Can’t Pick a Niche? There’s Another Way.

niche

Can’t decide on a niche? Are you doomed, or is there another way?

If you’re a coach, and you’re not sure how to come up with your marketing niche… I have something that might help you stop spinning in circles, so you can finally plant your stake in the ground and take your business off the charts.

Are you ready? Here it is:

If you can’t pick a niche, then you should make your story your niche.

Want the audio only version of this post?
Check out the podcast version here.

Can't pick a niche for your business? There's another way... #entrepreneur #onlinebusiness

Here’s what I mean by that:

Human beings connect with each other on different levels, and storytelling is one of the most fundamental ways that we do that.

One reason that making your niche your story works so well, is that you’re going to reach people who are where you were a few years before you started your journey.

Here’s how it works.

If you’re a health coach who overcame a specific condition, everyone who is currently dealing with this health challenge is going to be inspired by your story of triumph.

Likewise, if you’re a relationship coach who went from being single to now happily married, you can talk to other single people who want what you have… and speak with experience about what you did to make it happen in your life.

Now, if you’re not a coach or if your story isn’t as neatly tied to what you offer… that doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. It just means that it will connect with people in different ways, and that you need to create the meaning behind the story for your listeners.

Let’s take a fictional example: you’re a child of divorce and you’re a graphic designer. Two very different topics, but you can weave how you overcame your parents’ divorce through creative expression… and that’s when you fell in love with design and communicating without words.

Sharing your story and infusing meaning into it makes you human, and gives us as your audience something to lock onto.

It makes you different.

And even if there were a ton of other graphic designers, none of them would have the same life story as you do… and even if there were similarities, how you perceive your past and make meaning out of it is going to be unique to you.

So there you have it! If you’re not sure how to pick a niche, or what to use to differentiate yourself in the crowded coaching (or anything) market… just start with writing down your own story. Then add the meaning you got from your life experiences, communicate it through video or on your about page… and don’t be afraid to share it. It’s going to help you find your right people!

What’s your story?

I’d love to hear your a-ha’s from today’s episode, so leave a comment below with what parts of your story you want to share more in your marketing!

 

72 Responses to Can’t Pick a Niche? There’s Another Way.

  1. Wow! I signed up for your challenge today after finding your book on Kindle, and now you crawled into my head and gave me a great insight into an issue I have been struggling with for a month!

    Brilliant insight! it was right in front of me but I never saw it.

    Thank you!

    Jonathon

    • Nathalie – Thank you so much for you video. Your insights really resonated with me. I was struggling with my core values and my ‘true niche’ vs what seems to be more ‘practical’ and a way for me to build a business and potentially bring in more financial security. For example working with corporate clients because I come from a corporate background. The truth is I really want to work with Woman -Personal and Professional Empowerment .. I really want to serve and help woman through periods of transition etc. Why? Because as you stated its all part of my story. I have so much experience that I want to build upon and share.

      Thank you for helping me know that I need to follow my heart and the beautiful wonderful inspirational woman that I want to serve will find me. I know I can make a difference in their lives and there is no turning back! Thank you so much for your insights:)

      Best wishes
      Noreen

  2. I love this suggested way of identifying your niche. When I originally began my online business, I chose a niche based more on demand more than on my story. Though it’s worked out, I haven’t felt completely fulfilled. I’ve been toying with the idea of re-routing my marketing efforts to the segment I can identify with and this confirms it. Thanks Nathalie!

    • I’m so happy this clicked for you Roz, and sometimes there’s a way to co-create your story too… so it does take into account what people want from you, but also blends with what you’re passionate about. :)

  3. The ha-ha is that I want to integrate all of the pieces. Maybe I should be the “integration” coach… lol! And with the niche, I’m always feeling like I’m leaving a piece out of the me! Some food for though.

      • I was just re-reading this post. Interesting how a few months go bye, and how much change there is. I have picked the area of which I want to work with (i.e. my niche) — and I will include my story in there. That is totally great advice.

  4. My ‘story’ really is something I have struggled to share in an appropriate way in my brand. However, recently, I shared a part of it during a webinar and connected it to the content, and I have to say it made a huge difference in how people interacted on the webinar. There were lots of questions and comments, and I got some great feedback afterwards that they loved hearing how I moved from where I was to where I am. It connected them to the content more. Now, to just weave the story a little bit more into the niche :-)

  5. This is a very good place to start. I started with just using my About page to tell my story and attract people who shared my values. Now, over time, I’ve found a more “traditional” niche.

    Just keep following the breadcrumbs, right? :)

  6. Nathalie,

    This is brilliant! Thank you for re-affirming this for me today. Sometimes it feels really vulnerable to put your story out there to the world. I have been there and done just this because as scary as it feels, I know how much stories of other women have helped me during my tough times. There are countless “paper mentors” as I call them as I know only them through their stories, who have helped me face my struggles and stay the course. Just love that you are putting this message out!

    • Thanks so much Pramilda! Sometimes those paper mentors (I love reading lots of books, so this totally resonates) are very powerful and they can impact so many through their stories.

  7. This makes sense! People would ask me about my niche and I had an idea, but wasn’t completely sure. Then when I gained a bit of exposure, I was being approached by a few different ladies…divorced single moms, college ladies, single women in their twenties. It seemed that all these gals really resonated with my story of the past dating abuse I experienced. And they all seem like good fits for me to work with. So I totally get what you’re saying and agree.

  8. I LOVE this! For me it’s been talking more about my shift to using social media as a networking too instead of a megaphone. A great way to use my story has been when I made the shift and actually doubled my business.

    Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll have to work on getting this out there more.

  9. Thanks Nathalie,

    This post resonated and helped me refine some next steps. I think using my story as my niche is what I have been doing intuitively without knowing it was a strategy. I’m excited to bring that up to my conscious level and do it more intentionally. It also doesn’t feel cheesy or forced. And as a writer, I love authentic story as a way to connect. thanks again, courtney

  10. Thanks Nathalie with this great tip. I have a found my niche some time ago but this is really going to help me when I coach other Expat Entrepreneurs. Usually after a couple of coaching sessions we are able to refine their niche but this is even better! Everyone has a story to share!
    Congratulations on your new book and for making it to the final of the Young Female Entrepreneurs Awards!

  11. To Niche or Not to Niche: that is the question!

    There is definitely 2 distinct school of thoughts on that: one that tries to hammer into our head that we won’t be successful unless we have niche and the other that doesn’t give a f@#k about niching. (LOL)

    Personally I’ve seen people being very successful with a particular niche and I’ve seen top coaches not giving a damn about niching (I’m working with one of the top coaches in the world and he doesn’t have a niche yet he’s VERY successful.)

    I love that today you’re bringing a new perspective on this by looking at it from the point of view of telling a compelling (and authentic) story. Feels good.

    Bottom line for me this exploration brings me back to my grounding: who am I, what are my unique gifts, who do I really wanna work with and how can I truly impact them. Since my passion is teaching women to tap into their own inner wise CEO through intuitive leadership coaching the niche became a little more clear from there… But it’s ever changing and ever expanding, just as I am.

    • Absolutely Caroline! I love that we’re able to take what works for us and improve on it. If having a niche works for you, and it’s easy to narrow into it – awesome! If not, there are other options. :)

  12. I love this – just what I needed to hear. I have been tempted to tell my story but have held back, feeling unsure about how it would go over, you know? But recently realized I do have a compelling story to share and feel it needs to be told so others who have gone through what I have will be able to connect and relate. :)
    Eric

  13. Thanks for this, Nathalie
    I am a French coach who immigrated to Canada and had the hardest time with my English (even though I was ‘fluent’ when I got here).
    This experience taught me how to approach language learning and appreciate rules of pronunciation and… language coaches :)
    I have this story on my about page here, and you are right, I had hesitated to put it there for a while…
    Thanks again for this and for the 30-day challenge,
    Llyane

    • Glad you’ll be stepping into this story even more Llyane! I’m currently getting back into learning Chinese, so I know how it feels to be learning a new language. See? We’ve connected already! :)

  14. I different myself by being:
    an artist
    a crafter
    a graphic designer
    a web designer
    a witch
    a Tarot and rune reader
    a shamanistic practitioner
    a heathen
    living well with chronic pain
    survived 11 years of bullying in school

    You don’t find that many life coaches/life guides with that bio :)

    • You’re so right Linda! And yet, I can connect with you on many of these points, even though I’m sure we have different life experiences. Thank you for sharing so openly!

  15. Nathalie you did it again. This video helped me focus down a lot because I am all over the map in terms of what niche I want to target…. clear as city water now! You are just so damn good.

  16. This is so timely, and spot on Nathalie. I have a long history of working too hard for people/employers/causes that I just didn't feel strongly about. In each of these scenarios I gave of myself until I just couldn't take it anymore. I always gave my resignation in tears on the edge of exhaustion, and wondered why I just couldn't get it right – I'm an honest and dedicated person – I was just choosing these positions for the wrong reasons, to please other people and not myself. Or to escape one scenario for another that seemed too good to pass up, later finding it was probably too good to be true. It's been a year and a half since I did my first round of b-school. I quit my old job and launched my career as an artist, only to pull back again when it didn't feel right. The big difference this time was there were no tears, no self judgement, and way less doubt. While I didn't hit the mark with my first creative business venture, I knew exactly what I needed to do when it wasn't working for me anymore – re-connect with my big picture & personal values, take care of my body with healthy food and fun movement, and wipe the dust off my creative soul by doing something just for the fun of it. This is my story, and now it's my niche. This is what I want to share with others – we have to take care of ourselves FIRST! The other stuff follows so much more easily after that :o)

    • Aww thank you for sharing so openly Catherine. I have a feeling that many people will resonate with what you shared, and I’m excited with how you’ll be able to help them on their journey, too! :)

  17. OMGosh! How kismetically (a word? not sure) perfect! I am halfway through a life coach certification and I have been struggling with starting my blog because I don’t know who I am speaking to. However, I AM a child of divorce AND a graphic designer! And a single Mom and a crappy-childhood survivor. This advice has changed everything. Thank you so much!

    • Oh wow Nicole! I guess I was filming this episode for you. :) So glad this resonated and helped you kickstart your blog and business, despite the niche thing. Sending you lots of love!

  18. OMGosh! How kismetically (a word? not sure) perfect! I am halfway through a life coach certification and I have been struggling with starting my blog because I don't know who I am speaking to. However, I AM a child of divorce AND a graphic designer! And a single Mom and a crappy-childhood survivor. This advice has changed everything. Thank you so much!

  19. Wow Nathalie! You just told my story! I know my niche: woman between 25 to 35, who works on retail and are struggling with their numbers. It was easy for me to set my niche because I used a similar approach than yours in this blog, I focused on what I have come through and how can I help others to overcome it (quicker).
    Thank you for posting!

  20. LOVE love love love… Yup, I am in a VERY crowded market… Fashion ! And YES! I have a story… I am a former National Level competitive figure skater who was almost killed in a skating accident, and as I always made my own costumes for skating ( and many of the other skaters ) I fell in love with the the creative expression I could find in design and became a Fashion Designer. I specialize in creating fashion collections for TV Shopping Channels and travel around the world presenting my fashion in the UK, Italy, Germany & China… Canadian domestically produced EVERY FABULOUS fashions that are meant to make women feel good by fabrics that feel soft like a hug and celebrate their femininity.
    Many blessings to you Nat!

  21. LOVE love love love… Yup, I am in a VERY crowded market… Fashion ! And YES! I have a story… I am a former National Level competitive figure skater who was almost killed in a skating accident, and as I always made my own costumes for skating ( and many of the other skaters ) I fell in love with the the creative expression I could find in design and became a Fashion Designer. I specialize in creating fashion collections for TV Shopping Channels and travel around the world presenting my fashion in the UK, Italy, Germany & China… Canadian domestically produced EVERY FABULOUS fashions that are meant to make women feel good by fabrics that feel soft like a hug and celebrate their femininity.
    Many blessings to you Nat!

  22. Huh, wow this is a great idea. I’ve been kinda stuck on figuring out my niche is going to be as I’m studying to be an online and small business marketer, manager and coach. But I’ve just had quick think about it and the reason I went into the field is tied to the fact that a few years ago I moved far away from all my friends and family to a very isolated community. My loneliness led me to discover how amazing the online world is for making connections and friendships, and how it can be a place of joy and ease, and with joy and ease you can use it to make a living. I’m going to keep following this line of thinking until I have a well thought out niche.
    Thank you

    • This is great Sophie – finding a community is a big reason why many people take action in their lives. We’re social creatures, and I have a feeling this is a great seedling of a story for your market, too. :)

  23. What a great post! I'm so excited that I've, finally, found you website! I'm just beginning the process of revamping my site. My need to green my life comes from my developing diabetes as a pre-teen. My site, will focus on living a life that makes sense, via health and nutrition. I'm working on cutting back my need for insulin, by living a plant-based diet, so maybe I can tell that story.

  24. What a great post! This video/post really resonated with me because I'm going to school to become a health coach. I'm so excited that I've, finally, found you website! I'm just beginning the process of revamping my site. My need to green my life comes from my developing diabetes as a preteen. My site, will focus on living a life that makes sense, via health and nutrition. etc. Maybe since I'm working on cutting back my need for insulin, by living a plant-based diet, I can tell that story.

  25. This is so helpful to me. It’s a blessing you wrote this article. It is the solution I needed and didn’t even realize this as a possibility. Thanks for posting it.

  26. Hi Nathalie,

    I recently purchased your course through the Superhero’s summit and was blown away by the depth of your training; which I will officially start this week.

    I really like how you challenge people to get out of their comfort zones and do what is needed to build their list because I don’t have one.

    I’ve been trying since graduation from the Art Institute in August 2010 to get my business off the ground and have failed miserably.

    I’ve tried dozens maybe hundreds of different programs during the last 4 years and nothing have worked for me. Sure I know what you’re thinking classic case of shiny object syndrome and get rich quick… but you’d incorrect to assume that.

    You see, I had no choice… I had to succeed because failure was not an option. I had a strong enough “Why” I had to succeed… that drove me into massive stress sometimes 20 hours a day till I finally had a heart attack and that is what slowed me down that was November 2011.

    …But I Never Gave Up.

    First Brendon, Marisa and now you with this post have convinced me I must tell my story and that will be the linkage that connects to my business.

    What I experienced and what we went through; I would not wish upon anyone.

    Your post has cracked the code of unraveling the twist and turns of this convoluted, emotional charged Hell Ride that has been our journey these last 4 years.

    Thank you so very much for leading me down this rocky road so I can finally begin lifting the weight of this dense black cloud.

    Steven.

  27. Nathalie – this article probably saved my life… or at least my sanity… during this very complex and exciting business building phase. Thank you! You have brought me so much closer to the business I really love, which will hopefully benefit many. So glad I became part of your tribe :)Thanks again!

  28. I had a total epiphany this morning when I realised that I needed to make my personal experience in life and business my unique selling point. (My story includes overcoming cancer at 31, losing my restaurant business to a famous footballer, climbing mountains & raising thousands for charity wearing pyjamas!!) “People don’t buy what you do, they buy WHY you do it.” (Simon Sinek).

    I’ve been frustrated because I couldn’t work out my niche, I felt like I was missing something important and, as a result, have resisted launching. Finding your video today is like divine confirmation!

    Now I’ve got ideas flying at me from all angles at how I can help people in a more powerful way!

    Thank you for another excellent, clearly articulated video Nathalie :-)

    • Woohoo so happy to read this Laura! You are going to help so many people, and your story really is important and will help others live their own unique journey better, too! :)

  29. Awesome advice! I just posted a one-off blog post that resonated with people and I was looking for a way to connect with my audience in the same way again. Now I have just what I need – a strategy to craft my story with intention and connecting with my audience :) Thanks Nathalie!

  30. Hi Nathalie

    Thanks for this great nugget. It was just the right size.

    I was pleasantly surprised there was no sales pitch at the end….only another free offer.

    I had started to think that all the “free’ offers were really sales pitches in disguise.

    More importantly, this advice is super helpful.

    You can add me to your growing fan base.

    Best,
    Deidra

    • I’m so glad you found this one useful Deidra! I totally hear you on all the free offers being sales pitches. I think as a market we’re wising up to these, and I actually feel better when I’m being generous in my business so it’s nice to be able to give a lot of my best stuff for free on the blog or in my 30 day challenge. :)

  31. I love this post! It’s exactly what I’ve been struggling with for years and what I made my business of: http://visualassistant.nl/about/

    I was always told I had to focus on one of my interests. Recently I discovered I get the best out of me and it makes me more unique to combine my interests and experience in a complementary way.

    I love running and wine (not at the same time:-)
    Marketing and communication is my background and in 2009 I discovered my creativity and interest for photography, concept thinking, graphics and content curation. It all comes together in visual storytelling.

    I know from experience how hard it is to tell and share your own story though. That’s how Visual assistant started.

  32. This is a fantastic idea! So – my story is that I overcame the loss of a baby, overcame depression, lost weight, and changed my eating plans. My services are weight loss nutrition & teaching DDP Yoga. What is the best way to tell my story and offer my services at the same time?

  33. Thank you for sharing this video about finding a niche. I have been going about trying to decipher my perfect niche market for months now, but feel like my interests are too broad at this time to narrow it down.
    But, my path to losing extra “mommy pounds” and adopting a healthy active lifestyle is one that many can relate to. I will start writing down my story and sharing it with others.
    Thanks again for a helpful tip.

  34. Gosh this was so helpful. As an aspiring health coach I’m just starting the process of branding and setting up my business. I’ve been paralyzed by my lack of “target market” and have been feeling increasingly weighed down by how many people say I’m headed for disaster without one. This idea found it’s way to me just when I needed to hear it. Thanks!

  35. Hey Nathalie,

    This really makes me remember how confused and frustrated I had been at the onset of blogging, just to pick a niche.

    I loved writing, fiction especially. And since my diary was filled with a truckload of stories, I had this, “Aha! this- is-soo- my- niche” moment.

    But I was wrong!

    I discovered I couldn’t write fiction with a deadline tagged to it as in the case of a blog post.

    So, gradually, my niche evolved to what it is now: blogging tips.

    And it’s fun to always tie in my story each time I write.
    It makes me feel, deep down, that I’m connecting with real people and I’m getting real to them too with each passing post.

  36. Great article Nathalie

    You helped me to remember an old truth and revisit the work I was doing last year before I got sidetracked…

    Full stream ahead now – Woo Hoo!

    James

  37. I am a Men’s Coach getting ready to re-launch my business “helping dudes become better”. I am a former Army Ranger so that is a decent story but what resonates with me is relationship coaching for guys. My story is raised by my Mom and 4 sisters, Dad was a player who has been married 4 times and I dated and slept with hundreds of women before meeting my wife, falling in love and realizing I had zero real relationship skills and having to learn them all in my 40’s! Trying to decide if I should coach helping men become better (love, life, work, fitness) while using this story as my launching bad or just focusing on relationship coaching for men (man up and be the kind of man your woman deserves). Love to hear any thoughts!

  38. I love your suggestion. I’ve been struggling to pick a niche, and you have helped me in a big way. My story is that between the ages of 16 and 39, I went from one destructive relationship to another. After my first husband died, I began to do the work to figure out how I had gotten myself into such a mess. The answers lied within my lack of worthines and tremendous amounts of self loathing. I am now married to a great guy and we have a loving, fullfilling relationship. Most importantly, I figured out how to accept and value myself. In my coaching practice, I rarely encounter women who love who they are.

  39. Thank you Nathalie!
    It resonated with me because I have coaches supporting on reflecting on my coaching practice and that is the service I am now offering, coaching for coaches, a space to reflect on their coaching practice. What is their biggest issue as a coach?

  40. What if you have several good “come back” stories you could use fir a niche? Like a health challenge, divorce and remarriage, retirement and re entering the job market? How to pick one as a coaching niche?

  41. Thank you Nathalie, I am an artist with a website which features my fantasy art, and another featuring my landscape art. I love creating both, but struggling to decide which to dedicate my career to.

    I have tried to juggle both, but each one has a different audience, different trade shows, different marketing requirements, so I’m ending up trying to do both and nothing significant is coming through, so I have to choose 1 or the other and I just cannot leave one behind. If I don’t though I will fail.

    I did consider combining the fantasy and landscape but that just gave me another (third!) area to try and market!

    Your wonderful and generous advice has given me some guidance, thank you truly :)

  42. Oh hello, I just found this site. I’m having major angst about my niche. I’m a psychotherapist so traditionally I have dealt with all kinds of problems from a mix of people. I now want to niche down but I have a kind of general niche which is conscious (is that the right word, I mean connected to higher self type of thing), professional and creative women who are stuck somehow and want to connect with their soul power and become magic manifesters in business and in their personal lives. They will love things like law of attraction, mindfulness and are spiritual open minded. Its about transformation. Its too vague I know! For the love of God someone help me before I eat my own arm! I tried to niche down into women who are stuck after divorce/separation but then I go to business networking events and feel a ton of customers slipping through the net because that is not them! Any ideas?