Niches—how tight to go? That is an important question. Just finding your online business niche can be a challenge. It’s not so easy to know exactly where you can carve out your spot, and it’s definitely not easy to know how tight to go when you niche down.
There are two ways to niche down: by which tasks you do (or which products you offer), and by whom you serve. You can niche both ways, and I suggest that you do that at first. I also suggest that you go as tight as possible. You can always expand later.
Getting very specific regarding what you offer in your business helps immensely. It helps you know how to answer the “what do you do” question, but it also helps others know exactly whom to refer to you. One effective way to niche is to choose two things you stand for, such as rigor and speed in delivery, and carving out a niche between them. In his book, This is Marketing, Seth Godin refers to this process as defining your edges, and he gives examples.
Niches—how tight to go?
Here’s an example that shows how narrow to niche down. A coaching client of mine wants to start a VA business. She had already narrowed it down to serving authors (which is why she came to me), and I told her that’s not narrow enough and gave her some examples that were. After some deliberation, she said she wanted to offer research for authors.
Still too broad. That’s an entire shopping center. We need one product on one shelf in one store.
“Research on history for authors.”
That’s the store. Keep going. I said to make her offering so specific and so small that when she says it aloud, she’ll think, “Only five authors in the world will need that.”
Niches that are too broad:
- “I do research for authors.”
- “I do fact checking.”
- “I compile statistics.”
- “I collect data on crimes.”
Niches that are narrow enough:
- “I do research on submarines in World War II for historical fiction writers.” (One of my author clients does exactly that, and museums hire her.)
- “I fact check regarding Antebellum United States for screenwriters.”
- “I compile stats on STDs in 1960s America.”
- “I supply authors with data on crimes that occurred in Nashville, Tennessee, between 1800 and 1850.”
Some of my niches:
- I help podcasters and coaches write and publish their helpful nonfiction books.
- I help people who say, “I’m not a writer, but I need a book/blog content.”
- I can tell you exactly what to put in your nonfiction book, right down to the subheadings. I outline the whole thing and make it simple for you to get it written.
- I’ve been called “The Author’s Therapist” because I help people through all the emotions of being an author.
- I help people start and grow a freelance editing business that will provide a full-time income.
When you think that the market will be too small to sustain your business, chances are that you’ve focused in enough. Now people will know instantly whether you’re the one for them. You can always branch out and do more, but having a very specific offering as your starting point makes it clear to everyone what you do and for whom.
Keyword research is one of the skills I have that help me narrow things down for people and find profitable niches for their online businesses. If you need help finding your online business niche, you might want to purchase one of my keyword research reports or contact me about coaching you.