Ahhh, the good old topic of how to find your niche and target audience. You probably read the title and immediately felt your brain melting into a pile of Nickelodeon green slime. I mean ... nobody really gives a fuck about that, right?
Well, yes. You're right. Kind of right.
Everyone online tells you that you need an entire profile of your target audience. You know the drill - age, occupation, address, social security number, credit card information, etc.
Okay, maybe I'm over exaggerating just a little.
But seriously ... why do we need to know SO MUCH about our target audience?! It's a little crazy ... amirite?
I remember my very first *successful* design client. I had her answer a MEGA HUGE list of questions. And she gave me a blank stare and told me how she really didn't care about all that stuff. She cared about how she was helping them.
UMMM... helloooooo!! It didn't click back then since I was so early in my journey, but she had a huge point: if the information about them doesn't relate directly back to how you're helping them ... it doesn't really matter. You don't need to know everything about your target audience, just how you're helping them solve a problem.
You don't need to know everything about your target audience, just how you're helping them solve a problem.
Now that we have that squared away .... how about we talk about HOW you determine that problem and who they are?
First, narrow down what it is that you do
I know there are a large number of people out there who have "lifestyle" blogs. They talk about everything under the sun and create a massive library of products and services to make income. And while that's cool and all ... I can almost guarantee they only found success at it after doing this for like ... 10 years. It was probably a hobby for at least the first 6.
My friend ... my pal ... my soon to BFF / partner in crime ... I want you to see success sooner than that. You can stay home with your sweet babies if it takes 10 years to get your ass home where you want it.
So answer me this: what is THE THING you're a goddamn rockstar at?
Maybe it's healthy living, gentle parenting, designing websites, writing sales copy, or training people's pets. You need to figure out what you love doing, what you're really good at, and what people will pay you to help them with. Let's remember that we ARE NOT choosing something we are interested in. (I'm super interested in crunchy and gentle parenting but that's not my strength nor my passion)
Allow me to use myself as an example... I can talk about gentle parenting, healthy eating, and a TON of other stuff until I'm blue in the face. I digest it all day everyday because I really enjoy learning more about these topics. But I know I absolutely cannot consider growing a business. They're not my strength.
But what is my strength and something I can turn into a business? Designing brands and websites. I'm self taught for over 10 years and it's something I can literally live and breathe without ever getting tired of it. (It's living proof since I quit a design business and came back only 3 months later)
This is something I can offer to people because I have a ton of knowledge around it, I LOVE doing it, and I know I can help people with it. YOU need to find THE THING for yourself and your new business. Do some soul searching if you must, but I promise your thing is inside of you somewhere. Bottom line: you cannot offer everything to everyone - you need to focus on finding that ONE THING you're amazing at.
Bottom line: you cannot offer everything to everyone - you need to focus on finding that ONE THING you're amazing at.
Next - determine who and how you can help
You've got the first part out of the way, awesome!! You know WHAT you will do. But now you need to know who it is that you're helping and how exactly you're going to help them. As humans, we have a TON of problems and a TON of solutions that will help us. You can't be vague here whatsoever. You need to really focus on specifics.
The easy route - pick someone you already know and interact with
I've seen people say to outline your offerings, your content, your audience, basically your entire business on someone you WANT to help but honestly? I think that's bullshit. It's too fucking hard to do that. It's a waste of time and energy. The all amazing Halley Gray helped me really see this one.
The easiest route to go is to choose someone you already know and interact with on a daily basis.
This was easy for me because I have a Facebook group FULL of certain kinds of people - they're all bloggers and virtual assistants. The choice was pretty simple. I knew I could take my design skills and help them with one of the biggest struggles of starting their business - the design and website.
When you choose someone you already know, you know exactly what they're struggling with. You know how to create offers they will benefit from. You know how to write content that speaks to them. It's just really easy.
Once you know who they are, you can figure out the problem you'll help solve
You've got some of the biggest important parts of business planning down, mama! You know WHAT you will do and WHO you will help. Now you need to put the last missing puzzle piece on the table - HOW you will help them.
Ask yourself: how can I use my skills to help them reach the end result to a problem they're having?
I knew that bloggers and virtual assistants have trouble getting a website up because I see so many people talk about this. For someone like me who is super duper tech savvy and design oriented ... it's simple. It's second nature. But I know not everyone can be that lucky. I took my skills of designing brands and websites and turned that into a business for BLOGGERS and VAS helping them launch their first blog and/or website. I don't do anything beyond that (yet) because that's not where my strengths lie. i'm simply helping them with this first phase so they have the framework in place when they're ready to implement certain business strategies that they will learn from someone else.
I'm helping them GET STARTED - which is the hardest part for a lot of people.
Now ... how can you take your skills and your target audience and turn it into a specific problem you help solve? Once you've done that ... you've found your perfect business idea. Then ... it's time to celebrate you sexy beast, you!