Establishing Your Niche

Post here if you're defining (or redefining) your niche.

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Old 02-23-2008
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Default Narrowing your Niche...
Hello,

Well, I finally decided on a niche I am happy with, but was wondering if narrowing my niche down even more is a good idea? Of course, for marketing and finding whom to market too, a narrow niche is probably good, because then I have an even market focus. However, I am afraid I may then have missed opportunities elsewhere in the industry I have chosen.

My niche is non-profit. However, having a background in working in an animal service non-profit organization and currently volunteering for an animal welfare association, I have come to find I love it. So, I was thinking of narrowing my niche to animal welfare/service organizations. How narrow is too narrow?

Oh and just as a matter of circumstance, my portfolio boasts a few home improvement contractor projects...my brother is a contractor and I have been unofficially doing the VA thing for him for years! So, I think I will market to home improvement contractors too. I just don't want to miss out on opportunities that I know I would excel in and enjoy doing, but I don't want to have too wide a scope either. Any words of wisdom?
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Old 02-23-2008
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Default Re: Narrowing your Niche...
Hi Darlene,
Obviously narrowing your niche eliminates other areas. But, the narrower you go, the less competition you have AND you can become the *go to* person by those in the non-profit sector of your niche. Establishing yourself as *the one to go to* is a good place to be in my opinion.

As long as you have thoroughly researched your target market and determined there is a *need* for your service I don't think you can go wrong by narrowing it down.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 02-23-2008
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Re: Narrowing your Niche...
Hey Darlene,

Congratulations on narrowing your niche and getting SO specific!! It's awesome that you enjoy working with non-profits and it seems like you are really close to the animal welfare niche. If that's who you want to play with, then narrow it down!!

I just read the book "The Dip" by Seth Godin and Shari touched on one of his important points. Narrowing it down makes you the Go-To person for that niche. You will become an expert. Seth (as if he's my buddy LOL!) says "Scarcity makes being at the top worth something." I look at a very narrow niche as "scarcity." Every VA has their specialty. What makes one different from the other is how unique they are. A lot of VA's market themselves to non-profits (I can think of 3 off-hand), but how many market to animal welfare and service organizations?! I'd be surprised if you wouldn't be the first one.

When I started, I was a VA for Coaches and Small Business owners. I quickly found that I wanted to work ONLY with Coaches. The moment I refocused all my marketing to Coaches, I started getting more Clients. Now, there isn't an intro. session that goes by where someone doesn't say (with surprise in their voice)..."You ONLY work with Coaches?"

I know there are many stories out there like mine. I truly believe that narrow is better. Trust your gut! Play with where you want to play! In the end, you'll come out on top!

Create a great day!
Kristen

Just my thoughts
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Old 02-23-2008
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Default Re: Narrowing your Niche...
Hi Darlene,

Kristen and Shari have given some awesome advice and I entirely agree!! Congrats on finding what is a great niche, especially if that's where your passions lie! Too many Virtual Assistants make the mistake of trying to be 'everything' to 'everybody' and end up not being anything to anyone. The narrower your focus, the better you are able to aim your target and also, the better to become recognized as 'an expert'. And, of course, the resulting 'scarcity' as Kristen puts it with being an 'expert' is people then pay more for our services and have no trouble doing so, in fact, they expect it.

However, it's scary to narrow your focus because as entrepreneurs we don't want to miss out on opportunities and it feels limiting to pick such a teeny tiny target. But, stick with it and I have no doubt, you will succeed. Also, one way to deal with the fears of limiting our scope is pick more than one target. Your idea of having another target with home improvement contractor projects is perfect!

Good luck, it sounds like you are on your way!!
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Old 02-23-2008
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Default Re: Narrowing your Niche...
This is a great conversation, very helpful.

I wonder if narrowing your niche is the same as defining your personality? I love Kristen's phrase, "if that's who you want to play with" ! It's kinda wonderful, actually, that maybe by very accurately doing what you want to do, you realize success!

Also, perhaps defining your niche means the way you present your business, your marketing, etc., but if someone calls and asks you to help with their real estate ventures (or anything not in your niche) you don't have to turn 'em down.

BTW, I'd like to market to housing contractors too. Need to figure out how to research that more.
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Old 02-25-2008
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Default Re: Narrowing your Niche...
Here's a great definition of niche market

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niche_market
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Old 02-25-2008
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Default Re: Narrowing your Niche...
Great answers here - and I agree, it is fun to be able to choose who we 'play with'!
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Old 02-25-2008
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Default Re: Narrowing your Niche...
Mary you can visit this forum to read up on what contractors are doing. There are some smart ones on there!
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Old 02-25-2008
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Default Re: Narrowing your Niche...
I narrowed my niche market and I have had really good success. IMHO, it's not a good idea to try and be a jack of all trades and a master of none. It's best to try and establish your self as an expert or a must-have in a narrow market. Think real estate attorney, cardiologist etc. Having a focus gives you direction!
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Old 02-26-2008
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Default Re: Narrowing your Niche...
This is very relevant for me as I've just this year decided to focus on Real Estate. I am discovering however that I may have picked a bad time. It seems this crumbling market is taking its toll and many agents aren't willing to spend the money anymore. I think they are unsure how much longer that money will continue rolling in.

I have considered targeting real estate AND mortgage but I know very little about the mortgage side. Any suggestions on this?
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Old 02-27-2008
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Default Re: Narrowing your Niche...
Originally Posted by SupportMyOffice View Post
This is very relevant for me as I've just this year decided to focus on Real Estate. I am discovering however that I may have picked a bad time. It seems this crumbling market is taking its toll and many agents aren't willing to spend the money anymore. I think they are unsure how much longer that money will continue rolling in.

I have considered targeting real estate AND mortgage but I know very little about the mortgage side. Any suggestions on this?
My focus is also Realtors, and I am finding the same problem. I started as a Real Estate Professional Assistant "back in the day", and wished I had started in VA work back then.... As far as doing Real Estate AND Mortgage, I think that MIGHT be helpful, but where I am, the mortgage brokers are in the same boat as the realtors. Maybe it's not as bad where you are...... I'm looking into focusing on some of my other skills.

I wish you luck and much success!!

Terri
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Old 02-27-2008
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Default Re: Narrowing your Niche...
Very true Terri. Mortgages are in the same boat. No houses selling means no mortgages are needed.

Its very distressing but I think things will pick up and it will get better.
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Old 02-27-2008
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Default Re: Narrowing your Niche...
Originally Posted by SupportMyOffice View Post
This is very relevant for me as I've just this year decided to focus on Real Estate. I am discovering however that I may have picked a bad time. It seems this crumbling market is taking its toll and many agents aren't willing to spend the money anymore. I think they are unsure how much longer that money will continue rolling in.

I have considered targeting real estate AND mortgage but I know very little about the mortgage side. Any suggestions on this?
I know nothing about Real Estate Virtual Assistance so if this answer seems implausible then I apologize upfront. But, the real estate market where I live is booming. Maybe you should extend your reach?
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Old 02-27-2008
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Default Re: Narrowing your Niche...
It is not implausible but I worry about the laws regarding real estate in Canada. I have tried to focus in Arizona generally and the US broadly only because the laws are a little different but gernerally the same from state to state and I have experience with them. I will look into Canada and see what things are like.

I'm glad to hear that the market is still good somewhere.
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Old 03-04-2008
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Default Re: Narrowing your Niche...
I am glad that I came across this thread because I too was having doubts about targeting mostly attorneys. It is scary, especially when you are just starting out, that you might be limiting yourself too much and missing out on good income.

This is a great way to put it and I'm going to try to remember this as I make my way into this VA world.

Originally Posted by KateK View Post
Too many Virtual Assistants make the mistake of trying to be 'everything' to 'everybody' and end up not being anything to anyone.
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Old 03-04-2008
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Default Re: Narrowing your Niche...
Great thread ladies...I have been concentrating on contractors(so many in this area) and then I'm also interested in either restaurants, travel, hospitality something like that but I'm not sure how to get started on marketing them. I previously worked for an office that offered bookkeeping services only to restaurants so I do have that experience.....any suggestions?

I think this would be a good chat room topic for one of our Mondays.....marketing to your target market....I know I could use everyone's input and idea's.
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Old 03-04-2008
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Default Re: Narrowing your Niche...
Hello,

Well, I have a few areas of business I have been targeting and I have composed postcards and mailings tailored towards each.

Deb, I too am also targeting contractors and I have put services that are of interest to them on my mailings, like word processing of contracts, etc.

I think your idea for a chat topic, marketing to your target market, would be a great idea! By the way, it was a great chat last night!
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Old 03-04-2008
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Default Re: Narrowing your Niche...
Thanks Darlene hope to see you there next week
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Old 03-06-2008
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Default Re: Narrowing your Niche...
I know this article is about real estate agents and not VA's but I thought it was relevant about finding a niche. http://blogs.wsj.com/developments/20...googlenews_wsj

I like the one gal's slogan “Skip the outfit, wear the lifestyle.”
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Old 03-06-2008
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Default Re: Narrowing your Niche...
Hi all, there's a free teleclass today on this very topic 'Finding your Dream Niche'! (Not a VAF event, but an outside event we learned of and posted to the boards)
Here's a link to the info.
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