If you’re trying to leverage your skills to build an online business, chances are you’ve come across the advice that you need to choose a niche.
The logic is sound. When you’re starting out, you don’t have the resources to compete with big companies so it’s better to go with a smaller, more targeted audience.
And this advice works well for some people. But for others it can really hold them back.
I am one of those.
For a long time trying to clarify my ideal customer profile led me to feel confused and lack focus in my marketing and messaging.
The clients that I worked with in my local practice ranged in age, gender, location and occupation. I enjoyed working with all of them. As someone who has struggled with a rather severe form of FOMO (fear of missing out) for most of her life, this approach was going nowhere.
And I knew I was not alone with this challenge as I would frequently get emails as well as had clients who struggled with the same thing.
So I was thrilled to come across some different advice from the writer Jeff Goins who has a hugely successful online business (also highly recommend checking out Fizzle for their valuable business advice).
The problem with choosing a niche based on demographis is that people change and so do the niches they belong too. For example, one client who I love working with started with me when she was employed. She’s now left employment and is self-employed. So if I targeted employed people who want to leave their jobs, once they’ve done that my market disappears.
As Jeff describes in his article for Fizzle, there are two ways to segment an audience:
- demographics (age, income, location, gender etc.) or
- psychographics (core values, passions, beliefs).
So demographics can be more related to stage of life whereas psychographics is about what they value and how they see the world.
And Jeff asks:
Which one do think makes for a more powerful marketing message?
Reading this was a huge eye opener for me.
So his advice – choose the world view option. He gives some guidelines which you can read more about here such as finding finding a commonly held view that you disagree with, putting your own view out into the world, or connecting with others who have the same view and connecting with their audiences.
When I re-looked at the clients that I most loved working with through the lens of their psychographics I started to see some commonalities. These included:
- An intense commitment to their own personal development.
- Having LOADS of ideas (and often interests) but struggle to focus and follow through with them.
- Have very ambitious goals.
- Value their health and relationships (especially parenting).
- A tendency to struggle with imposter syndrome and massively high standards so never feel that what they do is good enough.
- Often feeling overwhelmed.
- Wanting the world to be a better place and feeling a sense of wanting to be part of making this happen.
- Dream of being able to be their own boss (or commitment to continuing with less stress).
Jeff Goins gives a nice formula for articulating your worldview:
Every [BLANK] can/should [BLANK].
So mine becomes:
Everyone should be able to develop their full potential to do work they love that makes a difference without sacrificing their health or time with the people they love.
Framing my niche in this way has made a huge difference for me, and I noticed immediate results in my business.
Of course in order for you to have a business that is profitable you need to identify what problem you can solve that people who share this worldview are willing (and able) to pay you for. Again there are conflicting views about how to do that which I’ll share with you in upcoming posts.
What about you? Are you struggling to get clarity on your niche? Try the worldview approach and see whether that helps you get more clarity.
But I also do have to add this point: even if you do niche with demographics you’re probably going to get clients who want to work with you because they resonate with your story or worldview anyway. For awhile I was marketing myself as a coach for women entrepreneurs but would regularly get new clients who were men who were still full time employed, but had resonated with someone in my worldview or own experience.