Forget The Traditional Ways To Discover Your Niche. Look Where Else Your Expertise May Be Hidden
For most people, the starting point in identifying their unique marketable expertise would be to look at their own education or career strong points. Sometimes they go further afield and take on areas of passion or deep interest.
But you may have to look a little beyond your professional or interest strong points. You may have to identify a competitive or “differentiating knowledge tilt”. Again, this tilt needn’t be something spun out of thin air. You can discover it too when you look deeper into yourself.
Many of us think of ourselves as single-dimensional professionals. Whereas, we may have many facets to our knowledge that remain unexploited. We may discover hidden expertise areas and potential knowledge niches if we drill down further than the surface of what we know about ourselves.
At Solohacks Academy, for example, we began with identifying one of our unique knowledge areas – only to find that it exploded into several small nuanced niches as well.
1. See If The Education Or Experience You’ve Acquired Can Be Cleverly Utilized
Most people entering the Knowledge Commerce business may cast a superficial glance at their education, career or professional skills to see if these can be their unique expertise areas. Doing that will only ensure that among many eco-consultants you too are one more. Or among many website designers, you too are one more. Why do what is so obviously what others do with their educational or professional skills?
Look at the professionally-valuable knowledge you may have gained with different eyes. What type of knowledge have you gained? How did you gain this knowledge? The answers to such questions could yield ideas for Knowledge Commerce niches. Here are 3 ways to look at things …
a. Your Education – Or Better Still, Its Mix – Could Be Your Invaluable Expertise
Do you have an enviable education with a high degree in some subject? You can make it your marketable expertise.
But consider this. What if you have a Master’s Degree in Ecology plus a strong extra Certification in, say, Spanish. How much competition would you face from other Spanish-proficient Eco-Experts? Could you not cream the building construction market expanding to Spanish-speaking countries?
One track specialization does have its advantages, for sure. But being a rarity because of your peculiar education mix could be even more awesome.
People can get vertical expertise from good books and other domain experts. But consumers want mixed skills. It’s a world where multi-talentedness creates an unbeatable edge.
b. You May Have Inherited Expertise Or Knowledge That You Can Take Further
It’s possible that you may have inherited some traits or talents as part of your DNA.
In many cultures, there are certain trade skills that run in families. In the olden, golden days, fathers would pass such knowledge to their sons. Today, most modern youngsters venture out into newer professions, dropping their traditional knowledge.
Yet at some time in life, people do feel the pull of the special talent that runs in their blood. Sooner or later, they may find themselves returning to their roots.
See if you are lucky to have a family-derived skill. See also if you have a yen to carry on where your parents left off. There’s now an opportunity to share your knowledge online and make a business of teaching it.
c. Job Experience Gained (Direct Or Lateral) Can Be Marketable Knowledge
Here’s an interesting example I came across in Wikipedia:
Matsushita started developing its automatic home bread-making machine in 1985. An early problem was how to mechanize the dough-kneading secrets of master bakers.
After a period of imitation, Ikuko Tanaka, a software developer, observed something. The baker was not only stretching but also twisting the dough in a particular fashion.
This “twisting stretch” motion was finally incorporated in a prototype. Matsushita added ribs to the inside of their dough cases to hold the dough better as it got churned.
There are so many everyday things people think they know how to achieve. But it’s in the small “critical nuances” that some rare people discover the greatest results. Such nuances are rare, marketable knowledge.
2. The Inner Layers Of Your Psychology Or Personality Could Yield A Knowledge Commerce Niche
There may be many sides to your psychology or personality that you take for granted, or don’t even notice. On closer examination of some of your traits, compulsions or natural behavior you may find hidden gems to convert into your Knowledge Commerce niche.
If you do find something marketable in the depths of your personality, you can be sure it will be a rare niche. No two people are exactly alike when they view their own traits. Here are 3 ways to mine your own inner self …
a. Your “Knowledge” Could Be Explicit – Or It Could Be An Intuitive Skill
Here’s an example of what intuitive knowledge looks like: Helen Gurley Brown, ex-editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, described “her thing”. It was an ability to intuit. She “knew” which articles would work or not work for Cosmopolitan readers.
She seemed to have the knack to pick the right articles that her readers loved. Nobody was as good at that as she was. She goes on to say: “Imagine putting that ability on a resume”.
When you have an intuitive ability, it’s often hard to teach someone how to cultivate the same talent – or so you think. But you can retrace the steps of what you do exactly when you intuit. You can create a methodical process that others can follow.
The secret is that to you it feels like it’s automatic. But you can break down even lightning-quick mental processes into steps. It takes a lot of self-watching and then converting into a replicable process.
Your followers may not get the same great results as you, at first. But over time and repetitive practice, they can get close to your standards.
b. Your Undervalued Psychological Traits Could Become Your Expertise Topic
Susan Cain has a bestselling book called “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”. It’s a fascinating guide on how introversion can also be real power. At least one-third of the successful people we know are introverts.
In her book, Susan Cain says that we all tend to undervalue some personal traits that are in fact not negative ones. We lose a lot of opportunities by doing so.
She also explains that the extrovert culture is sometimes overvalued in business. People could, for instance, cover up a lack of depth and substance with extrovert behavior.
Many of us base our misgivings about our own personalities on wrong assumptions. But if we discover we are doing this, we can teach others how to overcome this kind of self-defeatism too.
c. Your Most Annoying Psychological Compulsions Could Signal Expertise
All expertise doesn’t begin elegantly. An irritating personality compulsion could become your unique expertise area.
I remember a colleague who was an incorrigible fault-finder. She joined our advertising company, where we all worked as copywriters. But she was forever finding spelling mistakes and punctuation errors in the work of the rest of us.
One day, we ran short of quality control personnel. The management drafted her into the role quite by chance. But here’s what happened. She found her sweet spot. Her penchant for correcting mistakes soon made her a legend.
She now owns a prolific quality assurance firm, where her eagle eye misses nothing. She also teaches customers about the good side of “perfectionism”.
3. What You Get Very Intense About Could Become Your Knowledge Commerce Niche
Strong emotions are clear indicators that you have some pent up energy in you that can be channeled into earnings via Knowledge Commerce. Perhaps you feel very passionate about something – or deeply excited or agitated by it. Whenever you find yourself very animated about a topic, you can be sure you’ll never be at a loss for words.
You can write loads of blog posts, ebooks and courses, and still never flake … because you are so into the topic. If you feel a lot of zeal around any subject, examine its potential to become your unique Knowledge Commerce niche. Here are 3 areas where you can look for ideas …
a. Deep Passion In A Topic Can Be Teachable Knowledge If You’re The Guinea-Pig
Sometimes you don’t even need to be a knowledgeable expert to get a great following. You can be a “go-to guy” if you have a passion for a topic that you’ve never tried before. You could teach people how your fumbling experiments can help them.
A man I know had an abiding passion for playing the mandolin. But alas, his job as a factory supervisor never gave him the time to learn to play the mandolin.
When he perchance lost his job, he wanted to try and build his own Knowledge Commerce business. He would have loved to teach mandolin-playing, but he couldn’t teach what he didn’t know himself.
That was when the idea dawned. He called his classes “Follow Me As I Learn The Mandolin”. He made himself the guinea pig. His students had immense fun learning through his mistakes and theirs.
b. Your Pet Peeve About This Imperfect World Could Become Your Topic Of Positive Teaching
In the days before the Internet, the most common space in which to rave and rant about this world (and its people) used to be the “Letters To The Editor” columns of newspapers. My grandfather was an inveterate writer of letters to editors. He hated the way people would drive their vehicles on the road, without any civic sense.
In fact, he wrote so many letters, filled with useful and rare tips and suggestions for what he called “defensive driving” i.e. being defensive about not affecting others. He could have made at least 400 blog posts out of those letters, if he had lived in these times.
Is there a pet peeve you have about something in this world that you hope would change? If you have something that makes you foam at the mouth, you may well have a great niche to exploit via Knowledge Commerce. You know you already have a lot to say on the subject, so it would be a niche you’d love to be in.
Just one caveat. Never spew anger online. Instead, give your pet peeve a positive spin – and show people how to change the world for the better with a little more awareness.
c. The Cause You Support Can Become A Huge Knowledge Commerce Opportunity
What you champion could make you a champion. Try to think of all the social causes that you get excited about – or even worked up or agitated about. If you feel passion for a cause outside of yourself, it’s often very easy to build a community around the idea.
Your authenticity, social responsibility, and energy can galvanize a tribe of followers. You’ll also find people trust others who belong to causes they cherish.
Build an expertise brand by offering knowledge and group activity around your “cause”. Create brainstorming events, membership sites or podcasts with interviews.
Smart cause-marketing is a great idea for solo businesses. Cause Experts seem to be able to keep customer loyalty more than other kinds of experts.
In Summary …
- Forget the traditional ways to discover your niche. Where else is your expertise hidden?
- Look beyond your typical strong points to identify a “differentiating knowledge tilt”.
- See if the education or experience you’ve acquired can be cleverly and non-obviously utilized.
- The inner layers of your psychology or personality could yield a Knowledge Commerce niche.
- What you get very intense about could also become your Knowledge Commerce expertise area.
- Many of us see our knowledge as single-dimensional. But, it may have many unexploited facets.
So What Are Your Thoughts? Do Share!
This post is incomplete without your input. The community of Knowledge Commerce solopreneurs would feel galvanized to hear from you … so do share your thoughts on this topic with us, in the comments field below this post.
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