If you are a business owner in the services industry, you’ve probably struggled at some point over the years with trying to be “all things to all people”. In business this looks like: trying to get ANY new clients who will have you, rather than trying to get the clients and projects that you actually want and that you have room to truly shine on.
If you’ve gone through this already, you’ll know that the difference between one and the other is simple: you either do, or do not believe that you and your businesses unique set of skills and talents are truly valuable, and that there are people out there who not only need that very thing, but would hugely benefit from it as well, and happily pay for it.
I don’t believe this is something we go through once and are done with, either personally or professionally. I think we continually go through it each time we grow and change in our businesses and lives.
We are afraid to own our “niche” in the same way we are afraid to own certain parts of ourselves… we are afraid they won’t be accepted, they won’t be valued, or celebrated, and we’ll be rejected. We’re afraid we’ll fail. That we’ll lose clients, we’ll lose money — and on deeper levels we may not even recognize, we’re afraid we’ll lose friends, loved ones, and even family — and that’s scary as hell!
So we keep trying to fill whatever needs someone wants us to fill, whether or not it’s a good fit for us, and slowly we start to lose that spark that we came into this thing with.
We get tired, burnt-out, overwhelmed, and worst of all — resentful. We’re no longer bringing our best. We’re just getting by, we’re surviving. Pushing that damn rock up the hill. We’ve already decided on some level that our best isn’t really valuable (or saleable), which means we have to hustle outside of our unique set of skills and talents in order to be worthy and good enough… which is absolutely exhausting of course (not to mention depressing), and everyone knows you simply CAN’T bring your best when you’re exhausted.
This applies the same across the board whether you are a one woman show or the owner and director of a multi-million dollar operation: what you believe is possible for you and your business is a direct reflection of how much space you believe you’re allowed to take up in this world.
To me, taking up space in this world means that you no longer believe that you must twist, contort and cut-off who you are in order to fit-in and have value. It means that you believe that who you are and what you bring is not only allowed in this world – but BELONGS in this world, and has value whether any one person, corporation or entity says it does, or not.
So owning yourself and your niche in business is like a powerful declaration of value, it’s a clear beacon in a sea of fog. It brings to it only those who would benefit the most from it, and sets the others free to find their own best-fits.
This is hard because it requires us to say no, which flies in the face of our very human hard-wiring to grasp at acceptance and approval wherever we can get it, and HOWever we can get it…
It requires trust, and faith. But the twist I’d offer here is that the one we should put our trust and faith in, is ourselves. Not that wherever or whoever else you might put your trust and faith in is not powerful and important too, but because we are the ones who we put our own trust and faith in LAST — and that has got to change.
Why does that need to change?? Because how can I ask someone to trust me when I don’t even really trust myself? When I trust myself, I know I can handle all that comes. And the fact is I’ve already been doing that all my life (handling all that comes, that is). And the more I recognize that, and practice it, the safer I feel. And as I become a more safe place for ME to land, I can extend that safe space to you too.
This is what we do for eachother. It’s what we’ve ALWAYS done for eachother, we just don’t always recognize that it starts with us. Nor do we always recognize that it’s just as true and important in giant corporations as it is with solo entrepreneurs.
When we trust ourselves better, we see ourselves better, and when we see ourselves better, we see our ‘niche’ better. When we own ourselves fully, we serve that niche fully—instead of serving lots of niche’s, but half-ass. 😉
I thought that when I narrowed my scope I’d see less, but instead I see far more than I could ever see when I was trying to see everything all at once (which is impossible, btw). Logic tells us that by thinking smaller we will see smaller results, but the truth is exactly the opposite. You go from being a garden hose trying to water a factory farm field, to a thoroughly-quenching rain shower on your own patch of beautiful blooms.
So how do you begin to narrow in on your niche? And how do you make sure you’re speaking to them? There are lots of different ways you can do this, including in the confines of your journal, but here is one tool that I created for this purpose, it may help bring clarity on the subject and get you off in the right direction. Plus it’s quick, doesn’t cost a thing, and is easy on the eye *wink* (click or keep reading below…)
But whatever you do, just begin to notice what drains you and what lights you up, and in whatever small ways you can, start to give yourself more to the ‘lights’ than the drains—and watch how things begin to shift.