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I won’t sugarcoat it – choosing a niche is scary!

Selecting a small slice of the planet’s seven billion people to serve, so you can stand out and scale up is easier said than done.

How do you go from generalist to specialist without freaking out?

There are some niche fears I repeatedly hear from my clients – and I’ve experienced them, too – here are the top three:

  1. I’m afraid that if I niche, I’ll miss out
  2. I’m afraid niching will tie me to one thing
  3. I’m afraid of choosing the wrong niche

Let’s dig into each one and do a quick reframe so you can niche with confidence.

Fear 1: I’m afraid that if I niche, I’ll miss out

I nearly fainted with fear when a business coach suggested niching to me several years ago.

The thought of suddenly cutting out a giant swathe of potential clients made my knees knock, and I’ll admit it – I resisted. Strongly. And for a long time!

Answering these questions helped me see missing out might be a good thing:

  • What percentage of your work fills you with joy?
  • How many referrals don’t feel right, but you feel obliged to say “yes” anyway?
  • How many ‘tyre kickers’ take up your time?
  • When ideal clients (who you get the best results for) come along, how often are you too overwhelmed to offer them your full attention?

“It’s so powerful to clarify who you’re for. It turns on the light bulbs in people’s brains, they think of people to send to you that they wouldn’t think of if you’re not specific.”

Pia Silva, Brand Strategist

Fear 1 Reframe: Focus on the fulfilling stuff

Niching down does mean missing out on opportunities – but only those that aren’t enjoyable or profitable. Yay!

Niching is about only working with your dream clients – those people you love helping, are great to work with, are invested in your process and you can create the biggest transformations for.

As you focus your undivided attention on these ideal clients, and what you mean to them, amazing things happen:

  1. Your branding and marketing becomes clearer
  2. You become more visible
  3. You increase your reach
  4. You reduce your competition
  5. You become more confident
  6. You deliver better results
  7. You raise your rates
  8. You become known as the “go-to” person
  9. You get the right recommendations
  10. Dream clients line up to work with you

I was astonished at how quickly this happened – my only regret was I hadn’t done it sooner.

All you’ll be missing out on is the distraction of clients who aren’t a good fit – instead, you’ll confidently signpost them to someone who suits them better.

Fear 2: I’m afraid niching will tie me to one thing

As a coach or consultant, you naturally want to help everyone. You’re curious and creative and love the spontaneity and variety working for yourself brings.

You fear niching will limit your options, although half the time you feel completely overwhelmed with all your ideas and trying to be all things to all people.

Me too. I thought having a niche would quickly lose its appeal and become monotonous.

I carried on pitching for different projects for all sorts of businesses, wearing too many hats and constantly reinventing myself and my offers. Exhausting!

It took me far too long to realise I was spreading myself too thin, doing lots of things at once and some of them, not very well. Something needed to change.

“Determining my niche shows me more of what not to do.”

Christian den Otter, Entrepreneur

Fear 2 Reframe: Niching gives you focus and freedom

Niching means focussing on serving a small group of people, who see you as an expert on their problems – they trust you to solve them so they can reach their goals.

You get to flex your creativity, coming up with the very best ways to help them do that – learning, refining and evolving as you go along.

A singular focus means less overwhelm and greater profitability, giving you time, energy and financial freedom to spare for doing other things.

Niching is simply a way of marketing your business, not a straight jacket – you still have the freedom to work with people outside it.

Imagine you’re at a networking event, talking to an ideal client about what you do – which, BTW, becomes super easy when you have a clearly defined niche and offer.

A person nearby overhears and asks to speak to you. “I don’t think I’m quite your target client”, they say, “but it sounds like you can help me.”

You get to choose.

I call these passion projects – they materialise without marketing, and you can do them for pleasure and to mix things up.

Fear 3: I’m afraid of choosing the wrong niche

There’s no end of programmes, trainings and experts to help you nail your niche.

However, the thought of getting it wrong and being stuck in a niche nightmare is paralysing, so you stick with trying to help everyone or pick a broad niche because that feels safer.

I’ve learned (the hard way) this gets you nowhere, fast – and is far more detrimental to business development than trying to niche and not quite getting it right at first.

“Choose the niche that you enjoy, where you can excel and stand a chance of becoming an acknowledged leader.”

Richard Koch

Fear 3 Reframe: Your niche will find you

Know that you might kiss a few frogs in the hunt for your niche match. You may get lucky first time – it’s more likely you’ll need to look in a few ponds.

As you discover what doesn’t appeal, it’s easier to pinpoint what does, nipping and tucking your niche along the way. This is fine – as much as we’d love to think our business is at the forefront of people’s minds and they are watching our every move – they aren’t! 

In pursuing niche true love, I’ve found your niche often finds you. 

Mine found me after I qualified as a coach in 2019 – all of a sudden, other coaches I was meeting started asking to work with me on their branding.

The niche lightbulbs started pinging on:

  • I hang out where they hang out
  • We have shared experiences
  • They are my kind of people
  • I understand what they do, their problems and aspirations
  • I have the expertise to help them bridge the gap
  • What I do is valuable to them

Once you shine a light on the right niche, it’s like the stars align, and marketing magic begins to happen.

What it’s like to push past niche fear

Despite feeling all the “niche fear”, I went for it and dramatically shrunk my not so niche niche of ‘service businesses’ to ‘coaches and consultants’.
I tweaked my website to talk about their problems and perfect future, presented the solution, and updated my case studies to showcase how I’d done it for other people just like them.
Just two days later, I got an inbound enquiry from, you guessed it, one ideal client – then another.
I’d shone a spotlight on my speciality, and the right people were noticing.
Suddenly, I saw my packages through their eyes and fine-tuned my offer to give them what they needed.
With only one person on my mind, exciting content ideas flooded in.
I started getting recommended to the right people.
I felt confident increasing my prices, knowing the problem I was tackling and what it was worth to the person I could solve it for.
The fear vanished.
In its place was clarity, confidence and a sense of ease – the overwhelm of being all things to all people turned into one single-minded mission.
Something I now like to pass on to others, and here’s what they have to say:
“It makes a difference. Because of this work, I attract more of the people I enjoy working with, I attract clients that get me. And I put off those that wouldn’t get me, and that’s okay.”
“I’m just feeling like I know who I’m speaking to now! And an [ideal client] requested to join my FB group and said my posts this week have spoken to her, so I’ve got a discovery call planned with her on Monday! You’ve helped me so much already!”
“Whoop! I did a post yesterday incorporating my new brand language and spoke directly to [my niche], and an [ideal client] stepped forwards!! This niching business really works!”

Feel the fear and do it anyway

Are you ready to step out of your comfort zone and into your niche?

It has the power to elevate your business, helping you attract dream clients, do more of the work you love, raise your profile and your prices.

I love talking about niching and its impact and often do, over on LinkedIn.

Come on over and drop me a comment or connect, it would be great to hear from you:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/katepollitt/

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Kate Pollitt

Author Kate Pollitt

Kate Pollitt is an award-winning business owner, brand coach and creator, who has worked with hundreds of small businesses across three decades in the Design and Marketing Industry. She loves sharing her strategic and creative skills with Coaches and Consultants to help them grow amazing businesses.

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