July 4, 2013

Choosing a specialty can be overwhelming. You’ve probably heard some marketing experts say that everyone needs to have a niche, while others vehemently oppose the idea.

The most common concern I hear is that it’s too hard to pick. “But Camille, I can’t possibly narrow it down. I want to work with all the people. EVERYone needs me. Desperately.” Okay, that might be slightly exaggerated. And yes, you’re right. Most people probably do need you. But you don’t need everyone. I promise.

Another issue people have: narrowing their interest to one topic.

Yet another issue: Getting bogged down in layering marketing on top of all this. You start to wonder what clients would want, rather than what you would want to do. Maybe you already chose a specialty, but then second guessed yourself. What if not enough people are interested in this? Maybe xxx is a better niche. Maybe I should go broader.

Guess what? Fear is at the root of each of these concerns.

It’s normal to fear limiting your potential client pool. Not having enough clients is a scary thought. It’s also normal to think that you don’t know enough about a topic to specialize in it. (Stay tuned for a whole blog post on this topic soon.) Another normal fear? Limiting your work in the world. If you narrow your focus, how can you help the most people?

It’s time to let go of all that and give it a try. Specializing is one of the most useful tools to grow your practice.

For one thing, it gives clients a reason to choose you over someone else and other practitioners a clear reason to refer to you. Here’s an example: I have curly hair. When I want a haircut, I’d prefer to go to someone who has lots of experience cutting curly hair or – better yet- someone who has curly hair herself. I’ll take a hairdresser who’s generally excellent, but when presented with a choice between someone who’s generically good and someone who specializes in curly hair, I’m making the appointment with the curly hair lady, for sure. See how that works?

The best news is that specializing does not necessarily limit your practice. People will be drawn to you, regardless of your particular specialty. Even though 100% of my marketing was geared towards women’s health, pregnancy & fertility, at least 25% -50% of my clients at any given time were not in my target demographic. They were not put off by my specialty; they wanted to work with me anyway.  I bet you’ll find the same thing. Word will spread when people find out how awesome you are. First, though, you need to get people in the door.

Sound good? Let’s do it. Stay tuned for a blog post on HOW to choose a specialty in the very near future.

Need a teensy bit more guidance? Consider my business kick starter course, where you’ll get personalized feedback and all the help you need.

About Camille Freeman, LDN, RH (she/her)

Hi there! I'm a clinical herbalist and licensed nutritionist specializing in fertility and menstrual health. I run the Monday Mentoring community of practice and also offer continuing education programs for highly-trained herbalists and nutritionists (Check out this year's Deep Dive!). I'm also a professor in the Department of Nutrition at the Maryland University of Integrative Health, where I teach physiology, pathophysiology, and mindful eating.

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