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Most business advice gets this *very* wrong
👉 it's just not possible to analyse your way to a perfect niche (or newsletter topic)
Pretty much every course on starting or growing a business starts by telling you to pick a niche. And the same thing goes for starting a newsletter.
And pretty much all the advice is the same: find some combination of something you’re good at that solves a big important problem for a group of people you can reach.
There are subtleties to most of the advice. Pick something you love as you’ll be focused on it. Pick clients with money and willingness to pay. Blah blah.
There’s nothing wrong with this advice. I talk about something similar in my post on how specialised you should make your newsletter here.
The problem is the way they suggest you go about it.
Every approach I’ve seen is analytical and frankly, too long-winded. Big long lists of criteria and research you should do to make sure you pick the perfect niche.
And to be honest I’ve done that sort of thing myself. When you’re creating a course there’s a lot of pressure to make it as valuable as possible which leads you to add more details, more criteria, more in-depth guides.
The problem is that no matter how much analysis you do, you’re going to get it wrong. You just can’t tell in theory whether your offer will click with the clients you want to focus on. Or whether you really will love obsessively focusing on that one niche topic.
More and more analysis may add a couple of percentage points to how close you land to the right niche for you. But where you get to after thinking about it for 20 hours is rarely much better than where you were after 2 hours.
What really tells you whether it’s going to work is testing it out.
Write an email about the topic. Publish a tweet. Does anyone respond?
Get feedback from potential clients about whether this is something they’d buy. Even better, make someone an offer to help them in this area. Are they willing to pay?
A big part of the problem is that those of us from a consulting or coaching or training background love to think. We love models and frameworks. We love to gather data, benchmark best practice, plan.
We’re less in love with trying something out and risking failure.
My advice: whether it’s picking a niche for your business or your newsletter, almost all the advice out there is a good starting point for your “desk research”. But don’t spend more than a couple of hours on it.
Get it in the right ballpark park then find a way of testing it out fast.
You’ll get to a great niche by getting it wrong and fixing it way faster than the person who spends days and weeks analysing and fretting about getting it right.
And you can replace the word niche with offer, newsletter, marketing, anything really. Get it in the right ballpark and test it fast.
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