It can be intimidating to choose a niche when there are so many options and when you’re worried about pigeonholing yourself into a specific role you might grow out of later. But choosing a niche is the perfect way to stand out in a crowded marketplace.
Today I’m talking with Lisa Princic about the importance of niching down and why you need to choose a lane, experiment with what really makes you happy, and be known for something in order to create the impact you’re desperate to create.
Ready? Let’s get started.
In this episode:
- The importance of having an established niche in a loud marketplace
- The steps to identifying your niche and establishing your offer
- How to maintain steady revenue while niching down
Listen to the podcast here:
Niching Down To Stand Out with Lisa Princic
Welcome, I’m very excited to have you here today to talk about offers and how to communicate the value of your offer. How to identify the value of our offer and also how to blast it out into the world into a marketplace that is very loud and very crowded in the online space.
But before we get into all of that, tell us who you are and what you do on the internet.
I am Lisa Princic. What I do is, really what it comes down to, is helping people pick the right business model for their personality and for their clients. To carve out a more unique position in the world, because you’re right, it is a very crowded market space. And a lot of us offer similar things or could be moving into different areas quite easily.
We only really start to get traction when we pick a lane, which is pretty much saying, here’s the thing I do for this kind of person, and I’m really committing to that. So I do help people define that value proposition and craft offers that are compelling, that are distinct, and then a plan around that. So that’s that focus piece.
I’m also moving my business towards serving memberships. Women in membership businesses, who want it to be their core offer, and want to create more of an impact and a bigger movement, because they are not only creating services that they can generate revenue from and deliver awesome value, but they can actually start to build a collective voice in some ways of representing some of the impact and the change they want to see. That is the specific offer that I have my own membership for.
I love memberships because it’s just a great way to spread your message and create this lovely group of raving fans. I always tell people, you’re creating this group of raving fans who are going out and spreading the message about the things that you’re teaching to other people, and bringing them into the fold with you. And I think that’s super powerful.
It’s interesting because when we think about going from 1:1 to 1:many, there’s this whole intimidating thing around launching. Maybe we’re not offering something as personal. It’s a hard step for people who are really committed to actually helping somebody and feeling like there’s a connection. We have big hearts and we care and we want people to get results. And so we can resist that space. Going into that place of feeling like we don’t know if someone’s gonna get a result.
Then there’s also that fear and concern around, can I actually sell to everyone at the same time who needs the same thing in a way that they are committed to doing it because when you’re spending a lot of money upfront on or investing in a program, you want to make sure you’re ready for it. Whereas memberships are a little less intimidating to join.
You can have a bit of a taster with a membership. And you can baby step yourself, which I think is kind of ethical, because we’re asking a lot of people to make a lot of decisions around buying things when they haven’t really seen what’s inside because they’re being sold on a promise and an outcome that’s not very tangible.
I like that it’s offering people a chance to get value at their own time or at their own pace. So that actually feels better for us in some ways to sell, because we know what we’re offering is really reasonable. It takes out a lot of the factors that make a group program successful, like having everything timed and everyone has to show up and everyone has to be committed. it’s a bit of a taster. It is a great way to go into 1:many.I think people tend to skip over the fact that knowing exactly what you're selling very, very clearly, is more important. Click To Tweet
I would agree with that.
So when we’re talking about marketing ourselves, I feel like a lot of people think that you have to start with the marketing piece. That you have to know exactly how to perfectly post on social media, when you should be posting, and creating the beautiful graphics.
I think people tend to skip over the fact that knowing exactly what you’re selling very, very clearly, is more important. I think so many people are like, Oh, this offer kind of makes sense. I would buy this, I think this is what people need to hear. I hear that a lot. I think this is what people need, so I’m going to sell it.
How do you work through that with clients? Where is the place that you start to make sure that by the time they get to being in that loud, competitive market, that they know exactly what they’re selling, and what they should be doing?
I love that you are in alignment with that. I love giving the perspective of a startup in tech or something like that, where they’re asking for millions of dollars in angel investing, people who are betting on something that isn’t unproven. They go through so much testing, they do so much product and market research to figure out if anybody really wants this in the way they’re positioning it and the way they’re formatting it.
There’s all these nuances that if we’re not hustlers and we’re not out there trying to tell everyone how wonderful we are, and we also may be adverse to some marketing tactics that feel a bit manipulative. We’re not going to do that. Anyone can sell anything in this world and you can lie and do it.
I like to say that, for me and my clients, we feel really good offering really good results. And if we don’t see the results our clients are getting, we don’t even want to sell it. We’re just high-value standards. You want to know what you’re selling is going to make a difference.
So that’s my case for doing it that way versus doing it external and then coming in and figuring it out. What it really is, is a value proposition. A unique value proposition is about looking at the basic things. This is that Venn diagram. What is the market? What does the world need? What do you love doing? And what are you amazing at? Who is the ideal client? Where does it all overlap?
Stepping out further, we all have a lot of skills. That’s not really going to determine what we would niche in. I think that unless you want to be promoting yourself constantly and building a big personality brand, or have a really strong mission that speaks for itself, I really think we need to get laser focused on the particular transformation that we offer to people and the commitment to doing that over and over again.Stepping out further, we all have a lot of skills. That's not really going to determine what we would niche in. Click To Tweet
When we’re doing that, we are still looking at what we’re good at. But we’re also looking at who’s in our audience or who do we naturally attract? And what are their needs? Because we do not want to make it so difficult for ourselves and say, Well, yeah, this is a product market fit but I don’t know any of those kinds of people or I don’t like doing this work. Because there are things in the market that we look out there and go, if only somebody would create this? Or, if I want this, I’m sure a lot of other people will want this, but it doesn’t mean you want to do it.
I knew a few years ago that podcast pitching was a thing that would grow, but I didn’t necessarily want to run a PR-pitching agency because it’s not doesn’t light me up. So that’s part of it. Right? It’s looking at what are our skill sets and what we’re passionate about, and we’re willing to talk about and willing to do over and over again and not get bored. It also really helps to see what the world is moving towards.
It really is a meeting of all these different things when it comes to choosing what you want to do, because like you said, a lot of business owners, especially online, we bootstrap a lot of stuff in the beginning. We want to start a really low cost business fairly quickly. We don’t want angel investors, we don’t want to pump a lot of cash into it until we sort of prove the idea to ourselves, and then we want to get paid quickly. We don’t want to wait a year before we start putting money into our pocket. So there’s a lot of stuff we know how to do, it just doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re the best person for the job, which is why I do the work that I do in helping people hire the right person for the job, because that is what they need to do in order to continue to grow and be successful.
But then you also get into the do you actually like to do it? There’s a lot of stuff I’m really good at, that I could make a lot of money out of if I wanted to do that thing. But you’re right, if I had to wake up every day and do this thing, I would want to pluck my eyeballs out. So just because you’re good at it doesn’t mean that it’s your thing that you should be doing. But then there’s also the niche aspect that is super important. I think especially now, as we shift away from bro marketing, which is very corporate.
Put your money down here and you will somehow have an amazing life, which is kind of selling a high-ticket potential.
This will be you in front of the private jet in six months. And it’s more about that relationship marketing of, does this person who’s teaching me this thing, do their values align with mine? Does the outcome that they’re talking about align with what I want?
That’s what the world is craving right now. And that’s why part of just niching in general is paying attention to what people are craving. These are slight nuances and slight iterations. It’s not like there is all of a sudden a new product or technology or market or a whole new industry. We, as service providers, are slightly nuancing.
Are they paying attention to trends and repositioning or moving towards that direction? It’s about paying attention to doing things in a way that resonates with people. And that is the hard part, but it is worth paying attention to because it will make a significant difference in whether somebody respects you, or notices you, or chooses you over someone else.And that's why part of just niching in general is paying attention to what people are craving. Click To Tweet
I think what a lot of people think about niching down into something, is that the idea of being known for just one thing, or pigeonholing yourself, I think that freaks a lot of people out because they feel like they’re limiting their income. And they’re like, well, what if in 10 years I don’t like doing that anymore. And it’s like, well, in 10 years, you can do something else. It doesn’t matter.
In 10 years, if you’re successful, you probably have the confidence to move into something else.
Right. Pivot. It’s fine, you can pivot in 10 years. But what I think is really important about that, that I think a lot of people forget is that a lot of hiring, especially when you get into the higher levels of business, people who are making multiple six figures, and even seven figures, they’re less combing Facebook groups for recommendations than they are reaching out to their circle of other people who make multiple six and seven figures.
Depending on who you want to work with, you want to be known for that one thing. With my friends who are all higher earners, one friend just hired an OBM for her business and at the same time, someone else in our circle of friends was looking for an OBM. And now that OBM got two clients out of two circles of friends because someone recommended her.
If you’re known for that thing, as that person, and the service that you offer is good, it provides value, it gives people exactly what it is that they want, then they’re willing to pay for it. And then they are going to tell other people about you when somebody comes to your group and says, Hey, I need a person who does X, Y, and Z. These are the things that are important to me. If somebody is going to go, Oh, you need to go talk to so and so because that’s exactly what they do and I think your personalities would match really well.
Those are the kinds of conversations and recommendations that I see all the time. And that’s why it is so important to be known for that one thing because that’s the thing where it’s not necessarily your Instagram copy or your reel or your tik tok video that stands out so much more than everyone else’s. It’s that Janet sees that video and then somebody asks her about this thing that you do and she’s like, Oh, I think this person would be a really good fit for you. It’s about that word of mouth almost as much as anything else.If you're known for that thing, as that person, and the service that you offer is good, it provides value, it gives people exactly what it is that they want, then they're willing to pay for it. Click To Tweet
I’m going to also separate advising versus implementing. I think, as an implementer, someone who actually is something like an OBM, or a designer, or someone who’s doing the work that the client isn’t doing themselves versus the one who’s guiding the group or guiding the client. There’s probably enough recurring revenue that you don’t have to niche as much. But if you want to get into the advisory role, you’re going to have to be the OBM who can teach people how to launch or do something that’s very specific, or launch this kind of thing, or launch in this kind of industry.
I think that the heart is still more referral and more memorable, because then people can actually get their head around it. The moment when I say memberships, people flag and say, when I’m ready to start mine, I’m gonna come find you. That’s an easy thing to remember about me.
And it’s not like it’s the most specific thing. It’s not even that small of an industry. But there aren’t a lot of people who are guiding people that way, there’s so much room for it. So it doesn’t matter if there’s already people doing it. There’s still a memorability of it that someone can say, Hey, I met you once. And therefore I’d rather hire you than someone who I don’t know, that sells to 1000s of people. Because of this, there’s enough of a differentiation.
So recently, I’ve been pivoting gradually into memberships over about 10 months, maybe eight months. I even was on a summit recently, and somebody asked me to speak on memberships. Someone found me because they had left my tab open and had something they were thinking about that was sort of like triggered them to need support. And then they hired me for a VIP day.
I’m not helping her design memberships, but I was still more memorable because she’s attracted to that idea at some point, even though she’s not ready to do it. People might know you to be a copywriter for course launches, but if you’re a really good copywriter, people will still say, Well, how can you help me with something slightly different? It’s still better to have something specific that they can flag in their head, so that you’re going to be the person because this is the specific challenge I have, not just writing copy. So I think it’s a really good idea to niche as quickly as possible.
I think the thing that helps with that, too, is it’s not a new concept in terms of being known for the thing. It’s just we have now shifted from being known for a gimmick to being known for a very specific skill set. And you’ll see that even in service providers, especially as you get up into project management and online business management, they will specialize in things like, my specialty when I was doing was team leadership and the overall operation strategy, that’s what I specialized in. Those are the people that were referred to me, anyone with a membership was usually referred to me. So you kind of get known for those things.
And it’s super important because people are having these conversations in their circles, in their exclusive paid masterminds, in all of those sorts of things. And you want to be able to have that name recognition, that juxtaposition in your head of, Oh, I need someone to help me manage my membership or I need someone to help me strategize my membership or I need someone who can write really great copy that converts. Somebody needs to have your name synonymous with whatever the thing that you do is in their head so they can refer you to people because as good as good marketing is, referral marketing is honestly some of the best in my opinion.I know people who have had such great networking opportunities that they've had a pretty steady flow of work but doing very little visibility because of that. Click To Tweet
Agree. I mean, honestly, I think that I know people who have had such great networking opportunities that they’ve had a pretty steady flow of work but doing very little visibility because of that. That’s also relationship development and it’s also trusting that while you’re growing your relationships at an early phase in your business, your relationships might not be with people who have tons of referrals for you. But as you rise together, then the referrals come, maybe five years down the road.
We want to see something happen really fast, but you may meet some people in a group and then five years down the road, some people are that you’ve made connections, you can pick up the phone or Voxer them randomly and ask for something. Those people will be people down the road that will be more valuable from that perspective, from that referral ability perspective. You might not know it at the beginning and you can’t necessarily expect a return from that immediately, because you’re going to grow together.
I feel like always investing in relationships, always having a great experience with people, because we’re in this for the longer term than we think. My challenge was always wanting to see results of efforts faster than they would happen. I’m in this 12 years now in some way, shape, or form. I started off getting a life coaching certificate in 2008, when people didn’t know what it was. It took me a long time, because I started before I really had a clear business idea, like I was still more of the skill set. And I wanted to find my purpose. So I had all these things that didn’t turn out and I thought, I need to start making tons of money from this thing right now.
So it’s been a long journey on purpose. However, the fact that I didn’t really think it through, that this was a 20 year commitment, just caused me more stress than I needed to. It’s more about things like relationships and the things that we learn in 10 years of business. Like now I can do anything really fast. And while I still have support, I remember what it was hacking together tech, or trying to figure out how to do a video and not everything was a video, and you couldn’t transfer things from here to there. And we had to buy apps for our phones to do videos. But now, somebody might come in and go, Wow, I stayed up all night learning so many of these functions. And so we have a lot of time to figure this all out.
As long as we’re observing and asking, what really lights me up and eventually being like, okay, I’ve seen this pattern over and over again, it’s time to go in. And then not being afraid to experiment, but we have to go 100% into it in order to know whether we like it or not. And I think that’s the fortunate and unfortunate part of niching. You have to be in it and then you may change your mind. And it’s okay. It doesn’t change anything.Make sure they're respecting your boundaries but you kind of have to say yes to as many opportunities as possible. Click To Tweet
Yeah, I’d say I spend a lot of time in service provider groups, right? Those are my peeps. And you see a lot of new people come into those groups, and they’re trying to figure out from their very first client, who exactly they’re gonna work with. They’ve never worked with anybody yet and they’re like, how do I figure out who I’m going to work with. And it’s like, you just have to say yes to everyone for a while. Make sure they’re respecting your boundaries but you kind of have to say yes to as many opportunities as possible, because almost finding something that doesn’t work for you, that you don’t enjoy doing that you’re not as good at as you thought you might be, is just as valuable as finding something that you are good at and you do enjoy doing because it’s almost like you have to experience not enjoying doing something to really get that. And now, this thing that I really enjoyed doing feels so much different and feels so much better.
I think that’s so valuable so I always tell people to just say yes to as many things as possible. You can make sure that people respect your boundaries. Don’t say yes to people who are assholes. But say yes to as many opportunities as possible, because that will be so valuable in terms of figuring out what you do want to do and what you don’t want to do.
But you can still do that and lead with something and that’s what I say to people. You can still say yes to something that is outside of that specific offer, but leading with the offer allows you to test it and test how well it sells. It tests the consistency of your ability to get a result. Your confidence to get a result.
Here’s the thing that I do for people and that becomes a brand that gets better known, because you have a result that you are able to get consistently, you have a framework that you can follow loosely to get people to a result, and what you’re committing to. That increases your confidence in sales because you feel confident saying, I can get you there. I don’t promise anyone that I’m going to make them lots of money when they hire me for a VIP day. But you will have your business model and a plan and you will be really confident in your offer. And that’s what I can promise. And that’s ethical, right? Because that’s what it is.
So if people are sitting here thinking, Oh, god, what if I don’t know what my offer is? What if I don’t know what my niche is? Where can they start to explore that for themselves to kind of do the foundational work of figuring out what that looks like for them?I was going to suggest that you try to pick a lane and experiment with it and go in with the idea of, I'm going to specialize in this and try it on. Because unless you try it on, you don't know. Click To Tweet
Okay, so that’s a big question. I have a tool that I’ll share with you. But you know, before even looking at that, I was going to suggest that you try to pick a lane and experiment with it and go in with the idea of, I’m going to specialize in this and try it on. Because unless you try it on, you don’t know. I have a biz bestie, who hopefully won’t listen to this, and she has a lot of ideas. But it’s also very busy, because she’s running a small agency and can’t really do a lot in her business stuff. It’s a lot of other people’s business stuff. So she doesn’t get to implement them as much. Whereas, I’ve been more of a consultant so I have lots of time to do marketing and experiment with offers.
So I go on these tangents where I start offering something or I start promoting something, or I send something to my list and then see how it feels. See what the response is and I think that’s kind of where we have to be prepared to say, I want a new skill set. I want to learn copywriting. I know how to do copywriting. I learned Facebook ads. I decided there was a really specific useful thing that I wanted to learn.
I didn’t offer copywriting as a major service, but I offered it to some of my existing clients. Now I don’t, but I still have a guide for it. You do have to try some things and learn some skills because there’s always going to be people who need that help. And then it might formulate some of your expertise, even if it’s a slightly different way of doing it. So that’s what I would consider.
Now if you have some experience, if you’ve been doing some things, then you have some clients, I would start to think about your business model, I would start to think about, what do you really want to offer? If you could offer one thing, what would it be, because that does make a difference on your ability to sell it. And I have a tool that I just created called Hours to Outcomes, and is all about packaging up your services so that you’re not offering ongoing, who knows where it starts or where it ends. And then you’re unclear about the result you’re selling to people because you’re like, oh, I’ll work with you like, even you know, for a coach three hours a month for six months. But I would like for you to be able to say Well, here’s where I am, where we’re aiming to get in six months, and not be all things to different people. That’s where I think people should start to start to contain your offer to an endpoint where it’s time to maybe wrap it up and see how long it takes you to get your client to their goal. So if you’re not in an implementation service, you have to start to package it.
I had a big change in my business when I stopped offering four months of coaching. Instead, we’re gonna do a VIP day. And it was awesome, because people left really, really excited because they knew exactly what they needed to do, but I also wasn’t holding their hand while they weren’t implementing down the road. And that didn’t feel as satisfying. Because they actually didn’t need high-end, hand-holding for four months. They needed clarity.
Yeah, really quickly.
So I think that’s what I would suggest so that you can find that at scalingdeep.com/package. And that’s just a tiny offer. That at least gives you 10 packages that you can consider which is best for you. Here’s why you might choose this one over here.Don't think that you have to have everything figured out from the very first client. Click To Tweet
We’ll put that in the show notes for anybody who’s interested in checking that out because I think it’s really important to remember that you are the god of your business, to decide what it looks like, what your offers look like, and you don’t want to change your mind every single day, but you do have a fair amount of autonomy to try something and see how it works. And then tweak it.
I used to tie myself in knots trying to figure out things like pricing and what exactly is in the package, and all this kind of stuff, until I had a coach one time tell me that, you can charge one person one price with this exact package, and then actually do it and pick what you did and didn’t enjoy about it and what you need to add and how the price needs to change for the second person. And I was like, Oh, yeah, I guess that that’s totally a thing that I could do. I could just do the thing and then do it differently for person number two, and then person number three. You’re constantly learning.
So don’t think that you have to have everything figured out from the very first client. And then once you decide that that’s the thing you’re going to do, you’re kind of stuck there until you burn it all down. It is an evolution and that’s why we were talking earlier about playing around with it. And trying it and seeing how that guides what your offer, ultimately.
But if you have nothing to test in the first place, because you haven’t set a package, then you won’t even be able to analyze it. The idea is that you do five packages that are all similar. And you will know what the real value is when you think, that went on too long. I did this for over a year and a half. I experimented with this and ended up turning into a VIP day. And it wasn’t at the beginning. And I realized this when I went through that. I reflected on how the first two hour session I had with people was the best part of that whole package. And I was like, okay, send out my VIP days, half a day with a little bit of follow up within a 30 day container. And that just was the magic part for me. The whole thing just feels awesome. They’re happy, I’m happy. I did reduce the price at the beginning and then over like a year I more than doubled that. Because I just got more and more confident that I was actually giving more value even though the time wasn’t high.
That’s exactly it. So if you don’t have a package created for yourself, just pick something. Don’t get so lost in the details that you never start and you never offer anything. You need to offer something just so you can try it out and see if it works and then tweak it as you go.
And people will look at it and find out what they’re signing up for. They want a container. Nobody likes to go to a website and wonder what is this person offering? And how much does it cost? Give them a sense, play with it.
I got a lot of Google traffic for business coaching and so I would know that my copy was not working. Or I’d get people on the phone who had no clue what the pricing was. So I put the pricing on my site. I’ve got my options out there. Now,I know that if I get consults from people who are my kind of ideal client, I know that it’s working. And so you can kind of test that just by putting it out there. But if you don’t put it out there, you can’t test.
Absolutely. So what is your final piece of advice for anybody who is on this journey of figuring out where they fit in their niche or what their niche is in the marketplace? What’s one piece of advice you would give to them?Lead with something really strong. Pick a lane. Pick a cause. Pick your skill set. Click To Tweet
Lead with something really strong. Pick a lane. Pick a cause. Pick your skill set. Become an implementer. It’s okay to be a coach and then pick up copywriting as a skill so that you can make good money, or consistent revenue and not go through feast or famine, which is deflating.
You want to make sure you’re getting work and you’re going to learn so much. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing. For someone else who’s in a business, you’re going to be learning from their business. And when you build the confidence, then you can do something more risky or more leading, or more advisory. I mean, it’s just about getting experience doing the work that you love and doing enough things that you can tell what it is.
I mean, entrepreneurship is supposed to be about figuring it out as you go. And I think we’ve just got to realize that no one’s really paying attention and they’re not going to notice if you change your website copy every month, because unless it really stands out to them, they’re not going to see it in the first place. So I just say to experiment.
Play with things that you love and narrow it down.
Thank you so much for being here today. I really loved this conversation about choosing your niche to stand out in the online space because that can be a difficult thing to do sometimes. So thank you so much for being here.
- Lisa’s Website
- The Scaling Deep Podcast
- 10 Ways to Package + Price Your Services
- Follow @lisaprincic on Instagram
About Lisa Princic
Lisa Princic is a business strategist who loves helping service-based business owners simplify & package their offers and increase their visibility with bolder positioning.
She uses scaling deep principles that focus first on unique value and then finding the business model that supports growth.
My favourite offers include VIP Days and high support memberships that help women design businesses with freedom and fulfillment built in.