How do you know When to choose a niche for your therapy practice?
Recently in a Facebook group I'm a member of, the subject of having a niche came up.
Someone said 'Ever since I started my business over a decade ago, I became aware of business coaches who insisted that "picking a niche" is the most important first step I need to do'.
And it made me think - is there a right time to choose a niche? Is having a niche right for everyone? And how do people naturally 'fall into' a niche?
Let's take a look...
There are many reasons people train to be a therapist.
Some are interested in how people tick, some want to help people in need and some experienced the life changing benefits of therapy themselves and want to share that with others.
You trained specifically to work with a certain issue
Some people will come to counselling to help a specific type of person/group due to personal circumstances.
For example, if they have been affected by suicide and became passionate about it's prevention and that drove them to train to be a therapist.
If this is you then the issue of choosing a niche will be simple as you'll probably be gravitating towards your passion right from the get go.
For some people, they become experienced in a certain facet of counselling due to circumstances.
Perhaps your placement is in a bereavement centre and you continue working there when the placement ends.
You receive high quality training on grief and loss and become highly experienced in this field.
It feels like your niche has chosen you rather than the other way around!
This may be a happy coincidence, as you may find you are really skilled and interested in this field.
However, as with all niches it's not written in stone, you can change if you want to.
Nothing obvious shows up!
You've had a placement, taken private clients for a while and experienced a variety of situations and you enjoy working with a wide variety of different people and different circumstances.
But because you know having a niche will help grow your private practice, you choose a niche but it's far too broad - like depression, or anxiety, because you don't want to put off any potential clients.
But it can have the opposite effect.
Consider this: you have a problem with your shoulder, so you visit your GP, who will assess you, and with their wide range of knowledge, they may be able to help you.
However, GP's also refer a lot of patients to specialist consultants because have more in depth knowledge, more training and more experience in a particular subject. They know the consultant will be the best person to help the patient.
So if it's not something straightforward, they will refer you on to a specialist consultant for further investigation/advice.
It's exactly the same with therapists: if someone is struggling and needs help, they want to know they are in safe hands and getting the best help available.
So if they have issues around grief and there are 10 local therapists to choose from, they will call the one will experience and training around grief and loss.
So if you don't have a glaringly obvious niche, or haven't fallen into one, this is the right time to choose a niche: when you have a range of experience to draw on and are ready to grow your practice.
Which is exactly why I devised Know Your Niche, because this is when it feels tricky choosing a niche.
You've enjoyed the work you've done and maybe have several areas of interest but don't know how that can translate into a speciality.
This is where my superpowers lie! Using my counselling skills to explore you, your work and your interests, and my business skills to translate that into a profitable niche.
Then, I then show you how to make the most of it.
But what if you don't want a niche?
Well, this is quite literally your business and it's completely up to you what direction you want it to go in. If you really don't want a niche, that's fair enough!
If not having a niche has been a conscious decision, something you have considered and are clear on the possible benefits and drawbacks, then that's fine.
However, in my experience not having a niche is often to do with fear - that crippling fear that you'll be turning people away, or that you don't have enough qualifications or experience, or that the work will become samey and you'll get bored.
If that's the case, then you're letting fear hold you back.
Because having a niche will attract people to you. It's the number one thing you can do to grow your practice.
With a niche you will:
Are you at the point where you're ready to grow your private practice?