Finding it difficult to narrow down your niche and present yourself to potential clients? You’re not alone: nearly every customer that comes to us is in the same boat. Even those that are marketing specialists!
At the end of the day, you want to make good money, part-time, and be your own boss so you have flexibility in your life.
Ok so how do I do it?
The first key to jump starting your consulting business and getting high paying consulting gigs is validation. We’ll get to your niche (I promise) but we need to start with some context first. Back to validation: the client needs to have incredibly strong conviction that you can solve the problem they have. They also have to be able to pay you, but let’s assume for the sake of this article that they can. They are going to bring you on and pay you only if they are 1000% convinced you can solve the problems they have.
They will be convinced of this in 1 of 2 ways:
- They have worked with you before and know your capabilities
- You communicate your niche and back it up with experiences and accomplishments
1. They worked with you before so they know your capabilities
This is where most consultants’ first clients come from: you are someone they’ve worked with in the past. This could be your colleague, peer, or past manager. They know you, they know what you’re capable of doing, and they can bring you on or highly recommend you to their leader without any hesitation.
This is the easiest and fastest way to get a consulting gig, and a route we highly recommend for your first client or two.
2. You communicate your niche and back it up with experiences and accomplishments
If the client doesn’t already know you and your capabilities, now you have to validate yourself to them. You need to be prepared to say:
“I’m Bradley. I’m a specialist in X, and I’ve done Y at Z company” that backs up that statement. That’s your niche. It’s saying what you’re good at, and then supporting it through accomplishments that gives the client great reason to believe what you’re saying is true.
So for me, I could say “I’m Bradley Jacobs. I specialize in launching 3 sided marketplaces for early stage venture backed companies. I launched Uber Eats in Miami and Milan, and scaled them up to $100k in monthly revenue in <3 months.”
This is effective because you know EXACTLY what I do, and you have very clear and tangible examples with numbers that back up my claim. Further, it doesn’t hurt that Uber is a brand name that most people know, thus further validating me.
By sharing this with a client, they have a really strong idea of what I can do for them, and if their problem aligns with my expertise, they’re going to pay me well to help them out.
What if I’m introduced from someone in my network to a referral?
Getting an introduction from someone who knows your work is a great head start. It helps with the validation, but you still need a good niche. It’s similar to you having a head start in a race: you’re ahead of the pack, but you still have to run the rest and cross the finish line.
Having your niche nailed down in a concise and tangible way is absolutely a crucial step in validating yourself.
But I really am a jack of all trades
I am sure you have done a lot in your career where you have worn many hats, and thus can contribute in a lot of different ways to clients. That being said, we can’t present you in that way to a potential company.
If you go back to my example, my experience at Uber spanned nearly 5 years and 3 business lines where I was in Operations and Launch. I could’ve said that “Tech Operations” was my niche and that would span more of what I can do for a company. It would be more comprehensive. But nobody outside of Uber would have any idea what I’m capable of doing.
So, we need to narrow it down to a tangible output where when you say that one sentence, a client knows exactly what you’re capable of accomplishing for them. Then you can back up that sentence with experiences at companies to further validate yourself.
But won’t that narrow down my set of clients?
I can see how you would think that, but no. In fact, if you go to clients telling them you’re a “smart, Operations wiz, jack of all trades that works across different types of companies” the pool is actually so wide that you’ll appeal to nearly no one, and the only success you’re going to have is within your exact network from people who have worked directly with you.
If you narrow down your niche to figure out what value you add and who benefits the most from that value, then you’ll narrow your list to likely a few hundred companies, and can target from there.
You likely only need 2-3 clients to hit your consulting goals, so narrowing it down to this list will actually help you with targeting, and you’ll still have plenty to choose from.
But if I narrow down my niche, can I still work outside of it?
Of course! The key is to make sure the work is aligned towards and helping you hit your goals. Your consulting goals could be,
- Make X money in Y hours worked
- Work in a certain industry, or type of company
- Expand your knowledge in a certain area
The question you need to ask is, if you accept a gig outside of your niche, is it moving you closer to that goal?
Further, is it something you’re going to enjoy doing?
One of the best parts about consulting is you get to pick your projects, and exactly who you work with. If you’re not excited about working on a project, whether it’s because of the company, stakeholder, or the work itself, then you can unapologetically decline, and move on. You don’t owe anybody anything, and you should prioritize yourself and your goals. If you won’t, who will?
Okay, okay, but now how do I actually hone my niche and present myself? I really struggle to do this
We know. It’s not easy and you’re not alone. We’re here to help. The best way to start thinking about this is to answer the question:
“What is the situation where you start talking to someone at a company and they’re saying to themselves ‘holy s** I’m so happy I started talking to you, this is a game changer for us!’*”
Think about that scenario. We want to differentiate you and help you really stand out. We’re not going for a place where you can just “help.” We’re going for a place where you’re special. Where you’re in the top 1% and they want to pay you great money to solve a big problem for them.
Here we’ll share some examples of niche statements that can guide you. Note what they all have in common:
- They’re incredibly specific
- They have numbers when possible
- They share WHO they help (get rid of the word “company” in your niche)
- They’re 1-2 sentences max
- They paint a clear picture of the value the consultant adds
- As a technical PM, I uncover user insights and leverage them to deliver high impact products that reduce operational costs while improving customer experiences for Series B/C stage companies.
- I write security policies for >3,000 employee pre-IPO businesses that are looking to mature their security organizations*.***
- I launch 2-sided, B2B logistics marketplaces for Seed and Series A start-ups bringing together operations, marketing, and sales.
- I design and launch enterprise growth and sales strategies for Series A through D start-ups and Fortune 500 companies, securing 7-figures and up in new annual revenue.
- I specialize in securing high-impact brand partnerships within the entertainment industry, consistently delivering 1000% ROI for Series B and C start-ups.
- I build high-growth SEO programs to scale organic search visibility and drive qualified traffic and conversions for Fortune 500 companies.
- I’m an expert in launching go-to-market strategies for direct-to-consumer and retail businesses in Canada that offer a physical or digital product to consumers
I help tech professionals refine your consulting niche so you can land 5-figure per month consulting deals.