Finding Your Niche
Getting clarity and finding your niche is often one of the first steps to building a successful online business that thrives. The level of clarity needed to build that thriving business is not as easy to come by as one might think. So what does it even really mean to get business clarity, and find your niche?
A lot of blogs and digital marketers out there are peddling some snake oil niche lists. These are merely a list of sweet spot products and industries. The posts are often all the same. They are long laundry lists of profitable industries, upsells, or requests for an email address to “get the 50 hottest niches”.
These lists will undoubtedly include such areas as fitness, health, self-improvement, etc. There are so many of these lists that claim to help you get clarity on the concept of how to find your niche, but most just fall flat.
These articles miss the core issues around niching down and finding your niche.
A quick google search and you’ll find tons of these types of articles. You’ll find people trying to sell you, emphasis on trying, on the idea of using Amazon to find your niche based on demand. I think that’s backward, to be honest. If you want to build something worthy of building you need to start with a firm foundation that will not sway through the years.
I think when you’re looking for your niche and trying to glean some level of clarity on the subject there are several imperative questions you must answer. But before I get there, why do you even need a niche?
Why Find Your Niche?
Well, it’s simple really. You need to niche down because it’s in the niche that you make money. If your audience is too broad, it’s hard to speak to them in a way where they actually feel known by you.
That’s the very simple answer to it. But that’s only half the story. The other half is all about you. You must take into account your specific gifts, expertise, personality, “what you’re good at” to start off on the right foot and avoid burnout.
If you attempt to sell widgets in blue, red, and green you will burn out. Why? Because who is passionate about a product that just sells.
Sure it’s nice to make money, but money doesn’t answer the why and purpose of being. That purpose will sustain you. It will connect you on a transcendent level with others. Set out to find your why and in doing so you will find your niche.
My purpose drives me. I live to help small business owners and entrepreneurs grow and make a new life building businesses that thrive. It excites me.
People spend hours, days, weeks, months, and even years attempting to get clarity and purpose. I once had a kind soul sit across the screen from me and tell me they had been trying to find the right niche for 6 plus years. Yikes. In order to find your niche, there are three simple and powerful questions.
Three Questions to Find Your Niche
What are you good at?
First and foremost, what are you good at? There’s a lot we could say about that, but what areas in life are you an expert? Are you an expert with journal entries? Are you an expert at working through a balance sheet? Is your expertise in Excel or SQL databases? There are thousands of things out there you could be good at and have brilliant expertise in, but that’s not all of it.
I’m actually an excel ninja.
I can slice and dice when it comes to any dataset. I can build lovely dashboards for the C suite. I can automate tasks with visual basic and macros. But I hate this work.
So don’t get locked into the concept of expertise as a function of your previous or current work or career. Rather, I encourage you to think about expertise much more broadly.
Ask what can you do well AND you enjoy.
Perhaps you enjoy woodworking more than you enjoy your investment banking work or that analysis job. Maybe you enjoy making stone pottery, rather than working through the anxiety, another sales call that just feels wrong and cold always wondering if things will balance and it’ll be a short few days.
So that’s the first question have to answer.
What are you good at? And what do you enjoy that you’re good at? Don’t forget to add that part. It’s elemental and life giving as well as life changing.
Who would value that?
The second question you need to ask is who would value that? What people out there in the world would value the expertise you just noted. So in the case of stone pottery, you might say people that collect handcrafted pottery will value my work.
It doesn’t have to be completely different than what you do at work now though. Let’s say in the first step you said I really love doing work in financial databases but I hate working for “the man”. Maybe you start a consulting gig instead of working for the man that’s more niched down and focused.
Ask the questions who would value financial database work?
There are far too many people to name so you will need to drill down a bit more. Perhaps the answer is business owners or decision-makers with or in a company with less than 50 employees that don’t have or “don’t want to” use cash to hire an FTE to dedicate to that. So those people will really value you and especially when they don’t have to pay you those benefits and entire FTE to do some work.
This question of who will value your offer is key, but a deeper line of questioning lingers. You can’t just create products because you see them selling. Rather, you need an offer that solves a problem. If you don’t, it’s going to be darn hard to sell that offer.
Once you have these two fundamental questions answered, the “what your good at” and the “who values it”. Then you need to drill down into what problem does it actually solve for them?
The Sweet Spot – Solve that Problem
An offer without a problem to solve is a waste of time.
If your offer doesn’t solve a real-life problem you’re destined to fail and you can expect to sell little along the way.
So what problem is your offer, or better yet offers, going to solve for those people? You must have a value ladder with multiple offers. But that’s another discussion altogether.
I’m sure you know what a Venn diagram is from your days in school.
In the image above the Venn diagram, you see the “what you’re good at” and the “who values that”. Now it’s time to actually find your niche and start living your purpose. Each step in this process is a piece in the puzzle of finding a profitable niche, understanding your why, and finding meaning in your life.
I’m a firm believer that through understanding what we are and who needs that we find deep and meaningful, dare I say life-changing purpose.
Let’s face it you are here because you’re dissatisfied with your current job, your business, your meaning, and purpose. You hate the lack of clarity and can’t figure out why nothing seems to work. You are tired of missing out when the gang heads out. Getting home after dark regularly is the worst. It isn’t life giving. But finding your purpose and helping others solve a real problem will drive you.
“You will find your niche in the connection point on the Venn Diagram. What are you great at? And who wants and needs that? The overlap of that area is where you find your niche and audience!”Jeff Green
Take Action to Find Your Niche
That’s right take action. Don’t just sit there and wait on it to come to you.
Get out a piece of paper or a spreadsheet and create the two main areas (three on a spreadsheet). One, should be labeled “what I am good at”. The second area should be labeled “who would value that?”
The point of intersection in the middle, or middle column of a spreadsheet, is where you find your niche.
This area of intersection where both your what and the who out there coexist is where you need to be playing to thrive in business.
If you find it clarity has arrived alongside meaningful purpose in life. Further, it’s the thing that will drive you to get up every morning and create something new for your audience.
Don’t confuse this point. Your niche is not your audience. Your niche is the problem(s) you solve for that audience.
At the end of the day, people don’t care about you per se. They don’t care about you great skill nor how you do it. In the end, they care about you helping them solve problems.
Solving problems for people is something people will pay you for over and over again.