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In my 2015 Year in Review I shared some wins and lessons, then I teased you about my biggest A-HA. As promised in the first post for 2016, I’m sharing my GREAT BIG A-HA that changed everything almost everything.

Usually when I’m coaching yoga teachers, it’s around business.

And the number one focus I stress is to find your people. Your tribe. Your niche.

niche is bitch

(FYI if you’re from the South, people tend to pronounce that as “nitch.” If you’re a Yankee or Canadian, you’re more likely to pronounce it “neesh.”)

Find the ones you love

Regardless, the point is to find the people you’re meant to help. Those only you are uniquely designed to guide and serve.

Yet no one….and I mean NO ONE…wants or likes doing this. It feels counter-intuitive. It feels constrictive and limiting. It’s like choosing only one crayon to color with.

I’ve been hanging out in enough small businesses (online and brick/mortar) and can tell you, it doesn’t matter what industry, biz owners do not like to “niche down.”

But in all the biz classes I’ve taken, guess what’s the very first lesson (usually)?

Find your nitch.

The struggle is real

I hadn’t ever really struggled with this concept. Until a couple of few years ago.

In 2003, I started conducting yoga teacher training and loved-loved-loved it. I thought, “here are my people!” When I sold my studio, I retained the rights to continue training. When I went back to the corporate world for a few years, I continued teacher training as my side hustle until I returned to it full-time in 2010.

In early 2011 after I got pregnant, I decided to add online into the mix, and since it was in my wheel-house, I leaned toward taking teacher training online. Unfortunately I let a couple of negative comments and a stink-eye letter from the Yoga Alliance derail me from my idea.

Thus began my search for a new demographic. People I could dazzle with my knowledge and expertise. First it was women going through divorce. Then it was women in transition. Then it was women who practiced yoga.

And every shift in my focus, shifted all the surrounding components:

  • Oh I need to update my website.
  • Oh I need to edit my content and offerings.
  • Oh I need to join a different group.
  • Oh I need a different skill set.

With all the shifting, changing and morphing, I never got any traction. No traction equated to doubts. Lots and lots of doubts.

Screen shot 2013-12-18 at 5.30.15 PMShannon-C-Final-Name-LogoSC_Logo

Most times it’s pretty obvious

Then two different mentors, at two different times asked me, “Why don’t you continue working with yoga teachers?”

Bum-bum-bummmmmm

But I’m pretty stubborn.

For most of 2015, I denied this obvious answer; a demographic I was more than familiar and comfortable with; where I had hours (and hours) of knowledge and expertise; where I was already training and coaching.

But the acceptance of my nitch was slow. It took the Universe a few round-about coincidences and signs to show me, hey, your work is with yoga teachers. In late October 2015, I fully bought into the notion (that was there all along at the beginning) and BAM!

Looking back, the last few years have been Exhausting. Expensive. Depleting. And I’m pretty sure it’s been exhausting and confusing for my tribe who’s been patiently loyal, patiently waiting for me to see what everyone else already knew.

Now please, let me save you some of the same Frustration. Heartache. Exhaustion.

My 5 Tips for Finding Your Nitch

purple 1PAY ATTENTION. Start listening to what people are asking you, complimenting you on, coming back for. Sadly, you’re not everyone’s cuppa-tea, but those you inspire, they share similarities. Find them. Write them down.

purple 2DREAM CLIENT. Grab a piece of paper and write out 10 qualities your dream client possesses. My list looked something like this: yogis, mamas, into health & wellness, spiritual, possibly in transition.

purple 3GO DEEPER. Keep digging. Go against the urge that says to stop at number two. Those few descriptions are still too vague. What kind of yogis? What age are the mamas’ kids? What kind of health and wellness?

purple 4ICED TEA TEST. As you’re identifying qualities and quirks, would you invite them over to your house for iced tea? Would you hang out with this person outside of yoga classes? If the answer is NO, you’re not there yet.

purple 5ASK. Sometimes the answer is painfully obvious to others. While you’re hem-hawing, thinking “I don’t know,” others may be ready to give you a gentle two-by-four against your head. And don’t be stubborn like me.

Whether you only teach yoga classes or own a yoga-business, finding your nitch-people-tribe will make you MORE valuable, not less. Because when someone goes searching for a business or a teacher, they’re putting very specific terms into the search engine.

Tell me. . .what’s your nitch?