When I realized I was going to launch my own business I knew that in order to get things off the ground, I needed to work with a coach to map out the process and keep me accountable.
Through research and recommendations, I found the *perfect* person for the job. She was inspiring, relatable, focused on multi-passionate creatives, and 85% of her coaching students were still running their dream businesses. (WOW! That is some proof for your pudding.)
The catch? Before I could work with her, I had to know what I did and who I served.
So, I went straight to the Google machine and typed “how to find your niche” into the search bar. But lemme tell you, I was SO frustrated by what I found.
Most of the small business advice out there was geared toward big corporations, brick-and-mortar shops, or startups a la Silicon Valley.
But what about niche-ing for small online businesses selling 1-1 services, group programs, or digital products?
I tried a different tactic and typed in “how to find your niche as a consultant” and you guessed it, most of the advice assumed I would be walking into a physical (mostly corporate) office space in my business casual attire and waltzing out with a briefcase full of reports.
Hoping that the third time would be charmed, I repeated with “how to find your niche as a freelancer” and again, the advice missed the mark.
Because I didn’t know any better, I rolled with it and tried to make several online publications’ advice fit my situation, but you, my friend, can benefit from my trial and error and skip straight to what worked.
Here are the 5 questions I found most helpful to nail my niche as an online business owner.
1) What are your interests and opinions?
Think about this in the context of what you like to do, what you don’t like to do, and how you like to work.
I love writing with personality, experimenting with creative marketing, and creating flexible plans and strategies for getting my work done.
I DON’T like writing for social media marketing, writing blog posts for other people, or writing highly technical content.
When I work with others I like to collaborate and ideate for an hour and then go off on my own to work independently.
I love learning and hoarding information like a magpie!
I love being around people who believe in what they’re putting out there and it’s about more than *just* charging a dollar.
2) What problems are you good at solving?
Remember those progress reports you used to get in school? Think back to those things your teachers said you were good at or that your peers looked to you to help them with. Were you ever called a “Chatty Cathy”? Your enthusiasm and extroversion may have gotten you in trouble back in the day, but some of the best community builders and coaches I know are the ones who know how to talk to people and get them to open up. Don’t discount any of your natural abilities!
I’m really good at breaking down a problem.
I’m very empathetic – stepping into someone’s shoes and understanding how they feel is my superpower.
I’m a total parrot and can slip into someone’s “voice” when writing.
I’m good at presenting and teaching others.
3) What keywords relate to your passions and problem-solving skills?
If no one’s looking for your services, you’re going to have to spend a lot of time reaching out and educating your audience about why what you do benefits them. A good way to gauge this is by using Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends to see what people are searching for and if things are trending in a positive way.
Keep track of the keywords you find that have at least 1,000 searches per month and bank them for later. When it’s time to write your website copy you’ll want these on hand to give your content some of that Google juice.
4) What do you think the competition could be doing better?
It’s helpful to consider any personal opinions you have about trends in your area of expertise and whether you’re on board pushing back.
Many copywriting tutorials are dry and boring.
Many copywriting products feel like money grabs.
Many copywriting programs make hyper-masculine “10X” “6-figure” promises they can’t keep. (Yeah, I said it.)
Many copywriters aren’t open about how they’re using their own advice IRL with clients and in their own business.
5) What are some of the ways you could make money serving this niche?
It’s all about the Benjamin’s. After all, a good idea is just an idea if it can’t be implemented. Turning an idea into a business means figuring out how you could package what you’ve got to offer so it feels, above all else, valuable, and worth a price point.
Done-for-you and 1-1 services
Online copywriting courses
Digital copywriting templates
Paid office hours/Power Hours/Copy Days
BONUS: What direction are you working toward?
Are you looking to ramp up your 1-1 services or hoping to make a switch to digital products/courses or an online program? Are you hoping to add any services or products in the future?
For example, I love working 1-1 but not everyone can afford my prices. I want to be able to offer top-notch digital products overflowing with value for small creative business owners who, like me when I first started out, could barely afford my annual Canva subscription. (True story.)
Where did these questions get me?
Once I came to terms with what kind of work I was willing to do (and not do), how my natural abilities could help others, whether anyone was even interested in what I wanted to offer, and I was positive I could make money by doing things better (or in my own style) than everyone else on the interwebs, I felt confident putting my stake in the ground and saying this is the online space I want to participate in and this is who I know I can serve best!