Niching Spiral Home Study Course
A 90-Day, Seven-Step, DIY, 'Masters Degree' Level, Refreshing, Sustainable & Common Sense Approach to Figuring Out Your Best Niche.
Hi, My name is Tad Hargrave
A few years into running my business, Marketing for Hippies, I realized that 95% of my clients' marketing woes were because they didn’t have a clear, workable, and profitable niche. I also realized that they struggled with niching because they didn't understand it. They thought niching meant, "I have to only pick one target market forever and ever." But niching isn't that. That understanding of niching is what was holding you back. While it takes work, niching is actually simple if you approach it in the right way. There's another way to look at niching.
Allow me to explain why having a clear niche is so important.
While developing a clear niche is critically important, it tends to bring up a lot of stress for entrepreneurs . . .
Over the years, I have heard many people say, “I’ve already tried niching and it didn’t work.”
They feel unclear on what their niche might be and how to approach finding their perfect niche.
Those who aren’t discouraged are usually terrified about narrowing their focus and no longer appealing to everyone (for obvious reasons).
But I find that when people finally get past their fear of or resistance to niching, they tend to feel overwhelmed and wonder: “Where do I even start?”
I've witnessed so many entrepreneurs go through their niching journey in terror and overwhelm, only to come out the other side feeling confused or discouraged.
I thought to myself, “Why is niching so hard? There’s got to be a better way to do this.”
And so, over the course of the past decade, I wrote, re-wrote, tested ideas, refined my processes, and worked on niching with over 100 entrepreneurs one-to-one - and hundreds more in live workshops.
Through my journey, I believe that I have come up with a niching process that will be truly helpful, transformational and enjoyable for anyone who struggles with answering the question, “what do you do?”
I call this process The Niching Spiral.
And I've finally created a self-paced, DIY, home study version of it.
My Promise To You
Within 12 weeks you will feel clear and confident enough in your niche, that you will be able communicate your products and services to the people you’re meant to be serving, in a way they will easily understand and resonate with.
Watch this short video where I explain what the 12 weeks looks like . . .
This IS for you if...
You know your lack of niche is hurting you
You’re a conscious entrepreneur who is struggling to effortlessly communicate what you do and for whom. Due to your lack of clarity on this you aren’t getting the number or quality of clients you deserve, which means you're not making the kind of money you want or need.
Many others do what you do
You offer a service in an industry where there are many others doing similar work to you (e.g. life coach, massage therapist, yoga teacher, permaculture practitioner, therapist etc.) and you find it difficult to set yourself apart and communicate your uniqueness effectively.
You want complete clarity
You’re ready to be 100% clear about who you’re meant to serve, so you can build your products, services, and business around those clients.
You resonate with my perspective
Ideally, you’ve already read my eBook The Niching Nest, participated in my Niching Spiral online workshop, or at least you feel aligned with my take on marketing and niching, and want to dig in deeper.
You are ready to finally handle your niche
If getting your niche sorted is still only a should for you and not a must, I wouldn't waste your time and money here.
This program is for people for whom it's become a must.
Most entrepreneurs never really prioritize thinking through their niche. They don't think about it. Not seriously anyway. It's always on the back burner. It's one of those 'important but not urgent' items that keeps falling down on the list of priorities. It never happens. And their business suffers for it. If you are finally ready to spend some time focuses on this, in the same way you would for a University Degree, then this program is for you.
I invite you to consider this a Master's Program in niching. Many people invest two to three years, thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours into a Master's thesis. Their social life vanishes. It consumes their lives and, at the very end, if they get their degree, it offers them only a small chance of employment or income. But this Masters program in niching will do two things (and it's hard to say which is more valuable): 1) You will likely get a profitable, workable niche out of it. 2) You will develop the skill of niching (and know more about it than almost any business coaches you hire).
This program is a serious commitment. It invites deep reflection. I wouldn't suggest signing up for this on a whim. Think about it. $300 is a lot to spend on a program you're not serious about using.
If this program sounds too intense for you, I recommend the following options:
You have the following tech
You don't need much tech for this but the following pieces would be helpful:
- A laptop. Viewing this home study course on a phone will be less than ideal.
- Facebook. There's a Facebook group you'll be invited to join.
- A printer (or access to one). If you're like me, you already stare at computer screens too much. There are plenty of PDF's to read in this and being able to print them off and read over them at your local cafe is highly recommended.
This is NOT for you if...
You can't commit to the process
You can’t dedicate at least 2.5 hours per week (maximum 5 hours) for the next 12 weeks to go down this niching rabbit hole with me.
You aren't having issues growing your biz
You are clear on your niche and have absolutely no problem growing your business with the kinds of people you want to work with.
You are wanting personal coaching
This is a self-paced, do-it-yourself, homestudy program. This isn't one on one coaching. There may be some group calls made available for $25 each but there won't be any coaching calls included. If you're wanting personal coaching you might want to check out my coaching page.
You don't already have a business
This program is for you if you have a basic level of clarity on what business or project you're wanting to build (e.g. massage, yoga, permaculture, life coach etc.). It's not designed as a 'What are my gifts? What shall I do with my life? How do I weave all of my interests together to make money?' type program.
Three Bonuses Worth $120 USD
The first job of marketing is to get people's attention. That's job #1. If that job isn't accomplished, nothing else matters.
And it's not an easy job because you've got about three seconds to get someone's attention when they come across your website. When your ideal clients hit your website, blog or sales page you want them to read your words and say, "That's me! This was written just for me!" not, "So what."
Remember this always: the confused mind says "no."
If people look at your posters and brochures and don't see how what you're doing is relevant to them (or those they care about) it's over. You might be the best person in the world to help them but if they don't see that? It's over.
In this eBook you'll read all sorts of examples and strategies to clarify the journey and results you are offering.
BONUS: The Art of Relevance Workbook guides you through the best, most useful questions I've come up with over the years while working with hundreds of entrepreneurs to help them figure these very things out.
The subtle, underestimated & credibility-building power of articulating why you do what you do the way you do it.
If you've been following my work for any amount of time, then you've heard me talk about the importance of point of view in marketing. Your Point of View is your perspective, your philosophy, your approach. Your niche is central to relevance, whereas your point of view is absolutely central to trust and credibility. Aside from niche, point of viewis the missing element in 90% of the businesses I come across.
In this 230 page eBook, you will:
- learn what point of view is in a business context and nine reasons why it matters (many of these have literally never occurred to most entrepreneurs)
- learn more about three core elements of point of view (map, compass and route) and how they apply to your business. Understanding the differences between these three elements can make a world of difference in how quickly and easily you identify your own point of view.
- read dozens of real-life examples of point of view from five major categories of life (i.e. health, money, relationships, spirituality and contribution). After reading these, you'll start seeing point of view everywhere.
- learn the three stages of articulating your point of view. This section is one of my favourite things I've ever written.
BONUS! The POV Workbook is include for free with this eBook. This workbook guides you through the best, most useful questions I've come up with over the years while working with hundreds of entrepreneurs to help them figure their POVs out.
Over the years, I have heard the following sentiment from a good chunk of my clients.
“How the f#@* do I articulate what I do?!”
Is this you? After you tell someone (who you genuinely think you could help) what you do they often say things like, “wow. that’s really interesting . . . say . . . I’ve got to get some punch . . .” You can tell that, the more you talk about what you do, the more you lose them. When you’re talking with someone you know you could help, you can just tell that they aren’t ‘getting it’. You have a strong sense that they way you’re describing what you do now (in person or in your marketing materials) isn’t as strong, compelling or clear as it could be.
What you do is difficult to sum up into a nifty catchphrase (and you’ve likely tried a lot of different ways). It might feel like, “well, either have to say it in 5 words or 5000 words” but you can’t find the middle ground. You hate the idea of crafting a scripted ‘elevator pitch’ you need to memorize.
If this is you, I think you’ll find there’s hope. As you work through this 46 page workbook, I predict you’ll begin to feel oceans of blessed relief pouring over you as the words come together and you begin to breathe again knowing that, next time you are faced with this question – you will have a clear and compelling answer. The answers you come up with will serve you equally well in person, in a brochure, on your website or in live talks.
We've designed this course to take your overwhelm away, to only introduce you to content when you need it, and to make it easy to find should you ever need it again.
Plus, you'll have access to this course for the rest of your life. There's no rush.
You might imagine this course like a library where all the books are ready on the shelf if you need them, but there's no need to read them all, or to read them all at once.
I would urge most people to spend no more than 5 hours per week or 30-60 minutes a day going through the exercises and material.
Many of these days can be done in 30 minutes. Some will take a bit longer. But, there's not reason not to do a rough first pass of these exercises. You can do the 20 minute, rough draft and come back to it later if you have time. What's better than nothing? Anything.
Go easy on yourself. Underwhelm yourself.
Slow and steady wins the race.
This is an important one.
Niching takes time and you're either ready to commit to figuring out your niche or you aren't. This program will ask between 2.5 - 5 hours a week. I invite you to think of this as a three month Masters level program. Many people spend three years working on their Masters degree, spending many hours per day on a degree that has little guarantee of generating them any income. This is much less time and the promise of financial return is much higher.
If you're clear that you can't or won't commit that time, for all of the good reasons there are, then this program is not for you.
Having said that, there's no reason you have to finish this program is 90 days. There's no reason you couldn't spread this out over a year and do an hour of work on it each week. For many people, that would actually be advisable and preferable. If you're able to do that, I would, in fact, recommend it. A slow and steady approach to niching is, in most cases, a more reliable one than the fast and furious approach.
You might find a workable and profitable niche in the first week. You might not find it at all at the end of 90 days. There are no guarantees but this program is, in my opinion, your best fighting chance to come up with something clear and profitable with a small but steady investment of time each other.
No. Let's face it, sometimes life is a gong-show of demands.
Sometimes, despite our best intentions, our self-imposed timelines get blown to smithereens. Sometimes you commit to doing a program such as this in 90-days, but it ends up taking you 9 months instead.
That's okay. This program isn't going anywhere. This program will be there for you when you get back to take a next step. I could imagine someone finishing this whole program in a long weekend if they really hustled and were focused on nothing else, but I wouldn't advise it.
Also, once you've joined the course, you have lifetime access to it. It really isn't going anywhere. There's not a limit on your time here once you've paid.
Let it take as long as it takes. And, a central theme here is that niching is an ongoing process of refinement. It never stops.
90 days is if you keep it focused. But you can take your time and linger with much benefit. It's a secret of irrigation: the slower the water is put on the soil, the deeper it goes. If the water goes on too fast it bounces off the surface and runs off. Just don’t stop. Rest. By all means rest. But don’t stop. If it takes you longer than 90 days you might actually get farther. My dream is that you would allow this process to last a whole year. You can do it either way.
The following would be very helpful to have.
- A blank journal you can use as a 'niching journal' through the program.
- A laptop
- A printer (there are a lot of PDF's in here and I personally find handwriting easier than cutting and pasting PDF's and typing into a document).
- A Facebook account if you want to participate in the Facebook group
That sounds all good. My only question is: Will you actually do it? There's a big difference between reading a book about context and theory (which is largely what The Niching Nest is) and actually applying that content to your business and working it through step-by-step (which is what The Niching Spiral Homestudy course is).
The Niching Nest eBook is my broad strokes, big picture take on niching.
The Niching Spiral Home Study is the strategic implementation of that.
If you really want to handle your niche, it can be good to get honest with yourself: Will an eBook do it? Will you really make the time every day to sit with it and apply it on its own and figure out how to translate the broad principles to your business? Most people I know won't.
Simply put, "niching" is the role in the marketplace for which you want to be known.
I think there are three main reasons.
Reason #1: Niching is not linear
The idea that you start at Point A (having no niche at all) and then you do a niching course and magically arrive at Point B (where your niche is crystal clear) is doomed from the start. Niching doesn't develop in a straight line. If you approach niching in this way, then when Point B doesn't work out, you'll feel like you failed.
Niching, as I've expressed in one of the videos above, is a spiral. It's an ongoing process of refinement.
Reason #2: An Imbalance of Experimentation and Reflection
One place you can get stuck in niching is in only ever thinking about it, but never trying something in the marketplace to see what kind of response you get. The other place you can get stuck is to try a lot of things but never reflect on what happened.
The bolder your experiments are and the deeper your reflection, the faster you are likely to find your niche.
Reason #3: Your niche is not just "who"
Your niche is your role in the community. It’s the role in the marketplace for which you want to be known. Niche is much bigger conversation than "target market," or even, "ideal client."
Are you known for the role you want to be known for? Be clear that some people are known for the role of being, "that new age flaky dude who does a bunch of different modalities." You might want that, but you also might want to avoid it.
Your niche can be based on what you do, how you do it, and for whom you do it.
Some businesses are based entirely around a particular who or target market (e.g. “I help vegan moms raise healthy kids.”).
Some businesses are based entirely on what is being offered (e.g. “I offer Vipassana meditation retreats.”).
Some businesses are based largely on their point-of-view (e.g. “I help _____ people in ______ way.” or “I offer _____ service in ______ way.”)
There has to be something unique or particular about your business. It’s very hard to make a go of it when your pitch is, “I help everybody with everything in every conceivable way.”
Reason #4: Hope
The other thing that sabotages niching is hope.
Many people come to niching hoping for an epiphany. But, given how fickle even the best muses throughout history have been, hoping for insight is not a very reliable strategy.
It’s easy to be seduced by the idea that one day you’ll hit a home run and figure it all out. And it might happen that way. But making a "home run" your plan is part of the problem. I began to see that the frustration of “I just want to figure this out once and for all” was actually the biggest barrier for a lot of entrepreneurs in figuring out their niches. I saw that what was needed more than anything else was patient persistence. Not planning on home runs, but going around the bases one at a time, giving each its due.
When people really grasp what niching is and is not, and they have a step-by-step process that works, niching can be effective and feel good too.
Reason #5: They've never tried it
Sometimes, it’s less that people struggle with niching and more that they’ve never actually tried niching. It would be like someone driving a tractor around a field and then, months later, wondering why they have no crops coming in. It’s not that they did a bad job at farming, it’s that what they did wasn’t farming at all.
This is what I so often see with niching. People thinking they’re doing it when what they’re doing is actually the farthest thing from niching.
A fair question. You really shouldn't trust me or anyone just because they say they can do something.
But there are some free ways you can learn about my take on niching and see if it resonates with you.
You can learn a bit more about me here.
Watch this 17-minute video in which I give a high-level review of The Niching Spiral. This is a video I recorded for my colleagues a number of years ago. I never planned to show anyone outside of that crew, but I think it might be useful for you.
You can pick up a copy of my book The Niching Nest for $20 (which is included in this homestudy) and see if you resonate with how I see niching in there.
The very first part of your Niching Spiral Homestudy course process will be about building yourself a team to make sure you're not in this alone. But, if you find that having some personal hand-holding in figuring out your niche would be helpful, you'll have several options:
- Each month, I will host a 90-minute niching coaching call for $25 USD. These calls are 100% Q&A based, which means you’re likely to get some great personal support.
- If you're wanting something a bit deeper, you can always sign up for an hour long Puttering Session HERE for $100 USD (I do about eight of these per month).
- You can also hire me at my regular coaching rates.
Rule #1 of niching is that you're not in control of how long it takes. Some people land on it before they even start their business. For other people, it takes much longer.
Most of the people who take years to figure it out have never been guided through a process of experimenting and self reflection. They have never been asked the right questions. They've never even seen what the difference between a clear niche and a fuzzy niche is. They've had almost no support and have been trying to figure it out entirely on their own.
Having said that, I have found that 90 days is a fair amount of time to sort out a workable niche. An hour or a day is just not enough time.
Early on, many of the entrepreneurs I worked with had no idea what niching even was. Although (happily) with each passing year, more and more of them have walked in the door having already encountered this idea in some other marketing course they’d taken.
Some knew what a niche was, but didn’t realize that they were actually missing a clear niche themselves, and that their missing (or fuzzy) niche was the reason they were struggling.
Some knew it was at the heart of their troubles in theory but I began to realize that they didn’t really know what a niche actually was, what a good niche looked like, or how to get one. I also realized that I didn’t know a lot about how to help people to figure their niche out. And neither did most of my colleagues.
Some knew what niching was but had given up on really settling on or finding theirs. After years of trying hard but still failing to figure their niche out, they had mastered the art of utterly avoiding the issue (only to be tapped on the shoulder, none too gently, by the apathy of the marketplace and reminded how confusing and generic their business has become). Ugh. That’s a hard moment.
I found that regardless of where people were in their business struggles, the one constant absence was the presence of a clear niche.
My Early Niche-Finding Experiments
The first eBook I ever created was about niching. I didn’t want to create it, but I truly couldn’t find anything out there that made sense to me about niching (which is, in itself, a lesson about how niching works).
In the early days, I would spend a solid hour of my weekend workshops on this idea of niching. And then a full morning. And then a full day. Finally, one weekend, we spent two days on niching. And it still wasn’t enough.
For many entrepreneurs, it felt like banging their heads against a brick wall. I heard more than one person say, “I’ve already tried niching and it didn’t work.”
Workshop after workshop, I found people who were so deeply discouraged by the idea of niching. And I didn’t blame them. They were lost in the woods alone with no map and no support. They were out of ideas not only on what their niche might be, but on how to even approach the issue of finding their niche in the first place.
Those who weren’t discouraged yet, were terrified of niching. After all, niching means we need to narrow our focus, make choices, and stop trying to appeal to everyone. For many reasons, obvious and otherwise, this leaves many entrepreneurs in a cold sweat.
If they got past their fear, I found many clients were immediately in the overwhelm of: “Where do I even start?”
Those were the seeds of this work.
But there were other seeds too . . .
When It Worked, It Was Like Magic
There were those beautiful moments at workshops when we would solve this issue for someone.
And it was like a switch got flipped.
Suddenly, everything was easy.
The room would come alive, ideas would start flowing, ridiculously attractive offers virtually created themselves and the questions of “where to market?” and “where do I find clients?” became immediately and blindingly obvious. The entrepreneur in question would breathe an incredible sigh of relief while beaming with excitement as the path before them became clearer than it had ever been – as if the sun had suddenly appeared and the clouds had vanished.
It might sound dramatic, but that’s honestly how it was.
I wanted to help those lightbulbs go on for more entrepreneurs more often.
When It Didn’t Work, It Was Devastating
But, after taking an honest look at my own process for helping people figure out their niche and what was being offered by my colleagues and peers in the market place, I began to wonder, "What if the way we are trying to help people find their niche is wrong? What if the problem is not that people are inherently resistant to the concept and process of niching or need to 'get over their fears about niching?' What if the way we are teaching niching and the processes we use are actually creating that very resistance?"
I remember leading one of my early workshops in Seattle, asking people to pick a niche for their business. In my mind, it made sense. You need a niche to successfully market so . . . just pick one. I was, of course, greeted by many a deer-in-the-headlights look, and some incredible resistance as participants stared at the blank page before them and tried to imagine what might fill it that wouldn’t feel like cutting off a limb.
I remember attending a colleague’s workshop where they were encouraging people to just “pick one.” One lady stood up to share her niche, quite excited by what she’d come up with. She got on the microphone and shared it, only to have him say, “Nope! Not specific enough!” She sat down, totally deflated and embarrassed. She didn’t say another word the rest of that workshop.
How could it be that the journey of niching, for so many entrepreneurs, began in terror, moved to overwhelm and ended in discouragement?
I thought to myself, “There’s got to be a better way to do this.”
This program is all prerecorded. Each day, you'll watch a 2-3 minute video (there are 67 or so videos in total which have been structured in a Monday-to-Friday framework, but you can do as many per day as you like), and then you'll be given a (maximum) 30-minute, hands-on assignment, usually in the form of a PDF or a question to reflect on in your "niching journal."
There are plenty of opportunities to get modestly priced, live support from me but none of them are a necessity or a formal part of this program.
This program is actually perfect for you if this is the case.
Figuring out your niche is not about more content. It's about more context and you can understand most of the context of this program in an hour (and you'll have a 60-minute video to help you do just that before you start the full program).
This program is almost entirely focused on hands-on, practical exercises. This is not a "learn new content" kind of program. It's an "apply what you already know" program. It's an "organize the overwhelming clutter of niching ideas in your head" kind of program. This is not a program where you go shopping for new things.
This program is more like hiring a decluttering expert to come in and help you get rid of what you don't need, followed by an interior designer who helps you learn how to use what you've already got to make your home even more beautiful.
This program is not about going to the grocery store to get more food, it's about using what you already have to make an incredible meal you're proud to share.
This is not a program about consuming more information (although there will be plenty to eat if you get hungry). This program is more about setting aside 90 days to digest it.
If you are drowning in information this program might be perfect for you.
ALSO OF NOTE: Having a clear niche is the very thing that helps people organize all of their ideas. I find that people who are overwhelmed with too much marketing education are usually overwhelmed precisely because they lack a clear niche. They have so much theory but they aren't sure what to do with it. The niche is what gives a sense of direction on how to apply what you already know.
If you flip-flop on your niche a lot then you are my dream person to have in this program because, the truth is, you're not flip-flopping: you're learning. But you're learning in an unstructured way, which tends to cause more overwhelm, and thus more flip-flopping.
This program is based on organizing your learning for you so that instead of a back and forth flip-flopping motion, you're engaged in an inward spiral of learning where everything you experience helps you get clearer and clearer on your niche.
This is why I've made it possible to get the Niching Spiral Homestudy for $100/month in a three-pay option over 3 months. You can register for that here.
Not ready for the home study course?
Check out these free niching resources:
© 2017 Marketing For Hippies