So, you have finally decided to listen to your heart and take the steps to start your own business. Congrats!! I’m so excited for you. Now, let’s decide which services you offer as a new business!
Have you had a chance to think about who your ideal audience is? In other words, who you’re going to help? If not, make sure to hop over to this post and work through that.
If yes, awesome! You’re on your way. Because, once you know who you help (aka the group of people you really want to work with), it’s much easier to decide how you’re going to help them.
Identifying an ideal audience helps you to narrow down your niche offer. A niche offer is a specific product or service that your ideal audience is going to go nuts about.
For instance, if you decide that your ideal audience is first-timer homeschooling moms, it’s much easier to come up with a product or service like weekly lesson plans for elementary school students because you know your ideal audience needs things like that.
If you create your product or services before you know who your ideal audience is, you run the risk of working with an audience of people who don’t really light your fire.
What is a niche? And, why should you have one?
Like I said before, a niche is a little piece of a large group. Think of it this way, if you order one of those huge rectangle pizzas and it’s broken out into sections by toppings, each topping is a niche.
Everyone in the room likes pizza. But, if you had to get rid of the section with black olives, you would only want to make your offer to those people in the room who like black olives.
It’s the same thing with your business. You only want to offer products and services that you know your ideal audience will love. And, even more importantly, will be helped by.
Having a niche in mind for your products and services makes them that much more appealing to your audience because they have been designed specifically for your audience.
The benefits of narrowing down which services you offer
There are many benefits to making sure that your products and services are narrowed down to a specific niche.
Not only does narrowing down your services benefit your ideal audience but, it also benefits you. When you narrow your products and services to a select few, it makes your life so much easier.
For instance, say you want to start a business as a social media virtual assistant for bloggers. That would mean that you would offer services like creating images and posting to Instagram daily, designing pins and identifying hashtags to post to Pinterest daily, filling up a Buffer feed to post to Twitter daily, creating images and post shares to post to Facebook daily, etc.
And, that’s all just for one client! Plus, what happens when a new algorithm rolls out on Facebook and the whole strategy needs rethinking? That is a HUGE list of services.
But, imagine instead that you started a business as a Pinterest virtual assistant. You could easily block hours on your schedule to “create pins for clients A, B, and C.” Then, another block of time to send requests for Tailwind Tribes on behalf of clients D, E and F” etc.
It’s much easier to manage your time and your day-to-day if your services are narrowed down.
Close Client Relationships
Think about referrals from client to client as a way to grow your business. If your services are narrowed down and you are really known for something, it is much easier for your satisfied clients to share your business with their friends and colleagues.
No matter who your ideal audience is, they have a pain point and they are looking for an expert to swoop in and offer a solution.
Think of it this way, when you are at work up against a deadline and your computer stops working, isn’t it amazing that you can just pick up the phone and call the company IT department? (Use this as a metaphor for any problem in your job that can be passed off to a specialist!)
You are your clients’ IT department. You are the specialist who will solve their problem better than anyone else AND better than they could ever solve it themselves because they just plain don’t want to!
More Effective Marketing
When you know your ideal audience, and you have created products and services that truly help them, getting the word out about those products and services is so much easier and more impactful.
Because you know where your audience hangs out and you make an effort to be in those places. There is no need to be sharing your website, products or services on Twitter if you know that your audience doesn’t spend time there.
And, when you are really known for something, it’s much easier to use communities like Facebook groups to share the word about your business and services. Whether it’s your own Facebook group or, groups that you participate in.
More and more SEO is becoming essential to growing an online business. Even platforms like Pinterest and YouTube, which are viewed as “social media”, are actually search engines.
That means, when your ideal audience opens Chrome and types in “how to lose weight when you’re unemployed”, the search engine will show them results for websites, blogs, Pinterest pins, and YouTube videos that include any of those keywords or keyword phrases.
When your services and products are narrowed down and hyper-relevant (and HELPFUL) to a specific ideal audience, it’s much easier to rank for SEO because you’re always using related keywords and phrases.
Interlinking blog posts is a big part of SEO too. Interlinking is when you include a link to another post on your site that includes related information to the post your audience is reading.
For instance, I could say, “don’t start planning your services until you have decided which business to start”. I have hyperlinked the words “which business to start” to a post that I wrote about how to do that.
If my business was about helping people save money on groceries, be a good parent, start a business, and lose weight, it would be really hard to interlink my posts to one another and improve my SEO.
But, my business is narrowed to only quitting your day job to start a solopreneur business. So, I only write about the things that are specific to that journey.
Narrowing which services you offer actually helps you make more money
With benefits like these, it’s easy to see how narrowing your niche can help you to make even more money in your business.
When you set your business up for better time management, that means you can leverage all of your time into serving more clients and getting more done.
Your day goes much smoother and you are fully in your zone of genius because you have narrowed your services to offer only what you enjoy doing to people who you enjoy working with.
Those strong relationships with your clients help to encourage referrals and word-of-mouth marketing that can “prime the pump” before you ever have a discovery call with your prospective client.
Having a calendar full of discovery calls with people who are breaking down the door to work with you saves you time and money. All you have to do is ask them where to send the contract!
And, less time marketing in areas where your ideal clients aren’t spending time means more time available on the calendar to have those discovery calls.
Don’t try to do everything for everyone. Yes, you are an extremely intelligent and capable person. You’re a unicorn, in fact. And, you can help thousands of people with hundreds of things. But, you and your clients will be so much happier and more satisfied if you narrow down your ideal audience and which services you offer.
How to decide which services you offer
Planning out which services you offer can be a challenging process. If you’re totally stuck, there are plenty of resources available to get you inspired.
For instance, if you want to be a virtual assistant, you can find 150+ services to offer here. Or, maybe you want to be a freelance writer but, you’re not sure what to write about. Here are 200+ writing niches to get your inspiration flowing.
And, if you want to be a blogger but, you’re not sure what in the heck you would blog about, here is a huge list of blog topics.
Once you have your eyes a few ideas, follow these steps to really take some time and be thoughtful about the products and services you might offer.
Do you believe in it?
The best starting place when you begin thinking about which services you offer … is your heart. In other words, for your services and products to be successful, you must be emotionally invested in them.
You must truly believe in your heart that your products and services will help your ideal audience. Why? Because, authenticity is online currency and, if you are not authentically passionate about your products and services, your potential clients will feel that.
Would you purchase your product? Or, would you sell your services to your mother or sister? Can you see yourself selling these products and services for the next few years and still being passionate about it?
Are you excited about getting on the phone with a complete stranger and sharing your product or service with them because you know how much it will help them?
Be thoughtful about each one of your services or product and make sure that they all resonate with who you are (or, want to be) as a business owner and a human.
Do you know how to do it?
When you’re thinking about the products and services you will offer to your ideal audience, keep it simple. Start with a list of things you know about.
You’ve been working, taking classes, volunteering, running a household for how many years now? You’ve got skills girl. I know you do.
Grab a pen and paper and just write down everything that you know how to do. Every piece of software that you’re familiar with, every task that you can perform, and every strategy that you’re familiar with.
Now, cross off everything that you hate to do.
My best friend and her husband used to own a bakery. She’s got mad skills in the kitchen and can bake amazing treats and breads.
But, she hates to do it. All of it. Even though she could easily make a solopreneur business from it, she hates it.
If there are any items on your list that you know how to do but, don’t like to do, cross them off. Now, take a look at your list, are there any items that your ideal audience would go nuts about? Anything that you could package into a bundle of services or a digital product?
What is the client’s point of view?
When your ideal audience is presented with the opportunity to purchase your product or services – do they? And, if not, why?
What is the process that your ideal audience goes through that brings them to the decision to purchase, or not? How will each of your offerings improve the work or life of your ideal client?
Stand in your clients’ shoes and think about how they go through each day. What types of obstacles or challenges do they run into? How could their day be improved? What kind of service or product would help their day go a little smoother?
This one might be difficult unless you already have a group of people who are your ideal audience and you can ask them. But, this is also a great time to reach out to your Facebook groups too.
Most group admins and moderators will allow you to post a question like, “What is the number one struggle you have with XXX?”
The members of the group (who should be mostly full of your idea audience) will answer and give you some good data for your products and services.