There are plenty of resources out there on the importance of picking a niche, but most of them take a “left brain approach,” which tends to leave us operating from a “should” verses “want” place. Turning your passion into a business idea doesn’t have to be a struggle, but with a shaky foundation, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
Too Many Coaches Use the “Picking a Niche” Out of a Hat Approach, and That Doesn’t Serve Anyone
Most business coaches in the industry implement a “top down approach” when choosing a niche, which involves addressing the needs of the community and looking for a demand for a particular service. If there are any underserved areas, many coaches will go for it.
Another aspect of this “logical” method involves targeting those with discretionary income. Of course, you want clients who have the means or resources to pay you, but when you take this approach, you neglect what you want most and instead focus on what you believe you “should” be doing.
Picking a niche with the “top down” method alone won’t light you up nor will it necessarily leverage your credibility and expertise. If you don’t love what you do and don’t have solid credibility, it won’t be sustainable. I’ve worked with too many clients who took this approach before they worked with me who were putting countless time and resources into building their niche. But after a few months or years, they decide to abandon it and switch to a different niche because it was clearly not working for them.
Starting over again is exhausting, not to mention a costly, colossal waste of time, energy, and money.
The “Bottom Up Approach” to Choosing a Niche Piggybacks on Your Passions & Credibility.
When I work with a client, we start with a “bottom up approach” instead. Rather than stepping outside of yourself to consider what the market wants or needs, we look within and start with your passions, expertise, and credibility. Ask yourself questions like:
- Where do I already have credibility and expertise?
- What am I most passionate about?
- How have I transformed in my own life? What major challenges have I overcome?
- What type of people are already drawn to me?
- Who are the clients I have enjoyed working with the most?
- Where/how do these people commune?
When it comes to picking a niche, your passion is what will ignite your drive. If you are passionate about what you do and the services you offer, that passion will burn even brighter the more you do your work.
And your credibility is what will attract clients to you. One thing to remember with credibility is that it comes in 3 major forms:
- I’ve walked in their shoes
- I am a maker of champions
- My credentials, education, and professional experience.
You must have at least one of these forms to have credibility. If you have two, it’s even better, and with all three, you are golden!
Finish it off with a “Top Down Litmus Test” to Solidify Your Niche’s Marketability.
Once you’ve established your passion and credibility, then it’s time to determine why the work you are doing is “essential” to your ideal client. And that’s where the litmus test comes in.
- Does this niche need me?
- Is this considered essential by my ideal client?
- Does my ideal client have access to resources to pay for coaching?
I once worked with a client who was a single mother living below the poverty line and she wanted to launch a coaching business. I knew she would have to borrow money to work with me, so I was very clear that she was committed and would maximize her investment before I agreed to work with her.
After having initial success as a business coach, she gravitated more and more to helping women overcome their money struggles. Her personal struggle with money and her journey to having a powerful relationship with money made her incredibly compelling and credible in that space. Many years hence, she’s now a money coach who helps others change their paradigm with money. She had the passion, she had walked in the shoes of her clients and she gained the credibility through her own mastery.
Picking a niche has a big impact on the time and resources you spend moving forward, so it pays to put in the work beforehand to make sure you feel “light and right” about the niche you are claiming.
Have you had a positive or negative experience with picking a niche? Please share it in the comments so we can all learn from it!
Tara Butler Floch