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.
Surfers Healing: helps kids with autism by teaching them how to surf.
Christina Grimm grew up in sunny California, playing competitive travel softball from age 10. You can imagine how thrilled she was to receive an athletic/academic scholarship to a Division I school. Unfortunately, their hypercritical coach only focused on what Christina did wrong, never on what she did right. The coach ruined her self-esteem and her enjoyment of the game. She ended up leaving after one year, swearing never to play softball again. Christina is pro-active though and decided that, instead of letting that toxic experience defeat her; she would turn it into a career helping others who were being bullied. She went back to college and got her PsyD. Her thesis? “The Effect of Coaching on the Self-Esteem of Teen-Aged Girls.”
www.ScrapHappy.org: A website for scrap bookers. Again, a niche is about a community of people. Who is your community? Is there an interest they all come together around?
Migraine Relief: Heidi Wilson was a part of my last Niching Spiral Program. She did and still does cranial sacral work. The challenge was that cranial sacral is her boat: it’s what the business is and how she does her work, but very few people care about cranial sacral that much for its own sake. So she decided she really wanted to focus on migraines because she knew how crippling those could be in your life: Suddenly your whole life can be hamstrung, both business and social. You never know when they’re going to strike and when they do you’re just down for the count. So, instead of tooting her horn as a cranial sacral practitioner, which there are so many of, she decided to really focus specifically on migraine relief. Very clear, very easy to understand, and also a potential for a global market (though she could probably do just fine locally with that.)
“Where Is Home?”: a documentary on the existential quest of Third Culture Kids.
Plus Size Inner Peace: helping plus size women find inner peace at any size.
Susan Kirby – Offer Coach: helping them create how to make offers from the front of the room.
Changing Aging: a website exploring alternative approaches to getting older.
Discover the Work You Love in One Hour Workbook: for men at midlife who hates their jobs.
Kathy Whitham: I help parents who are at the end of their rope successfully stop the power struggles, connect with their kids and restore peace at home.
Leslie Singer: Is midlife messing up your mojo? I coach women to reclaim their sense of self, declare their life purpose & flourish.
Lisa Mcloughlin: Coaching introverts: optimising your quiet strengths.
Monique Lallemang – I help people with neurological issues to find solutions for making their life smoother and enjoyable. I help people with peripheral neuropathy customize daily rituals, identify healing opportunities and achieve greater happiness.
Alison Downey: I re-ignite hope for people suffering from chronic pain or emotional distress, using acupuncture to provide long-awaited relief.
Paula Blundell: I work hands-on for, or alongside, busy eco-minded inner city Calgarian’s to get their home organized, achieve order & make room to breathe.
Jennifer Fedd: I produce and publish audio books for contemporary romance writers.
Claudia Neely: I help adults with Asperger’s and/or ADHD build intimate relationships, from learning to date, to finding friends and peer groups, to exploring healthy sexuality.
Tanja Gardner: I help coaches, healers and other difference-makers communicate the AWESOMENESS of their services through clear copywriting.
Dawn Trautman: I coach progressive Protestants to discover a calling that aligns with God, their community, and their own sense of joy.
Elinor Predota: I help LGBT and poly couples to have the wedding & marriage they desire through ceremony creation & relationship coaching.
Joanne Diepenheim: I free heart-centered entrepreneurs from the technical administration work they don’t have the know-how, time, or inclination for.
Katherine Pike: I help women and men over 40 struggling with food and with diets to lose weight naturally without giving up all the things they love to eat.
Peter: I help service-based woman entrepreneurs charge what they worth, get 4 more hours of fun per week without being saleasy and convincing to clients.
Sian Delaney: I help older people affected by frailty, illness or disability receive the care they need in the home that they love.
Kim McNeil: I offer private in-home yoga therapy, workshops, and retreats for those living with arthritis whose needs are not met in conventional yoga classes.
Dillena: I help LGBT folks with depression, anxiety and self-esteem issues feel happy and secure with themselves using a caring, drug-free approach.
Renee Stotz: As the Womb Wellness Coach, I help women who have had an abortion, heal their mental, emotional & physical well-being
Rebecca Allen: I help broken hearts heal their wounds when relationships end. Shiatsu helps grief evolve naturally so you can laugh, love and be happy again.
Camilla Freeman: I help women and couples maximize fertility with customized dietary, herbal medicine and movement plans
Jacquie Robertson: I help bitchy, bloated and burnt-out female professionals have more energy, love their body & feel less stressed.
Geneviève Côté: I help women struggling with anxiety disorders live anxiety-free with the help of practical herbal medicine and other drug free techniques.
Miki: I help soul-wounded fathers heal while raising boys who come of age with a deep sense of purpose and belonging.
Tamara: I’m a floral designer that works with brides who’ve been dreaming about their wedding since they were little girls.
KlaraBowPie: I handmake specially designed blankets to help people with Post Traumatic Stress feel safe.
www.thehappysensitive.com – Caroline Van Kimmenade: I teach struggling empathic people who feel overwhelmed and fearful how to make their sensitivity a joyful gift so that they work working WITH their sensitivity instead of fighting it.
KC Schwarz: I use Thai yoga massage to help older guys ease the effects of aging on a physically demanding lifestyle.
Lucy Lambriex: I use photography and text to portray enterprising people who care about authenticity, so they will attract the people and clients that fit.
Lori RN(a.k.a.Minky): I mentor nurses who are fitness enthusiasts, combine their nursing skills and fitness training to improve the health of people “at-risk” for disease.
Kat: I teach single moms how to release overwhlem and frustration, be confident parents and be the change they want to see in their children
Mark Zlochin: I help “crazy,” creative and ambitious people in becoming more focused, organized and productive, so they can realize their potential most fully.
Parentingwithyourex.com: Helping parents navigate their divorce so they can heal and their kids can thrive
Drritamarie.com: helping holistic practitioners learn how to accurately test people for the underlying conditions they might have and come up with effective protocols and create teleseminars.
yourecstaticbrand.com: Christina Morassi helps women weave together all of their gifts to discover careers that don’t exist yet (and so that none of them is left behind)
newpathwaysretreat.com: a retreat center focused on a holistic approach to healing eating disorders
shiftinggrowth.com: Our mission is to transform private vacant lots into temporary community gardens through mobile garden beds.
thrivewithautism.ca: I’m a gentle, autistic, sustainability geek, and I give informed hope to people dealing with autism.
nykdanu.com: yoga for folks who don’t feel like they fit in at the trendy yoga studios
movingintoawareness.com – John Weiss: working with gay men dealing with depression and self esteem issues.
betsytrapasso.com: end of life guidance. I bring peace to the dying and their families
luminato.com/events/fromthedark: a magic show for blind people.
Marketing for Romance Writers – you want to write a romance book but don’t know how to promote it?
fulltimecoachproject.com – Sean Smith runs the Fulltime Coach Project – he offers three steps to building a full time, highly lucractive & fulfilling coaching, speaking and training business in the next three months.
fcbd.com: Fat Chance Belly Dance – a belly dance school that celebrates women’s curves – says their website: “Imagine this: there was a time in history, a long time ago, when the bounce and sway of a woman’s hips was considered so beautiful that they set it to music and made a dance out of it . . .”
Cowboy Poetry: there is a whole sub-world of this. Actually. Poetry by cowboys about cowboys. #fact. While we’re at it think of all the subgenres of poetry: beat, slam, shakespearean, rap, hip-hop, spoken word etc.
honkfest.org: a festival of activist street bands
theprofitabledentist.com: helping dentists run profitable practices – “Dr. Woody Oakes is one of the most highly respected dental marketers to date, providing continuing dental education to dentists and their staff.”
adhdhomeopath.com: Beth offers an individualized approach to treating ADHD naturally that is effective, gentle, and non-habit forming.
cancershift.com: helping women with cancer shift from fear and fighting to greater peace, understanding and deep healing.
Tina Dyck: I work with women in Victoria, BC who have scars (both emotional and physical) from childbirth, C-sections, childhood sexual trauma and rape.
smartistcareerblog.com: a blog about helping artists be smart about their careers.
DeannaMaio.com: Deanna helps experts grow biz by finding unpaid interns and building a team.
Pressure Free Selling Mentor – Ari Galper: “You know how a lot of salespeople are in tremendous pain when it comes to selling? They actually hate doing it. They are secretly scared to pick up the phone. They hate being rejected but also hate using the manipulative sales techniques they were taught. They feel trapped because they need to make a living but they can’t find a way to sell that doesn’t feel like they’re also selling out their integrity. Well, what we do is we help them drop the old ‘pushy’ tactics and pitching techniques and learn how to have honest, natural, non-pressuring, authentic conversations with people that often results in a dramatic increase in their own comfort, the vanishing of their fears and an increase in their income.”
Primitive & Wilderness Skills Teacher – Andrew McMartin: “You know how many schools do expensive, high travel, high-risk outdoor education experiences? Or, how most schools send kids away from where they live to learn about the environment? Many of these experiences, though active and adventurous, teach little about the environment in which people spend their daily lives. Well, The P.I.N.E. Project helps teachers and schools to provide schoolyard and community outdoor and environmental education experiences that increase students ability to apply learned material on a daily basis, are less expensive and risky than things like ropes courses, reduce carbon footprint, and make learning fun.
The Coddled Generation: my friend Lisa Morrison pointed out a niche she’s been thinking of “It’s largely a whole generation that’s been very coddled by their parents and need to learn how to move into independence as they step into adulthood (university, careers, etc) and decision-making. Also means teaching them how to communicate boundaries with parents, so they can grow. I’ve been through this myself, and it’s important to development, and I want to support young people in this.”
Body Talk Practitioner – Lisa Letwin: “Do you know how a lot of women struggle with chronic pain? Well, what I do is help them to return to a pain-free state without using any drugs or pharmaceuticals.
lumina-health.com – Deborah Epstein: “My IBS little-circle contains smart, educated women in Seattle (30’s-50’s), with some disposable income. They’ve been told they have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and there’s nothing to be done. When their gastroenterologist said, “It has nothing to do with food,” this made no sense. They know in their bodies that it does, because they’ve been having symptoms after eating (e.g., pain, constipation, flatulence, heartburn, diarrhea) for years, or even decades. They’re frustrated at being dismissed, unheard, their concerns not being taken seriously.
They’re trying to eat well, and don’t understand why their bodies are unhealthy anyway. They’ve experimented with natural remedies, or taking gluten or dairy out of their diets; they’ve read about Elimination Diets; but they’re confused or not getting results. They may have anxiety – if they feel this way while still young, what happens in old age? They know health is a personal responsibility, and also understand that there aren’t any quick-fixes; they need expert guidance to make effective choices in regaining their health.
My people may be eco-conscious, nature-lovers, already eat organics, or shop at farmers markets. They might’ve seen Food Inc., or read Michael Pollan. If mothers, they breastfed their children.
Monsanto, factory farms, and corporate greed trumping public health, all drive them nuts. They don’t trust Big Pharma, and don’t want drugs. They believe Mother Nature is wise and offers better long-term solutions.
They want to be not only free of pain or symptoms, but confident that they’ve built a foundation for long-term optimal wellness. They’re on a mission or searching for it. Health would mean they are free of dis-comfort, with the energy, mental focus, and positive outlook to serve their mission.”
healing-winds.com – Michelle McKinney: “Women 35-55 who are separated, divorcing or divorced. Broken hearted, or mad as hell, or relieved with sadness, they are wanting to feel whole again: stronger, better about themselves, more confident, less anxiety, hopeful about their future, spiritually connected, trusting their intuition, and have more energy. These are like pieces of their soul that were lost or locked away.
These women are educated, their income is $30k-$90k, live in the greater Seattle area.
They have worked with holistic practitioners, have discovered self help books, personal growth, empowerment, and spirituality. They may attend presentations at the local body-mind-spirit bookstore events, peruse the internet looking for help, gone for psychic readings (which leave them feeling about the same as they did before.)
In their search for someone to help them mend their heart, feel whole again, and get their mojo back they find their way to me…at the bookstore, on the internet, from a friend, or therapist or naturopathic doctor.
After the first session, they feel less anxious, more hopeful and a little stronger. After 2-5 sessions, they have more strength, energy, clarity to see their way forward and feeling of empowerment take on the challenges that lay ahead. They are remembering their gift, their purpose, they are less preoccupied with their partner/ex, their grief is eased, their heart not so heavy, and the sparkle has returned to their eyes. They find their other therapies are more effective. They do not feel so alone, their guardian spirits are with them.”
tinameathrel.com: While I work with a variety of clients, I am uniquely qualified to work with women under the care of their Physicians for panic attacks and mild to moderate depression because I’ve been there. Here’s a piece I wrote recently:
“Attention Women who are committed to healing and releasing their diagnosis of panic attacks and depression by adding complimentary wellness services with guided support to their already existing treatment plan to achieve lasting results. I am deepening my energy healing practices and need participants to explore a new kind of treatment, journey into their innate self-healing power and provide their feedback about the experience.
If you are:
- prepared to speak candidly about all aspects of your journey,
- willing to release the stigma attached to the diagnosis,
- willing to develop your intuition aka internal GPS
- willing to put in the energy necessary to heal the pain you are feeling
- willing to end up viewing these challenges/obstacles (choose word) as tools to gain insight into your personal journey,
- willing to allow your evolution to occur naturally (Divine timing-but too early to tell them that) and with increasing levels of ease and grace at each milestone
- willing to begin to experience increasingly sustainable levels of joy and peace
- willing to shift your focus to improve the quality of your mind chatter
- and would like to truly “pay what you can” (link that to info on what that means)
- please connect with me for a free consultation to see if we will work well together.”
You can read dozens more examples of people who have, successfully or not, attempted to build around a clear target market in the case studies.