Do you earn your living as an expert in your field? You may offer professional services or advice. Perhaps you’re a consultant, trainer or coach. If so, one of the most valuable thing that you can do to grow your career or business, is to commit to a niche.
People often resist choosing a niche because they think it might be limiting. But you can’t be everything to everybody. If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you may have heard this message before from a marketing perspective. And it’s also true when it comes to finding satisfying work.
Your niche is where your expertise and your purpose come together. It’s where your unique set of knowledge, skills and interests interacts with the needs of others. Here are a few questions to help you identify this sweet spot.
What difference do you want to make?
Ultimately the value of your work is in the difference you make to others. The beneficiaries of your work may be other people, it may be animals, it may be the environment. Finding something you care about will give you satisfaction at the end of your working day, and your working life.
Who are you best placed to help?
Your starting point is where you are now. What does your background and experience bring to the table? What networks and contacts do you already have? And if you want to make a break with the past, then you can look ahead to find the answer to this question. What areas interest you? Where are you prepared to put in the work needed to learn new things and make new contacts?
Who do you most enjoy working with?
Do you enjoy being with young people, older people, animals, creative people, entrepreneurial people… the list goes on. What values and ideals does your perfect client or customer hold? Who have you most enjoyed working with in the past? The people we work with are often the single biggest contributors to our happiness at work
And when you do find your niche it just feels right. It’s often something that ties together your unique mix of interests, skills and experience from various stages in your working life.
And yes, you can have more than one niche. In my coaching business, I use my experience and skills to help mid-life career changers to work out what they want to do. I have always been fascinated by career paths, and why people do what they do. When I discovered this coaching niche, it immediately felt right. It doesn’t feel restrictive at all.
I also run a training business with a colleague. Our main niche is helping people who manage volunteers to gain skills and qualifications. I came into this field partly through my own experience of volunteering and managing volunteers in a community theatre. And it also draws on my professional background working in the voluntary sector.
Niches can be quite different. For example a part time accountant who helps sole traders with their book-keeping, and also sells quirky jewellery at craft fairs. Or niches can relate to each other. My niches are both around helping people develop their careers – but in different ways. And in last month’s blog, artist Rhian John describes how her painting and graphic design are complementary. A good niche is neither so narrow that you become blinkered, or so wide that any meaningful level of expertise is impossible.
Need some help with finding your niche? This is the type of enquiry I can help with, so please have a look my free consultation offer.