Stuck on defining your niche? Build an audience first.

When creating your authentic business, you might get stuck defining your “niche”, or figuring out your “target market.”

Maybe you’re trying to get clarity too early in your business.

You’re under the illusion that you have to get everything figured out before you can really start to grow your business.

Here’s the typical reasoning:

Define Niche  ➜  Create Content & Offerings  ➜  Get Clients

​In my experience of coaching many solopreneurs, and creating a lot of content, the above formula doesn't seem to work most of the time.

When you try to get clear on your niche —  your audience, your messaging, your offerings  —  without enough engagement with your market , you might be just thinking it all up in your own head. Your ideas are ungrounded from reality.

This is why so many entrepreneurs “fail”. They create products, programs, and services that not enough people want.

It’s heartbreaking to see it happen. Unfortunately, it happens all the time.

The people that you try to sell to? You find that they don’t respond to your product/service. You’re baffled, because you thought the offering is the greatest, and that they really need it.

Even your email subscribers aren't buying.

What happened? You fell into a trap of believing that you can get niche clarity and resonant offerings without first asking your audience what they want.

Creating a successful authentic business works more like this:

Create Content  ➜  Fan-Based Offerings  ➜  Serve Clients  ➜  Define Niche    

... and repeat that cycle again and again to get ever-deeper resonance with your ideal audience and fulfillment in your business.

You see, the clarity about your niche, your messaging, your offerings, your target market, your ideal client… those don’t magically appear in the beginning. They come after you’re well into the journey of creating content.

Creating content allows you to…

  • Test your ideas
  • Find your voice and style
  • Allow your true fans to find you
  • Practice expressing your authentic self
  • Engage with your true fans to find out what they most want from you

In other words, you first build an audience with your authentic voice, which is whatever you are already passionate about, and however you express it.

Then you get clarity about what they most want from you – by talking with them (market research conversations) and polling them. 

Then, create offerings (products/services/events) based on what they tell you they’re seeking.

This method builds you a personal brand and true audience – the most viable type of solopreneur business in the long-term.

“But where’s my audience?”

What if you’ve been creating content, but not getting enough engagement? You’re wondering “Where’s my audience?”

You’re dealing with a problem of content visibility. If you’re building a business, I would recommend setting aside at least $30 per month for paid advertising. This will speed up your audience growth.

The most cost-effective paid advertising in my experience (and according to many marketing experts) is Facebook Ads. (I offer an affordable online course about this: Facebook Marketing.) By running Facebook Ads effectively, you’ll be distributing your content to thousands of the right people, those who are likely to engage with your content.

To summarize:

  • Start by creating authentic content
  • Practice distributing it widely
  • Engage with those who enjoy your content by truly caring for them
  • From understanding what they want, create offerings for them

By doing this, you will reach true clarity about your niche, grounded understanding about what your offerings ought to be, and true fans who will spread your work forward.

Stay flexible

Your niche is truly who you are, and your evolution over time. It's not one profession or title or ideal client. It doesn’t stay the same, because you – and society – don’t stay the same.

In fact, you may find yourself modifying or even changing your niche every 2-3 years, and even more frequently in the beginning.

The most important thing is to serve with your whole heart, always thinking about how you can serve the world even more effectively with your skills and passion.

This post was first written in February 2018, and updated in January 2023.