Today I’m breaking down a few myths about niching down/specializing plus sharing how you can do this with ease. I know niching down is really tough so I’ve got lots of tips in this episode to help you understand this topic more and really tap into what you’re passionate about so it can help you build the business of your dreams.
There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t talk about niching in some way. Whether it’s on a Q&A call or inside the Thrive community, someone is asking about it and I love it! I’m actually going to mention a few Thrivers questions in this episode because I know you’ve likely thought these things too. The Thrivers are GREAT about asking their questions to get support when they need it. Shout out to all the Thrivers!
Another shout out I want to give on this episode is to my dear friend Shannon Crow. If there is anyone who can teach on niching down, it’s her. I talk about it from a marketing perspective but she talks about it from a yoga teacher perspective often. And I just love her story about how she has determined her niche over years and years of teaching.
Shannon hosts The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast and we are BFF’s in real life as we help each other in our individual businesses but her yoga teaching niche is Pelvic Health. I was super fortunate to see Shannon teach on Pelvic Health at the Yoga Teacher Conf in April and it blew me away! I’ve watched her teach on business stuff for several years now but her true passion is pelvic health and it really came through in her presentation. 3 hours went by in a flash and I was fascinated the whole time. She loves this topic and it was contagious to watch her, I suddenly started to care more about pelvic health!
"That’s what happens when you truly step into your passion, it shines through and it’s fun for others to watch you teach. I want this for you too." - Amanda McKinney
And if you’re interested in learning more about pelvic health, I need you to run, not walk, to Shannon’s membership, Pelvic Health Professionals. This membership is AMAZING and packed with so many guest expert calls it’s shocking! She has the leading experts in this field of study and you get to ask them questions. It’s amazing and so if you want to learn more you can find more info on my website at amandamckinney.com/shannon.
*Note: This is Part 1 of a 4-part series on the topic of Niching Down. Part 2 & 3 are guest's examples of niching and Part 4 is a Q&A.
Busting Myths About Niching Down As A Yoga Teacher
Here are some facts I know about niching down and I want you to read them out loud to yourself so you really hear them:
You can’t do it “wrong”
You aren’t stuck with a niche once you choose one
You do know enough
There was a conversation inside my membership, Thrive, recently that really stuck with me. Ellie shared this:
"I am thinking about trying on a niche but feel a little nervous that I might be picking the "wrong thing"." - Ellie
The moment I read this I wished I was with her so I could say “Ellie, you can’t choose the wrong thing. You’re putting too much pressure on yourself with this. What would it feel like if you took this pressure off and simply picked something for a little bit?”
I love that Ellie shared this because I know others think it as well and maybe that’s where you are today. But please know you can’t do it “wrong” and you’re not stuck with a niche. People change niches all the time and it works out just fine. I don’t suggest that you make a habit of it as it will eventually confuse your audience but as you’re starting your business, you might think your niche is restorative yoga and then you realize that you have a soft spot in your heart for helping people who struggle with anxiety.
The other thing to remember is that you know enough right now to help the person you dream of helping. Almost every yoga teacher I’ve worked with thinks they need to take a specialty training in order to specialize their offerings. Sometimes this is the case - for example if you want to be a Yoga Therapist - but most of the time you can specialize in something without going to a formal training. I would recommend playing around with that before investing thousands of dollars in a specialty training.
For example, let’s say you want to help people who struggle with hip pain. You know this as yoga for pelvic health and you’ve been learning more on your own about this through podcasts, blogs and other content. You feel the urge to share this with your students so what you can do is start to incorporate what you’ve learned into your already scheduled and filled classes. Maybe you say something about it, maybe you don’t. You’re testing it out at first and then once you know this is definitely the way you want to go, you try out hosting a specialty workshop - yoga for hip pain. Once that works well, you can then look into learning more and investing in more education.
Side note: check out my friend Shannon’s membership, Pelvic Health Professionals, if this topic is of interest to you. Her membership is super affordable and will help you feel more confident in teaching on this topic ASAP!
**This was also a podcast episode (episode #155. Use the player below if you'd prefer to listen to this message.
Why Niching Down / Specializing As A Yoga Teacher Is Important
You’ve likely heard me (and others) talk about niching down and how it’s the thing that will help you grow your business. But the truth is, it’s freaking hard to do so we often push it off or think you aren’t ready yet. It’s like how everyone is 100% aware that drinking water is important and we should drink a certain amount each day but how many people need jugs or reminders on their phone to actually drink the water.
There’s a difference between knowing something is important and actually doing it.
The reason niching down, or specializing, as a yoga teacher is important is because it helps you stand out in a crowded market. People ask me all the time “Amanda, there are so many yoga teachers out there, how can I possibly stand out?”
The answer is to specialize in a specific area of interest to you so that instead of saying you’re a yoga teacher you say “I’m a private yoga teacher” or “I’m a yoga teacher for people with chronic pain” or “I teach yoga to teens”. The opportunities are endless but the key is to find what you’re passionate about and focus on that.
When To Niche Down or Specialize As A Yoga Teacher
After you’ve been teaching for a while you have a better sense of what you like and don’t like. Some yoga teachers will know immediately what they want to specialize in but others will need to explore to find this interest and passion. If you’re in that space of not knowing what you want to specialize in, it’s all about saying yes to opportunities to see what you enjoy the most.
Once you know where your specific passion is, then it’s time to transition your marketing and offerings to focus on that niche. Remember this will likely take time to happen so it’s not like you’re changing everything all at once. You might slowly let go of classes you don’t enjoy as much and replace them with your specialty offerings.
What Goes Into A Niche / Specialty And What Doesn’t Matter
Anytime I work with a yoga teacher and we talk about niching down, they immediately tell me about 1 of 2 things: the age of the person they want to work with or the type of yoga they want to teach.
"Let’s get one thing super-duper clear…your niche likely has nothing to do with someone’s age." - Amanda McKinney
Also, you don’t always have to niche down by a specific type of yoga. It’s possible that it could be your focus but it doesn’t have to.
The better way to look at specializing is to ask “what struggle do I want to help people with?”.
Once you know that, you can create offerings that cater to helping people who struggle with that specific struggle. It doesn’t matter how old they are, what magazines they read or what type of yoga they have tried before. What matters is that you can support them as they are navigating a specific struggle.
Inside Thrive the topic of niching comes up a lot and recently Chanel asked for support and Debra chimed in with some great questions to help her.
"I have been struggling for year with this niching thing. I’ve have been teaching online for 5 + years and feel like my business is pretty stagnant and I assume it is because I haven’t niched down and don’t have full clarity in my message. I teach different styles of yoga…mainly vinyasa and beginners."
"Here are some questions you might ask yourself, maybe this would help:
Is there a problem in your own life that yoga has helped you with and that might help others? For example, back pain, headaches, anxiety, depression,
Is there a particular kind of student you really like to work with and what does their life look like? Are they a busy professional with very little time and want a quick class? Are they retired and looking for community?....
What things outside of yoga really inspire you? Do you like running, skiing, playing golf?.......
Do you like to read and if so, what kind of books do you choose? Maybe that can shed light on what you might like to teach? I love philosophy and right now I'm reading about Stoic philosophers, so that inspires what I like to share with students.
Is there a certain personality type that really resonates with you? For example, are they more introverted, extroverted?"
Shout out to Debra on this one! These are great questions to help you as you’re trying to figure out your niche.
What To Do Once You’ve Niched Down As A Yoga Teacher
Once you know your niche or have an idea that you’d like to pursue, it’s time to make that transition happen. Like I mentioned before, it’s not going to happen overnight but you can make one change really quickly – change your marketing messaging.
Here are some things you can do quickly to start getting traction with your specialty:
Change your email signature to reflect your niche
Change your Instagram bio or any social media “about” section
Change your freebie to serve your dream student
Update sections of your website to reflect your niche
Start creating content based on your dream student and specialty
Start introducing yourself with your specialty
The next steps are to look at your offerings and identify just one that you’d like to let go of first. From there you can figure out how much revenue you need to replace when you let go of that offering and also find a suggestion for your students. I know you want to take care of your students so find a teacher who does want to specialize in that area to take over the class or find someone you can refer them to.
Repeat this process until all of your offerings are reflective of your specialty. Take it one offering at a time so you aren’t trying to replace all your income at once. Plus this opens up opportunities for new yoga teachers or yoga teachers who want to specialize in that area. It’s a great way to give back and refer others.
Your next step
Start to explore what you like and don’t like as a yoga teacher. Make a list if that helps you. Journal about it. Talk about it to your biz besties or a trusted friend. And stay tuned for the next 2 episodes in this series as there are two examples that will give you even more insight into niching down and truly stepping into your niche as a yoga teacher. Both the yoga teachers I interview are so passionate about what they specialize in that it’s contagious! And I want this for you, I want you to be excited about what you teach and how you speak about your offerings.
Until next time give yourself permission to specialize and grace along the way. I’ll talk to you soon.
“Let’s get one thing super-duper clear…your niche likely has nothing to do with someone’s age."
- Amanda McKinney
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