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I’ve been looking for my niche – it seems I’ve misplaced it or it has wandered off and now I can’t find it. Perhaps you’ve lost your niche as well or had troubling finding it at all. This is on my mind because I took an online marketing seminar while I was on vacation last month. And it seems that finding your niche is all important if you are in business for yourself.
Because I was at the beach I kept thinking that if people in hammocks were a niche I would love to have that one be mine, but I’m guessing that particular niche is already filled by the one successful entrepreneur who has time to swing in a hammock. I don’t and most of the people I know don’t as well.
I realized as I listened to the webinar that even when I worked for someone else I still was serving a particular niche – a particular segment of the population that wanted the product or service that I offered or the company offered. It didn’t seem that important to me when in a big company (I wasn’t in sales after all) but as an individual entrepreneur it seems niches are not just necessary; they are the nirvana of good marketing. And, it seems, the smaller your niche, the better.
So what exactly is a niche?
You are part of a niche when you consider yourself demographically or interest-focused along with a group of other people who share your demographics, concerns or interests. The Baby Boomers (of which I am one) is a niche – a rather large one with a considerable set of sub-issues, interests and lifestyle needs.
Likewise Millennials (also known as GEN-Y), GEN-X and GEN-Z are niches with Millennials being the largest single grouping since the Baby Boomers. GEN-Z are the little ones – the children of Millennials who were born swiping on iPads. My littlest nephews are always moving much faster than me with technology of any kind.
The more I thought about this word “niche” in regard to my work, I started thinking that people like me who grew up in alcoholic families and struggled with co-dependency, addiction and depression – must be a niche (probably more than one). The same would be true of people who faced a particular illness or people dealing with the end of a long marriage. You see what I mean.
As I started thinking this way, it also made me think about how often I felt alone dealing with whatever problems were going on in my life. And I came to the realization that a niche is like an invisible support group. This is an inside-out view of a niche but I like the idea of knowing that there are other people dealing with the same ups and downs that have been part of my own journey.
So, maybe the real value in connecting with your niche isn’t solely for business purposes. In fact I think your business most likely reflects the niche of which you are already a part. So connecting with your niche not only is good for business but good for the soul-self whatever part of the journey you are on.
So here are three ways to connect with your niche:
Step 1: Take some time and think about yourself – your background, challenges, preferences, patterns, passions and dreams. See how many niches you can identify and then see each niche as a group of people that relate to you and your life experiences.
Step 2: Now make a list of your particular skills, gifts and talents. Personally I don’t think you really find your niche. I think your niche finds you. It is your particular skills, gifts and talents that draw others to you and your work. So if you feel you are always swimming upstream, turn over, float and let the tide take you where it may. Your niche should feel a bit like home.
Step 3: Think of your niche as your peeps – your cheering section – your non-judgmental brothers and sisters who really, really get you. If you are a business entrepreneur, you’ll discover that as you do this process, you’ll be filled with ideas of how to better serve others through your business. If not, you’ll still find that wondrous understanding that you truly are never alone. And that, whether you know them or not, you are one with so many others moving ahead on this journey we call life.
I still want to join the niche of hammock swinging women. But, in the meantime I’m going to continue to find those niches that echo back to me when I call.
I welcome you to join me. My favorite niche has always been the one where we celebrate the beauty, uniqueness and gift that each of us is to the world. Let me know in the comments below what your niches are and which ones you’re keen on exploring…