Here's my recommended path to discovering your ideal niche...
Exploration ==> Testing ==> Mastery
During the exploration stage, I recommend doing 2 things:
Once you've gotten some clarity from the above steps, move onto the Testing stage...
The importance of testing your offerings with the market
Before we discuss the process of testing (confirming) your niche, let's take a few moments to explore the importance of "testing."
Many entrepreneurs want certainty that their offering -- their service/program/product -- is going to do well in the market. I understand. You don't want to waste time or energy, nor suffer any embarrassment.
You may be carrying an illusion that you will not fail if you simply do enough market research.
If this were true, then why do the vast majority of investments into the smartest startup companies (who have done tons of market research), often fail? Why is it that only a minority of the smartest, most productive, startups succeed?
The reason is that nobody, no amount of research, can guarantee the success of your offering. If you've never come across this truth before, I'm sorry to be the one to deliver you this message...
I've become a business-agnostic. I no longer believe in any one Marketing Formula or Business Guru. If you are being sold some formula / process that is supposed to guarantee your success, I advise taking a pause, and realize that you're simply being sold.
What I've learned -- and has been confirmed by many honest marketing teachers -- is that the only reliable way to business success is to keep testing, testing, testing.
The steps mentioned at the top of this post -- journaling and interviewing -- help you narrow the many choices of what you might offer. But then, you still need to test.
Your calling (and authentic business) is a partnership between your passion/skills and the Universe (which speaks to you about your business through market testing!)
Testing means to actually inviting people to say Yes (to buy) your offering, and see what their response is. Did they buy? Or was there silence? Or maybe there are objections or questions?
You can ask them individually, or you can ask a group, such as via social media, through a webinar, buying online ads, etc.
Don't think of it as embarrassment or rejection if they don't say Yes. Think of it as trying on different pairs of shoes to see which one fits. It's not about you as a person. It's about the offering and whether it's what your audience wants.
The always-effective "formula" for business success -- if there is such a thing -- is to experiment, learn, modify, and repeat. That is the only way I've seen to "ensure" eventual success. Apply this formula, again and again, and it will bring you true knowledge of the intersection between your passions and what the market wants.
This allows you to create an authentic business.
George Kao is a Marketing Coach for small business owners, especially solopreneurs such as Coaches and Mentors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.
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