3 questions to narrow down your niche

Congratulatory wishes from people I haven't heard from in years have triggered memories from my early years in business, especially about my early clients and niches.

You see, although my first clients in 1988 were creative (actors, painters, dancers and singers), it didn't occur to me to make that my niche.

I had no idea having a niche was so important.

I was simply surrounded by creatives and they needed help with the business side of their creativity.

So I offered to help.

But I was also helping dentists, exterminators and actuaries. (I didn't even understand what an actuary did!)

It really did take me 15 years to focus. But I could have saved a good 10 years if I had asked myself these 3 questions to make sure "creatives" was a good niche:

1. Did I already have connections or a network in that niche to build on as a foundation?
Everyone I encountered in those days was trying to make money out of their creativity. So I was already in the right conversations, which is the part that takes so long. I also joined a group that was forming, The Hoboken Creative Alliance, which brought a lot of them into a room together. Lesson: Find a shortcut to get the attention of your niche.
2. Did I have relevant experience for that niche?
The truth was, I had no experience to speak of. But I did have chutzpah, and I really believed I could help these people. So I must have been persuasive enough. Lesson: you only have to be persuasive or confident enough to get going.
3. Were there enough people who needed help? And could I find them easily and inexpensively?
Since New York was teeming with creatives, it was a no brainer. And it's not like I needed thousands or even hundreds to pay my rent. Lesson: you need just enough clients to be profitable.

Truthfully, If I had thought about specializing early on, it wouldn't have taken me 30 years to get here. Please learn from my experience.

I know it's hard to choose where to focus. But you can rule out the duds by asking these 3 key questions about any niche you're considering:

  1. Do you already have connections you can mine?
  2. Do you have relevant samples you can show?
  3. Is there enough of a market and can you access the people without spending too much money?

If you need help with this, check out my recently updated "Pick a Niche Kit" -- it's got new content and a new look (thanks to my designer, Maureen Adamo who always makes me look really good).

    If you're in the first year of your business, I've pulled the most popular tools into a NEW Start Your Business Toolkit -- plus one hour of coaching with me.
    Buy it today and save more than 50%:
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    One more thing: I'm feeling especially grateful this week, so I have something else for you: The 10 Point Marketing Checklist, adapted from the Marketing Blueprint. No strings attached -- you can download it here anytime:
    http://bit.ly/10ptchecklist

    And if I can help you in any way, reach out to me....