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How to find your niche (and how NOT to)

Updated: Jul 13, 2023

Finding my niche has been QUITE the journey in my business - and has caused me plenty of needless stress! Here’s how to find your niche - how NOT to do it (if you want to get any sleep at night, that is) - and why niching is commonly VERY misunderstood.

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So, this niching thing. Let’s talk about it - because it drove me CRAZY when I first started my business, and for quite a long time after if I’m honest! So when I first started my business I loved helping everyone.

I also didn’t have the first clue about niching or why it was supposedly such a great thing - so I just went out there and started taking action. And it did well!

I didn’t struggle for clients, my hypnotherapy clinic booked up pretty quickly and I did help people with all sorts of things - some I loved, some I didn’t. I have to say I was in quite a competitive market then and charging a bit of a premium compared to a lot of my colleagues - but still didn’t struggle. (If you need help to find clients check out my free resources page, by the way). And then I started to move my business online and there was this word ‘niche’ - everywhere I looked. And of course, I started to pay attention. What was this niche thing?

Was I doing it all wrong?

My first attempt at a membership launch failed fairly spectacularly but not completely - despite being VERY very general and just offering to help people feel more confident - it still attracted some attention and got some members.

I always give it a hard time but it DID get some members, even though my messaging was anything BUT niche. And it gradually became clear to me that I didn’t really know what I was doing with online marketing, so I started to listen to the various experts I came across and there was this consistent message - niche. I also learned some other helpful messages, like “You need to grow an audience and nurture them properly BEFORE you launch” - oops! That made sense... But at the time I was so convinced I was doing something wrong by not niching that that became a huge focus for me - and if I’m honest it sent me into a bit of a tailspin. I started to feel like without a clear niche, I wasn’t ever going to fill my membership - because that was the FIRST thing I needed to get clear on before I could do anything else. I spent months agonising over this and trying different things…

rather than focusing on growing my audience and promoting my membership, I became a little bit obsessed with WHO I was serving and spent so much time doing free calls for market research, obsessing about the description for my Facebook group and trying to make sure my posts were all sending out the right messages for fear of putting of my potential ‘ideal client’. Now this was both good and bad in a way! If I’d just run with that first imperfect, massively broad membership and promoted the heck out of it - I wonder where it might have got to now!

What actually happened instead was this long, convoluted journey of trying on different hats and worrying far too much about my marketing and messaging. Part of the problem was that I didn’t WANT to niche.

A huge part, in fact. Pretty much nothing bored me more than the idea of sticking to basically one script, putting out the same messages over and over again forever more and not being able to evolve or do what I thought was really right for the client in front of me.

Nooo thank you! I didn’t want to pigeonhole myself as a business coach, a mindset coach or a money coach despite my unique genius being ALL of those things (and then some).

And I didn’t want to say I was just for women, because although the majority of my clients are women I love working with men and non-binary people too! Equality, right? Humans are humans...? I also don’t think I had sorted out all the mindset issues I needed to sort out to allow me to serve in the way I felt really excited to serve. So my lovely little membership got reincarnated for a while as The 6 Figure Confidence Club - because I thought the name sounded cool and would attract the types of people I wanted to work with.

I had figured out by then that I loved working with ambitious people who wanted to achieve their highest level success in business, but were held back by all their mindset issues.

The thing was, back then, I didn’t have 6 figure confidence myself.

I didn’t have a good enough mindset around money and talking about money to really be able to connect with people in a positive way - and I became massively uncomfortable with the name thanks to some negative feedback I had from people who didn’t like it and thought it didn’t put out the right message.

We live and learn.

So I dropped it and went with something that seemed a lot safer and less scary, that meant I didn’t have to talk about money.

I then thought that maybe I needed to go down the route of becoming a business coach because THAT seemed to be a nice, recognisable niche that everyone would get… and I did enjoy business coaching and worked with a few clients to help them on their business journeys, but somehow it didn’t seem as deeply satisfying as the transformational work I love to do and that kept calling me. So essentially for quite some time I got myself in a right pickle and felt very much tormented because I didn’t feel like I fit a nice neat niche. And then one day, I thought - do you know what?

F*ck it! I’m just going to do what I want to do and what feels good. I’m going to forget about this niching thing, stop obsessing about my ideal client and just work with people I want to work with, and help them with their businesses and lives based on what they actually need at the time, rather than being super-specific about my programme. It was liberating - and fun! And then at the end of 2021, I’d just finished working with a wonderful client who had really been a total dream - and we’d got her cutting down her hours by more than half, working way more efficiently, being decisive rather than doubtful and stuck in procrastination, actually getting some time out for her and for her family, working on exciting new business ideas and with way more confidence around everything, including her pricing.

I thought “I would LOVE to keep working with her, I know we could do SO much with her business!” - and it was like this lightbulb went off.

She’s my dream client! AHA!!

Those are the things I want to help with! I had always, always known I wanted to help with confidence and anxiety - because it’s very dear to my heart and it’s been a massive journey for me to learn how to be confident, as you may know - but I’d been told that wasn’t something people would understand in my marketing.

But I looked back on the year and reflected on the clients I’d worked with - and realised that all the people I’d enjoyed working with the most had those common themes - which all came back to confidence and anxiety struggles causing their businesses to grind to a halt.

  • Comparing themselves to others

  • Imposter syndrome

  • Constant self-doubt and self-deprecation

  • Procrastination - but with fierce ambition behind it, making them incredibly frustrated with themselves

  • They’d got sick of hearing all the things they ‘should’ be doing, strategy and mindset-wise

  • They were taking courses and making investments that taught them nothing new

  • They were wildly aware that they weren’t visible enough and were finding it a struggle to show up in their businesses - but desperately needed to to keep the wheels turning and knew they needed to get out there more

  • They worried about money or didn’t have a grip on their finances, even though they were seeing some success and turning over a reasonable amount each month

  • They struggled with time management and never-ending to do lists

  • They were struggling to balance work with their relationships and personal lives

  • They were noticing the anxiety spilling out into other areas of life, sleep, driving, socialising etc.

So - BOOM! That was it. I sat down, started mapping out the key areas I wanted to help with and within the blink of an eye, I’d come up with an 8 week programme that just felt absolutely bloody amazing to me.

And I knew who it was for - I’d found my niche.

Or rather, my niche had found me!

See, your niche for the vast majority of people ISN’T something you can come up with out of the blue and stick to.

For some - yes - you have a clear idea from the word ‘go’ and you stick with it. But I have always had this deep awareness that I don’t want to do something that doesn’t light me up and make me happy. Yes, your business is a means to an end in many ways. “Keep showing up, make the money, then worry about being happy…” that’s a philosophy that some people live by.

But I’d rather be happy now instead of one day AND make money doing it. Notice I’m not afraid talking about money any more either… who knows, The 6 Figure Confidence Club might just find its way back one of these days! So that’s a big thing about niche for me.

Just keep showing up, keep doing the things you enjoy doing and your niche will find YOU!

It might be messy.

But don’t waste months trying to nail this bloody ideal client and niche thing if it’s causing you stress and strife - focus on working with what you do know now, keep building your audience - and as you grow and as you listen to the struggles your audience are having, you’ll work out how you can best serve them. Which brings me to one more really important point about niche. I know some incredibly successful entrepreneurs who don’t have time for the whole niche thing. Leonie Dawson, whose mastermind I was in.

Carrie Green. Lizzie Goddard.

There are plenty… And do you know why they’re still super successful?

It’s because they ARE their niche and they own it.

Niche doesn’t have to be about what products you sell or to who. True, the more you narrow that down, the more specialist you become and the higher the price you can charge - sure.

But if you’re not excited by that, you can still narrow down your appeal to a small segment of the market just by being your beautiful, unique self and doing what plenty of other people are doing YOUR way. Yes - you’ll probably put plenty of people off.

But the more unique you are - the more you’re YOU - the more you will cultivate a following of raving superfans who will either want to work with you or invest in your products themselves, or will recommend you and spread the word to the right people. So do NOT worry about your niche - just be you, boldly and consistently and you will find your people.

(Thank you for the phrase Pat Flynn by the way - you can buy Pat’s book Superfans here!) I hope that’s been helpful.

Abi x

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