By Cat LeBlanc
If you’ve just come through coaching training or you’re going through it right now you’re likely facing that looming question – how do I choose my niche?
You may well be experiencing resistance and thinking – do I really HAVE to choose a niche? Can’t I be a life coach and help lots of different people improve their lives?
So first, let’s talk about why choosing a niche will actually help you find more clients and grow your business more quickly. And not mean that you are turning people away.
Why you need to choose a niche
Think about when you want to go shopping for a fabulous dress for an upcoming event…
Do you go to the store that caters for 12-15 year olds wanting to express their new-found individuality, as well as 20-30 year olds who want something classy that makes them feel a million dollars and ladies 60+ who just want to feel comfortable and style is not really on their wish list?
I’m thinking you likely don’t.
Even if you came across a store selling all of those outfits you will think they don’t have what you want, because they are too generic.
You go straight to the stores you like. The ones that cater for YOU.
Coaching and any other personal service on the Internet is no different.
People want to go to the person who gets them. Who knows what they need before they do. Who can guide them very specifically with what they need.
No one picks generic.
I know that may seem harsh and even border line unfair.
You have the skills to help so many people. And that is one of the great joys of being a coach. But unless you want to just coach people locally who hear from you through word of mouth you are going to need to be known for something.
It’s the only way to get the attention your business will need online to capture the hearts of the people who need you.
3 Sticking Points That May Be Holding You Back From Choosing
A lot of the work I do is around helping new coaches, consultants and service-providers choose a niche online. I find that there are three major sticking points that hold people back from making a decision and going for it.
1. I need something totally new (aka it’s all been done before).
2. I’m not expert enough.
3. I’m multi-passionate and choosing feels like denying part of myself.
Let’s look at each scenario and talk about why it’s actually not true and it doesn’t have to hold you back.
Sticking Point 1 – I need to do something new (aka it’s all been done before).
It’s easy to start looking at all the amazing coaches online and feel like it’s been done before. And not only that – it’s been done so well.
There are literally thousands of coaches out there. Many of whom have been in business several years and hired pro teams to set up photo shoots, do their branding and build incredible websites. It can seem like the only way to compete is to do something different.
Here’s the thing – there are thousands of successful coaches because people hire coaches. When you choose a niche that other people are already doing business in – dating coaching, business coaching, health coaching, mindset coaching – you are choosing a proven business model.
And what that means is you are reducing your risk. If someone is successfully doing what you are thinking about doing then there is a market demand and people are willing to pay for this.
All you need to do is add your own flair and personality to your brand. No two people have the exact same methodology and ideas about something.
Think about your favourite local restaurant. How would you feel if the owner had sat at home thinking – there are already seven Thai restaurants in town. I think I won’t bother. You’d be disappointed because that’s your favourite, it’s your pick. You are going to be someone else’s pick in the future.
Sticking Point 2 – I’m not expert enough.
When you are thinking of asking for money for your coaching it’s easy to feel insecure, and again, start comparing yourself to those who have been in the game longer than you.
The real question to ask yourself is – can you help people?
If the answer is yes, you have a potential niche. And we’ll be looking at how to narrow down your ideas and choose in just a moment.
If you have the skill or knowledge to help others then that’s all the expertise you need. Everyone starts somewhere.
I started this business after running another business for a few months. In order to start the first business I spent many months of researching business ideas and looking at different business idea validation methods. My first business was successful but I wasn’t fulfilled and I wanted something location independent. So I chose to start something new.
I looked at my skills and the market and realized there was a real need to help people choose a business idea or niche. Did I have qualifications in that area? No. Had I helped lots of people do that already? No. I decided to find some test clients and tested the process I had developed starting my own business and my clients got results. I felt the fear, did it anyway and started. Now I am known for being an expert in that area. But when I launched I only really knew enough to start.
Sometimes you need to take that leap of faith.
Sticking Point 3 – I’m multi-passionate and choosing a niche feels like denying part of myself.
Here’s the big truth you need to hear here – You aren’t choosing one niche for the end of all time. You are choosing one idea to try first.
When starting a business you want to go narrow and deep. That means choosing your slice of the market, or niche, and becoming an expert there.
Once you have established your expertise you can branch out into other areas.
You are also absolutely allowed to adjust as your business grows. In fact it’s expected. Nothing stays still and stagnant. Choose one niche and know your business will grow and change with you.
The Process of Choosing Your Niche
Now that you know why you should choose a niche and we’ve unstuck the three sticking points around actually choosing – here’s how to find your niche:
Step 1 – Brain Dump Everything
The first step is to get all of the ideas you’ve ever had, including the ridiculous ones as well as the ones you are actively considering, out of your head and on to paper.
Go through your passions, values, skills and experience and get all the ideas you can possibly think of down.
When you think you’re done write down ten more. Often these extra ones can add a new and interesting perspective on something you’re already considering.
Step 2 – Pick Your Best Three
Choose your top three niches. These are the ones that appeal to you the most.
Step 3 – Validate Your Idea
Validate your idea by running it through these three tests.
Test 1 – Do I feel I have enough skill and knowledge to help a certain group of people in this niche? Note: those people may only be two steps behind you
Test 2 – Is this group willing and able to pay for this type of coaching?
Test 3 – Do you think this is something you’d like to do for the next two years minimum?
Give each idea a score out of 5 for each of these tests. 0 being no way and 5 being absolutely.
This process will give you a score for each niche which is based on your ability to deliver, your excitement for the idea and market viability.
One thing to remember – if you get a zero for your market being willing and able to pay for this type of coaching you need to either choose a different group of people or a different style of coaching.
Step 4 – Choose One
Based on the scoring and on your gut – choose one.
If you still feel like you can’t choose you need to choose anyway.
There is no better way to find out if a niche is right for you than trying it.
Cat LeBlanc specializes in helping future coaches, consultants and online service providers find the right business idea, get paying clients quickly and build a business foundation that scales. Get your FREE training – Zero To Paying Clients in 35 Days. Why Most Of What You’ve Been Taught About Starting An Online Business Is Plain Wrong here.