The 3-Step Niche Test

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shiny object marketing

The quick and easy way to find your people, aka your niche.

Are you thinking of expanding into a new area but aren’t sure which way to go? Are you looking for a better niche? It’s not your fault; there are so many good options; it’s like being in a candy store with only $1 to spend. What do you do?

If only you could just get a small taste of the candy to see if you’d like it or not.

You might feel the same about moving to a new market, a new niche. If only you could just see if you could make a go of it there. It can be a crapshoot for sure. Well, what if you could figure this out ahead of time and know that this will work for you? Naturally, when you’re standing so close to the subject, it makes it even more difficult.

You think of all your ideas as little children. You certainly don’t want to start killing off your kids when they could have been great. We see it all the time; people think the grass is greener on the other side if only you knew. And our mind is racing with ideas of ways you could do it this way or do it that way.

I know I find myself with so many options before I write my article; I become my own worst enemy when it comes to narrowing it down to get the job done. I have so many ideas I don’t want to strike them down too soon, so I save them for later.

But I’ve decided to do the job, so I must pick one and run with it — good or bad. Naturally, some won't understand what the heck I’m talking about, but a small number will nod their heads agreeing with me.

I get them, and they get me. I don’t know what that number is, but they’re out there.

Most people are looking for that big blue ocean full of big juicy fish as prospects. As a coach, solopreneurs, or freelancers, there is no way they can handle a tidal wave of opportunities. You would go under just trying to process the requests. The actual work would be backbreaking. We sit back, fantasizing about our walk through the prospect buffet, picking and choosing from the very best clients and gigs.

Somebody has been hitting the sauce because that just isn’t going to happen.

How many customers/clients are right for you 5, 10, 20, 50, or more? In the real world, there is a real number that you could serve and serve well. Even if you’re an author, there will be a select few who get your work. They believe you are speaking to them directly and are giving them exactly what they need.

While others will say it was filled with overused idioms, clichés, and she uses common vernacular. (Oh, how I loved throwing those fancy words around.)

The people who don’t get you.

They wouldn’t line up to hear you speak. They would more than likely donate your book to the library even though they think it’s stupid. And not feel the slightest bit of guilt.

The people who do get you.

They understand your silly jokes because deep down inside; they are laughing their butts off. They are united around you, living vicariously through you. Much the way I feel when I watch Martha Stewart on television. I find her quirky, snarky sense of humor and bossy style appealing. Indeed, she isn’t everyone’s cup of tea — you love her, or you hate her. Maybe love is too strong, but I find her intriguing.

Let’s look at your potential niche. People that you could serve in a big way. The funny thing here is you don’t have to overthink this. Pick something you know or like. If you like puttering around with a hobby, it could be the very thing you should look into.

The Quick and Easy Niche Test

1. Is your prospect experiencing PAIN + URGENCY, or IRRATIONAL PASSION?

Consider your prospect’s situation to determine if this niche will work for you. Suppose you’re a single working woman and your sister gets very sick and asks you to raise her six-year-old child. You are thrust into a new world where you don’t know what you’re doing. If this scenario sounds all too familiar, it’s because it happens to be the basis for many movies. What could you offer this woman?

Suppose you love wine. You love wine so much that you’d love to know how to make it — being able to brag to your friends that you’re now a winemaker. You’ve spent money and time researching wine and grapes. This is an irrational passion that you could address with solutions.

When your prospect has a problem (good or bad) that needs to be solved ASAP, you are in the ballgame. Satisfied people aren’t looking for something new. It’s the people who are unhappy or disgruntled with their current situation who are your real prospects. Find that open wound that no one else has mended.

2. Is my prospect pro-actively looking for a solution?

In the case of our new mom to her niece, she is looking for every book, blog, or friend who can offer her wisdom and advice. She may be looking for activities for her niece, clothing, or schools, to name a few.

Our wine fanatic is looking for how to make wine or display his wine in a new way. In the world of wine, there are many solutions that he is looking for.

Take for example this old story that illustrates motivation.

There’s the timeworn story of the older man sitting in his rocking chair on the run-down porch with his dog next to him whining. When the young man walks by and asks the older man, why is your dog whining?

The older man replies, he’s sitting on a nail. The young man asks why doesn’t he get up?

The older man answers: it doesn’t hurt enough.

There has to be enough motivation for them to start looking for a solution and act on it. Otherwise, they’re just complaining.

3. Does my prospect have few or no apparent options?

The more options a prospect has, the more places you will be researching. However, if there are options, it means people are looking. Just like you, people are thinking up new ways to solve problems.

Now the goal is to have a solution that others are overlooking. Or to present the answer in a way that others aren’t addressing.

Here’s where your research will tell you what the market is offering. Google search, Amazon books, magazines, social media groups, and neighborhood meet-up groups, to name a few. A rule of thumb is at least 1 in 1,000 are actively looking for a solution; this could work.

The most popular niches are related to health, wealth, or relationships. These big categories will lead you down to sub-categories for more ideas. When you find your people, you won’t have to compete on price. Opportunities are more abundant with the mother lode of prospects who are just like you. You’ve found your minimum viable number of customers who all laugh at the same silly jokes, cut their meatloaf with a spoon, and think that ghosts are real.

In summary: You’ll feel more comfortable with your people. Go in search of them, serve with a solution to their most pressing problem, and then do it again. You don’t have to be THE expert or guru; you just have to know more than the guy next to you. The fifth graders look up to the sixth graders because they know more… that’s just like you-a sixth grader.

Let me know how you’re doing at

Linda James Bennett: on a journey to write for 365 days, today is 13.

Linda James Bennett is obsessed with creating clear brand messages to help business owners win online. She believes that marketing shouldn't be complicated to be great. Let's face it, as a business owner you need to focus on the bottom line that drives sales, not being a copywriter. She is also an author of the book, Becoming A Seriously Happy Special Needs Mom ~ 21 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place, on

Linda James Bennett

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