when your niche doesn't work for you

when I started this whole online business thing a few years ago, I remember people I looked up to saying that building a business takes time - there is no shortcut. you just have to do the work, put in the time, and constantly adjust. that's how you find your zone.

so I was like "great - so I'll learn and work at this for what - a year? year and a half? and then I'll have a solid footing to take off from and it will be smooth sailing."


this. is. such. a. process. you have an idea, dig into it, see what you can offer, test it out and adjust. then try again. so that's what I've been doing, and honestly - I'm not really ending up where I expected to be.

the vision that really got me going (and not one I've totally let go of yet) was to create courses and resources for massage therapists to market their practice + grow their business. to help them go beyond hands-on work, and create additional streams of income. whether that's opening a clinic, writing an ebook, creating an online course, running an in-person workshop, or becoming a yoga teacher...

I believe every person has something of value to offer. you just have to learn how to communicate it.

but as I reached out, there's been a bit of a disconnect...and it took me a while to put a finger on what it was. the truth is, I feel like I'm not speaking the same language as most of the people I've been trying to reach. I'm scared to put myself out there and get burned. because of that, I've been holding back in the way that I write and interact.

this really hit home yesterday when I posted on my personal blog and the comments were like "I love that this sounds exactly like you" because I wasn't putting on a "professional" filter.

I was just being me. and that's how I want to show up in my work. 

I've been too afraid of how I'd be perceived because there is definitely an element of being "professional" within the massage community - which is important and has its place because we are health care practitioners.

but in the online sphere? when I'm working with people ON their businesses? I want to be myself. and that means saying words like "dude" and "totally," and being sarcastic, and not writing with capitals, and occasionally using pg-13 language (sorry mom) and improper sentence structure (sorry mrs smith) because, you know, I'm being conversational. 

being myself also means talking about listening to your gut, and speaking to the heart, and following your creative calling.

it means building a business based on how you want to feel in your life.

my brain may operate like a science nerd (I love to know the how and the why) but I'm a hippie at heart, and I love talking about feelings and intentions and energy.

not everyone is receptive to that, and that is totally okay. you know, you do you. but in trying to connect with the massage community, I was terrified to have those types of conversations. so I had to ask myself - is this really the community I should be targeting, or should I take a step back?

in this case, taking a step back meant redefining what it meant to choose a niche.

I thought that massage therapists was the best niche for me - it made a lot of sense on paper because I have experience in massage therapy, I know a lot of therapists, and I have value to offer. the people I've worked with so far have been proof of that.

but I'm not a right fit for all therapists. in fact, it's really only a few. and those are the hippies at heart, like me. so if you've been with me so far and you're like "hey, I'm a massage therapist and I'm still interested in your work!" that's awesome - you'll definitely still want to stick around and I definitely want you here. 

but I'm letting go of the massage therapy part of things, and I'm niching in a different way. not based on your job, but based on who you are as a person. how you think, what you value, and the impact you want to have in your life.

because I don't care if you are a writer, designer, massage therapist, or etsy shop owner. what I care about is your passion. your drive. your desire to truly be of service.

I'm here for the heart-centred bosses who want to grow their business but feel stuck. whether it's hitting a roadblock or struggling to get started, I'm here for that.

we will talk about the practical, hustle side of things like your marketing strategy, communication, brand alignment, and business planning. AND we'll hone on on the heart side of things - if you know what to do, so why aren't you doing it? what's actually holding you back?

so even though that all felt like a step back initially, owning this has actually helped me take a step forward in my work. I've been able to work with the most kickass entrepreneurs and freelancers, supporting with things like: 

  • creating a business vision and mapping out the steps to get there,
  • schedule management (aka making the time to do awesome stuff)
  • talking about strengths and how to add value to existing offerings - or create new ones

I'm blending strategy and straight up heart talk, which keeps both the nerdy and hippie sides of me happy. and I love it. I'm having conversations that have real impact on the way people do business, and it comes as easily to me as breathing.

it's work that doesn't drain me - it lights me up.

it makes me feel all the things I want to feel in my life. and that, my friends, isn't just work/life balance, it's alignment. and it feels so good.


Justine SonesComment