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Sally Ann Miller

When To Change Your Business Niche

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Have you ever felt an urge to change your business niche? Do you find yourself constantly researching different ideas? Or daydreaming about how much better it would be if you switched to something else?

These are all signs of niche indecision. And it’s extremely common.

However, switching niches is rarely the answer. If you jump ship too soon, you waste any progress you’ve made and will end up taking all the problems you have now into your next business idea.

So, what should you do? When is it a good time to switch niche? And if you don’t change, what should you do instead?

In this episode I show you what’s behind niche indecision and provide a simple framework to help you make the best decision for you and your business.

Whether that’s stay with your current niche or switch to something new.

What you’ll learn on today’s episode:

  • What’s really behind niche indecision.
  • Four compelling reasons to stick with your current niche.
  • How to make the best decision for you and your business.
  • The one time it IS a good idea to change your business idea.

Featured on this episode:

Episode 2: Find Your Perfect Business Idea

Episode 6: What To Do When Nobody Is Buying

Doors to Business Growth Lab open again in August! Get more information at sallyannmiller.com/thelab/

Transcript

Welcome to Introverts Thriving in Business, the podcast for introverts who enjoy the comfort of her, hate the idea of selling, and want to create a thriving business on their terms. If you’re ready to go from overwhelmed and anxious, to feeling calm and accomplished in your business, then keep listening. I’m your host, Sally Miller.

Welcome back to the podcast. And today I want to talk about the topic of when to change your business niche. Because this comes up so much for my clients, for my audience, and in fact, has come up in my past a lot, too. So it’s my hope, by the time you finish listening to this episode, you know how to make the best decision for you and your business. And you’re really clear about whether to switch niches or not.

So as a reminder, one of my definitions for business niche is simply this, “Who you help, and how you help them.” So think of that in terms of who you help—that’s your audience, your prospective customers or clients. How you help them, think of that as the problem you help them overcome or the transformation or the result, you help them realize through your product or your service.

So, niche indecision, I’ve talked about this before. But like I said, it’s really common. This is when you are flip flopping between ideas. Now, this can show up in your head, you’re just thinking about changing niches, but you’re not actually following through, or it can look like constantly changing. And I did do that latter thing. I acted on that urge to change up my offer, to change my niche many times in my business past. And here’s why I don’t want you to be stuck in this niche indecision, it can become almost like a loop, where you constantly come back to niche indecision every time things get challenging. I don’t want you doing that. Because even if it’s just happening in your head, that means you lack commitment to your business idea. And that’s really going to sabotage your efforts.

So we’re going to spend just a few moments looking at how this shows up in a little more detail. Because I want you to have a lot of awareness. Do you notice when it’s happening to you. Here are some of the things that I’ve seen and that I’ve done in my past as well. Comparisonitis, that’s super common. That is looking outside of yourself, especially at others, maybe in your industry or in other industries that you’re interested in and kind of envying other people’s businesses, or thinking that their ideas would feel really good and would be great for you. For me, this showed up a lot as brainstorming and planning.

So listen, I have multiple interests, I’m what you would call multi passionate, I’m always having ideas, I get excited about them. And because I’m such a planner and a journaler, I would always grab my journal whenever this happened and start mapping out in detail my entire new business or my new offer. I would start outlining things, I would start strategizing, I would start thinking about the tools I would need. I got really detailed. I would run the numbers. I would come up with prices and numbers of customers I would need and how much money I could make. I could go really deep down the rabbit hole of brainstorming, planning, even researching these ideas. And that was such a time suck for me.

It can also look like simply fantasizing in your head. This is kind of the grass is greener, is where you’re thinking that your life is going to be completely different if you just had this other business, if you just had a business niche that looked like this and didn’t look like whatever it is you currently have, right?

Similarly to that is shiny object syndrome—something else I’ve suffered from in the past. And I think of shiny object syndrome as being almost irresistibly drawn to some other thing. And that often happens when you’re not liking where you are right now. Another way I’ve seen my clients in particular, have niche indecision is asking other people what they think. This is crowdsourcing the answer. So instead of going within and questioning your niche indecision, trusting yourself come up with the best answer, you go out there and start maybe posting on social media and asking others what they think, you know, should you switch to this other idea? Or I’ve had all these ideas, which one do you think is the best?

And it’s going to also show up as just spinning out, spinning into self-doubt when one person questions your idea. This is totally understandable if we’re having some uncertainty ourselves, which we typically do, especially in the early stages of a business, and it can show up all the time, is just one person voicing and uncertainty that deep down you already have, can spin you out, can send you into like a sort of cycle of uncertainty and doubt, and then niche indecision.

And then one more thing I wanted to highlight is it can show up as a very specific thought. And I wanted to mention this one, because I do see this one a lot as well, is this, it’s thinking, I don’t want to waste my time pursuing the wrong idea. This is such a dangerous thought. It’s behind this thought is this idea that there’s one perfect business for you. And anything else is going to be a waste of time. That’s kind of black and white thinking. And typically, it’s not the case. I’m going to come back to this idea of wasting your time. But what I’ll tell you right now, is, you’re never wasting time. Even if you ultimately end up changing or tweaking or pivoting your business, you’re still not wasting your time, by continuing on the path you’re already on. So this is a really dangerous thought.

So where is this coming from? Where does niche indecision typically come from? Well, I’ve already hinted at this, but I want to say it straight so you can be really aware of what’s happening, if this is you. Typically, niche indecision is coming from a bad feeling you want to escape. So perhaps you’re feeling frustrated or disappointed because you’re not seeing the results you want yet in your business. Perhaps you’re feeling uncertain or fear for the future, you’re scared of failing or whatever. It can also be coming from a feeling of like neediness and desperation creeping in, and you’ve got to get results. In short, very often niche indecision is coming from a bad feeling and your brain and your body just wants to get out of the emotion at any cost. And that is where we self-sabotage.

Here’s the deal: very often, not always, by the way—I am going to answer the question towards the end of this podcast of when to change your business niche. There are times when it can be a good thing to do, the best thing to do for yourself. And I will explain when I think that is. But more often than not, the real problem—if you’re feeling bad in your business, if you’re not getting the results you want, it’s not that you’ve got the wrong niche, the real problem is you’re just learning how to market and sell still.

So if you think about the Business Growth Process, as I teach it, if you’ve been listening to this podcast, the first four episodes teach the Business Growth Process. That’s my three-step process to starting and growing your business. Phase two is testing. So phase one is coming up with your idea. That’s your niche, basically, your niche and your offer. And then phase two is testing. And this is where we all spend a lot of our time. And really, when I say testing, that is that mostly learning how to market and sell. Selling is a skill set. It’s something that most of us aren’t born with, we’re almost never taught this at school, it is learnable, it is a skill and you can learn it. But it takes time. For many of us, myself included, it takes a lot of time to learn.

Now, what I think of when I say learning how to market and sell is you can just think of it like this: all it is, is learning how to talk about your offer, what it is you do in such a way that people want to buy, and you need to test many times to figure that out. So niche indecision is typically coming from a bad feeling you want to escape. And the real problem if you’re not getting the results in your business is typically that you haven’t yet learned how to market and sell, and that’s okay.

Now, if you switch too soon, if you were to give in to this urge, this desire to change niches, and to switch and it turns out that you’re changing your ideas too soon, there are quite a few very compelling reasons, in my opinion, that that would just be a bad idea. Here’s the first one. And it’s pretty obvious, given what I just said, is if you switch ideas too quickly, you’re never going to learn how to market and sell. And those are essential skills for any entrepreneur, anyone wanting to build up a business. Another reason is you’re teaching your brain that the answer is to escape. And this gets you into a pattern of self-sabotage.

And trust me, I know this, because I’ve been there myself. So think of it this way. It’s almost like if you’ve got a little kid and they’re making demands and throwing a tantrum, and you just give in to their demand at the first sort of complaint, the first tantrum, you’re teaching that toddler that they throw a tantrum, they get what they want. That’s an oversimplified explanation. But it kind of works, you’d be think of your brain like that toddler. If you teach your brain that every time things get difficult, and there’s an urge to go do something else, that you do do that something else, your brain is just going to keep offering up the same pattern over and again, every time your business gets difficult, you’re not seeing the results you want, or these bad emotions are coming up, your brain is going to offer up niche indecision as a solution to get you out of the situation. That’s how self-sabotage becomes a habit.

You also end up, like, if you do switch to a different niche, you’re just going to end up taking the same brain, the same set of problems to the new business idea. So chances are pretty high, you’re just going to end up in the same place again, a little further down the line, because you haven’t yet changed yourself. And here’s a biggie, this one, I hope you’ll find a little bit motivating is, if you switch too soon, you’re going to waste all the progress you’ve already made. Think about this. What if that first client or that next paying customer is just around the corner? What if you’ve been engaging in showing up with people just long enough that those first customers are ready to buy? And if you were to switch niches, right now, you’re going to lose all that momentum that you’ve created.

Now, having said all that, yes, there can be a time when it’s right to switch business niches. That’s assuming there’s always a right and wrong, which I don’t believe, but it can be the best decision for you, let’s put it like that. And here’s a framework I want you to use to help you make that decision. So instead of automatically reacting, because you’re in indecision and you think it’s all going to be better, and it’s not going to feel so difficult. If you change. Instead of doing that, I want you to try on this framework, ask yourself this. If you don’t like your niche, like genuinely don’t like your niche, and you’ve been testing your idea for at least three months, then maybe it’s time to switch or to pivot.

But before you take what I just said as a green light, I really want to talk about both those criteria in some more depth. So again, the two criteria were: you don’t like your niche and you’ve tested it for at least three months. I want to talk about this further, because it’s so easy to convince yourself that you really don’t like your idea, and that you have done enough, when they may not be true. So let’s talk about not liking your niche. It’s super easy to fall out of love with your own business idea when things get difficult, when things aren’t working. So I want you to slow down and go back to the very beginning of your business and remind yourself, why did you pick this niche in the first place?

I think you’ll find it really helpful to go back to episode two of this podcast, if you’re in this place right now thinking I no longer like my idea, even. The first episode two, it was called “Find Your Perfect Business Idea.” So that really goes into picking a niche. Towards the end of that episode, I give an exercise where I asked you to sell yourself on your idea until you feel compelled to share it. And I asked you to come up with all the reasons why you love this audience, you love this idea, you really want to solve this problem. And I want you to go back and revisit those reasons. Have you just stopped loving those people? Have you stopped wanting to solve this problem? Be honest with yourself. Is it your niche that you no longer like? Or is it your business results that you don’t like? It’s probably the latter. And if that’s the case, then you probably don’t want to switch niches quite yet. Because deep down, you still feel compelled to go out there and help those people and solve that problem. You’ve just got to do some more testing. You just want to spend some more time figuring out sales and marketing.

Here’s something else you can try on. If you’re struggling with this. If you’re just like, “I think I like my niche. I think I don’t like it,” try answering this question. If you already had success in your business, and just define success, whatever that looks like, you know, you’re making x dollars a month or you’re helping y number of people. If you already had success in your business, how would you be feeling about continuing to help these people solve this problem? So take away all the doubt all the fears, fast forward to your future where you’ve got it figured. Do you now love your business niche? Do you now want to keep on helping these people solve this problem?

So that was the first sort of part of that criteria of whether to switch is: do you like your niche? The second part was, have you tested enough? And I just suggested testing for at least three months. Now that is very arbitrary and it’s very easy to convince yourself, yeah, I’ve done enough testing, I’m done with having people say no to me. I want you to have a look at just how much testing you’ve done. I want you to look at the numbers, because testing for at least three months, that really is arbitrary, I made that up, it could be six months, it could be one month, what I really want you to do is make a lot of offers. And by lots, I mean, hundreds of offers to lots of different people in different ways. Like, have you made like over 100 offers to over 1000 people, and you’ve tried it in 100 different ways. These are the kinds of numbers we’re talking about when I say have you tested for at least three months? Or have you done enough “testing.”

To help you out more with this, you can also go back to the episode called, “What To Do When Nobody Is Buying.” I give you six methods there to improve your offer, to test again. Have you tried all six methods, and try the multiple ways? So one of the methods is to just change the way you talk about what you sell. Because remember, I said the definition of learning to sell, it’s just learning how to talk about what you do in such a way people want to buy? How many different ways have you talked about your offer? Just one or two? That’s not enough. So remember, it’s very normal to question your niche. So no judgement here. I was in and out of niche indecision for many years in my business, but only rarely is switching to something else, the best answer for you.

Listen, having niche indecision doesn’t mean anything has gone wrong. It just means you’re human having the usual doubts and thinking that maybe the solution is a different business. The real test for you is if you’re in niche decision is what are you going to do now? What are you going to do next? Are you going to teach yourself to get into this urge too soon? Or are you going to keep on testing this idea, because you genuinely love these people, you really want to solve this problem, and you are determined to figure it out?

If that’s you, if you do love these people, you do want to solve this problem, then please keep on testing, go all out for the next three months. Test, test, test in so many different ways. At the very least, you’re going to learn some valuable marketing and sales skills and some practical technical skills. So remember, that thought that I said can be very poisonous is, I’m wasting my time if it’s the wrong idea, you are never wasting your time. If you’re showing up, taking action and testing, you will not be wasting your time, even if you do eventually end up changing your business niche.

One last thing I promise to share with you when is the one time that it perhaps is best for you to switch your business niche. It’s simply this, you genuinely no longer love the idea of helping your people. And that’s usually because you’re feeling out of integrity, you are no longer aligned. Perhaps you have grown and changed so much as a person that this problem. This audience no longer feels genuine to you. It no longer feels purposeful you no longer feel called to do it. To me, that is the one and only time when, yes, it is a good idea to change business niches. Okay, I hope you found that helpful. I will see you on the next episode. Take care.

If you’re ready to thrive in business, I want to invite you to join Business Growth Lab. This is my group program where I teach you the exact process I and my students have used to grow profitable businesses we love. When you join the lab, you get lifetime access to everything you need to grow a six-figure business, the training, expert coaching, accountability, and community. The approach we take is scientific. We don’t dabble in business, and we don’t waste time. You’ll create your business on a solid foundation, using proven methods. To join, go to www.sallyannmiller.com/thelab. We’ll see you inside.

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