Updated: Jan 16
How choosing a niche can make it easier for you to grow your online, soul-based business and why some experts say you don't need to.
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 it's own special blend of overwhelm, often sending our thoughts away from answering the question of what is our niche to whether or not we even need to niche.
This particular hurdle can become a painful barrier to even getting started in growing your business and it is 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, let's talk about what is -- and what isn’t -- a niche. What is a niche? In its simplest form, a niche is a specific urgent problem you solve for a specific group of people. What isn't a niche? How you solve that problem isn't your niche, it's your modality.
Now that we're clear on what a niche is (and isn't), here are my thoughts on 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."
It bears repeating: it's never been easier to get your message out and get in front of a large audience. 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 multiple places for people to find what they’re are 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’s 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 ALOT of noise to try and be heard over!
How choosing a niche can help you
Anymore, it’s not enough to say you empower women or help people heal themselves. There are A LOT of women growing an online, soul-based business empowering women, helping people reduce stress, or get unstuck, etc. So how do you stand out in the crowd? You find your niche. Finding your niche is like the 21st century version of adding a bunch of “A’s” to the beginning of your business name.
"When you dial in on a specific urgent problem that a specific group of people are seeking help with, you begin to stand out in the crowd."
Here’s what I mean: Imagine you just met someone during a Zoom breakout session (we are still in the pandemic as I write this) 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.” or “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 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."
It also makes creating content and writing copy 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 an eye on the masses.
Speaking to your audience
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.
Also, 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.
Believe me, I know!
When I first sold my 18-wheeler to become life coach, 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 or serving my goal to grow a soul-based business. 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. 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 my Facebook page came more easily and they started getting engagement. My blog posts began supporting my goal to remain self-employed 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 to help with, I knew what to say, what to create and what to share; creative blocks not withstanding!
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 grow a following, unless you've already accomplished through something like a best-selling book.
As an online, service-based business, you will need that following to promote your business and make offers to. 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, finding your niche and getting really intimate with their language and how their problem affects their daily lives will go a long way towards your dreams of creating a life for yourself serving others."
And don’t worry, you aren’t limiting yourself by selecting a specific group of people to serve. There are over 6 billion people on the planet and 350 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?