You’re ready to work for yourself, you’re talented, and you know it. So then, why is it so difficult to narrow down a niche?
I have worked for myself for more than two years and I can honestly say that articulating what I do has been the most mind-numbing thing I’ve been tasked with … and I just recently got it right!
Let me start with why finding a niche is so difficult and then offer a few solutions.
You Want to Do Everything
When you need to make money, you want to accept every job that comes your way. In some cases you have to, but the irony of the business world is that the more narrow your focus, the more plentiful your leads.
You’re Good at a Lot of Things
You want to do everything and you can do everything, so why not do everything? There are a few reasons you want to be an expert at one or two things instead of sub par at many: it helps your productivity, it helps you pitch, and it makes it a lot easier to find your target audience.
You … Just Don’t Know
I can’t begin to express the frustration I would feel over not being able to articulate “what I do.” When I first started out, I went through massive self-doubt because I couldn’t summarize in a sentence or two what it is that I did! I definitely struggled because I wanted to do everything and felt I was good at a lot of things, but once I narrowed my focus, my business thrived.
So, how do you find that niche?
1. Self Evaluate
I wasn’t looking for a 9-5 job, but I was able to (finally) articulate what I wanted to do with my life by reading What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard N. Bolles. The book helped me recognize what made me a sought-after professional.
My top four transferable skills? Solving problems, using intuition to solve problems, communicating ideas and solutions, and taking the lead in guiding others toward solving problems. Do you notice a theme?
I remember saying to my husband, “I thought everyone loved solving problems.” His reply of, “Uh, no,” changed my outlook on my career! Here I thought my top skills were common to everyone!
2. Conduct Market Research
The conducting market research portion of a business plan always made me nervous. I had no clue where to start, how to find the right data, and how to apply it to my own business. It wasn’t until I actually completed my market research that I even recognized I had done it.
My favorite methods? Relevant Podcasts, audiobooks, business articles, and social media. I ate up any and all knowledge pertaining to my field and didn’t see it as “research” at all, but I gained valuable insight into what business professionals look for out of consultants, what to charge, and how to market myself.
3. Get Creative
Think about what you’re constantly asked to help with, what you’re always explaining to other professionals, and what sets you apart from others in your field. In terms of my LinkedIn Profile Development product, the fit was uncanny.
As a digital media manager with the Detroit Lions, I was constantly interviewing players and coaches and writing first-person narratives. I would ask them questions, record the audio, transcribe, and then write a blog. The thoughts and perspective was theirs, but I helped them articulate it.
I do the same for the features about DIPG families. I ask parents to tell me their stories and I help them articulate them. It’s something I’ve always been good at — breaking things down into their simplest and most-effective form to reach people on a deep level.
Once I connected the dots between my love of telling other people’s stories, helping others problem-solve, and what works best on the LinkedIn profile, I realized I had something fantastic to offer. It’s serving me well!
What you probably don’t want to hear about finding your niche is that it’s a matter of all of these things coming together in the form of a creative, aha moment. But just as I believe you make your own luck, I believe you put yourself in the right position to discover your niche.
Have you found yours yet?