Niching your wellness business is really helping establish you as the dietitian expert and a professional, and it helps you identify who you are, what you do, and then your target market or your target audience would be who you’re helping. So that’s all a part of niching down. Niching down is going to help you stand out, and it’s going to help you position yourself as the expert and ultimately lead to increasing your impact and then your income in the online and offline space.
Some entrepreneurs start with a big idea and a vision of what that idea will become. Then, they set out to build their business from the ground up.
And other entrepreneurs (like me!) start with a skill or talent (think: design, copywriting, coaching) and the idea that it could make them money. Then, they earn their first dollar using that skill or talent, and their business grows from there.
At first, it may not seem like these two types of entrepreneurs are very different from one another. However, as someone who fits into the second group, I have to say that I think the first group has one key element working in their favor. It’s something that every single business could benefit from thinking about in the very beginning: vision.
Having some sort of a vision for your business allows you to set goals. Most of the time, those goals will directly relate to how you’ll serve your target market (to make money and an impact in the world) right now, and down the road. Then you can establish a brand that’s in alignment with the goals you set.
I’m a do-er, so this visionary/goal-setting stuff doesn’t exactly come naturally to me. But, when I when I decided to commit to Jess Creatives full time, I realized the importance of at least considering questions like:
- Who is my target market?
- How will I serve them?
- How much will I charge?
- What core values will drive me to do this work?
After that, it became easier to build a brand that appeals to the type of people I want to work with.
So, whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been your own boss for a while, complete the questions listed above as pre-work before following these next steps to establish a brand that appeals to your target market.
Research what other people are doing in your industry
But not so you can copy them! (Sorry, just had to get that out of my system.) Remember that the point here is to build your brand so you appeal to your target market — not to build a second-rate version of someone else’s business.
As you take a look at what other people are doing, make note of how they’re pricing and packaging their offerings. Notice what nobody seems to be offering or marketing — are there gaps you could fill by packaging your offers with a unique twist? For example, if you’re a copywriter and everyone seems to offer website copy packages, is anyone offering “copy audits”? If not, this could be a great service for you to offer.
Start by picking a few people in your industry and studying their sites, their social media accounts, etc. Some of them may have their offerings detailed online, prices and all. Others may require you to do a bit more digging to discover how they do business (you can always reach out to these people and ask for suggestions or feedback, but just a heads up that not everybody is 100% open to those sort of requests).
Get to know your target market’s biggest struggles
In my opinion, one mistake that people make when they’re doing market research is jumping into Facebook groups and posting something like: “Hey! I’m working on my new service packages, what are your biggest struggles with _______?”
First, these posts rarely get many insightful responses. And second, you’re practically doing the market research for your competitors. This is how it ends up seeming like everyone has the same packages, the same list-building strategies, practically the same business. Because everyone is getting their answers the same way!
Think outside the box here. Look at industry blogs with a big following. What are people asking in the comments? If you’ve got answers to any of their questions, that’s a great starting point for problems you can solve in your business. Look up books relevant to your industry on Amazon, and then look at the 1, 2, and 3 star reviews – those can also be helpful.
If you really want to survey people from a specific Facebook group, here’s a workaround strategy to get the answers you need without giving them all away:
- Check and see if/when it’s ok for you to post links/research requests in the group
- Make a post that explains what you’re looking to research
- Include a link to a survey form (like Typeform or Google Forms) in the post
- Assess responses
Bonus: It’s also a lot easier to analyze responses from forms versus comments on a Facebook post.
Define how you will stand out in your industry
Make sure that the brand you’re establishing will actually be attractive to the people you want to work with. Christina Scalera is a great example. She is a lawyer who works with creative entrepreneurs. Her site showcases her personality and creativity, with modern features and a unique color palette. Other (“traditional”) lawyers in the legal space might have neutral, corporate-looking sites, but that look wouldn’t really appeal to people in the industry she wants serve.
It’s all about finding balance in your brand so that your business is both memorable and attractive to your target market.
Have you ever woken up one day and just been like, “Yeah, this isn’t working for me anymore.” You might be thinking that about your business niche. Is it time to change your niche? Or start niching down?
The first sign you want to look out for is that your niche is too broad.
If you are targeting 20 to 60 years olds, that’s too big of a market because 20 years and 60 year old have difficult problems and they have different goals and they probably have different interests. For example, I’m 28. I love to follow a lot of health and fitness people on Instagram, especially those who share kids meals so I can get more ideas for our foster kids.
But my dad, who’s turning 60 this year, he doesn’t even have Instagram, first of all, but if he did he probably wouldn’t follow those same people. But let’s pretend that he liked to follow health and fitness people too. Well, he’s probably going to want to follow people who are sharing modified exercises for older people. There are not a lot of people out there that my dad and I could both follow and get value from because we have different interests and different goals and different lifestyles, except maybe John Crist or Jeff Foxworthy. We both find them funny.
The second sign you might need a new niche is that they’re always asking for discounts.
They’re just trying to nickel and dime you to save every little dollar that they can. Because if that niche doesn’t want to pay for your services, like they don’t have the budget, then it’s going to take a lot of work to convince them to work with you. For example, I sometimes get inquiries from bloggers. These are strictly bloggers, they’re not trying to make a business out of it they’re just blogging for fun and they want me to design something. Well, they are in a business so they don’t really have money, they don’t have a business account, so they’re pulling from their own personal pocket. And so, no, they don’t want to pay what I charge to design banners.
The third sign that you might need to change is that they just aren’t hiring you.
And this is different than the budget issue we just talked about, and to be fair, there may be a few reasons that your business niche is not hiring you. First, they might just not know you exist, which can be a pretty big issue, which is where content creation can really be beneficial to get your name out there and increase your visibility. And shameful plug, this is what I teach inside The Better Collective. But if you are creating content and they’re still not hiring you, they’re not even inquiring to work with you, it could be that you’re not offering what they want or need. So if you love what you do, you may need to just change who you are targeting or if you are flexible and want to do other things you could stay with that niche but change what you do.
And last but not least, the fourth sign that you need a different niche is that you’re not excited about the work that you do.
So far we’ve really just been talking about clients and profits and all the things that go into business but if we’re going to be our own boss, shouldn’t we actually enjoy the work that we’re doing? And don’t get me wrong, I hate taxes and I hate the admin stuff, I’m talking about the actual work that we do with our clients.
There was a time that I thought I was going to niche down and work with photographers. I had worked with a ton of photographers at that time and then I realized I really didn’t enjoy these projects. That’s nothing against photographers themselves, I just didn’t like that work. And so I started to think about, what clients did I really enjoy working with? And I discovered one thing they have in common is that they were all in the health and wellness industry, the few that I really, really enjoyed working with.
They also really enjoyed tacos as much as I do, so. Yes, changing your business niche can be scary and a little bit overwhelming because there’s a lot of work that has to go into it potentially with how much you would need to change on your website, change about what you post on social media, who you engage with. But it can really improve and grow your business if you have a more profitable niche and it can make your life better if you actually enjoy working with that niche.
Since I have started niching down, I have found it easier to engage with and find my ideal clients and make content for them.
Because before I started niching down with the health and wellness, I just worked with kind of any service-based business owner, which even before that, it was pretty much any entrepreneur, any business, didn’t just have to be service. So I have niched down so much from when I first started seven years, and I’ve found it just gets easier and easier the more you niche down.
I know that a lot of people get scared when it comes to niching down. They don’t want to be pigeonholed, they feel like they’re limiting themselves.
The irony is that, in marketing, the number-one rule is that if you talk to everyone, you’re talking to no one. This is why you should consider niching your wellness business. So the reality is, people think, “If I only help moms, then I can’t help men,” but the reality is you cannot market and create copy, meaning words or a post, a visual, that will speak effectively to both. You have to pick. And when you pick, that’s what’s going to lead the relationships and the brand building, and that’s what’s going to help you make the impact. So it doesn’t mean that, in that example, dads or men won’t appreciate your work. It means that you’re going to be helping specifically who you decide.
Whatever you decide to do, it’s just about getting clear with who you’re helping, so your marketing strategy and the way your style is all going to be clear so that people know who you are and what you’re doing and how you’re helping them.
I can give you example after example of people who’ve done this on a small and large scale, but I think this all starts with having a growth mindset.
So, just like picking your niche in business, it’s the same concept with your philosophy. So, you have to have a strong specific philosophy and also you have to have a niche and a clear target audience.
I had a friend who was, and still kind of is, a personal trainer. She did not want to take a stance. I’d be like, “Just” … I was trying to help her with her Instagram. I was like, “Just do a here’s a better granola bar than this one. Just do two side-by-side. You don’t have to throw the other one, to completely call it garbage. You can say, ‘If you have a choice, this one’s better because XYZ.'” She didn’t want to do that because everyone out there is saying that these are bad. She was very much about moderation in everything. Like, “I’m not gonna make you drink kale shakes. If you want one, sure, but this is not extreme dieting. This is not extreme workout. Healthy lifestyle changes long term,” that kind of thing. I was like, “Okay. That’s fine. You can still have that message and still produce helpful content, but you are so broad and general and didn’t want to” … and like you said, wasn’t solving any problems, but also wasn’t taking a stance on anything. So, it was very hard to get clear on what are you about.
Some of you might say that’s polarizing, but the reality is if you want to be native to the content on social media and Instagram, you have to take a stance. So, however that looks for you and your brand, there’s different levels of that. You have to feel comfortable with it, but absolutely everything you just said I agree with.
The first few steps to take to niche down
Number one, I would say clearly define who you’re talking to. You want to define your target audience. If you’re going to niche down, the first step would be who are you speaking to so you can align your content for that person. Then the next step would be market research. You want to find out more about your ideal client, meaning that person that you’ve created, that one person, so this isn’t a man and a woman. It’s not zero to 100 years old. Let’s get specific with one person. Do market research. I think Facebook groups are a great tip. There’s great business opportunities. You want to respect the admin, but I think it’s a great place where you can start to find out more about your ideal client.
You want to do market research and then test, test, test. You want to go out there. You want to experiment. You want to create content. You want to evaluate it. Then you want to go back out on that drawing board and make sure that you’re being clear and specific by holding yourself accountable and you can measure your sales, or if you’re not selling yet, you can measure your engagement etc. So, there’s a lot of different benchmarks you can use beyond numbers to see how effective are you with hitting your ideal client and being effective with your niche.
I think the other thing that people don’t realize when it comes to niching down is it makes you more memorable as a dietitian.
There are a million of us designers. There are just so many. I’m in several Facebook groups. It’s pretty common that people say, “I’m looking for a designer. Do you have recommendations?” I mean, people obviously jump on and promote themselves. Sometimes people will be like, “Oh, I worked with so-and-so,” but there’s been times that people have been like, “Hey, I am a yoga teacher,” or I’m a whatever, and then I get called out because people know, oh Jess works with that industry now. I’m more memorable because I niched down, rather than just when they’re like, “Oh here’s a” … “I’m needing a web designer.” They only make think of the last web designer that they saw on their Instagram feed or talked to, whatever, but when you niche down, you become more memorable.
There’s one Gary Vaynerchuk. It’s really hard to be the person in that space, but what you can do is be the Gary Vaynerchuk or the Tony Robbins for dietitians and nutritionists, or you can be the Gary Vaynerchuk or Tony Robbins for design. So, the idea is that once you pick your philosophy, you pick your target audience, you know what you’re doing, right?
I think people are not taking a strong enough stance or if they are, I think that there’s a lot of issues with people feeling like, and I get it, I know it’s hard, but people feel bullied, or they feel like there’s a lot of haters, or they feel like people aren’t accepting of them.
When niching your wellness business, if you pick one thing that you feel really close and authentic to and it relates and resonates with you, you have to be honest about your approach and if you’re not, people will know. People can spot that. This kind of just goes into being authentic and then picking a focus, and then being consistent. Not everyone’s gonna always like everything I put out.
With growth can come some negativity and hate.
Whether it’s on a small scale, a medium scale, a large scale, whatever scale it is for you and your business and your mental status, that is part of growth. It’s just accepting that it’s just the mindset. I can’t stress enough how mindset is so important. Then, just pick – when you’re strong and you’re firm about what you’re doing people are gonna love you because they’re going to feel that you’re real, you just can’t be fake.