Feeling stuck with big questions like “What’s my niche?”

Try more specific questions instead…

Have you been delayed in your business progress, feeling stuck, because of big questions such as:

  • “What is my niche?”
  • “What is my ideal audience?”
  • “What should my offering be?”
  • “What’s my marketing message?”
  • “What’s my Calling in life?!”

These questions have a finality to them that can overwhelm. It’s like once you answer it, you lose your flexibility. It can keep people stuck for years.

A wise mentor counseled me many years ago that our Calling can only be understood looking backward.

As we observe the twists and turns of our life, we can start to connect the dots… to see the pattern of the decisions we’ve made, the opportunities that came by chance (or not!), the people we’ve “happened” to meet, our successes and “failures”, and what we learned from those experiences.

We start to understand our Calling.

Going forward, however, Life can be more joyful, less overwhelming, when we take the stance of experimentation.

“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” ―Ralph Waldo Emerson

From this more playful perspective, let’s reframe those big intimidating questions…

“What’s my niche?”

…can be reframed as…

“What’s the next niche I’d like to explore, through testing?”

Instead of the false finality of defining my niche, I always am testing new ideas… while doubling-down on previous ideas that got traction.

For example, I noticed that I started answering questions for my audience / clients / friends about Facebook Ads. So I decided to test out that niche by teaching a single 2-hour workshop on that topic. People loved it. So I repeated it for another audience. They loved it too. And now, my Facebook Marketing Course is what some people know me by. In their eyes, it’s become my “niche”.

Another example: I was interested in relating more wisely to money, so over time, I tried writing some articles about Healthy Money. Most of those have received lackluster response. It’s not a niche that I’m going to be putting any more effort on. If it were a hobby I might keep writing about it — I guess that’s why I kept it up so long without much response. However, for my business I’ll be focusing on other possible niches that have more market response.

“What’s my ideal audience?”

…can be reframed as…

“What type of people are responding to my authenticity?”

or…

“What group of people will I try advertising my content to next?”

This is why I preach the message of Authentic Content Marketing: Be yourself in your content, talk about what you’re passionate about, what has been helpful to yourself and to others you’ve helped, and then observe who responds to your authenticity.

You can also experiment by running Facebook Ads to a different audience and see if they like your content.

Then as you start offering products/services, notice who buys. That’s truly your ideal audience. Study them.

Back in 2009 when I started my business, I thought my ideal audience looked like me: 30-some-year-old Asian male, business school graduate. Yet as I created content and started to enroll clients, I was surprised: they were mostly women, mostly in their 50’s, and mostly without business degrees.

That taught me an important lesson: Don’t define a niche too early.

“What’s should my offering/product/service be?”

…can be reframed as…

“What have I already been helping people with?”

or…

“What will I try helping people with next?”

We often take for granted the skills we employ to help others.

What we do skillfully can be so “obvious” or “normal” to us, that we don’t appreciate how valuable it may be for other people.

It’s like a fish teaching a monkey who wants to learn how to swim: it’s no big deal for the fish, but a huge revelation for the monkey.

If you start to observe or journal about the skills you use to help others, you might then realize what your next experimental offering (product/service) can be.

“What’s my marketing message?”

…can be reframed as…

“What headline would I like to test next?”

or…

“What product sales/web page shall I draft next?”

It’s intimidating (even for marketing experts like me) to think of a single “marketing message”.

It just isn’t helpful.

You don’t have only “one” marketing message. Every product/service you offer has its own marketing message.

Yes, you might have an overall stance/mission/brand, but if you’re not sure what it is, don’t work so hard to figure it out yet. Let the overall pattern emerge over time as you focus first on the marketing message of your next offerings.

And, your overall marketing message may evolve over time as well.

Stay flexible.

Finally:

“What’s my Calling in life?!”

…can be reframed as…

“What am I feeling interested to try next?”

I ask this question in my business regularly.

It sparks ideas for everything from content topics that I’d like to experiment with, to new course ideas that I’d like to float by my audience to see what they would be interested in.

For example, this is the survey I recently sent to my audience. It was so helpful to see what the responses were. As a result, I’ll be focusing my upcoming workshops on the best-voted options.

My “calling” isn’t to do a specific task. It is much more broad, like bringing authenticity into business, or practicing joyfulness at work.

My “marketing message” isn’t any particular set of bullet points, or any one tagline. It is more a feeling that’s my audience gets from what I say.

To make progress, however, it is more helpful to ask specific questions, in the spirit of experimentation:

“What’s the next thing I’d like to try?”

Are you feeling stuck on any big questions? How might you reframe it to be more helpful to inspire your action?

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Written by

Authentic Business Coach & Author of 4 Books including "Authentic Content Marketing" and "Joyful Productivity" https://www.GeorgeKao.com

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