“But I don’t think I want a niche!”

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of giving a workshop to twenty brilliant, lovely, generous, and enthusiastic alumni of the East West College of the Healing Arts. They had a ton of great questions and ideas, and the piece that promoted most of both was the concept of choosing a niche. One of the alumni told me “I don’t think I want a niche!” And, you know, that’s totally OK.

Niches are one of my favorite things in marketing, but I would never tell you that you absolutely have to have a niche. That would be ridiculous – first of all, it’s your business and you get to decide how you want to run it, and second, I’m sure there are plenty of massage therapists and other healing arts professionals out there who don’t have a niche (or at least not one they are aware of) and are still doing well.

But I do want to offer you that idea again for your consideration, because I have seen about a thousand examples of how much easier and more organic marketing becomes when you do have a niche.

So, the question I’d ask is why you wouldn’t want a niche. Here are some answers I have heard from other people in the field, and some thoughts about them:

“I need variety!”

Your wish shall be granted. Having a niche doesn’t mean you only get to offer one modality, or that you have to stick with the same one forever. Because you are dealing with real human beings and not lemmings, there is already some built-in variety.

Your niche will also likely change and evolve, and of course you are allowed and able to move to a different one in the future.

“I don’t want to exclude anyone.”

And you don’t have to. Of course you can welcome all kinds of clients – you may actually notice that people from way outside your niche are attracted to your practice because of your niche.

You don’t ever have to state “I exclusively work with …” – it’s clear and appealing enough if you say something along the lines of “I especially love working with …” or “We’re a great fit if you …”

“I have several niches I am super interested in and they have nothing to do with each other!”

Really? Maybe there is some overlap after all, and if so, that would be an awesome little niche to go for.

For exmaple, one of the LMTs in my workshop loves working with pregnant women, and she into Shiatsu – which is not recommended during pregnancy. But then another participant had the insight that Shiatsu is actually a great modality for the postpartum period (“I would have loved to have someone step on my hips after I had my baby!”), so there is a lovely option for bringing those two passions together.

If you can’t see any overlap right now, you can either try out settling into two niches (just not more than two or it can get confusing), or start with one, see how it fits you, and how things develop for you.

I will follow up soon with a post on how choosing a niche actually makes marketing for natural health practitioners easier and more fun, so stay tuned – or, if you can’t wait, contact me and we can set up a little spot consultation.