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How to discover your niche

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I am interested in hearing how you decided on your niche. How long did it take you to figure it out? Was it easier to find your target market when you knew what you wanted to focus on?

 

Thanks for your help!

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It took me about 3 years Maureen. I started as a generalist, and still am to some degree, although I have found the client base type I like working with and they all have similar needs - databases, websites, shoppingcarts and ezines. But when I began there wasn't even an internet so I concentrated on word-processing and data entry mainly. And today much of what I do has been built on those two skillsets and just added to.

 

I've written quite a bit about developing your own niche at my blog because so many VAs ask about it. So some of these might help you:

 

http://vadirectory.net/blog/do-i-have-to-have-a-niche/

 

http://vadirectory.net/blog/start-with-what-you-know/

 

http://vadirectory.net/blog/developing-a-niche-in-the-virtual-assistant-world/

 

I hope these help.

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I set aside a whole chapter on Finding Your Niche in my Virtual Assistant Startup System, so I'll chime in here...

I always recommend to the VAs I coach to prepare a couple of lists as follows:

1. All the services/skills you love doing ie) general admin, bookkeeping, organization
2. Clients you think you would like to work for ie) Realtors, coaches, speakers, etc.
3. Traits of people you would like to work for ie) income bracket $100K+, men, etc.
4. Personal loves ie) I love to travel, I love my dog, etc. (may seem unrelated but make the list anyhow)

Set some time aside to write these lists listing as many points as you can think of. Read your lists over every day for a week or so to let your ideas start filling your subconscious.

Then look at your list a week or so later (or better yet, look at it with your business coach) and start weeding out the good/bad, what you love/detest, etc. wink.gif

In the end you'll most likely come up with some idea of the niche you want to focus in ie) I like doing bookkeeping and working for small male business entrepreneurs who make a minimum of 100K+ yearly. However this still leaves you open to many niche areas to choose from. You could weed this out even further by looking at the things you love in your life ie) I love animals. Maybe you could work for veterinarians only and become known as the "The VA who loves to pet your books and hear you purr". wink.gif

Niches can surround just about anything too from a service niche (social media VA) to a niche surround a specific target market (only works for veterinarians).

What do you love doing most? What theme do you want to surround your life with? ie) If you love to travel, maybe you want to work for travel agencies so you get some great deals to travel LOL! If we do what we love, we tend to do it well so find out what that is first, (what do you love or love doing??) then start to find a niche that surrounds that.

I had a VA come to me for coaching awhile back and she was in a very dark place with her VA business, totally hating it and ready to give it up. She was getting plenty of work and on paper the business was doing well but she dreaded waking up in the morning and heading into her home office each day. It was really dragging her downward mentally. She had niched her business as a Real Estate VA. Being that she had worked for realtors her whole life in the corporate world, she thought this would be a good niche for her. Turns out she was wrong. After talking with her for awhile, she realized that she truly didn't like Realtors LOL too much! The Realtors she'd always worked for came across to her as gruff, disloyal and cheap (one of the reasons, unknown to her at the time, that she quit her day job).

It didn't take long working with me for her to see that it wasn't the VA business dragging her down, it was the niche she chose. After some inner research, she did a total switch, started working for coaches and is in love with her VA business now.

Point of this being, before you decide on your niche, do think it through, make sure it is something you are going to love doing. And just becuase you are great with numbers doesn't mean you need to be a bookkeeper either. You may be instead an excellent database management VA.

Think it through, play with different markets and services for awhile in your business and find out what you love doing. I was a generalist VA for two years before I found out what I loved doing so don't dwell on it if you don't have it all figured out yet, it will come wink.gif

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Hi. One of my niche markets is churches/non-profits, especially small ones. I decided on this based on my experience as a pastor of a small church. One of the problems in pastoring a small church is a lack of resources, especially people resources. There were many times when I could have used a virtual assistant that provided 20 hours of service a month. That would have been an easy and cost effective way to get some of those administrative tasks done such as bulletins, letters, reports, etc.

 

P.S. You just helped me form a marketing speal. Thanks for asking. :-)

 

I am interested in hearing how you decided on your niche. How long did it take you to figure it out? Was it easier to find your target market when you knew what you wanted to focus on?

 

Thanks for your help!

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Hi. One of my niche markets is churches/non-profits, especially small ones. I decided on this based on my experience as a pastor of a small church. One of the problems in pastoring a small church is a lack of resources, especially people resources. There were many times when I could have used a virtual assistant that provided 20 hours of service a month. That would have been an easy and cost effective way to get some of those administrative tasks done such as bulletins, letters, reports, etc.

 

P.S. You just helped me form a marketing speal. Thanks for asking. :-)

 

 

That's funny Carolyn :thumbup: however, I know what you mean. Sometimes it isn't till you put it on paper, or fingers on the keyboard, that something might become obvious. Hence Tawnya's reasoning for writing things down. Great suggestions Tawnya!

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As everyone knows, I got lucky. My niche found me. Actually, a wonderful person found me because I took the initiative to go to a VA conference and she saw how I was trying to assist people on this very forum. If it wasn't for Tawnya starting me out and showing me that I could do this, I don't know what I would have done. Tawnya hired me and has given me great advice and things to think about every since. She's really pushed me to let me see what I can do. Now I'm the VAs VA.

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Wow; great question! Honestly, I am still searching for my niche. I am going to use Tawnya's advice to write down my lists and really figure things out. Right now, I guess I am a general VA, but have been trying to focus on Realtors, because I have experience working with them already. However, I am not sure if that is actually my "niche" yet though! Thanks for bringing curiosity to my business thoughts.

 

-Barbara Ling

www.IndianaTeamVirtual.com

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I'm glad I came across this post. I'm also trying to figure out my niche. I thought it would be general administrative and law, but I'm also considering real estate and social media. It's very confusing!!!!! I guess I'll write it all down again and work through it. I think I'd feel more confident marketing myself if I knew what it is I TRULY love to do. Thanks again for all the great info. It's certainly food for thought...

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Just remember that sometimes your niche doesn't become obvious for some time. It took me 3 years before I came across mine - I didn't know that type of client existed and it was only by chance I found out but it then helped me define what I liked and didn't like.

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Guest TerriB

I found all the info here very encouraging! I have been stuck trying to figure out my niche before doing anything and it appears that is not all that important at this point and time. I am just getting started so I guess it is all right to see where it takes me and what I enjoy doing the most :thumbup:

 

Thank you all for your words of encouragement!

 

Terri

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I tried to run away from my niche, but it kept finding me! I tried - really, really hard - to NOT work with attorneys. I kept looking at other areas, and it seemed like the attorneys kept finding me some way, so if you can't run from them, join 'em!

 

I decided to really define my niche 2 months ago, and after 1 consultation so far today, I'm feeling really good about this decision. I've got another consult at 3 p.m. today - same type of client: jury consultant.

 

Sometimes you find your niche because you find out you enjoy something and sometimes your niche finds you. I really enjoy event planning, and that's something I will explore at a later time. It would be the most awesome if I could get a client who plans and manages bar association meetings, or continuing education seminars. THAT would be awesome for me!

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I decided to really define my niche 2 months ago, and after 1 consultation so far today, I'm feeling really good about this decision. I've got another consult at 3 p.m. today - same type of client: jury consultant.

 

Sometimes you find your niche because you find out you enjoy something and sometimes your niche finds you. I really enjoy event planning, and that's something I will explore at a later time. It would be the most awesome if I could get a client who plans and manages bar association meetings, or continuing education seminars. THAT would be awesome for me!

 

 

Dana

 

Congrats!!! So funny about attorneys, sometimes you just can't hide from them.

 

PS I hope you and "your client" have resolved things "peaceably?" [or maybe not so peaceably?]

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In my case my niche found me unexpectedly.

 

I was studying to become a Real Estate virtual assistant when a door opened for me to assist coaches. So I redid my site to add my services for coaches and kept the Real Estate section saying that it will be coming soon. I found out that I really enjoyed working with coaches and got a lot of requests for work specializing in that field. For now I have put the Real Estate niche on hold, not discounting it altogether but wanting to explore coaching in all it's facets and intricacies. I need to narrow my focus to make sure I provide the best service possible to the people who actually help drive my business towards success. Often it is about the right opportunity at the right time and knowing when to recognize a solid chance to establish important relationships with interesting people.

 

Your niche is whatever makes you feel good about what you are doing. Doing something only because you think it will make money is not enough to satisfy your ambition and might lead you in a direction you don't particularly enjoy. Don't be afraid to explore concepts you might have otherwise overlooked or don't feel confident about pursuing. In the end, you are the best hope for your self worth and successful journey.

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Glad I found this thread :)))

 

I was a VA for 3 years for a yachting company , I booked sailing holidays for people in the US , who were travelling to Greece. I really loved this job but the company downsized. I know how to use excel, love to do research on the internet and an avid user of skype.

Would appreciate some feedback.

 

Does anyone see a niche here !!

BTW ,I don't even have a name for my business yet ? Is this o.k.?

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Glad I found this thread :)))

 

I was a VA for 3 years for a yachting company , I booked sailing holidays for people in the US , who were travelling to Greece. I really loved this job but the company downsized. I know how to use excel, love to do research on the internet and an avid user of skype.

Would appreciate some feedback.

 

Does anyone see a niche here !!

BTW ,I don't even have a name for my business yet ? Is this o.k.?

 

Simply because a niche is supposed to be narrow, doesn't mean it is super-single. There can be two, IMO. One niche would involve the type of services while another is the type of client -- A person could do research (service niche) for a variety of client fields (second level niche) or a person should offer only social media to attorneys only -- two very focused points. Being that focused means turning down (better yet, referring) social media work from doctors. A new VA often ends up performing whatever skills are available to whoever has money. Gradually, that all sorts out as preferred clients come on board and time becomes filled.

 

Mago, you are developing and doing fine. Each step from niche to name becomes more clear as you go along.

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