The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
1. Identify the Top Question You Answer
People come to you to address certain kinds of problems. What do they ask about over and over again? What does the person asking look like in terms of demographics? What in your answer is unique? Your audience may be diverse, but there is probably a specific subset of people that is frequently asking a specific question. If you focus on this group and question, you stand out in your niche. – Alan Carniol, Interview Success Formula
2. Do a SWOT Analysis
Find out your strength, weaknesses, the opportunities in your niche, and any probable threats. Utilize your strengths. Keep your weak points in mind and find ways to improve them, but don’t overthink. Finally, know which opportunities to pick and which to ignore. Focus on staying as humane as possible, so that your brand becomes a reflection of your passion and personal beliefs. – Pratham Mittal, Outgrow
3. Use Content to Your Advantage
The best thing about creating content is that you can guide and lead the conversation. Create content and use it to showcase the unique aspects of your brand. Do so in a way that discusses your personal story, trends that affect your niche industry and speaks to the audience you want to speak to. This will help you sharpen and define what it is that makes your brand different. – John Hall, Influence & Co.
4. Obsess Over Learning and Become a Subject-Matter Expert
The key to honing your niche is to obsess about learning (self-educating) everything you can about your particular area of interest. In short, develop expertise. Personal brand comes from you standing out from others who don’t know as much as you do about something. Absorb everything you can and once you develop enough confidence, share your insights as a public speaker and writer. – Kristopher Jones, LSEO.com
5. Build on Your Strengths
Finding a niche is as hard as it is simple. Finding what you are good at and building a clientele once you’ve honed in on that niche is the same as building a business. Use niche keywords when writing online, make sure your social media posts are as niche and tailored to your expertise as possible, and just own it! – Alexis Levine, Savvy Media
6. Let Your Story Be Your Guide
Everyone has a unique story to tell, and my business is based on my story and how my products brought me into another level in life. Let your story be your guide in honing your business’ niche. It will always be unique and inspiring, because people appreciate vulnerability all the time. – Daisy Jing, Banish
7. Decide What You Are Passionate About
You’ve got to decide what you are passionate about — and your passion ultimately drives what your personal brand looks like. You’ve got to ask yourself, “What do I want to be known for?” What you want to be known for should be what you’re passionate about, otherwise at some point there will be such a disconnect you will grow tired of it and not want to put energy into it. – Adam Witty, Advantage Media Group
8. Identify the Needs and Challenges of Your Ideal Customer
What keeps your ideal customer up at night? What blogs, publications or influencers do they follow and digest? What are three to five roadblocks preventing them from getting where they want to go? What skills do I have that can drive the quickest and most powerful results in regards to those roadblocks? Focus on that, and then test, test, test your market. Revise, adjust, pivot and go deep. – Alexander Mendeluk, The Disruptive
9. Create a Venn Diagram
A Venn diagram can help you determine what is unique about your personal brand. The three circles should contain your interests and passion, industry needs, and what has the most social impact. Where the three circles meet in the center is your niche. You want your niche to be as targeted as possible, and it needs to satisfy all three areas of the circles. – Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now
10. Engage With People
You can’t build a brand in a vacuum. A successful personal brand is founded on an authentic identity, but shaped by your interactions with users, customers and influencers in your niche. Take the time to start conversations and contribute to the community around your niche on social media, at conferences, and by creating valuable content that spurs further conversation. – Vik Patel, Future Hosting
11. Analyze Your Competition
The first thing you should do is analyze your competition and identify “what you offer that your competition doesn’t.” After doing so, use this analysis to your advantage, and market your personal brand from that angle. There can be many brands in your niche, but there is only “one” of you. It’s the thing that will define you and make you unique. – Patrick Barnhill, Specialist ID, Inc.
12. Stick With What You Do Best
The best way to hone a niche is to pick something and stick with it. Too many businesses try to do it all so they can appeal to everyone, but sometimes it’s best to keep it simple. When you stick to your niche and do it well, people take notice. It opens doors for you to become the expert in that space and will set you apart from your competition. – Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR
13. Find Your Voice
Creating content — blog articles, podcasts, video — is great for self-promotion, but it’s also a process of self-discovery. It helps to hone a voice that appeals to an audience while remaining authentically yours. Listen to your audience and take their feedback seriously: It’ll reveal how you can deploy your newly discovered voice effectively to establish a personal brand that resonates. – Justin Blanchard, ServerMania Inc.
14. Don’t Be Afraid to Polarize
Being completely self-aware and showing yourself fully might make you lose some followers, but you’ll be able to reflect your uniqueness in your personal brand and will help you identify your real niche: The audience that truly relates to you. Be very specific: Who do you want to serve, how can you serve them, and how will you show yourself to them? This will create rapport and lasting brand loyalty. – Ajit Nawalkha, Mindvalley
15. Be Yourself
There is no one out there like you, but you. To paraphrase Mr. Rogers — knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest version of ourselves. Consistently “be you,” in person and online, and you’ll find your personal brand builds itself. – Tim Chaves, ZipBooks