Guest post #1: 5 reasons why heart-led, passionate people resist niching

Over the years, I’ve come to see how vital this topic of niching is to all aspects of marketing. And how much resistance there is to it. So, I decided to create my Niching for Hippies six week virtual coaching program to address it. And, in ramping up for it, I asked my dear colleague and friend from the UK, Corinna Gordon-Barnes, if she might share some of her wisdom on niching. She agreed and sent me three excellent guest posts. This first one, reveals the five most common reasons that people try to avoid dealing with it.

Guest post #1: 5 reasons why heart-led, passionate people resist niching
by Corrina Gordon-Barnes of

Resistance to defining a niche is normal. If you feel instinctively resistant to the idea, then you’re probably in the majority of the passion-led business-building population.

Here are 5 reasons why:

#1 – Terms like niche and target market can sound clinical and self-serving

These are the kind of words the big corporations and advertising executives use. They might appear manipulative, as if your goal is to get inside people’s heads so you can fool them into thinking they need what you have.

As someone who is guided by passion and a desire to make a difference, that obviously won’t sit well with you. It will jar with your values.

#2 – You want to help everyone

You want to stay open, inclusive and available. You don’t want anyone to feel left out. It’s like you’re throwing a fabulous party and you don’t want anyone to feel they’re not invited. You don’t want to be elitist.

#3 – You value diversity

You love the idiosyncrasies of people, you enjoy the uniqueness of the individual – and so you’re hesitant to pigeonhole or label human beings and make them fit in nice tidy boxes. It may also feel like your ideal clients only have a few random things in common and that there’s no clear thread that unites this eclectic group of people.

#4 – You’re anxious about narrowing

You fear that, by committing to a specific group of people, you’re narrowing your reach, restricting your possible impact and also your possible income. You might feel you’re putting a limit on your opportunities and that you’re closing doors, burning bridges. Especially in the early days of business, you might worry that you’ll commit in one direction, only to discover another direction  would have been better.

It takes bravery to plant a flag in the ground and say, “This is what I do, this is who I work with” because that’s about commitment. It’s about declaring that you have a specific and definable expertise. When you take a stand for a particular group, then you’re suddenly visible, you’re in the spotlight, and that can feel scary.

#5 – You simply don’t know who your niche is

You don’t know where you fit in the marketplace, you don’t yet know the people who would most benefit from your passion and skills. This can be deeply frustrating. You might understand the value of niching and want to do it, but how can you if you don’t know the right niche for you?

Which of these five reasons sound familiar?

What other reasons do you have for not declaring a niche?

Worth overcoming

Reluctance to niche is normal but it’s worth tackling because a niche makes business so much easier, more fun and you can enjoy far deeper impact. It’s much easier to earn a consistent income when you have a niche.

In the next post, we’ll be exploring Why it’s worth overcoming resistance to niche

Extract from the book “Turn Your Passion To Profit: a step-by-step guide to getting your business off the ground” by Corrina Gordon-Barnes. Available from



Want Help? If you’d like some more direct guidance and hand holding on figuring out your niche then go and check out my Niching for Hippies coaching program


About Tad

  • Sue

    I bounced around all five of these for years. Especially #s 3 and 4 — I called myself an intentional generalist. As I’m unfolding my business 2.0, I’m finding just how much fear underlies that position. The fear that if I don’t take all the work I can get I won’t have enough.

    This year of transition had regularly brought me back up against this resistance as I begin the reveal of mysel with flag planted.

    Thanks for doing this!

    Love and light,

  • hey you. thanks so sharing. yes. the fear we won’t have enough. i totally get it. what direction is it moving do you think?

  • Julie

    Great topic! Thanks Corrina…and Tad! 

    I can totally identify with the resistance to ‘niching’ myself and my skills as there are so many things I love to do – and I believe I am pretty good at – and so I continue to feel a HUGE resistance to just being viewed as an ‘expert’ in just one area

    For instance, when I receive positive feedback for my work – initially it feels great! Then the little voice appears from no-where and I find myself saying, ‘well actually, did you know that I also love to write and enjoyed amazing success in my short time as a full time blogger…or did you know that I am also passionate about creating beautiful spaces and have worked on a psycho-energetic level with clients to create their perfect space for many years…or did you know that I love to cook and one of my greatest pleasures is to nurture others through the sharing of great food…and so the list goes on!

    And I love doing it all :-) 

    Okay…realistically I cannot become an absolute master by flitting from one area to another due the the lack of focus (and time). However, I am still very reluctant to stand up and say, ‘this is what I am about’…as I am ‘about’ all of these things. 

    Each skill, talent and passion is a reflection of who I am and each one is very precious to me.

    In many ways, I am blessed to be in a position to combine many of these skills in my work organising bespoke inspirational events and retreats in gorgeous locations. As I wrote that line, I realised that maybe I’ve just answered my own question and that actually my work is a pretty good reflection of who I am!

    Thanks for encouraging the insights guys! Keep up the great work.

    Much love,
    Juls xxx

  • Great subject…there is of course a value in choosing a niche but also a danger as well. In the US there is a surplus of medical specialists who deal with all sorts of unique niches…childhood dermatology, ear nose and throat, gerontological cancer, burn reconstruction et al.

    This is great and we need those but in the US there is a serious lack or regular old GPs. This is part of the healthcare crisis in our country. People have fewer options of people who can just take care of them day to day and have to wait until it gets worse (and pay more) for a specialist.

    People choose medical niches because you can make more money, work less, have greater prestige et al…but at a cost to the larger group.

    While I am not a doctor I do work to take care of people. My resistance to niching is that people need general care and the succumbing to the larger trend doesn’t help the industry.

    We need specialists and we need generalists as well. Each looks at the events at hand very differently.


  • i think what you’ve said is very important matt. i’ll write about this in a blog post in the future. in a way, i think that being a generalist is it’s own kind of niche.

  • Absolutely it is really hard to be a true generalist…being a doctor is a type of niche. If you want to chat about this larger trend for hyper niching and the pernicious effect has on individuals and culture in general…I would totally be up for it.

  •  sure – send me your email and i’ll drop you a line when i get to it – tad (at) marketingforhippies (dot) com