One of the biggest hurdles new soulpreneurs face when they set out to create a life for themselves in alignment with their soul's purpose is deciding on a niche. Answering the question "who am I here to serve?" can create its own special blend of overwhelm, often sending your thoughts away from answering the question of what your niche is to questioning whether or not you even need to niche.
It's what's known in the industry as "niche soup".
This particular hurdle can become a painful barrier to even getting started in your business! It's my goal here to help bring some clarity to you so that you can make the best choice for you and take action in your business.
In case you're brand new to creating a soul-based business online, let's talk about what is -- and what isn’t -- a niche. Even if you've been at it for a while now and have an idea of what a niche is, I invite you to bring your learners mind to what I'm about to share….
In its simplest form, a niche is a specific urgent problem you solve for a specific group of people.
What is a niche?
In its simplest form, a niche is a specific urgent problem you solve for a specific group of people. It really is that simple!
Here are a few examples…
Wellness: single moms struggling to get a good night's sleep.
Career: tech executives dissatisfied with their career and afraid to change it.
Relationships: women in mid-life trying to decide if they should stay or go.
What isn't a niche?
How you solve that problem isn't your niche, it's your modality. Here's some examples connected to the niches above:
Wellness: EFT, Reiki, and yoga can all support improved sleep.
Career: The Body Code and life coaching can support making big changes in life.
Relationships: Spiritual teachings and coaching can help women feel more empowered.
"It’s never been easier to get your message out to a whole bunch of people. At the same time, it’s harder than ever to get their attention."
Why should you choose a niche?
Now that we're clear on what a niche is (and isn't), here is my key argument on the benefits of choosing a niche: It’s never been easier to get your message out to a whole bunch of people. At the same time, it’s harder than ever to get their attention.
By choosing a specific group of people to help and an urgent problem they are struggling with you begin to stand out in the crowd.
In the old days, the Yellow Pages was the go-to source for people looking for services. As a business, a simple strategy for standing out in the crowd was to tack on as many “A’s” at the beginning of your business name as it took to be above Babar the Barber in the listings.
It was also completely local!
Thanks to the internet, and especially social media and email, there are multiple places for people to find what they’re looking for and for you to promote your business.
Unfortunately, it’s so easy for any business to promote itself that your potential clients are being inundated with offers and it has become harder than ever to get their attention.
According to Forbes.com, digital marketing experts estimate that most Americans are exposed to around 4,000 to 10,000 ads each day.
That's A LOT of noise to try and be heard over!
So, let's look at the 3 reasons having a niche will help you get your business off the ground.
Reason #1 - You'll stand out in the crowd
Here’s what I mean: Imagine you just met someone during a Zoom breakout session and you ask her "what do you do?". Which of the following statements stands out and causes you to lean in a little bit?
“I’m a women’s empowerment coach.”
“I empower single moms with special needs children who are struggling to take care of themselves while meeting the demands of providing for her family by herself.”
Feel the difference?
The first statement leaves you with a whole lot of questions about who the women are and what they want to feel more empowered around. You might even want to know more but these breakout sessions are often short.
The second response tells you exactly what you want to know and probably has you leaning in a little bit. If you happen to be a single mom with a special needs child and you're struggling to thrive, you may well have just found the person you've been looking for.
So, you quickly exchange email addresses in the chat and get on with the purpose of the breakout session.
See how that works?
Also, it's hard to be an expert at everything and someone who is investing in themselves by hiring a coach or energy healer to help them achieve their goals will want to spend their money with someone they believe has the chops to guide them to the results they desire.
At its very essence, choosing a niche makes it easier for people to know if you can help them or maybe help someone they know.
Reason #2: It makes creating content SO.MUCH.EASIER!
Here's why: You know WHO your potential clients are. You know WHAT urgent problem they are struggling with.
You know what their days look like as a result of that problem and what they wish their days looked like instead.
You know HOW they want to feel as a result of working with YOU.
You can actually visualize them in your mind’s eye because it’s a lot easier to visualize a specific group of people as opposed to having both eyes on the masses.
Creating content gets a whole lot easier when you are speaking to a group of people you can clearly imagine. And, when you create content that speaks to them, they can hear you and take notice.
Reason #3 - It's easier to find your people
A great way to get in front of your ideal clients is to join Facebook groups where your people are. Show up, be of service, and make new friends. When you join groups with a clear focus, the likelihood of connecting with someone who might be a potential client (or know someone who is) increases.
You can also network with other coaches, facilitators, and energy healers who have a complimentary niche, even do interviews or mini classes in their groups.
For example: If you're a coach for single moms struggling to get a good night's sleep, you might reach out to the admin of a group for single mompreneurs and offer to do a class.
And, if you're wanting to take advantage of the leverage Facebook groups offers, you'll need to have a common cause that brings people to the group to engage and connect. Having a great sounding name and stunning banner isn't enough to create an active, lively, and engaged group.
Having a niche changes everything - believe me, I know!
When I first sold my 18-wheeler to follow the calling of my heart, I dove into everything online because, well, I didn’t have any local connections. Creating the copy for my website gave me a headache because I couldn’t figure out what to say. While I enjoyed writing blog posts, they weren’t really establishing me as an authority on anything or serving my goal to grow a soul-based business online.
My memes were pretty and inspiring, but no one really understood what I did or who I helped.
I also created my first group with a great sounding name, but really struggled to get any engagement because no one knew why they were there. As a result, they weren't bonding with me or each other.
At the end of the day, I was spending a lot of time and energy putting myself out there on the social media hamster wheel and no one was paying attention!
Then, when I chose a niche, EVERYTHING got easier.
I sat down to create content for my website and the copy just flowed. My posts to Facebook came more easily and they started getting engagement. My blog posts began supporting my goal to remain a self-employed business owner by providing content my subscribers wanted to consume and, because they found it helpful, I began to establish myself as an authority.
My niche has evolved overtime, finally coalescing into supporting women soulpreneurs in bloom as The Soulful Tech Genie. Still, every time I pivoted my experience was the same: because I knew who I speaking to and what they wanted help with, I knew what to say, what to create, and what to share -- creative blocks not withstanding!
About the niche nay-sayers….
Now, I know what you’re thinking: "What about all those sponsored posts in my feed claiming I don’t need to niche? "
Here’s my thoughts on this: It is possible to grow an online, soul-based business without choosing a niche. You could focus on your modality or your “secret sauce”. It will however take longer for you to establish yourself as an authority and get known online, unless you've already accomplished this feat through something like a best-selling book.
And here’s the thing, all of those business coaches who are saying you don’t have to niche are in fact niching! Think about it who are they talking to right now?
Are they talking to the person who already found their niche and are happily going about their business? Or are they talking to you because you’re alternating between struggling to find your niche and trying to convince yourself you don't need one.
So, I repeat…even the people who are claiming that you don’t need to niche are in fact niching!
As an online, service-based business, you will need to be clear in your message in order to promote your business and make offers. Trying to catch the attention everyone's attention -- what's known as "The Spray & Pray Method" -- is like trying to find a Unicorn at the rodeo.
And you will still run into the problems mentioned above around creating content and establishing yourself as an authority.
"For coaches, holistic practitioners, and healers, choosing a niche & getting really intimate with their language & how their problem affects their daily lives will go a long way towards your dreams of creating a life for yourself serving others." - Cheryl Kane
And don’t worry, you aren’t limiting yourself by selecting a specific group of people to serve. There are over 7 billion people on the planet and 320 million of them are in the U.S.
You can’t help them all, and your people are looking for you, so why not make it easy for them to find you?