Let’s talk about what a niche is, why it’s so important and how to do it!
In this article, we’re going to cover:
- What does it really mean to niche down (and how not to get it confused with an ideal client avatar)
- Why it’s so important to niche down (I’ve got at least six really good reasons that you need to know about!)
- How to get over the mindset blocks that might be stopping you from choosing a niche to grow your business.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO “NICHE” DOWN?
Basically, a niche is an area of specialization. Sometimes people confuse niches with ideal client avatars, so let me explain the difference.
LET’S CLEAR THE CONFUSION AROUND WHAT A NICHE IS NOT
Many times, when I’m on a discovery call with a prospect and I ask them what their niche is, they’ll tell me things like:
“I’m a marketing consultant for six figure business owners.”
But what they’re telling me is that they work with business owners who have annual revenues of six figures or more. That is a demographic, not a niche.
“I’m a life coach for busy moms.”
Okay, great. But busy moms is not niche either. Moms may be your ideal client and “business” is a condition or a struggle that they’re experiencing. Which makes it a problem that you help them solve. But again, we’re talking about problems here, not niches.
A NICHE IS AN AREA OF SPECIALIZED EXPERTISE
Take the example of a doctor. A doctor could be a general practitioner, he could be a neurosurgeon (which is an area of specialization), or he could be a neurosurgeon that specializes in pediatric surgeries (a very specific area of specialization).
Now for you, I know that you’re probably not a neurosurgeon. So let’s go through some examples that may get your wheels turning and help you define your own area of specialization.
EXAMPLES OF NICHES FOR COACHES, CONSULTANTS AND SERVICE-PROVIDERS
- Marketing Consultants could specialize in SEO optimization, Instagram marketing, YouTube marketing, paid advertising, etc.
- Photographers could specialize in senior photos, newborn photography, wedding photography, food photography, real estate photography, etc.
- Life Coaches could specialize in working with teenage girls, helping widows transition back into life after the loss of their husband, career transitions, weight loss, addiction recovery, navigating divorce, dating, dating after 50, working with couples in the empty-nester stage, sex, etc.
- Health Coaches could specialize in weight loss, eating disorders, health conditions, auto-immune disorders, etc.
- Interior designers could specialize in new home construction, decor, kitchens, man caves, barn transformations, AirBnBs, flips, rental properties, staging, window treatments, paint colors, outdoor spaces, etc.
Basically, the idea is that you want to get away from being a generalist and move in to being a someone who specialized in one particular area of expertise.
WHY NICHING DOWN IS BETTER THAN STAYING GENERAL
Of course, you can take any of the examples I gave you and continue to niche them down even more. . . For example, as designer, you might specialize in outdoor spaces with pools. As a food photographer, you might specialize in food photography for food bloggers or tv ads.
The more niched down you are, the better. Here’s why:
- It helps you build on your experience. Think about that pediatric neurosurgeon example from above. Because this is his area of specialization and it’s pretty much all he does, he’s going to have skills that other, more general, surgeons don’t have because he perfecting his skills every single day. I don’t know about you, but if my child needed brain surgery, I’d want to take him to the surgeon who specializes in working in tiny brains over the one who performs surgeries on anyone and everyone! Wouldn’t you? That’s because we tend to trust the experts with the most credible experience and the more you do the same thing over and over , the more experience you’re going to build in that area, which will help you to become known as the expert in that area.
- You become referable. As you start to become known as an expert in your area of specialization, you will become more memorable and referable. Which means, when people hear someone talking about needing help with the very specific thing you do, they’ll say, “Hey, I know someone! Here, contact this person, they’re the best!”
- You become taggable. Just like the word-of-mouth example above, this works on social media too! There are a million life coaches, photographers, designers, etc. out there online competing for the attention of the masses. But when you are niched down and super specific about what you do, people remember you and when they find themselves in conversations online where someone is looking for the thing you specialize in, you’re likely to get “tagged” to join the conversation.
- It helps you hone your marketing message. When you are creating content online, writing the copy for your web page, being interviewed on a podcast or anything else, you have a very clear idea of what it is that you want to talk about so that you can share knowledge that showcases your expertise and helps you attract qualified clients who are interested in what you do and will either invest in you or refer you to someone who needs you. Either way, being super clear about your marketing message will help you grow your audience and your business faster!
- It helps you attract qualified clients faster. Once you’ve honed your marketing message, you will find that all your content online speaks directly to the people you intend to serve—showcasing that you understand what they’re thinking, feeling and needing and that you have the answers to help them. Because when people have the problem that you solve, and they go online, and they start googling answers, or they start asking their friends and family for advice in that area, they’re going to come across you—because you’ve created content that answers their specific questions— and when they find you and they see that you have really good advice for them, and you’re knowledgeable in this area, they’re going to begin a relationship with you which leads to trust, purchases, loyalty and more referrals!
- It allows you to demand higher fees. The better you are at what you do, the more value you can offer and the more recognize you’ll get for your skills—which means, people are going to refer you, you’re going to be booked out, you’re going to have a waiting list, people are going to know that you’re the best, and they’re going to talk about you that way. And they’re going to expect to pay a premium for the level of expertise and value that you deliver.
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Now, if those reasons aren’t enough for you to seriously think about choosing a specific niche, I don’t know what else to say. This is honestly one of the biggest secrets to success (and the secret most business owners want to skip).
THE MINDSET BLOCKS THAT STOP BUSINESS OWNERS FROM CHOOSING A NICHE
Now, I know that this isn’t always easy, because there’s a lot of limiting beliefs or mindset blocks are fears that may come up.
I’m multi-passionate. How do I choose just one niche?
If you’re here reading this blog (or listening to this podcast episode) you’re probably a lot like me—multi-passionate and interested in many different topics. And you might have a hard time piecing those together. Trust me, you’re not alone in that.
For instance, I have one client who is a photographer and also is really, really passionate about mental health. And when we first started working together, she couldn’t see how those two passions could be combined into a unique niche that felt aligned for her.
She felt that she either had to choose one or create two separate brands in order to pursue both passions. If you feel that way, I want you to know, that isn’t true at all! You can absolutely combine your passions together and build a brand around what is matters most to you! For this client we did exactly that—we found a way to build a brand that connects that dots between wedding photography and mental health by finding the common threads and pulling them together. Now, in addition to wedding photography, she’s creating blogs and IG stories about how to navigate emotions and have healthy, open communication about those feelings with your partner before you get married and all throughout your marriage—what a perfect way to tie those passions together, right? And the best part is that this combination is what is helping her to stand out from all the other wedding photographers out there. It allows her audience to connect with her in a way that builds an instant connects and when they’re ready to hire a photographer for their own wedding, guess who they’re going to call?
Also, just because you’re doing the same thing over and over doesn’t mean that you can’t explore other interests. And you can always change your mind. If you’re not sure how you want to niche down or what area you want to specialize in, then I advise you to start general for now, and create a plan to niche down as soon as possible.
What if I choose the wrong niche and don’t like it?
Now if you are afraid of making mistakes, you think you have to have it all figured out right now I want to give you permission to be a little bit playful and have fun with this. You don’t have to have it all figured out! In fact, it would be super weird if you did!
You can change your mind and change your niche anytime you want. In the business world, we call that pivoting. Most business owners pivot and rebrand every couple of years. That’s part of the growth process. As you grow and evolve, your business (and your niche) will too!
So start with something that feels good to you right now. run with it. And if it ever stops feeling good, give yourself permission to change your mind and pivot. A great tool to help you do this is a do not want list.
HOMEWORK TO HELP YOU NICHE DOWN
If you go back all the way back to the archives and listen to Episode 004 of the podcast, we talk about creating a do not want list to get really clear about your goals. But I also invite you to use this tactic when you are narrowing your niche, defining your ideal client, deciding what kind of services you want to offer, etc. because when you identify the things that don’t feel good, it helps you get really clear and intentional about the things you want to pursue in your business.
So my challenge to you is to start thinking about how you can niche down, grow your business faster and get paid your worth to deliver high-value service to the clients who you love to serve!
Love you to pieces,