Entrepreneurs, educators, change-makers, and thought-leaders: The danger of picking your niche audience too soon
I’m a former plastic surgeon. I left my practice in 2003, disgruntled with the overall state of healthcare—the legal, political, and business climate.
In 2005, I started my coaching practice, working with service-dedicated entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. In 73 days, I created a six-figure annualized revenue stream, and I’ve sustained it and grown it ever since. I’ve had clients best my record (70 days) or at least come close (99–226 days).
I’m writing this not to brag, but to set the context for what I’m about to say about picking your niche.
I’ve learned that just because I know a lot about something—for example, being a physician and surgeon—doesn’t mean that’s what I should focus on. For instance, I know a lot about cosmetic surgery, but I have no interest in writing about it. Or even advising about it.
Now, if you’re excited about writing on specific topics, then, by all means, follow your passion.
But consider channeling your skills as a writer and educator into fields that may or may not have an obvious correlation with your past experiences and training. In the end, you may still end up writing for the very audience you are considering now. And if you do, it will be with greater confidence and conviction.
Write and speak about subjects that you are naturally excited about.
Pick ONE area and test it out. That’s the only way to learn: by experience.
As an example, when I first started practicing plastic surgery, I was trained to operate literally from head to toe. So on any given operating room day, I’d do surgery, say, on someone’s head; then, for the next patient, something on their chest or back; then I operated on the next patient’s hand, and then I’d end the day with something on a lower extremity.
Over time, I realized I hated doing nose jobs. I quit doing that. Then, a couple of years later, I realized I was tired of getting up in the middle of the night for people who had cut off their fingers. I quit doing emergency hand surgery. Then I finally figured out that I was sick and tired of dealing with facial fractures at 3 AM. So I gladly gave those up. But tummy tucks—I was totally excited to do those!
My point is, I learned from experience what I liked, and my preferences changed over time as I gained maturity and experience.
I encourage you to do the same, in the roles you play as an entrepreneur, educator, change-maker, and/or thought-leader. Go out and explore working with different audiences. Experience what comes to you readily, what sparks your creativity.
Have fun with your exploration; you don’t have to hit a grand slam in your first at-bat.