Here are 3 ways to move from confusion to clarity about your niche. As a business owner or expert in your field, niching makes a huge difference, versus trying to be all things to all people.
You can do that if you’re a mature business, but not if you’re just starting out, or wanting to reinvent and jump up to the next level of success. By niche it can mean who you serve, how you serve them, what values you share or all three.
Most people’s confusion about and resistance to niching comes from limiting thoughts such as:
1) If I niche, I’ll lose other business
2) I might choose the wrong niche and get stuck there or fail
3) There might not be enough people in my niche
4) I could do a lot of work to rebrand only to find it doesn’t work
Benefits of listening:
* why people resist sticking to one niche
* different way to niche that you might not have thought of
* how to vastly improve your income by picking a lane and sticking to it
1:48 – Why people resist niching and how to break free of limiting thoughts
3:45 – Examples of why niching is so powerful to grow your income quickly
9:17 – A story about how choose the right niche for you
20:17 – Why you may need to reinvent the niche you serve now
APPLY FOR A FREE COACHING SESSION TO DISCOVER YOUR NICHE
MIC PROGRAM TO BECOME CERTIFIED AS A SPEAKER AND COACH https://mindstoryacademy.com/join-mic-certification
Connect with Carla Rieger:
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/carlarieger
Twitter – https://twitter.com/carlarieger
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/carlarieger/
This is episode 37 how to get clarity on your niche or your niche. If you want to sound a bit French. Hi, I’m Carla Rieger and this is the mind story speaker podcast for influencers in business who speak to grow their income, referrals and impact in the world. So many people come to us asking for help to clarify their niche and get lost in confusion about it. Now, resistance to getting clarity is totally normal. Every time you set a vision or a goal in your business, you also create what I call an anti vision. Because we live in a dualistic universe, you actually need to allow an owl chemical process to happen between the two so you can ultimately create the third entity, which I believe is the real vision, the real goal of what you’re offering to the world and who you’re offering it to.
So here are some tools for getting you there. Now, you’ve probably heard all the advice out there that solving a certain type of problem for a certain type of person is far better than trying to be all things for all types of people. That’s sad. You’re just starting out. You actually need to explore working with different types of people in different ways in order to discover your niche. And if you have a mature business, you may be serving many niches already and that’s normal and okay, but if you’re past the start up phase and wanting to either reinvent yourself or jump up to the next level of success in a big way, niching at least a part of your business is hugely important. So here’s a few ways to do that. If you’ve had resistance to choosing a lane, picking a niche, don’t worry, you’re normal.
So typical resistances usually come from thoughts such as, well, if I totally focus on this one particular type of solution or this one particular type of group, then other people who’ve come to me in the past will think that I don’t serve them any more and I’ll lose business. A second one is the fear of that it won’t lead to enough business. A third is that they’ll end up being the wrong niche somehow. And other fears are more subconscious and you’re not totally aware of them. Often it’s a fear of failure or a fear of success. So [inaudible] your offerings does make such a big difference. If there’s a part of you that is afraid of success and feeling that you won’t be able to handle it or fearing you’d get success and then lose it, and just the added responsibility that comes with actually getting clients and having to serve them and dealing with all the complexities of a successful business, a lot of people will sabotage.
Therefore it’s success because if they stay small, life feels less stressful. Of course, that’s just an illusion because the stress comes from your thoughts about your situation and not your external circumstances. But we’ve just seen that happen with a lot of people. Now the important thing to remember though is that it’s important to just really examine it and look at it from a place of acceptance, understanding, empathy, and that is the first step to transformation. And once you allow the desire and the resistance to Nishi your business to be there at the same time, they actually start to go through this alchemical process and transform into just a well thought through niche. So a few examples are, I had a client who did financial literacy for small business owners and it was only when he needed right down to people in construction, specifically general contractors that his business took off.
And the way he decided on that was we looked at who were his best paying clients and the ones who got the most results from his work and the ones he most enjoyed working with. And he realized that was general contractors. So he ended up speaking at all the general contractor conferences and because he really understood their business and he used a lot of specific stories in his speaking that they related to then meeting Pires talk and they say, Hey, you got to have this guy keynote your conference and saw all of a sudden he was going to all the construction conferences in the world. And then of course often in the audience are people who are in other aspects of construction. So plumbers, HVAC, people citing stucco, all these sort of smaller niches within construction. Then asked him to speak at their conference and his business went from about 80,000 a year to 1.2 million just by niching.
So that’s niching by the audience you serve. I had another client who niched by topic, which was storytelling for anyone in a sales role to grab attention, to make your material more memorable. So broad audience, but specific solution. And she got into it before storytelling was popular and then it became this go-to topic that everyone wanted to learn about. And she chose that because she was really passionate about it and she felt that it would make a big difference. So it was slow at first, but then it took us. So think about that with yourself. Is there a topic that you feel your passionate about that you’ve done a lot of research on that you’ve proven results with that’s quite specific but that not that many people are talking about that can make you stand out in the marketplace. In YouTube, there’s a story of the guy who sold his YouTube channel for 5 million and his focus was surfaces that you would put on stone top kitchen tables.
That’s a really specific niche and I’ll tell you a story in a moment of how I got clear on my niche by having a meeting planner asked me why I chose to speak on my particular topic and I’ve changed my niche over the years. At first I focused on people in healthcare and then I switched to people in human resources and then people in the financial industry, and then people started contacting me from all these different industries and so now I’ve probably served almost every industry on the planet because I’m a mature business, but depending on my topic, I will focus on a specific niche. For example, I help emerging leaders in the construction industry and then I help CEOs who have privately run insurance companies or financial planning companies. And then in our coach and speaker certification program, we niche to people over 50 going through career transition who want to build a coaching business and build it through speaking.
So tip number one is to just pay attention to the fears, write them all out about why you don’t want to niche, and then tap into your future self who is very successful in one particular niche, handling it very well and ask this future South how you handled each of these fears and concerns. And many of my clients do that through journaling. So they’ll literally imagine themselves as this future South who achieved great success and fulfillment through a particular niche direction. You’d, and then you asked, how did I get over all these concerns and fears and problems and obstacles. And for each one just see what comes to mind because we can all tap into future timelines of ourselves. I know for some people that might seem a little way out there, but just try it and you’ll be amazed at what starts to get written out on the page.
And we don’t access these kinds of resources in our higher mind nearly as much as we should. So try that. I’ve had many clients say it completely blew their mind. It totally gave them an action plan for moving forward despite the concerns and obstacles. So tip number two is to look at your own areas of life transformation or business transformation that had been the most impactful for you, where you have the most powerful stories and choose that as your niche. And what I mean by that is often people need a doorway into understanding who you are and what you’re about. And that’s why a highly niche topic, especially as a speaking topic, is really useful. And then once they’re in the door and working you on that one particular solution, then you can introduce them to all the other things you do. And if you’re like most people, you’ve discovered several amazing solutions in your own life that you could teach others about.
So you just need to pick one that you know a specific audience is really hungry to learn about. As an example of how I came to find my vision of realizing there actually certain types of people I meant to serve in certain ways and I want to tell you this in case it gives you some ideas of how it could play out for you. So I had a vague vision. I wanted to help empower people in some way. I had no idea how I wanted to empower them or how I could make a living doing that. I studied all kinds of personal development and business development through my twenties and then I studied public speaking and acting to get over my shyness and amazingly I got a job that involved public speaking to thousands of new college students and I ran them through icebreaker games so that they would feel less lonely on campus.
A few years later
I decided to start my own business while I was still under 30 I joined a business incubator for people under 30 and it was excellent in terms of giving me entrepreneurial skills.
but something was off for me. My mentors kept saying, you have to work really hard and stop wasting your time having any fun. Now many of these 20 somethings were clearly more into partying than staying focused on building a business. I got that, but I also didn’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water. I felt people did need fun to balance all the work and I grew up in a family where everyone worked really hard, never had any fun, and there is a big price to pay. Those are the kinds of people I wanted to help. My family was composed of serious, solemn, linear, logical, academic achievement oriented people who were immigrants to Canada. My mother was British and my father was from Slovakia. They didn’t value fun, playfulness and humor. I remember being 10 years old sitting around the dinner table. I heard something at school, so I said, mom, why don’t cannibals like to eat clowns? I don’t know DIA Y because they taste funny.
That doesn’t make any sense to ya. Clowns don’t normally frequent the jungles of Africa with cannibals would be found, so just be quiet in each or beans. So I drew up and followed in her footsteps. I became serious, goal-oriented, academic and diligent. I worried most of the time about reaching my goals. I did seven years of education with three part time jobs all the way through. And I was taking a public speaking course and I was up on stage trying to deliver my speech, looking very consternation and worried. And the public speaking teacher stopped me and she said, stop right there honey. How old are you? I’m 23 why? Well you sound like a 45 year old insurance underwriter.
He needs to lighten up. So go lighten up and then come back to my costs. Get off the stage. So I was shocked by that feedback. I had no idea. I came across as so serious. But you know, I looked at all these photos of myself after that and I was never smiling. I rarely went to any social events. I just worked most of the time. And I thought, well maybe she’s right. Maybe I should lighten up. So I signed up for a comedy improvisational acting class, kind of like whose line is it? Any ways games that you play where there’s no script and they’re designed to bring out humor. So it was hard at first, but after a while I got some skills and I actually just loved spending the whole afternoon laughing. It just completely changed my brain chemistry and made me stop worrying so much and helped me recapture a sense of humor that was always there but had just been plastered over with seriousness and I started seeing the value of relaxation and recreation and fun in addition to working hard and in fact doing that gave me more energy for when I did have to work.
So because of that background, I chose to focus on fun as a team building tool for workplaces. It was the idea of balancing work in play. I didn’t think being overly serious about everything was a good idea for me or anyone. There were statistics that groups that play together stay together, have fun working environment meant often less conflict, less absenteeism, more motivation, higher sales and staying healthier. And some teams naturally had that sense of joy and comradery, but some didn’t. They really needed help to break free of a constant pattern of stress and negativity. Now it was hard at first to sell the idea of helping people to be more productive as a team by getting them to play. Certainly when I was starting out in this, the whole idea of positive psychology and making sure you had fun and getting the endorphins going was very new. Most managers and business owners felt that would lead to less productivity. So the amount of rejection I received led to losing my motivation for doing this business, or at least this niche. I looked at my cashflow, decided I better go get a job. I only had one booking coming up. My last booking was working with a team in Savannah, Georgia, and after an afternoon of working in, playing with this particular team, the organizer, Mary Beth Wilson, invited me out for dinner. She says to me,
well, that was fabulous. I loved it. Thank you so much. That’s [inaudible]
dinner with Mary Beth Wilson changed everything because she asked me,
so what got you into these land of work? Why do you do this?
Well, I dunno, uh, sigh explained about coming from a family that was all working, no play. But as the evening were on, I realized there was a deeper reason that I’d forgotten about it was about my mother. You know, the one that didn’t get the clown joke at first, I was a bit uncomfortable about sharing this story with Mary Beth, yet the men to Julip that she had ordered for me was starting to kick in. So I told her, I just remembered a deeper why’s. We were having the conversation. It had to do with my mother. Now she was this amazing social change leader, but she really was all working, no play. But then she got cancer when I was still in my twenties in fact, she was diagnosed with not one, but two kinds of cancer, both of which had very dim prognosis. So the notion that life is short became very real for her. Now the irony was that her entire personality changed. She said, let’s have fun
now. I never really knew what fun meant to her, but I soon found out she started writing poetry and wearing wild colored clothes and clipping flowers and putting them in her hair. She started singing and doing this interpretive kind of dance thing all over the living room and she didn’t care what people thought anymore. She didn’t care if there were wrinkles in the tablecloth or that the checkbook was balanced anymore. She just loved being with people who made her laugh. And I’d never actually seen my mother laugh, you know, that big Hardy belly laugh kind of way until she was very ill.[inaudible]
then she was really letting it all goes. You just like hold her stomach and laugh as hard as she could and she just wanted to live as best she could. And during all this, she warned me not to go down the same road as she had cause she could tell I’m just being overly serious, worried, frustrated, pushing at the expense of everything else. And in fact, I remember her saying just a few months before she passed away, you don’t know when your last day will be for me. I know it’s coming soon, but you don’t know. Maybe today is your last day. Do you really want to spend it rushing around, frustrated, trying to fit in one more thing until feel exhausted. I live my whole life like that. And what did it get me? Will anyone remember me at my funeral for all the things that got done on my [inaudible]
task list? I don’t think so.
So it’s like she was now living the way she wished she’d lived her whole life and she was giving me a chance to start young instead of waiting until the end of my life.
So I made that promise to my mother on her death bed that I would lighten up, love the moment.
And after she passed away, I took it a step further and decided to lighten up the world. Now whenever I think of her, she is smiling and laughing like she was at the end. Although when I look at old photos, she’s always never smiling. But I can remember the person she became.
So I told Mary Beth all that as we were drinking our mint juleps and she said, that’s important. You have to tell that story. The time I never thought to include a personal story or talk about my mission, vision or purpose for doing this kind of work. So I did and I wrote an article about it and that made people want to book me. And soon I started telling that story as speaking engagements and when coaching people and I realized that was my personal why at that period of my life to help people marry were can play to not wait till the end of their life, to not be chasing goals constantly without enjoying the process. And because I now knew my deeper purpose, it seemed to quadruple my resilience in terms of all the rejection I was facing. And just helped me keep going. So I decided to not get a job but to keep going. And it also seemed to be very helpful for those who heard it, inspiring them to find their deeper purpose for life and for the work they do in the world. So the quote by Ursula Gwyn, the great science fiction author became my value system to live.
It’s good to have an end to journey towards, but it’s the journey that matters. In the end. After that, I decided to quadruple my commitment and true to that number. I did a quadruple my business income within six months and I never looked back. So it’s normal and important to reinvent yourself regularly and in fact, those who don’t get left behind now, of course it can feel uncomfortable when you’re between two worlds. The old way hasn’t quite disappeared, but you feel it’s relevant in your life is fading away. At the same time, the next phase of life hasn’t yet appeared on the horizon. It’s kind of a barren place. I like to call the winter of change. It’s also known as the void or the abyss. Or to quote a popular cartoon. I know that when one door closes, another one opens. But man, those hallways are a bitch.
So after years of studying personal development and success tools, it’s easy to believe that being in the winter of change is somehow wrong. And there seems to be an underlying belief that you have to be positive and productive all the time. And if you aren’t, you’ve somehow fallen under the clutches of self sabotage. And that’s bad. Now in some cases that’s true and in other cases it’s just the natural ebb and flow of life. Just like in the cycles of nature, your creative life force energy needs time to rest. And the winter of change means that the last harvest is gone and the soil needs time to replenish itself. And in our productivity oriented culture, it’s common for people to try to skip over the winter of change and pretend it’s not there to numb themself out to use substances or some other addictive thing to buffer, to keep themselves from really processing those feelings and that journey.
But the downside of doing that as you can miss out on the next phase of your creative life if you haven’t properly replenished the soil of your creative self. So if you are in that period of your life, it’s very important to give yourself time off, give yourself time to replenish. And it might not take very long if you just really let yourself go there. Instead of avoiding that mulching process of your own creative South where you just really letting go of the old and grieving edge and letting yourself go into that void of I don’t know what’s next. And that’s okay.
It can feel frightening in that place. And, and again, those are normal experiences to be having and that is a time people are least likely to ask for help and the time they need it most. So I think the winter of change can be a good thing and you can actually enjoy it. So common times in people’s lives when they enter the winter changes after retirement, between jobs after the kids leave home or more surprisingly after you finished an incredible career accomplishment. I remember after five years of being in business that happened to me. I had this clear vision of where I wanted to be in five years and I went there. I was going across the continent, speaking at all these huge events, getting standing ovation, staying in five star hotels, who was exactly what I’d envisioned when I first started out. But I remember coming back to my hotel room after the last event of this hugely successful series and it was literally five years to the day since I’d created that vision and I done it.
However, instead of feeling elated, I actually felt kind of depressed and lost because I no longer had a new vision to work towards because it’s the, that actually matters, not the end goal. And that actually marked the beginning of a two year winter of change for me. And that’s when I learned how to embrace that kind of period of time instead of resisting it. I let myself totally replenish my creative coffers because after five years of focused effort on one goal, I needed to rest. And even though it seemed worrisome in terms of losing momentum and financial security, I knew in my heart that it was the right thing to do. And ironically, that change of heart helped me move through the winter of change far more quickly. So not only did I need to replenish, but I also needed to let go of my old identity to go into the abyss and let it all fall away.
And then just when I thought nothing new would start to happen in my life, the spring of change began to blossom. This is when new ideas start to blossom and your energy and motivation start to come back. It became clear that I didn’t actually need to do anything different in terms of my core offerings, but how I was doing my career needed to change. I’d been working seven days a week accepting every contract, ironically, helping other people work less by working very hard myself. And so I was actually living from a place of scarcity about income and worried I’d be labeled an impostor because they actually had gotten to this place by the five year Mark where I wasn’t having fun anymore. And the dreaded imposter syndrome seems to be very common with experts in their field. There’s always this little voice of doubt that says, what do you have to share that people want to hear?
You’re not walking your talk. So I became clear on an old mind, a story archetype that needed replacing, which was the imposter. Then I learned to embody more empowering mine story, which I labeled the expert. So as I’ve said on previous podcasts, a mine story is a pattern, a way of being that shows up in the human condition, in stories, missing cultures and stories are how the brain organizes beliefs, thoughts, feelings, expectations, roles in your life. And we download these patterns subconsciously and then the mind story gone. Autopilot running our lives for good or bad indefinitely, unless we consciously changed them to override the impostor syndrome. I needed to feel like I was providing top notch value. So I decided to up my game. I worked with the best coaches and experts. I rewrote my material, which helped me feel like a true expert at the next level that I wanted to play at.
And then ironically, I ended up helping people make that transformation. I’d help people with balancing work and play. Now it was about really feeling like an expert in helping people get out in the world. As a speaker, coach, consultant, and building your business. So one thing that can help you discover what is the doorway in transformation that you’ve accomplished is to actually have so and ask you, why do you do what you do? What do you love most about the topics that you talk on now? What are you really passionate about? And again, there might be many things, but what’s the top one? So the third tip is who are the people you most love to help? Now often, especially when you’re first getting out there in the world, helping people like you is the best way to go. Now when I say like you, it could mean people at your stage in life.
It could be people of your gender, it could be people who live in the area where you live or it could be people who share the same values as you or people who are having the same problems that you used to have that you now found a solution for. Now, all that said, sometimes it can be helpful to work with somebody else to help you find your niche, somebody who can dive into everything you’ve done, who you are, your uniqueness, your experience, your passions, your background and those that you have helped or would like to help and kind of help you see the forest for the trees. If so, we help people do that at mind. Story Academy, we are a business and mindset coaching and training company specifically helping people become successful speakers and coaches either within a job or as their own business or as a sideline to an existing business or career. We work specifically with mission driven CEOs, leaders, business owners, and entrepreneurs who want to create excellent income doing what they love. And I’m the cocreator of the mind story, inner circle, or Mike for short with my partner Dave O’Connor, which is a coaching and speaking certification program. So you’ll see a link to Mike and our private coaching below. And in the meantime, I hope this has been helpful to you. Please customize everything for your own life based in your own wisdom. And we’ll see you next time.