How to find your niche before owning it
Ahhhh, the dreaded word… “niche”.
“You must have a niche.”
“Niches make you stand out.”
“Businesses can’t run effectively without a niche.”
“Having a niche makes you more focused.”
Whilst these aren’t false, it can be overwhelming and a little scary to feel bombarded with constant rhetoric around needing a niche. So, before we go any further, let’s break it down to its simplest core.
Think of a niche as your inner child. What do they enjoy? What lights them up? What do they get excited about? What can they do really well and have fun with at the same time? For example, your inner child might really enjoy empowering people and building a community. So, let’s imagine that you’re in the hair and beauty industry. You may decide to specialise in hosting online events and 121s for makeup newbies to become confident with applying the best products for their skin. Or if your inner child likes convenience, you may create a mobile car wash service for clients who desire a luxury experience.
Got something? Great!
Now, think of your audience as the friends that your inner child wants to play with. Why do you like them? What can you help them with? What do they need? How can they benefit you too?
Having a niche is brilliant, but it shouldn’t be forced. So go ahead and let your inner child run free whilst exploring your playground of skills, talents, and superpowers.
Now that the elephant is out of the room, let’s talk about owning your niche!
Why is owning a niche important?
Think of a bag. When you own it, you feel secure knowing that it’s yours and that you can utilise it in a way that feels best for you. You have the confidence to know it’s not borrowed, stolen or rented. You must still be careful with it, but it’s not a worry.
It’s the same when it comes to your business niche. Ownership prevents us from fearing a saturated market. It positions us in a place of power instead of panic. And allows us to operate with authority, credibility and belonging. These elements are crucial to building a strong foundation for any expertise. It’s not an excuse to be arrogant and discard other incredible founders, entrepreneurs or business owners, but rather, an opportunity to be established and continue growing in our daily learning. Here’s six steps to owning your niche!
1) Values & Vision
Many businesses spend time crafting their company values, but how many of us have a set of life values that underpin our decisions and direction? Speak with yourself - I mean it. Have full on conversations about what’s super important to you. Is it community? Patience? Kindness? Loyalty? Transparency? Narrow your list down to 3-7 options. These will create your set of life values so treasure them.
Next, write down the vision you see for yourself one year from now, five years from now, and 10 years from now. Where are you living? Who are you connecting with? How are you feeling about your business and finances? Get into the small details too. Are you spending your weekday mornings in nature while your new team is working on an exciting project? Or are you picking your children up from school, because you have more time to spend with them again? Write it all down and make sure that your life values are represented in your vision.
Then actualise these intentions as if you’re already doing exactly what you wrote down. For example, if part of your five-year vision is to give a TED Talk in Canada, then do the following:
Stand up wherever you are and start giving a random talk out loud about anything linked to your expertise. This should be completely made up on the spot. Just let the words flow and get used to hearing your voice. Imagine that you have the complete attention of a large, captivated and engaged audience who are excited to learn from your every word. How does that make you feel?
Now, do it again, but this time - video record yourself on your phone and make eye contact. Don’t shy away from hearing or seeing yourself. This is all about owning your superpower of a niche. If you get tongue tied it’s no big deal - pause. If you feel nervous, speak slower. If you’re enjoying it, then rock on!
Lastly, grab a notebook and pen. This is not to script anything, but as you practice, ideas about other areas of your business, values or vision will naturally start to flow - so scribble them down! This is your opportunity to let it all out and sieve through the bits you no longer need, while keeping the gold that you do.
2) Channel your energy
Quite often, we pressure ourselves in the name of high productivity, which can sometimes lead to burnout. Entrepreneurship is no easy feat, but by channelling our energy effectively, we become productive as a by-product.
Let’s take web design as an example. If you have a deadline approaching for a chunky project and still have a lot to work on, you’re more likely to have your head buried in your computer for 20hrs a day. As a result, you’ll be productive and get the work done, but you may forsake eating properly or maintaining your home. On the outside, we’ll see a thriving entrepreneur, but on the inside will be a highly stressed individual who’s losing passion for what they once enjoyed. But what does channelling and managing your energy actually look like? Here are three tips:
Make sure you feel good! Does it feel good to work with the client you’ve spoken to or should you say no? Would you function better if you started your day with a 20-min walk instead of jumping straight into emails? Whatever you choose - choose to feel good and it’ll give you bundles of creativity too.
Focus with tunnel vision. Whether that’s switching your phone off for three hours each day or sitting in a quiet library space every morning, you need to cultivate focus. It’s much better to work for a shorter burst of time when most focused, than attempting to work through hours and hours of distraction.
Treat yourself daily. By having something to look forward to, we experience a psychological reward that lifts our mood and enhances our productivity as a result. For example, knowing that you’ll take a nice bath in the evening as opposed to a quick shower may create a sense of calm, joy and wellness. Or perhaps you’ve chosen to go for a lunchtime swim rather than being held hostage at your desk. Channel your energy.
3) Do what most won’t
In order to really succeed at owning your niche, you have to stand out from the crowd. What can you do that increases your visibility and integrity? This can be in the smallest of ways such as having your camera on during a Zoom meeting where most people have theirs off. Or something bigger like giving your customers a free bottle of wine at your restaurant when it’s their birthday. However, ensure that whatever you choose doesn’t jeopardise your health, wellness, family, finances and anything else of great importance to you. When you decide to do what most won’t, it’s vital to be mindful of these points:
It must be genuine. Don’t do things just for the sake of gaining traction and attention - your audience will see right through it. Make sure your actions align with the values and vision we worked on at the beginning.
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. No one is too big to be wrong. So, if you make a mistake at any point, own it and hold your hands up. Then actively work towards suitable resolutions and communicate that.
Use your skills and experience to confidently position yourself as the expert that you are. Increase your visibility within your industry, put your business forward for awards, and partner with credible companies to raise your profile and reputation. Be bold, be brave, be diligent, be courageous, and be sure to do what most won’t.
4) Data and insights
In order for your business to grow and thrive, it’s imperative that you know what works and what doesn’t with your audience. Interests are constantly changing and developing, so as founders, we must become accustomed to adapting regularly. A huge number of digital platforms now capture a great amount of data and insights for us. This is fabulous, but absolutely pointless if we don’t take advantage of them. So here are some ways to take action with the tools and information that we have at our fingertips:
Run polls. This can be done via Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Zoom meetings, LinkedIn and more. If you run a tutoring company and want to add an extra subject to your curriculum, but aren’t sure on what one to go for - run a poll! Your audience of parents and caregivers are the best people to advise you on the dilemma, so utilise them. Not only are you finding out their needs for a more tailored service, you’re strengthening the relationship with relevant engagement and interaction.
Track clicks and opens. Building an email list is a great way to nurture an existing audience. Make a plan as to how frequently you’ll be sharing updates with them, and then track how many clicks and opens you’re receiving. Note this down and any patterns you see with things like email subject lines, time and day of sending, and anything else that might be useful.
Compare the market. What else are other industry leaders doing? What is resonating with people across the board and what isn’t? Are others using language or visuals that connect more with your ideal client’s thoughts, feelings and emotions? Find out and add your own twist to it.
5) Social media challenges
If you are excited about growing your business community and building real relationships with clients, then social media challenges are for you. This takes a lot of planning, dedication and commitment (both from you and your audience), but can be super fun and rewarding. It also heightens your visibility as the go-to person in your field. Let’s use a Wellness Coach as an example founder in this instance. They may have delivered a few talks and workshops, and held some 121 sessions with clients. But, to reach a bigger audience, here are three online challenges they could run:
Sleep challenge. Create a Facebook group where people can sign up to join 21 days of better sleep. In the private group, the Wellness Coach could share daily tips for a higher quality of sleep and expand on Facebook Lives, which gives the group an opportunity to comment and contribute in real-time.
Digital detox. Build an email list for people who want to switch off from social media. Over the course of a month, they receive a daily email with a bitesize fact explaining a benefit of the detox and tips on what to switch to instead. E.g. taking up knitting instead of endless scrolling.
Love and gratitude. Use Twitter or Instagram to encourage users to share something they are fond of or grateful for on a daily basis, and add a hashtag to it. It could be as short as seven days or as long as 31. These challenges demonstrate the ability to own your niche as well as others publicly endorsing your expertise by joining in.
6) Collaborate with intention
How many times have you heard the question, “who are your competitors?” or “who’s already doing what you’re doing?”. But rarely do we hear, “what businesses could be your buddies?” or “who could you share that space with?”.
Yes, it’s great to understand our competition, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for all of us to thrive together. There is strength in numbers. Owning your niche shouldn’t be done in arrogance, but rather in excitement because you’re amazing at what you do and can make such a needed difference! So buddy up with companies who would benefit from your services and you from theirs. This could include podcasts, magazines, entertainment platforms, venues, and more. Get creative and dare to think outside the box.
I personally love collaborating with awesome people around the world, so if this is something you’d like to do with me at Vybe365, then please get in touch. I’m always just an email or message away. Let’s connect!
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