Starting your own business can be super exciting–but it can also be pretty freaking scary, am I right?! There is so much to consider, and it’s easy to get wrapped up in the little nit-picky details that ultimately don’t matter a whole lot. There is one thing, though, that you definitely need to do at the start: you’ve got to find your niche.
Why finding your niche is so important
Like many other entrepreneurs I know, I started my business primarily as a way to seek freedom for my family. Another reason a lot of entrepreneurs (like me) start businesses is that we LOVE helping people.
What does this have to with finding your niche? Great question!
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably wanting to start your business so that you can help ALL THE PEOPLE, which means you might be thinking you want to do ALL THE THINGS.
I’m telling you from personal experience: don’t do this!
When I first got started, my tagline was “Web Developer | Excel Nerd | Grammar Queen.” Ummm… what???!!! Notice how my tagline doesn’t mention anything at all about who I help or how…
Because I was trying to do three totally different things, I totally confused any potential audience I might find, and I never made any traction.
When you’re starting your business, you need to identify your ONE THING. What’s the one thing you’re offering to your ideal client that will help get her unstuck? What’s the one thing that will help her reach her next level?
When you are able to truly find your niche, you’ll know that one thing. You’ll know exactly who it is you’re trying to serve and exactly how you serve them, and your audience will begin to grow each and every day. The bigger your audience, the bigger your impact!
How to find your niche: Know your ideal client
Now that you understand WHY finding your niche is so important, let’s talk about a few ways to actually do it.
First and foremost, you need to know exactly who it is you’re serving: you’ve got to identify your ideal client. If you can’t figure out who it is you’re trying to serve, how are you going to know what it is that she needs?
Do a little brain dump: How old is your ideal client? Is she married? Does she have kids? Pets? What does she do for a living? What does she do for fun? What brands does she like? Where does she shop? Where does she hang out, both in real life and online? What kind of life does she currently have? What kind of life does she want?
Once you have a good picture of WHO she is, you can then start focusing on the problems she has that you’re going to help her solve.
Time for brain dump #2: What is the end goal she’s trying to accomplish? What is she struggling with the most in trying to read that goal? What are her main pain points? What kind of solutions is she seeking? What has she already tried that hasn’t worked?
When I started doing these exercises, I realized something: my ideal client… was ME! Not the current “me,” of course, but the “me” I was a year or two prior to that.
Is that true for you also? Great! You know exactly what you need to offer her to get to where you are today.
If that’s not true for you–also great! With these exercises, you know exactly who your ideal client is and what she needs.
How to find your niche: Know what you’re offering
If you’ve reached this point, go ahead and give yourself a big pat on the back! It took me about 6 months after launching my business (and not really finding any business during that time) that I realized my three-part tagline just wasn’t cutting it. Hopefully, you’re way ahead of me. If not, that’s okay too! It’s always better late than never.
Okay, so now you know WHO you’re serving. Let’s talk about WHAT you’re serving.
If you’ve done your brain dumps, you know the problems that your ideal client is facing. Now, you need to identify a solution that will help her reach her end goal.
While this sounds easy, it’s not necessarily as simple as it seems. How do you know what solution she wants and needs? You’ve got to do market research!
This part really intimidated me when I was trying to figure out my one thing. I had spent six or so months getting nowhere, so I had no audience–how the heck do you do market research if you don’t even have a “market”?!
Luckily, you’ve got a big part of the work done: you know WHO your ideal client is. That’s the hardest part to this!
Since you know who she is, you probably know where she’s hanging out online.
Using Facebook Groups to Find Your Ideal Client
Chances are, she’s probably in a lot of the same Facebook groups you’re already in–you are a member of some Facebook groups, right? Time for a quick side note: Facebook groups are one of the main things that changed my business. This is where I found so many other like-minded female entrepreneurs (some of whom I now consider among my closest friends). It’s where I still find my ideal client. It’s the first place I turn when I’m facing something new in my biz.
If you’re not already in a Facebook group, start now! Shameless plug: if you haven’t already joined my free Facebook group, The Worry-free WordPress Community, you should totally do that now! We’d love to see you there.
Okay, phew. Rant over!
Seriously, though: head over to your favorite Facebook communities. Describe your ideal client, and ask anyone who resonates with that description for a few minutes of their time. You can set up a quick 15-minute Zoom call to ask them your market research questions, or you can create a questionnaire using Google Forms that they could fill out.
Ask them to explain their main problems. Be sure to pay attention to the language/verbiage that they’re using–in your future messaging, you want to be sure you’re using the same words to describe their problem that they use!
Tell them about the potential solutions you’re thinking of offering. Ask them if that would be helpful and if it’s something they’d be interested in. Also be sure to ask them if you can contact them in the future–so that when your solution is ready to go, they can be the first ones to hear about it, and hopefully your first customers!
How to find your niche: Know how your offers help your ideal client
Now it’s time to bring it all together: you know your ideal client, and you know what you’re offering her. Now you need to know exactly how your offer helps your ideal client.
This is going back to the market research. I mentioned in the last section that you want to pay attention to the words your ideal client uses to explain the problems they have and the solutions they’re wanting.
Why is this so important? Chances are, you’re an expert in your field (even if you don’t feel like it every day!). Everything that you know about your business is now second-nature to you.
When something is so natural to us, we often forget that what we know isn’t what everybody else knows. We use industry language that makes perfect sense to us, but that language may sound foreign to our ideal client.
After your market research, you should not only have a good idea of the best solution to offer your ideal client, but you should also know exactly how to explain your offering in a way that makes the most sense to her–in a way that makes your offer sound irresistible.
Go find your niche!
Let’s sum it up:
- Don’t try to do all the things. Focus on ONE THING!
- Know your ideal client.
- Identify the solutions that your ideal client actually wants.
- Offer your solution to your ideal client using her own words.
Pretty simple, right?! Whether you’re just getting started in business or you’re trying to figure out how to gain more traction, it’s never too late to review all of this. Now that you know what you need to do to find your niche, go do it!
If you like this post, I have a free workbook that might be helpful for you. It’ll walk you through the first 5 steps I take with all my web design clients before we ever get started with the actual website. You’ll start with your niche, and ends with money-making ideas you can use to generate income from your website! You can get it here.