The other day I was sitting on a zoom call with a group of women entrepreneurs connecting and discussing business challenges and it was a great event.
On the call was a beautiful woman, let’s call her Sarah, who was in the health and wellness industry, talking about how she felt stuck and had a block on why she couldn’t choose a specific niche for her business.
Her frustration could be felt by all. Rather than talk through her ‘block’, Sarah spent a lot of time offering advice, expert tips and generally helping everyone else there.
As I sat looking at the computer screen and looking at her physically showing signs of pain and discomfort because she couldn’t work it out, plus the frustration attached to not being able to work it out, I really felt for her.
And if I could, I would have reached through the computer and had a good conversation with her, let her know it was ok, that we had all felt like that, and there are things she can do to get around these feelings, starting with stop helping everyone.
This is not an uncommon problem, I have had numerous phone calls with women in business over the years, and there are many people in business who struggle to narrow down their niche, thinking that they may miss out on other aspects of the market, in a nutshell, they want to help everyone.
Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. – Dale Carnegie
Stop Helping Everyone And Start Helping Someone
In marketing and indeed online, when you try to market to everyone, your message is watered down, it wrecks all the hard work in your marketing.
Imagine this. You have a beautiful pink dress for sale, it’s absolutely stunning, you loved wearing it, how it made you feel, but you’re doing the Marie Kondo thing…how good is that series on Netflix, and it’s got to go.
You take it to the local market, you think it looks fantastic on the hanger. The dress is designed for and looks the best on someone in their 20s or 30s, and the rest of the clothes in your stand are for older women.
There are lots of women coming into the stall, they head straight to the other clothes, it’s as if they don’t see the pink dress at all. Frustration is starting to build, you could really do with the money but why is no one looking?
This is a basic #101 marketing situation going on right there in the market stall.
Stop Helping Everyone In Your Marketing
It’s impossible to market to someone who is younger compared to someone who’s in their 50s because they have a different mindset, different values…they’re at different stages in life. The women coming into the stall were older and interested in the clothes for their age group…which is why they didn’t ‘see’ the pink dress because they literally didn’t.
This is the problem being experienced by Sarah on the zoom call. During the call, Sarah kept giving advice to everyone else about marketing, social media, YouTube…Sarah certainly knew her stuff and was a great help to everyone else on the call.
What I noticed and what stood out for me was that Sarah was extremely helpful and wanted to provide value and to help everyone around her, but she wasn’t giving herself the same respect or helping her own business grow…AT ALL!
The block, I believe is simply a limiting belief or a thought that you’ve told yourself, and something you want to be true, so that making a decision does not have to happen. The thing is, when you don’t make a decision for yourself, you are, in fact making a decision…and not the one which may turn out to be the right one.
Perhaps it’s because Sarah was not sure what her strengths are, or what she was passionate about, perhaps the ‘block’ is simply fear masquerading as indecision of making the wrong choice. Perhaps the challenge is not that she had a block, but in fact had not learnt yet, how to make a decision based on what her strengths were, what she is passionate about. Simply not knowing…
Pick A Place To Start…And Start!
Take a look at your talents. Well, what are they? Most people know what they are good at but many may not know what are their natural strengths. Let me explain.
According to Tom Rath, a talent is a natural way of feeling, thinking and behaving, what we do naturally from a very young age, hard-wired in. When you multiply talent with the investment of practising, building your knowledge base, developing skills…the equation: Talents x Investment = Strength…the place all humans strive for…the ability to consistently provide near-perfect performance.
What often makes us unique is hiding in plain sight — and that can be a tremendous source of power if only we could see it, understand it and apply it productively. In the online business space, there is a lot of talk about finding your uniqueness, nobody else can do what you do.
It Can Start At A Young Age
As children, we are told we can be anything, but that is not quite true. Perhaps it would be better if we told our kids, they cannot do anything they want to be, but be MORE of who they already are, how cool is that!
I recall over the years at school, the focus would be on the subjects I did least well in…maths…ugghhh. What Rath and the forefather of Strengths Psychology Don Clifton are saying….work on your strengths when you put structure, habit and experience in place BOOM…you will be unstoppable.
Stop the focus on non-talents, they become a weakness if you give them energy or if you try to strengthen them.
A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at. – Bruce Lee
An example of a weakness for me is numbers and accounting…maths. I am not awesome at maths. I never have been, I CAN do maths, but my energy is zapped whenever accounting comes across my desk. It takes a great deal of energy for me to do accounting and maths. Thank goodness for the amazing Amanda from Your Mini CFO who happens to love maths and accounting. Yeah!
Interestingly, when you work with someone who is good at what you are not, you energise each other. Productivity soars and it’s a win-win all around.
What This Means In Business
First things first, you won’t have all the talents and strengths you need yourself, delegate, find help.
There is a ‘Ying to your Yang’ if you are open to creating the awareness to find it. There are many people who are within your team or within your network, those who are the opposite…collectively, it’s a powerhouse.
Currently, I am creating a model for social media on this very thing…connecting with people who have a natural talent in things I don’t, building relationships, working collaboratively on social media with zero cost except for a little time…a win-win all around.
With that said, not every business is at the point where it has the cash flow to hire an assistant…yet.
But you will be able to, or hire more help, if you narrow down your niche, your marketing message…which is what you say with every post on social media, on LinkedIn, at networking events and face-2-face. Be clear, be concise…you simply cannot help everyone.
Going back to Sarah and her block in working out her ideal client or niche, perhaps rather than focusing on who she wants to help, Sarah should start looking within herself.
Who are you?
You can take the StrengthsFinder calculator and find out what your top five strengths, click here to get started. There is a fee for the calculator, but well worth it if you are looking to get stuck into what you really want to do and be in life.
My top strength is in strategic thinking, creating alternative ways to get ahead and proceed to the next level. Looking back over the years as a mentor, I found I had a gift of extracting the core values of another person, and when faced with any given scenario, find the patterns and issues, and help that person envision what they can accomplish in the coming months and years.
Once you know what your strengths are, start looking at what you’re passionate about. Is it health, happiness, helping a specific niche, writing a book, having a certain type of lifestyle, taking your kids out of school…and the list goes on.
What are you passionate about?
Answer this… What do you love in life, what do you love to do?
Example: Running, writing, reading a book, listening to music, staring at the ocean.
Write them all down.
Answer this…What really annoys you or drives you crazy?
Example: When people do not have email or social media etiquette, windy days, late trains, people who talk too much, whinging.
Write them all down.
Lastly, answer this… What do you envy in others, that you wish you could do yourself?
Write them down.
Self-reflection was one of Herman Hesse’s favourite literary themes. In 1919’s Demian, a story of a struggle between youthful ideals and truth that ultimately resolves in the realisation of one’s self, the author wrote:
“If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself”.
This is just one of many things that Hesse was right about.
Mirror mirror on the wall…what do you see?
Start taking a closer look and be aware of what annoys you in others, and in life.
The imperfections in other people that trigger us the most are the imperfections we loathe in ourselves.
Start With Yourself
Who you are is way more important than what you do.
The ‘who you are’ part will shine through in your passion and the niche you choose, it will stop the need to help everyone else and the cost to yourself.
I get it, I was Sarah when I chose to start a business, I wanted to help everyone. Whenever I learnt something new, my first reaction would be to want to share it with my community.
What I now know to be true is it takes times to learn something new, to put it on like a new dress, learn to be aware of what this new learning feels like, to demonstrate it to myself first.
And only then, if appropriate take it to my market.
Get out your list with the three sets of answers.
- What do you need to stop doing?
- What do you need to start doing?
- What do you need to change?
And finally, Sarah…you have so much knowledge to share, such a joy for life and a passion for the business you have chosen.
You are enough, you have what it takes, just look inside you for the answers and stop frantically following influencers who are not you, and never will be.
Stop looking…unfollow the heck out of your list of influencers, unsubscribe to all the email lists you have ended up on.
Go in search of your talents, work on your strengths, do what brings you energy, fun and laughter.
There are more than enough fake people on social media, so why not follow someone who is 4 or 5 steps in front of you…not an international bestseller.
Write everything down you love and are passionate about, pick out ONE thing.
Work on developing habits and structure to this ONE thing, post to the person who needs to hear this message the most…aka. Your ideal client and niche.
Every. Single. Day.
Come back in 30 days to see how it fits, if it turns out ok, brilliant! If not, simply choose another ONE thing.
Rinse and repeat.
Let me know how you go.