There are 2 types of niche (in the world according to me) and those are a situation niche and a trigger niche.
Chances are though you only know about one of them—the situation niche. And this can be where it can start to unravel...
Because it might be that a situation niche just isn't going to work for you and your Thing and before you know it you'll feel like you niched yourself into a corner. Been there, done that. If you've been told to 'pick' a niche I'd place a bet you went for a situation niche.
Here's what I mean by a situation niche
Maybe you only work with 'women over 40 who are divorced and want to lose weight to meet a new partner in Scotland'.
That's a situation.
Perhaps you work with 'solopreneurs in their 2nd year of business, based in London, who want to grow their team (and keep anteaters as pets)'
That's a situation.
See how this works? With a situation niche you get to specify a set of demographics and circumstances that make up a situation. You're either one of those people described, or you're not. In or out, yes or no.
A situation niche is super-helpful for your market when they want to identify themselves with you being the answer to their prayers—or not. This is a straight up question—is this me or not? Simple way to qualify prospects in and out and easy to organise your marketing too.
What if your Thing doesn't quite work like that? What if by 'picking' a situation niche you feel like you're backed into a corner and not working with everyone you can and—more importantly—want to. That's when you need to consider that you may instead have a trigger niche.
Important Note: you will have a much easier job in your marketing if you have a niche, so don't think that the opposite of a situation niche is a 'market to everyone and see who likes it' non-niche. This is going to work only if you have a big budget and can do a whole ton of marketing. So you need a niche, just not necessarily one that makes you feel you've restricted your Thing and it's potential... so may I introduce instead the trigger niche.
So may I introduce instead the trigger niche
A trigger niche pays no attention to demographics or situations. It's all about what's happening RIGHT NOW that makes someone have a need for what you do.
A trigger niche is not interested in how old someone is, or where they live, or if they are tall, short, female, male or otherwise, where they live, what they do—all it's concerned about is the TRIGGER that just went off.
The Trigger might be "I am FED UP I can't do up my jeans anymore", "Right, that's it... I MUST learn how to close in sales conversations", "Argh, why can I not keep plants alive? I need a gardening lesson now!", or "OK, I've HAD IT... I absolutely must know what my Thing is today" (I know someone who can help with that last one!).
Now your jeans struggler, non-closer, bad gardener, or Thing-less person could be 12 or 82, live 2 minutes or 2000 miles away, they might be in any number of situations (and probably the combination is endless!) but they just had a TRIGGER GO OFF. And that is what they will now want fixed/solved/resolved/learnt/handled/delivered or whatever. So your niche can be about 1 trigger. A trigger that sets people off on a quest... with you as the prize.
If you have a 'Thing that you're finding hard to make fit a niche, it's quite likely you have a 'Trigger' that makes people want what you do and this is what you 'talk to' in your marketing.
I actually had someone come up and talk to me at the end of a speaking gig recently and say "I have been looking for my Thing for over a year and I didn't even know there was someone who finds Things! I didn't know that was a Thing". Trigger Niche in action!
Now just to—possibly—confuse you a little (not my intention to confuse so here's hoping I can explain it simply): if you do have a trigger niche, it doesn't mean you can't add some situations to it.
You might (for example) be the "I am fed up I can't do my jeans up" trigger and decide that you want to work with women only who want to get into their skinny jeans after having babies. So you can combine the trigger of "I want to do my jeans up" with "New Mums get back into your skinny jeans"—and if you want to take a step further, you could say "40-something new Mums in Hampshire" if you wanted to get super-specific!
So if you're having trouble finding a fit for your Thing in a situation that feels restrictive, look at the trigger and take it from there.
Niche? Nothing to it :)
Want to talk more about this?