You have a wealth of experience to offer the world. But as you contemplate an encore career, who exactly will become your customers? Without clarity on your niche and a desire to appeal to everyone, you'll appeal to no one.
Defining a target customer is essential to creating success in your encore career.
Outlining specific demographics, needs, and pain points for an ideal audience will allow you to tailor your offerings accordingly. Start by listing your areas of expertise, skills, and industry knowledge. Also, note the business types, roles, and topics you most enjoy working with. Then explore potential niches by asking yourself:
What types of organizations would benefit from my services? Consider factors like industry, size, structure, maturity level, etc.
What are the most pressing issues and needs I can help address? Think through priorities like growth, efficiency, transition, compliance, etc.
What types of personalities do I work well with?
What part of the customer lifecycle do I enjoy advising on most? Areas like acquisition, retention, expansion, etc.
Once you've brainstormed possibilities, analyze your ideas for viability based on market demand, profitability, and fit with your strengths. Refine down to 1-3 potential niches to further validate.
Now, get ultra-specific in defining your ideal customer avatar within each niche. Outline demographic details like Job role, industry/vertical, company size, and location.
Moving beyond demographics, paint a picture of their behaviors, priorities, values, and pain points. Get into the mindset of your ideal client and gain genuine empathy for what they care about.
A crisp view of who you serve will allow you to tailor your brand messaging, offerings, and marketing outreach accordingly.
But what if I am a multi-passionate entrepreneur or struggling to narrow my focus?
Don't fret—this is a common feeling! Niching or focusing on a narrow target audience can be extremely powerful when done right. However, it becomes more difficult when you have a blend of skills, are new, or work with two types of completely different clients and don't intend to stop. The problem that occurs most often for people in that camp is that it makes your marketing messy and makes it so easy to get lost in the noise.
So what's a guy or gal to do? Instead of focusing on a specific industry or problem, you can:
Spotlight a unique origin story and background that shapes your approach.
Share unconventional perspectives on industry standards based on your experience.
Couple a broad service with specialized processes or frameworks you developed.
Convey a distinct personality and voice that connects emotionally.
Build a community or network that becomes its own differentiator.
Look for common threads across your diverse interests and skills. See where overlap or complementary abilities could serve a specific audience.
Conduct informal market research by having conversations to learn what people need help with. (This is my favorite- ask me why!)
Identify broader niches first, then define subsets within them. For example, start with "entrepreneurs" and then narrow it to "female service-based entrepreneurs."
Examine successful peers with diverse skills - how do they describe their niche and who they help?
Temporarily focus on one niche, offer, and audience for 3-6 months. The experience will provide clarity. (i.e., the only way to get better is to get started.)
With positioning highlighting your distinct value, you can stand out even without a narrow niche. The key is clarifying why you're uniquely qualified to serve a broader target audience.
But ultimately, here is what I think will happen…if you give yourself a little breathing room for experimentation, you'll eventually find your way to a niche.
The most important thing is to take action and get started serving people. By experimenting and learning as you go, your ideal customers will reveal themselves over time.
Finding your ideal customers is a crucial step in your journey. If you need support clarifying your niche, I offer a few services that can help:
1. Encore Launch Intensive - My 1:1 coaching program will help you define your target audience, offerings, and go-to-market strategy. I'll provide the clarity and confidence needed to move forward.
2. Career Pivot Package - A custom engagement where we map out who you serve, what you offer, and how to authentically promote yourself in your next act.
3. Book Club and Mastermind Community - Join our small group for connections with fellow entrepreneurs, resources, and mentoring for your new venture. No cost to join!
My experience guiding major career changes has helped many professionals launch impactful encore careers successfully.
If you're still searching for niche clarity, let's have a call to explore your goals and how I can support you in bringing your vision to life.