by Tony Vidler
Your niche is that absolute sweet spot where what you are fabulous at overlaps with what you love doing, and it is something that other people value and will pay you for.
It is not a simple thing to define…and many professionals fall into the trap of doing what all the other professionals do, and doing it the way they do it, simply because it LOOKS successful and that is “how things are done”. Too little thought is given to defining what success is to us personally. So we spend a lot of time making a living the way other people do, and believe that is “successful”.
Complicating the matter of defining success personally is that “success” is something which morphs….we often re-define at different stages of our lives. So simply defining success for ourselves can be even more confusing when it comes to trying to determine where to spend our working life. That’s where working out what our passions are – the stuff we love to do – is extremely useful.
To be fair it takes many professionals a while to work out what it is we “love to do” in our working lives – and we do have to learn for ourselves along the way through trial and error. There’s a lot of kissing frogs while we figure it out. We try different jobs, different courses of learning, different firms in the same business….looking for that “thing” we love to do” (and which will pay us well!). We often have to learn what it is that we don’t love so in order to help figure out the things that we do love – our professional passion.
Perhaps the biggest thing that hinders us in finding that perfect niche is that we spend too much time “selling” what everyone else sells.
To begin to get to the point where you can work in your perfect niche you have to think very very honestly (just inside your own head!) about what it is you actually LOVE doing. The stuff that you seriously can’t wait to get stuck into each day…and for many of us that is not “technical stuff”. I don’t know too many financial planners who cannot wait to get to the office and put together tax reports for their clients….or too many risk management professionals who are aching to get in front of their computer and rip into some analysis of the financial strength of various insurance companies.
Usually the stuff we LOVE doing centres in some way upon “people” – not our technical ability. How we make others feel perhaps…being able to do things others can’t do…teaching and changing lives….these are the types of things that inspire and motivate us most. They are the very reasons why so many professionals do volunteer, charity or pro bono work outside of office hours.
If you want to begin finding your perfect niche as an adviser perhaps the first step is to think about the volunteer and community work that you have done – or thought about doing – over the years. The work that you have done for nothing – just to help other people or make the world a better place – will be the best guide for helping you zero in on what it is you truly love doing. It is relatively straightforward after that to work out what you are great at…and working out what others will value and pay for.
To find your niche perhaps think along the lines of “sell less, and serve more“. Business and life is more fun and fulfilling when you’re working in that space of doing what you love, and which you are good at, and others are valuing you for it. So perhaps the way to begin thinking about how to find your niche is to think about the stuff that you would do, or already do, on your own time and for no tangible reward. THEN you can work out who wants that, but is not getting it, and who will also pay well for it.
There’s your niche.