Confessions of a Niche Resister

January 18, 2011

Ever since I created my own business in 2009, I have been heavily advised to identify my niche and to focus on a specialty in contrast to simply putting myself out to the universe as a “Business, Leadership and Personal Coach”.  Wasn’t the entire point of starting my own business to be able to do what I wanted to do and not have to feel as though I was boxed in to one particular role or area of expertise?  Being the headstrong woman I am, I decided I would buck the odds and be able to be everything to all people and do a dazzling job at that for every client.   Sound familiar to any other service based entrepreneurs out there? Well, I wanted to come clean in a blog and admit to myself and the entire LBC blog reading universe that the answer is that we were all correct, to a certain degree.  My hope is that reading this small confessional will be able to shed some light for others who struggle with this same dilemma.

The truth is is that we all must heed our own intuition about what is best for ourselves but at the same time be sure to keep our ears and minds open to the contrasting guidance from our wise mentors.  It was my opinion, that by maintaining my general business title and mission I would get a vast amount of exposure and experience in supporting a myriad of clients and scenarios.  Oh and did I get, see, hear and do it all! Of course, holding a Director role for the largest group of female entrepreneurs in the world certainly funneled a larger than average amount of aspiring female entrepreneurs my way, but who knew how vast even that particular population could be?   The down side to all of this tremendous diversity is that I was not able to devote the attention to truly honing a specialty because I was constantly getting up to speed on the needs of my tremendously undifferentiated clientele.   Also, colleagues never have a clear sense of the type of clients you work best with and so there are many lost opportunities in getting the ‘right’ type of client referred your way.  Finally, you end up not feeling very satisfied with the work that you are providing because everything is so watered down and does not come from a place of grounded expertise.

Since stepping away from that Director role, I have quickly reached a sweet place of crystal clear clarity ( of course with the help of my treasured mentor Cindy Tortorici) and am finally ready to come out of the ‘Generalist’ closet and pronounce myself as a specialist with a true niche: (Cue the flying doves and the bells tinkering).

“Katie C. Kelley is a Leadership Coach with Legacy Builder Coaching, LLC.  Katie specializes in igniting and emboldening women in business to become more effective and inspired leaders.  Influenced by her experience in psychotherapy and business, Katie’s approach combines an innate understanding of her clients’ needs with fresh perspective on risk-taking.”

Since settling into this stated specialty, I have to admit nothing has ever felt more right for me professionally, which now spans over 16 years.  Now I am clear and the rest of the world will soon be clear on what I do best and will understand more succinctly which clients to send to me and how I will help them attain their goals.  The truth is is that this niche is merely a recognition of the work that I do when I am at my best and that which brings me the most joy and success.  And I hope my clients would agree!

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Your 2011 Recipe For Your Best Year Yet

January 4, 2011

Ingredients:

  • VISION: “the specific ultimate destination that is ‘YOUR BEST YEAR YET’  that will serve as your torch along your journey when in need of inspiration/re-grouping etc.
  • DRIVE: “burning desires yet unmet & the knowledge that there is more you could be doing and being for yourself, others and the world”
  • SWAGGER: “the ability to pull off feats that at first glance might seem insurmountable, willing to take the risk of faking it until you really make it, an innate belief in yourself that you can and will achieve _______”
  • DILIGENCE: “the hard work, patience and humility that will be required along the way to achieving _______”
  • COMMUNITY: “accountability partners, a coach, girlfriends, boyfriends-whomever will provide consistent feedback, encouragement and honest ‘truth telling’ for you along your journey.”

Directions:

1) Kindly write down who you want to become in 2011. Be sure to understand why this is so important to you (critical piece).  Also, when I say ‘become’, I am asking you to tell yourself what it is you want to achieve, attain, transform in yourself, in your work/personal life, in your relationships, etc.

2) Next, write down a list of what being that person will mean as far as what you want to accomplish.  Meaning: how will you know when you have become that person?

3) Begin to sketch out a route from where you stand TODAY to where you will be on DECEMBER 31st, 2011. Thoughtfully include plans for the guaranteed potholes, dead-ends, etc (remember: if it was easy, you’d be there already).

4) Assess what type of tools, knowledge, resources you will need for this journey from the very practical and concrete to the very abstract and ubiquitous.

5) Identify which 10 key people in your life might best be able to help you attain/find/master the items you listed in #9. Give some forethought into how you might be of service to them (personally or professionally) and set up a mutually rewarding partnership.

6) Plug all of Steps 1-5 into a written form that works for you (business plan, detailed calendar, narrative, journal).

7) Chunk #6 down to monthly, weekly (and possibly even daily) goals/steps that you record in the calendar form that you use daily.

8) Identify an accountability partner who has similarly ambitious plans for their 2011 and schedule consistent but brief phone calls to report your progress.

9) Do not forget to *CELEBRATE/REWARD* yourself along the way for all of your outstanding achievements.

GO YOU!!!

Chef’s Note: Please keep me in the loop along your journey to completing this recipe of your lessons learned, etc.