Welcome to my second blog article this month on Niche Development. If you missed the last article, I talked about what niche is and the three criteria that define a true niche (click here to read that article). In this article, I am going to talk about the top 7 misconceptions and fears entrepreneurs have about claiming a specific niche and what’s really true. It’s time to get these misconceptions and fears out of the way so you can start attracting more clients and increase the ripple effect of change in your wake!
When most coaches come out of coaching school, they really don’t want to want to pick a niche because well trained and skilled coaches can help anyone who is open to coaching. So, then, why is it compelling to choose a niche? Because it can give you more access, open more doors, and allow you to make an even greater transformation than when you are a generalist. Think about it – if you were getting heart surgery, would you rather go to a general surgeon or a heart surgeon? As I often say, you narrow to the degree that it serves – serves your client and serves you.
So why, then, do coaches resist against choosing a specific niche? Here are the top 7 misconceptions and fears of choosing a niche and what is really the truth underneath each one:
- “By narrowing my focus on a specific niche, I will narrow my opportunities for prospective clients”
Truth: narrowing to a specific niche will actually open more doors and increase the interest of potential clients and strategic partners because your messaging, process and accompanying toolkit will be catered specifically to these prospective clients and, therefore, will be a whole lot more compelling and useful.
- “I will repel prospective clients who aren’t in my Market Niche”
Truth: People hire people they know, trust, like and feel can make a significant difference for them. Your ideal client is your “bullseye”, but many people will still end up on your “dartboard”. You get to decide who gets on the dartboard and who doesn’t, based on your own interest and whether you feel you can make a significant difference with them.
Even today, I get referrals monthly for leadership and executive coaching even though I have been focusing on entrepreneurs for the last 8 years. If you’ve checked out my website, you know my messaging is very clearly for coaches and “coach-like entrepreneurs”, yet people still want to work with me in other capacities. Luckily, I have a great network of coaches I can send those folks to, since they no longer get on my dartboard.
- “I will be pigeon-holed and I want freedom to change up my business”
Truth: You always have the flexibility to change up your business and your niche. In the 16 years I have had my practice, I’ve switched my focus 3 times because I wanted a new challenge and was being drawn to a new set of clients. There will always be evolution in our businesses and picking a specific niche never has to leave you ball and chained.
- “There won’t be enough prospective clients for me and I’ll go broke”
Truth: You narrow to the degree that it serves you and the client. When looking at your prospective niche, you do want to do your research to get a sense of how many of these clients, as well as other coaches that focus on them, exist in your area. Remember, most coaches only want about 20 clients at a time. You don’t need mountains of people in this niche to have a very healthy practice. Remember, too, that niche specific coaches usually have much longer engagements than generalists because they are going very deep with their clients. My average client is with me for over a year (even though I have initial 6 and 10 month packages), and I have several clients that have been with me for longer than 5 years.
- “My current clients who aren’t in my niche will stop working with me”
Truth: Your clients only care that you are making a significant difference with them. If you are doing that, they will not care what type of marketing you are doing and who else you are serving. Plus sometimes these clients can be even better at referring others to you when they know the type of clients you are trying to draw in your business today.
- “I will have to say NO to potential clients that aren’t in my Niche”
Truth: You always get to choose. As an example, even though I absolutely can serve as an Executive Coach having done that for 8 years and having a deep toolkit to serve them, I have chosen not to because I’d much rather serve Coaches than Executives. But, if I wanted to, the people that are referred to me would absolutely prefer working with me over getting a referral to another coach because I came strongly referred from someone they trust. There really are no limits here, except what limits you choose to enforce yourself.
- “I don’t know how to pick a Niche or where to begin”
Truth: Most people don’t know where to begin, which is why it’s a major component to my Entrepreneurial Edge Coaching Program. However, with a little guidance, you will see that the niche identification process is actually really fun, interesting, and clarity producing. It doesn’t have to be hard! I’ll be writing more articles in the coming month that will help get you started on this exploration on your own, so stay tuned! And if you know you want more support, you can reach out to do a complimentary business breakthrough session with me and I’ll help get you started – and if you still need more support we can talk about working together by either joining my Entrepreneurial Edge Coaching Program or purchasing my Entrepreneurial Leapstart Program which will guide you through the niche development process, depending on what level of support you need.
As always, I would love to hear your comments, suggestions and questions!
Tara Butler Floch