“What is your coaching niche?”
If you’re anything like me, if you’re asked this question, you’ll need to look up what the word means first then fumble through an answer that is basically not an answer like, “Uh, I’m not sure … I’m still figuring that out … I’m a life coach who helps people find their true gifts.”
As you start to investigate your niche for your coaching practice, you’ll quickly realize that this is a hot topic and it seems like everyone has a niche or is trying to figure theirs out. And, you might be feeling like you need to know yours A-S-A-P as well.
If you’re out in the coaching world (or, for that matter, the heart-centered entrepreneur world) and you already have so many questions and so many doubts on how to launch or grow your business or even how to get your first paying client, then the last thing you need is to have more questions that cause fear and doubt about how to confidently move forward.
I’m here today to help you become more confident in yourself as well as give you some loving support on how to clarify your specialty as you grow more and more as a coach and as the CEO of your business.
So, let’s get started!
What Is the Definition of Niche?
A niche, simply put by Merriam-Webster dictionary, is a specialized market. In coaching, this is where you declare mastery in a specific area of coaching where you have specialized skills due to your life experience and training.
Many coaches focus on creating a niche based on what they think people want and where they think they can make money.
Important note: It’s a mistake to decide your niche (and, for that matter, decide anything) based on what we think others want.
Webster’s has another definition under niche that I find interesting: A place, employment, status, or activity for which a person or thing is best fitted.
This highlights something very important. Where are you best fitted… this is not based on what you think others want or need nor on how you think you can make faster money, but from where you sincerely fit best.
In truth, where you are going to fit best is going to have to do with where you already have life experience and in an area where you feel comfortable and enjoy working. These elements are not going to be based on what others think is best for you, but based on what’s aligned within you.
How Do You Drop the Overwhelm When Choosing Your Specialty?
Whenever you’re starting something new, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with fear, worry, and the need to control the unknown. This too applies to choosing your niche. There may be many questions running through your head trying to figure all of this out as soon as possible.
Wanting to know all the steps and all the answers is natural. You’re not alone on this. No matter how seasoned we are, we all go through this. So, the sooner you accept this as part of the journey, the easier it will be for you.
The key is to come into a level of mastery of our mind. Otherwise, it will run amuck like an angry wild horse without reins. We can be the true master holding the reins on the untamed mind and trusting in the process we are in with our niche and our coaching career – or – We can be the undisciplined novice who lets every negative thought take us down.
Who do you choose to be?
The overwhelm is a mind game. As soon as you are feeling the tide of fear push against you, it’s time to take 3 breaths, create some space between you and the cycle of overwhelming thoughts, and remember the peace that is you.
Should I Niche Down?
The simple answer to this question is yes. But, why?
Let’s do a little experiment. How many people have you met, seen, or read about who are life coaches? Write down as many as you can think of.
Secondly, who do you know who is a business coach or health coach? Write down their names.
Now, who do you know who is an executive transition coach who helps corporate executives safely transition to fulfilling entrepreneurship?
– or –
What body awareness coaches do you know who help people become secure and confident with their weight and body?
What do you notice in your answers above? Most likely, the list after the three questions has shrunk from question 1 to 2 to 3. When you niche down, this is also what happens to your competition—it shrinks!
I already hear the but…“Yeah, but this is also what happens to how many people will be interested in my services as I niche down.”
This is true. As you niche down, you are also reducing your pool of potential clients. In acknowledgment of this, it begs the question, “Can I niche down too far?” I’ll answer this question shortly, but first I want to clarify the value of having a niche by asking you a few more questions.
If I come to you as a friend and say that I need help, is that the furthest the conversation will go? Or will you ask me a question like, “What do you need help with?”
Of course, I’ll share more specifics about the issue that I am facing. It could be “I am getting ready to leave my corporate job to start my own thing and am freaking out!” – or – “It’s 6 months after having my baby and I am struggling with loving myself, loving my body, and losing weight after giving birth.”
Are you more likely to refer them to someone on your list of life coaches, someone on your list of business or health coaches, or the short list of those who specialize in exactly what your friend is struggling with?
Most likely you would suggest the one or two people you know who specialize in exactly what your friend is going through.
To further drive this point home, let’s relate it to the field of medicine. If you need a hip replacement, are you going to prefer your family practitioner, an orthopedic surgeon, or an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in hip replacements?
According to Kaplan, a specialty doctor earns 21.5% more than a primary care physician. This is a simple example of how niching down actually adds up to more ideal clients and being able to charge more for your offerings.
As you niche down, you do a lot of your marketing upfront. You laser in on who needs you and your services. And at the same time, you eliminate a lot of the people who are not aligned with where you can make the biggest impact.
When you niche down, you save time, you save money, and you make it easy and clear for a client to know if they need your help or not.
What Popular Types of Coaching Niches Are There?
Here’s a list of niches that many coaches choose.
- Business Coaches
- Health Coaches
- Spiritual Coaches
- Relationship Coaches
- Money Coaches
- Anxiety Coaches
- Self-Help Coaches
- Career Coaches
- Corporate Coaches
- Beauty Coaches
- Weight-Loss Coaches
- Parenting Coaches
- Environmental Coaches
- Writing Coaches
And the list goes on…
For many of these niches, you can easily choose a specialty within the niche. As a business coach, you may niche down to helping single moms make six figures doing what they love. As a spiritual coach, you could choose to empower empaths turning their sensitivity into a superpower.
The key is that you identify a true need in your client base, create a clear title for your coaching services, and offer a solution to solve your ideal client’s problem.
How Do You Know Which Type of Coach to Be?
The key here is to not get in your head too much about this and try to “figure it out.” We want to start with the heart here and ask ourselves some simple yet important questions to help guide us towards a clear answer.
I invite you to take out a pen & paper and write an answer to these seven questions to help clarify your niche:
- What do you love to do in life?
- What things did you love to do as a child?
- What/Who in life inspires joy within you?
- What big challenges have you faced and overcome?
- What lessons did you learn from overcoming these challenges?
- What problems do you love solving for people?
- If you could be any kind of coach (and money isn’t part of the equation), what would you be?
Now, take some time to brainstorm what kind of coach you could be. Your answers above are clues to your ideal niche. What kind of coach have you needed in some of your biggest challenges?
Is Your Niche Too Vague, Too Broad, or Too Specific?
Let’s begin here with vagueness. This is something very easy to slip into when you are declaring your niche, sharing your story, or writing your copy for your website and marketing. If you are vague with your niche, those you speak with will assume that you are not clear on what you do. Secondly, it creates confusion with potential clients about what you can offer them. And the reality is that confused clients do not move forward.
So, keep your niche simple and clear. You want your title to be something that immediately brings a clear vision of the work you do and clarifies if it is right for the person searching for a solution. When you include a short description of what you do with your niche, you want to make sure that this description is a solution to the main problem your ideal client faces.
Examples of clear niches: “I’m a new mom health coach who helps new moms lose the baby fat and regain their beauty confidence.” – or – “I’m a confidence coach who helps people transform their belief blocks around self-worth and impostor syndrome so they can live their best life.”
Examples of vague niches: “I’m a life guide.” (This was mine back when I started my coaching practice) – or – “I’m a soul embarking coach who helps you reconnect with the truth.” – or – I’m a business coach who helps people grow their business.”
Staying broad with your niche may feel safe or freeing, especially if you feel limited by having to choose one area of expertise. At the beginning of your practice when you’re still finding your affinity, it makes sense to stay broad and simply call yourself a life coach, business coach, or health coach.
As you grow and evolve as a coach you will discover what types of clients you love to work with and the ones you’d rather not work with. You’ll find that there are certain topics and obstacles you light up with when addressing. Pay attention to what really inspires you as you coach. Your perfect niche will enliven you and ensure longevity.
However, if you stay broad with your coaching, you will begin to miss out on opportunities due to your lack of clarity and specificity. Often coaches stay broad to get more clients, and it actually has the exact opposite effect.
People come to coaches to get clear on what they want and what’s in the way of that. If you are perceived to be unclear in who you are and what you do, then you will be much less attractive to your prospective clients.
If you go with the title of life coach, business coach, self-help coach, or health coach, you’re likely too broad with your niche. Describing yourself this way makes you one of millions. Finding what makes you special as a coach and sharing that in your niche makes you one in a million.
A client wants to know why they should work with you over all the other coaches out there. Your title and “one-liner” of what you do helps a potential client easily know what you offer and if you’re the coach they need to work with.
On the other hand, it is possible to become too specific with your niche. Let me give you an example…
Let’s say you choose to be a Confidence Coach. This alone is a clear niche that can reach many people who have issues with confidence. You could niche down further and focus solely on women or young adults.
Confidence is an issue that masses of people face, so niching down can be an asset as you become well known for working with a specific type of person who struggles with confidence.
Now, we can go too far with this niche where we become a Confidence Coach who works with divorced, cult-surviving women who are struggling with personal worth and identity issues.
Unless you have access to hundreds or thousands of this type of person on a regular basis, then you may have niched down too far.
Take a moment and reflect on the parties, events, and gatherings you have been a part of in the past 3 months. This is a window into the type of community you resonate with.
Imagine you are in a room with one hundred of these people and they are all looking for coaching services. You do not need all one hundred of these people to be your clients, do you? Would ten to twenty clients be sufficient?
I’m going to assume 10-20% is enough. If so, then what is a niche that would speak to these ten to twenty people that aligns with what you love to do and what you have a level of mastery in?
There’s your niche!
How Do You Know if Your Niche Will Be Profitable?
Creating your coaching business requires you to have a plan (like having a niche) while at the same time it’s important to be willing to explore and experiment as you go along. According to Harvard Business Review, one of the 4 key components to a successful CEO is the ability to adapt proactively. In fact, this trait makes one 6.7 times more likely to succeed.
So, if after six months of working in your niche and implementing a plan that works for attracting clients, things aren’t coming together, then you may need to adjust your niche.
Pro tip: When something isn’t working in your business, only adjust one thing at a time so you can pinpoint exactly what’s working and what’s not. If you change many things at once, you’ll likely never know what the issue is.
Ultimately, you won’t know for sure if your niche is going to work for you until you really commit to it and share it. Your niche is important, yet it’s only a sliver of your business. I know many successful coaches who have unclear niches. However, they make up for it with their charisma, persistence, and commitment to their coaching, their business, and inner growth.
That being said, why create an extra hurdle for your success? Try on a niche that lights you up and where you have experience with the obstacle and the transformation.
And as far as profitability, the money will come when you don’t make your practice about the money.
Follow your heart. I know it’s cliche, but it’s cliche for a reason! In your heart, you already know why you’re here and what your bigger purpose is all about. The mind will fight you on this, but who cares!
Your heart and soul already know your purpose and your niche.
Jason Frahm has been a spiritual life coach trainer, meditation-yoga teacher & shamanic practitioner combined for 19 years. Jason is the co-founder of the Diamond Process Coach Training and taught yoga and meditation at “The Ashram” & Exhale for Sacred Movement and around the world for over a decade.