To quote entrepreneur Pat Flynn, “the riches are in the niches”.
Imagine you want to correct your misaligned teeth. While searching online, you come across two nearby dental clinics—one that’s traditional and another that specialises in orthodontic treatment. On a deeper probe, you discover that an orthodontist’s expertise lies in treating facial irregularities—just the one you need! Hence, chances are high that you will visit the latter as it serves your unique requirement.
The same is true for a coach, especially when you have just begun your journey. When you choose a coaching niche for yourself, you appeal more to a particular group of individuals who are keen on benefitting from your services as they are specifically relevant to their problems. It is only then that you can attract your ideal clients convincingly and effortlessly.
As you focus on a particular coaching niche, you interact with clients who resonate more with you and vice versa. Contrary to the popular belief that niching down may axe clientele, promoting a niche generally helps connect you with potential clients easily. Afterall, you come across as someone who’s there to address their unique requirements and not as someone who’s “jack of all trade and master of none.” Once you have a niche, applying your specific skills/experience to solve those specific problems, you also have a higher success rate that will help you increase your standing in the industry.
Niching down decoded
The word “niche” has its origins in the Middle French verb “nicher”, meaning “to make a nest”. In English, it means “the narrow place or position you can occupy to find success”. In other words, when you niche down, you deal with precise subject matter and focus on a very specific audience, thereby steering your marketing efforts towards achieving those ideal clients. When you niche down, you try and gain clarity on who your target audience is, identify their pain points and help them recognize you as the best possible answer to their problems.
Perks of niching down
In the words of Steve Jobs, “do not try to do everything, do one thing well”. When you try to work with all kinds of clients, you tend to take a blanket approach to all their problems. Which, in the longer run, may not prove beneficial for your career – or them! Narrowing down your focus could be in your best interest. Here’s why you may consider niching down:
1. You’ll attract your ideal clients easily
Contrary to the popular belief that when you limit your market you lose out on prospective clients, you are more likely to get noticed by the right people when your coaching genre is specific. This results in a higher conversion rate. Potential clients may even look for a particular type of coach online, which could be a great marketing approach for you. You could be the go-to coach for them, helping them deal with issues pertaining to your area of expertise.
When you have a very distinct skillset and have prior experience in handling similar cases, you also feel confident about your abilities and handle clients better, winning their trust. Your existing clients, in turn, may refer others to you to help them overcome similar challenges.
For instance, suppose you provide coaching services to corporate leaders who need to improve their communication skills and overcome their fear of public speaking. Here, you aim at a tight niche—since you target a very specific group, you tend to stand out from the crowd when companies/new leaders are looking for a coach. Hence, your clientele can relate more with what you have to offer and you can market your service with ease.
2. You can offer more effective service
When you are focused on a particular niche, you are more likely to have the resources and experience needed to provide the best results and coaching journeys within that niche. And, as the expert, your sessions also take on a focused, result-oriented outlook.
Also, when you deal with a particular type/cohort of clients, you gain better understanding of their situations and challenges over time. This makes you more adept in dealing with similar clients and makes way for your personal and professional growth in the longer run.
Imagine being a class teacher who has to teach at least two subjects, take care of the extra-curricular activities and tackle the administrative work such as preparing defaulters list, etc. She/ he will be all over the place after a point of time. On the contrary, a teacher who deals only with teaching will be more productive on the job.
3. You will face less competition
According to a fundamental economic principle, supply and demand are inversely related, and so is price. Hence, if you are one of the very few working in a particular niche (provided there is a demand for it), you are free to fix rates corresponding to your services—being the big fish in a small pond, you can ask for remuneration that is worth your effort.
You also no longer need to compromise on your fees as you are not restricted by any market norms. When you establish yourself as an expert in your coaching niche, you call the shots. You earn more and have to invest less in marketing efforts.
4. It helps you scale your coaching business
Once you establish your expertise, people are aware of what you are good at, who you work with and what exactly you help your clients with. This helps you get more recommendations. Dominating one coaching niche helps you expand your business. You can always start by targeting one problem area and grow from there. It may also open up scope to collaborate with other coaches in your network as a value add for clients.
1 minute watch: Benefits of choosing a coaching niche
All this advice about choosing a niche aside, let’s look at some common reasons why people are usually averse to niching down:
- Perceived problem: You’ll lose business
It’s a common misconception that when you select a coaching niche you tend to lose business. In reality, you actually come up with programmes that are custom-made for your specific clients, stand apart from the crowd, and more easily draw in clients.
- Perceived problem: Your career will stagnate
Most coaches are apprehensive about niching down as they fear stagnation. But the fact is, you can always grow within your niche and eventually extend your services to other relevant fields. Also, you can still work with other clients facing challenges outside your coaching niche area if you have the expertise, or change your focus if you start feeling stagnated.
- Perceived problem: You can’t narrow down on a niche
Many new coaches are not sure what the right coaching niche would be for them. Well! Do you take major calls in the blink of an eye? Probably not. Similarly, it may be a good idea to research well, even build some coaching experience and work with a few clients before you choose a coaching niche.
Factors to mull over
Although picking a niche for yourself early in your career may seem to be a wise decision, it shouldn’t be an arbitrary choice. Here’s what you should keep in mind while narrowing down to a tight niche:
- Is the niche in demand?
- Has the niche got enough representation? If it is something in demand and there are a few coaches practicing it, it might be a good one to select.
- Are people willing to pay for the niche-specific services? See if others with similar niches are running a successful business or not.
- Explore the scope of narrowing further a successful niche and be the first one to practice the same.
- Is there a specific client profile/industry you could target to begin with?
It isn’t easy to carve out a niche for yourself. But D’Angelo Russel, the professional basketball player, said, “when you find your niche, you just gotta continue to be confident and thrive in it”. It isn’t mandatory to niche down in order to have a successful career. Many seasoned coaches offer services across different coaching niches within a specific coaching category. But choosing a niche at an early stage would definitely give your career a jump-start.
1. What are the mistakes you should avoid while choosing a coaching niche?
You should avoid the following mistakes while choosing a coaching niche:
a. Do not go for too broad a niche. If you choose health and wellness as your niche, it’s rather broad in its approach. Instead, a more specific service, such as wellness coach for women suffering from postpartum depression, will provide more clarity to your ideal clients
b. Do not go for a niche you are not passionate about
c. Do not choose a niche you have no knowledge about
2. How to go about researching your coaching niche?
You can start off researching your niche by:
a. Talking to a few prospective clients and learning about their requirements
b. Identifying your competition and learning more about them
c. Find out how you can arrange your coaching programme, for example, year-long one-on-one executive coaching with resource materials and workshops.