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Choosing A Niche – Why Narrowing It Down Actually Opens Up Your Options

Cat TravelingAre you finding it hard to choose your business niche? Many people thinking of starting a business find it difficult to decide on something to specialize in. They know they should pick a niche, but when it comes to the moment where they have to choose JUST ONE, they have a really hard time. Why is that?

The benefits of having a niche are massive

If you are marketing to a specific group of people you can really focus in and create products and services that address their needs. Those people will much prefer something made with them in mind to any more generic product. Essentially if your marketing material appeals to everyone then it appeals to no one. So you really do want to be narrowing down the group of people you plan to serve.

Also, if you are a specialist you can charge more and who doesn’t like earning more?!

In theory this all sounds great. So where’s the problem?

 

The problem is choosing a niche feels like narrowing down your options

And narrowing down your options feels counter-intuitive. Especially if you are the creative, freedom-loving type.

No one wants to miss out. No one wants to get boxed in. So there is a fundamental mental block that people experience around choosing a niche.

You start asking yourself

– but why would I turn people away who might want my product?

– why can’t I help more people?

I’d like to show how through “niching” in my life I have been able to give myself MORE options

Before I had a business I worked in IT. In the beginning I didn’t have a lot of choice over what area I worked in so I had to start with what I was given. As soon as I had a job I started plotting. Yes, plotting ;-) The last thing I wanted was for someone else to have control over my destiny and to dictate how I ran my life. I was looking at ways to give myself options.

I looked at the skills I was learning at work and began searching on Jobserve.com to work out how I could move into a field that was specialized enough to make it easy to get high paid work but open enough so that I had a choice over which cities (and countries) I could work in. At the time I had no idea about niches, I was thinking of it in terms of specialization. I was looking to get in a position where I could be free in terms of location, be in a position of authority and be paid well.

I managed to get myself into a niche in the IT market and as the market changed I continued to adjust so that I was always in a place where I was a specialist and in demand but in a relatively small field. Through this ‘niching’ I was able to:

  • Get work in a new city at a company I wanted to go to even though they had no vacant positions
  • Quit my job and go traveling for 3 months (see photo) without worrying about getting work when I got back
  • Pick up a lucrative contract role after the trip where I could earn enough money to fly across the Atlantic to see the man I met traveling by about 2pm on any work day
  • Get a visa to emigrate
  • Get a job in the new country I was moving to before I even got on the plane

If I had stayed a generalist I don’t believe I would have been able to do any of the above with the possible exception of emigrating. In my life niching it down has been anything but narrowing it down.

 

Specializing has been the key to living life on my terms

In business the story is not dissimilar. My business concentrates on finding a person their best business idea to get them started in business. This is an area that is covered by other coaches but very few specialize in it.

This niche has led to:

  • Having my first client before I even expected it and having to pull an all weekender to get my materials completely ready in time
  • Being approached by other industry experts to partner within a short period of being in business
  • Being able to grow my following much quicker than the industry average

 

So if you’re feeling constrained thinking about choosing a niche remember these two important points

  1. You can always branch out later
  2. Most likely choosing a niche is going to be opening doors for you, rather than closing them…

 

Now I’d like to hear from you

Have you had a success story operating in a niche?

Are you feeling concerned about the size of your niche (topic for another blog post!) or worried about narrowing it down?

I’d love to hear from you. Let me know in the comments below…

 

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2 Responses to Choosing A Niche – Why Narrowing It Down Actually Opens Up Your Options

  1. I love this post! It’s interesting how you related it to your job in the corporate world – niches are everywhere but it is daunting especially when you’re just starting out- I mean you want to JUST MAKE MONEY and NOW! But I think that some of us know we need to develop a niche but it’s not a matter of starting a niche or not but more a matter of which niche to choose. That’s my problem- I want to do one thing but then I think of the other niche I could do- so I would ask you how would u suggest someone choose their niche? Especially if there’s more than one to choose from?

    Xo,
    Ashley

  2. Hi Ashley,

    Thanks for commenting :-) There are a lot of elements that go into choosing the right niche. It’s a balance of what you love doing and also what makes money in your industry.

    You also need to be sure that it is broad enough so that you have enough customers to serve but narrow enough to be able to really understand your customers and speak to them in their language.

    Remember, there’s nothing to stop you broadening later. The idea of the niche is to be able to make your mark somewhere, where ever that may be first, then work from there.

    If you are having problems deciding I recommend my 5 Simple Step System http://catleblanc.com/decide-on-your-business-idea/ As you already have your business set up you can most likely skip step 1 and start with 2 which should help you decide on a niche.

    Hope this helps!

    Cat x

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