Many solopreneurs I’ve worked with often ask, “How do I find clients?”
This is a crucial question for any business owner, but what I’ve noticed is that many people don’t truly understand who their clients are and where to find them. Without this knowledge, it’s like searching for a needle in a haystack.
Today, we’ll delve into the burning questions:
What’s the difference between a niche, target audience, and an ideal client, and why defining these is crucial for an effective marketing strategy.
Niche (A Field)
I used to get frustrated when marketing and business gurus told me I had to know my niche. My response was, “I work with anyone who needs my services.” But now, when I hear that same statement from others, I take a deep breath, roll up my sleeves, and start exploring what they mean because this vague answer doesn’t tell me anything about you, your business, or your services.
Defining your niche is complex, and many solopreneurs find it overwhelming. After years of searching for my niche, I’ve come to understand a straightforward answer:
Your niche is your area of expertise. Your playground. Your field.
It’s best to start with what you excel at. The services you provide represent your broad niche. You might be skilled in various areas, but you know what you’re genuinely good at and enjoy doing. It could be coaching, nutrition, photography, marketing, yoga, wellbeing, or any other field. However, it’s still too vague, so you need to narrow it down. Let’s take coaching as an example. You’ve decided to be a life coach, a transformational coach who specialises in using the EFT technique. That’s your niche—your area of expertise, where you feel like an expert and want to be known for.
I started with a niche of “I help with marketing” and gradually refined it as follows:
Marketing – Online Marketing – Online Marketing + Website Design – Organic Marketing – Content & Email Marketing – Marketing Coaching
Deciding on your niche might take a few years, and that’s okay. You’re evolving, exploring, and changing. For each stage of your growth, you will have a niche that represents your area of expertise. For me, it was always marketing, but for you, it might be life coaching or nutrition. As you gain more clients, you’ll learn your preferences, making it easier to refine your niche.
Target Audience (A Group)
Defining and understanding my target audience took me years because, as you probably know, embarking on the journey of solopreneurship requires continuous learning and discovery. My first step was when I got my first job in a corporate setting, quickly realising that big companies weren’t my thing. I decided to focus only on small businesses where I could actually meet the owner. Over a decade later, when I took the courage to go self-employed, I knew I would work exclusively with small businesses, specifically solopreneurs running home-based businesses.
Let’s define what a target audience is:
A target audience, also known as a target market, is a specific group of people that your business aims to reach with your products, services, messages, or marketing efforts. Identifying and understanding the target audience is fundamental for effective marketing and communication strategies.
Most likely, you are your target audience because you’ve faced similar challenges and can relate to their problems.
That’s why I always begin by asking my clients to share their stories. Those stories are the foundation for defining the target audience and the ideal client. Your story allows you to connect with your target audience and provide them with services they need.
In simple terms, a target audience is the group of people you understand the most because you’ve been through the transformation they’re seeking, and now, as an expert, you guide them from point A to point B with your services.
Ideal Client (An Individual)
Your ideal client is within your target audience, but not everyone in your target audience is your ideal client.
An ideal client is someone you genuinely want to work with and connect with on a deeper level—a soul-like connection. You instantly understand each other, and they decide to work with you without hesitation. This doesn’t mean you can’t work with someone from your target audience who doesn’t match the description of an ideal client. However, knowing who your ideal client is helps you make thoughtful decisions and accept only those you believe are the right fit.
For example, if you’re a transformational coach helping people overcome self-limiting beliefs, your target audience may be people who run their own businesses. Your ideal client, however, is a woman who recently transitioned from a corporate job to self-employment, is in her 40s-50s, has kids, lives in your area, is ambitious, creative, but held back by perfectionism. You’ve chosen her as your ideal client because you understand her struggles, having been through similar challenges. It’s like you are her, feeling. Now, you can help her overcome these challenges through your coaching services.
To connect with your ideal client, remind yourself of who you were before your transformation. Consider your habits, problems, questions, and, on a deeper level, your lifestyle choices, values, and personality. Your ideal client should share these traits, making working with them a pleasure rather than a chore.
This is especially important for introverted empaths who can easily sense others’ energy, mood, and vibes.
In the past, I worked with anyone, but I learned valuable lessons when I had to walk away from clients whose values clashed with mine, and they drained my energy. That’s why you need to know who your ideal client is.
One of my clients was disappointed in herself for not following up after a discovery call with certain people. When I asked her if she wanted to work with them, she said, “Not really.” This realisation allowed her to avoid the stress of following up with those who weren’t her ideal clients.
If you value genuine connections and want to make your work enjoyable, focus on who you want to work with. This will provide you with freedom and clarity. You can speak to your audience as if they were close friends, eliminating the need for pushy sales tactics.
I hope this clarifies the difference between a niche, target audience, and ideal client.
Each element is important for an effective marketing strategy.
You need to define what your business is about and what services you provide.
You need to know who you are talking to in your messaging and you need to know who you want to work with to save time, reduce stress, and maintain your energy levels.
And remember, your unique personality is your superpower, helping you connect authentically with others.
You can stand out in a noisy and crowded online world and thrive as an introvert. All you need is a strategy aligned with your unique personality.
I work with Ambitious Introverted Solopreneurs who value genuine connections and want to make a heartfelt impact without feeling overwhelmed. If you’re seeking assistance in crafting compelling messaging, developing a simple yet effective marketing strategy, and want someone who will help you stay accountable for your goals, let’s meet for a Clarity Session.