If you’ve ever wanted to find your niche, see other's niches, or get some niche examples, this one is for you. But first, a story of niche angst. : )
A few years ago, I was at a retreat for female entrepreneurs and one of the ladies posed a question (read: confession) to the group. “I’ve been in business for 3 years now and I’m still not sure I picked the right niche…I know I love helping people but I still wonder if I picked the right flavor of helping people. Am I ever going to feel confident in my path?”
The leader, a well-known, super successful entrepreneur in her own right, nodded. “Yep. I get it. I question everything and consider burning my business to the ground and starting over in a new niche at least once a year. You’re not alone.”
You could hear the collective sigh of relief echoed throughout the room as everything breathed out. We’re normal! We can be successful and still not have it all figured out. Whew!
I looked around the room and was stunned by the realization: angst over niches is a very real thing, even for people who are successful, impactful, and put together.
Being an entrepreneur, coach, teacher, healer, or general world-improver means being on a path of constant learning and growth, so it’s natural wonder if you should switch gears when you learn new information or integrate new parts of yourself into your work.
Not knowing your niche or doubting your direction doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you, that you haven’t found your passion, or are doomed to failure. It just means you need a simple formula to make sure you're on the right track.
So, What Is a Niche?
A niche is basically a specialty or area of focus that helps other people understand what you do and how you can help them.
You hear the term a lot in the coaching world and blogging world, but having a clear niche is essential in the business world no matter what your business is because when you’re providing a product or service (or even a blog post) to someone, you’ll be way more successful when that someone understands who you are what you’re all about.
Let me give you a few quick niche examples that I know exist in real life.
A coaching niche might sound like:
I help ambitious circus performers overcome work/life balance blocks while on the road for work.
A blogger’s or writer’s niche might sound like:
My blog is about how stay at home moms can plan and budget for their families when they have large families and little time.
A product-based business owner’s niche might sound like:
My book and tea shop curates a simple selection of books and tea blends focused on self care and personal growth.
Okay, the circus one isn’t from real life but the rest are.
These basic niche statements work because they instantly tell your ideal customers or clients what your business does and how it can help them. Pretty simple, no?
Do I Really Need a Niche in My Business? Can’t I Just Help Everyone?
I teach and mentor aspiring coaches at my coach training alma matter, iPEC, so I work with tons of baby business owners who know they want to help people but don’t know what direction to choose. One of the biggest questions they ask me is: “But do I really need a niche? I don’t want to limit myself. Can’t I just help everyone?”
The short answer is: Yes, you really do need a niche.
The long answer is: Yes, you really do need a niche. I tried to build business a without one for a while and made exactly $60. When I niched down, I was able to quit my day job in only a year. Learn from my mistakes and your bank account will thank you.
Having a clearly defined niche that you love is the key to your business success because:
- When you have a clear focus, it’s easy to become known as the go-to person for that specific thing. When you talk about that specific thing constantly, you develop an expertise in it and people start to see you as an expert.
- Having a clear niche creates an experience for your clients or customers where they feel heard, understood, and excited about your brand.
When was the last time you stumbled into a store and thought, “I must buy everything in here. Right now?" For me, it was Modcloth. Not only did they have clothes I loved, every part of the store and design was my taste. Having a clear niche (like Modcloth does) lets your clients or customers find you and think, “Wow! This was made just for me! Take all my money!”
Think of it this way: the clearer the niche = the more money in your bank account.
My Super Scientific Formula For Finding Your Niche
So by now, you know you need a specific niche to help clients and customers identify you as the go-to person for your business. I know from personal experience: when you’re just starting out, the idea of niching is incredibly overwhelming! In fact, I don’t know a single person, myself included, who didn’t want to hide under the covers every time someone said, “niche.” The truth is that niching is WAY EASIER than people make it out to be.
I have a really simple formula:
Niche = who you help + how you help them + your unique lens or world view
For example with my business:
My niche = women who want to make a difference (who I help) + starting businesses and finding impactful careers (how I help them) + feminism is the key to rebalancing our world and entrepreneurship is a feminist act (my unique lens)
Let’s look at a few more niche examples in some different types of businesses.
For a health coach, this could look like:
Niche = people who struggle with anxiety and depression (who you help) + creating meal plans that support a stable mood (how you help them) + mental and physical health aren’t separate (your unique lens)
For an HR Consultant:
Niche = men in leadership roles + teaching workshops on how to communicate effectively with other men around dismantling misogyny in everyday interactions + when women have a voice in the corporate world, the entire company improves
For a Jewelry Designer:
Niche = newly engaged couples + creating personalized, handcrafted, ethically-sourced wedding rings + your wedding is the beginning of your journey together, so it should be as unique and impactful and you are.
Now it’s your turn. Grab a piece of paper and write out a few combinations until you find the one that feels right. For more on why an original lens matters, check out this post.
Troubleshooting the Niching Process
But What If My Niche is Too Crowded?
Don’t drive yourself crazy trying to invent the most original niche ever. Start with what you’re passionate about and what feels true and impactful for you (even if it feels like everyone and their brother is doing this) and then figure out what sets you apart and how to share that so that your audience gets it. (This is one of the things we do in one-on-one coaching)
What if I Don’t Have a Business? Do I Need a Niche in My Career?
Absolutely! Niching in your career can be a super helpful way to build recognition and “brand” yourself. The formula works in jobs, too!
What if I’m Passionate About Tons of Stuff?
Find the common thread. I work with tons of mutlipassionate people, and when we drill down and really look at their passions, there’s usually some unifying factor or common thread serving as a guide. If you drew a Venn Diagram of all your passions, what would be in the very center?
The Universe loves a clear commitment, so start with one specific niche, build some success, and then slowly add your passions in from there.
What If I’m Still Scared a Niche Will Limit Me?
I hear you. This is such a common block! When kids are learning to write, we first teach them “the rules” of writing: how long a paragraph should be, the 6 steps in the writing process, how a essay is structured, etc. Then, once they’ve mastered the rules, we encourage them to starting breaking them in the name of creativity.
Treat niching the same way. Start building your business by following the rules and niching down, and then when you have some traction, experiment and expand. Let yourself be limited for a short period of time while you’re learning the ropes and getting started and then break the rules at will.
What If I’m Still Stuck and Don’t Know What My Niche Is???
You have a few options. You can get take a short, easy course to get clearer on your passions and direction, you can get one-on-one advice and support by talking it out, or you can simply make the right choice for right now and reserve the right to pivot as you learn more and more about yourself and your business. Starting imperfectly is better than not starting at all.
Ready to bring some soul food and strategy to your business? Grab your free Creative Business Plan template below!