Welcome to the articles page, which you’ll find packed with dozens of useful and thought-provoking articles on the topic of finding your role in the market place.
Articles by Tad Hargrave:
So, how do you know if your niche is clear enough? An important question.
I’ve seen people think their niche was clear when it wasn’t and others holding off on hustling, thinking their niche wasn’t clear when it was.
There are likely a lot of ways to sort this out, but I’ll share my favourite. It only takes about 10 minutes of your time and it’s free.
Is niching a game you play to win or is it a game you play to keep playing? Is it a game that has an end to it or does it never really end? In his book Finite and Infinite Games James P. Carse lays out two different types of games that people play.
When we’re talking about identifying a clear niche, I find it can be very helpful for people to have a lot of real world examples to explore to get a feel for what it looks like when you’ve really nailed it.
Knowing what you’re offering is an essential, and often one that ends up being really fuzzy where people want to offer everything or something really generic. What follows are examples of businesses who’ve nailed it. Joseph Coats – I help connect people to nature by creating edible and useful landscapes that provide for many of their basic needs (food, H2o, fibre, fuel).
Knowing who you’re trying to reach (i.e. target market) is an essential, and often avoided element of figuring out one’s niche in business. What follows are dozens of examples of businesses who’ve nailed it. My friend Laurel lee Maclure and her friend had a love of singing and old people, so they started a band called The Blue Belles that tours old folks homes doing shows.
Over the years, I’ve come to believe that permaculture is one of the most important movements for positive change on the planet. Not only does it provide an empowering and practical framework for working with the land and communities but also a real chance at meaningful work and right livelihood. And yet so many people struggle to make a go of it.
Yoga is one of these things where people often say, “This can help anybody with anything. This really is one of those boats that can take anyone anywhere.” I’m not actually going to argue that. What I am going to say is that if in your marketing you say, “This can help anyone with anything,” that will not be compelling. So what do you do with something like yoga, which legitimately does have some broad applications? The fact it has such broad appeal and usefulness means there’s a lot of room for different niches.
After leading a workshop in Turner Valley, Alberta in the Spring of 2014 I got a ride back into town with a woman who ran an eco landscaping business. She told me about how, when she’d first started, she imagined her ideal employees to be highly educated hippies. But, in reality, they were the worst. They would work with her for one Summer and then move on to other ventures. They didn’t see it as a career. But she noticed the labourer types who weren’t as University educated tended to stick around longer because they valued the job and they saw potential in it. Like most of us, she’d made a good guess about what her target markets were (in this case employees) and been wrong about it. Here are some more stories that might help you feel better about yourself.
A few years ago, Alex Baisley and I got on the phone and recorded a conversation where we went back and forth sharing stories of people who’d built businesses around their lifestyle. Alex worked a 9-5 job as a commercial diver for years and hated it. But then he became a reiki practitioner (his dream!) and then realized he hated it too because, by default, he’d created a 9-5 office job. In truth, he could have worked any days of the week or hours that he’d wanted. Once he realized that, he was able to make the shifts he needed to feel better about it. Better than anyone I know, Alex understands the lifestyle piece of the niche conversation.
So, how do you know if a niche you’re thinking of is a good one? Well, your niche may be defined by what you do. You make a particular widget that has only one use and there are only three buyers of it in the market. Your service is helping to turn breach babies naturally – the nature of your service may define the target market. But that’s a rare thing.
This is, perhaps, the most common question I get about niching.
“How niched is niched?”
But, of course, there’s no one simple answer.
It seems to be the case with niching. The more well known this notion becomes, the less some people seem to want to do it and the more others will complain about it and how having a niche is, somehow, less authentic than not having one
Years ago, I saw a Facebook post in an entrepreneur group from someone saying, “I genuinely hate when someone asks ‘What’s your coaching niche?’ I hate it coz I feel like I have to spit out my niche in one crisp sentence. And it feels robotic. Sometimes I also wonder if the person asking actually cares. How much do y’all think about and craft your niche, target market and elevator pitch? Bonus question: how important do you think they are?
There are, fundamentally, two approaches to niching.
One is to sell a boat. The other is to sell a journey.
If you are selling a product (e.g. jewelry, t-shirts, food) or particular modality (e.g. Non-Violent Communication, The Work of Byron Katie, Reiki etc.) then you are selling the boat.
If you’re offering a solution to a particular problem (e.g. back pain, loneliness, being broke, anxiety) or helping people achieve a particular result (e.g. weight loss, finding a partner, retiring early, inner peace) then you are selling The Journey.
Articles By Colleagues:
In a previous post, I shared questions that can help in overcoming fear of failure. But sometimes, there’s an even more basic problem that can stop us from pursuing bold challenges and ambitious goals: not knowing which challenges or goals to pursue. These days, you’re urged to “follow your passions” and “lean in” — but what if you’re not sure where your particular passion lies? What if you don’t know which way to lean?
I’ve never visited Finland. Actually, I probably never should, since it’s a place I love so much on paper – dazzling, snow-blanketed landscapes, best education in the world, first country to give full suffrage to women, home of the Moomins – that reality could only disappoint. Even the staunchest Finnophile, though, might be sceptical on encountering the Helsinki Bus Station Theory. First outlined in a 2004 graduation speech by Finnish-American photographer Arno Minkkinen, the theory claims, in short, that the secret to a creatively fulfilling career lies in understanding the operations of Helsinki’s main bus station. It has circulated among photographers for years, but it deserves (pardon the pun) greater exposure. So I invite you to imagine the scene. It’s a bus station like any big bus station – except, presumably, cleaner, and with environmentally-friendly buses driven by strikingly attractive blond(e)s.
Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months of traveling. Because I had been living quite a different lifestyle while I was away, this sudden transition to 9-to-5 existence has exposed something about it that I overlooked before.
A common theme I have noticed when helping clients to “find” their niche, is that often their niche is right under their nose! But often we undervalue things that come easily to us, assuming “everyone knows that” or “isn’t that obvious?” Do you have skills and expertise which comes so easily to you that you have underestimated the value it makes to others?
Depression, anxiety, and fatigue are an essential part of a process of metamorphosis that is unfolding on the planet today, and highly significant for the light they shed on the transition from an old world to a new. When a growing fatigue or depression becomes serious, and we get a diagnosis of Epstein-Barr or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or hypothyroid or low serotonin, we typically feel relief and alarm. Alarm: something is wrong with me. Relief: at least I know I’m not imagining things; now that I have a diagnosis, I can be cured, and life can go back to normal. But of course, a cure for these conditions is elusive.
When I got started with my blog and coaching practice, everyone told me I needed to pick a niche. A niche is basically a specific problem that you help solve for a specific group of people. The logic is that if you narrow your scope to only a very small demographic (like 40 year old white women from Atlanta with two cats and a boat), you’ll be able to make your marketing more targeted. So for six months, I obsessed over my niche. I tried to figure out who my ideal client was. And it freaked me out, because I didn’t want to choose wrong.
In 2013, I traveled to Alaska to give a talk to a group of local reporters. The conference organizers had asked me to speak about how journalists can create a “personal brand,” and tantalized by a subsidized vacation in the Alaskan wilderness, I quickly agreed. On the flight to Anchorage, I perused the local headlines. The Pirates of Penzance was opening at the opera. Free TV access in rural parts of the state was under threat. A respected rescue pilot had died in a helicopter crash. Reading these articles, I knew I was in trouble.
It’s practically cliché to mention how fast things are moving in the world these days. We’re all aware of it. In the last couple of years, there’s even been increased attention paid to the phenomenon in the news, among business teachers and business owners, in best selling books and on countless sites on the Internet. We know we need to slow down.
Can’t Decide Which Idea to Pursue? Here’s THE Question Plus 10 More to Help You Decide – Danielle LaPorte
All the ideas, the seemingly competing goals, the various opportunities, and the compelling projects . . . What to do, which to choose, where to start? Right here: WHAT ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT?
One day, when my brother was 18, he waltzed into the living room and proudly announced to my mother and me that one day he was going to be a senator. My mom probably gave him the “That’s nice, dear,” treatment while I’m sure I was distracted by a bowl of Cheerios or something. But for fifteen years, this purpose informed all of my brother’s life decisions: what he studied in school, where he chose to live, who he connected with and even what he did with many of his vacations and weekends.
One thing that separates the great innovators from everyone else is that they seem to know a lot about a wide variety of topics. They are expert generalists. Their wide knowledge base supports their creativity. As it turns out, there are two personality traits that are key for expert generalists: Openness to Experience and Need for Cognition.
When I advise, “Don’t do anything that isn’t play!” some take me to be radical. Yet, I earnestly believe that an important form of self-compassion is to make choices motivated purely by our desire to contribute to life rather than out of fear, guilt, shame, duty or obligation. When we are conscious of the life-enriching purpose behind an action we take, then even hard work has an element of play in it. By contrast, an otherwise joyful activity performed out of obligation, duty, fear, guilt or shame will lose its joy and eventually engender resistance.
Telling people to follow their passions (without any other advice or guidance) simply sends them on a dream chase which may be more harmful to their careers in the long-term. Passion is a great thing to have, but must be accompanied by determination, creativity, talent, and strategy in order to help someone establish a suitable career path.
There’s this rumour going around that we’re supposed to love our jobs, and we’re supposed to “follow our passion” and find a job that makes our “heart sing” and our “soul come alive.”
I’m calling bullshit.
Earlier this week I recorded an interview with Dan and Joe for their podcast Entrepreneur Showdown. The discussion turned to the age old debate about which is more important when choosing a niche – your own passion for the subject or market demand based on things like keyword analysis. The short answer is that both are important, but there are a lot of layers to this question.
Life Coaches – Don’t Quit Your Day Job. What They Don’t Tell You In Life Coaching School – Rebecca Tracey
I’m nervous writing this post. It’s going to offend some people. It’s going to hurt some people. And, it’s going to – dare I say it – crush some people’s dreams. But it has to be said. To preface all this, let it be known that I really believe in the power of life coaching. There’s a reason I spent over $8000 getting trained in several different modalities. Coaches do good work and change lives. But.
The key to your online marketing strategy will be recognizing and defining an unfilled or partially filled niche. Here’s how to train your eyes. If your company doesn’t have the mammoth clout of a Fortune 500 corporation, then you must find a niche between the immense players and adapt yourself to thrive there. The English word “niche” comes from a French word that means “to nest.” And that’s what small companies can learn to do very successfully, filling small voids left by the big players.