One of the hardest things I’ve had to decide in my life is what I want to do for the rest of my days. So often, we think that we have to have it figured out and that we have to stick with one thing for the rest of forever. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Growing up, my female role model was always my mother. My mother is strong, determined, and honestly, the most annoyingly persistent person I know. Mom, if you’re reading this I mean that in the best way possible. My mother used to tell me I could do anything I wanted and become anything I wanted. That led to me playing soccer, basketball, and taking dance lessons all at the same time. I took voice lessons and piano lessons and got to dabble in just about every hobby. I stuck with all of it and my mom did a lot of driving and arranged a lot of after school carpools. I was a busy kid and that busy lifestyle has translated into my adult life too.
Now, I am a paralegal, an MBA student, an owner of a dance company, and I like to take wedding/engagement and family photos in my spare time. I sometimes wonder if my life would be different if I only aspired to be or do one thing. Would I be less happy if I focused all my energy on one job or one ambition? The fact of the matter is, once you find your niche, that one thing in which you truly excel, the other stuff will still be important but will naturally take a backseat for the time being. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t revisit those other things you enjoy and are particularly good at, but first find your niche, make it happen and then come back to the rest.
So, how do you find your niche? Read on for a few tips to find the thing that truly sets your soul on fire.
Make a List of Your Ideas and Passions
One of my favorite questions for entrepreneurs is, “If you could do one thing for the rest of your life and nothing else, what would that one thing be?” By asking this question, individuals often realize they either don’t know or based on their answer, their intentions are immediately obvious. If it isn’t immediately obvious, we should then make a list of the things we are most passionate about. This should be everything and anything. Don’t hold back and be as honest as you can with yourself.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What topics do I like to learn about?
- What makes me feel motivated or fired up?
- How do I like to spend my free time?
Identify Your Strengths
Everyone has something that they are inherently good at. What is that thing for you? What have people told you your are good at or what have you done that people are impressed by? For example, I have always been told I’m especially adept at writing and staying organized. When I started my dance company, I realized that my writing and affinity for writing could serve me in the dance world too. I started using writing and poetry in my shows and started creating articles for Dance Magazine. I am still creating dance performance that incorporates poetry and I’m also teaching dance and poetry workshops for after-school programs in my hometown. I have found my strengths to be in dance and poetry.
Ask yourself the following questions to identify your strengths:
- What do I do well and have always done well?
- What comes naturally to me?
- What problems can I help others solve?
Research Your Competition
Is there someone executing the same business you see yourself wanting to pursue? There will always be competition. What is most important, however, is that you determine how you will set yourself apart from your competitors. Maybe it is how you execute the same service or maybe it is slightly shifting what you do or how you brand what you do. Either way, ensure that your service meets the needs of your client or customer more efficiently or uniquely different than the competition. I like this article discussing the many facets of competition in business by Mike Kappel.
Find Your People
By determining, from the beginning, who your supporters are and who you should market to, you’ll save yourself a lot of undue stress and frustration later. Who would get the most out of your brand or product? Can you market to a certain age group or class? For more help on finding your people, check out this article on Entrepreneur for 7 Steps to Defining Your Niche Market.
Make it Happen
Now that you’ve found your niche, create a business plan to set your ideas in motion. You might not have all the variables sorted, but at least begin the process. By starting with something, you’ll find that before you know it, you’ll have a finished business plan that you’ll be able to execute with time and hard work. I like this business plan template by Jeff Haden for Inc.
I hope this article was helpful and takes you down the path to finding your niche. Have you already found your niche? What helped you find your niche that you think could help others find theirs? Let me know in the comments!