Tour Stop #2: Winnipeg (Day Two)

What. A. Day.

My day started off with a massage. I’ve decided this is a great way to start ones day.

After that, I grabbed lunch with my friend Amber at the legendary Mondragon Cafe. Says there website . . .

Mondragon is a political bookstore and vegan restaurant located in Winnipeg’s historic exchange district. The word Mondragon comes from the Euskadi (Basque) town of the same name meaning “Dragon Mountain” in English. Located in Northern Spain, Mondragon or Arrasate in the Basque language, is known for its extensive network of workers’ cooperatives, and has been the subject of numerous books and articles.

Inspired by this and many other examples of alternative economics and workplace democracy, our bookstore and coffeehouse is organized as a workers collective. We have no manager, and all worker members, regardless of starting skill or seniority, earn the same rate of pay. We call ours a “participatory” workplace, after the participatory economic model developed by co-authors Robin Hahnel and Michael Albert, and we feel that this structure is consistent with libertarian socialist principles.

Amber is a realtor and getting into the focus on ‘green real estate’. She’d been at my workshop on Thursday night and we got to talking about this whole niche thing.

As we spoke she tossed out that she was thinking of focusing on ‘single women in Winnipeg’.

“I would focus on that group instead of making ‘green real estate’ your thing. ‘Green real estate’ is how you do what you do but it’s not who you’re trying to reach. But ‘single women in Winnipeg’ is a pretty clear group – with lots of subgroups obviously – but it’s a great start. It meets my criteria for a niche market – a community of people with a shared set of needs and experiences. There’s so much you could do with it.”

As we munched on our food (I got their Dragon Bowl which was alright and she got their Burrito) we explored things you could do with that kind of group to become a hub for them. You could . . .

  • host a shopping day – rent a bus and show women all the places to shop to get amazing things for their homes at a bargain and meet shop owners
  • host a series of fun self defense classes for single women
  • negotiate a wicked deal with a gym or yoga studio for your clients
  • host relationship/dating workshops
  • host workshops on ‘how to make your home safe’ (since single women are more concerned about this than single men)
  • host a ‘how to green your home’ workshop. My sense was that women are more likely to care about these issues.
  • host a workshop with a local feng shui expert – or get your clients a ‘free consult’ with one as part of the package in working with you.

And so many more things.

It’s what I always find – once we find a niche – there’s an endless stream of ideas.

After lunch, I wandered down to Hollow Reed to receive a consultation from Chad (he’s amazing FYI – book a session if you can).

And then my old friend from Edmonton, Jackie Avent, and I went to the Winnipeg Green Drinks. This was exciting for me because I help to host the Edmonton Green Drinks through e-sage. They host it at this place called the Lo Pub – which is a vegan, local food pub. Pub food – but local and vegan. Very cool. Sadly I couldn’t stay long because I was hosting my second workshop at Hollow Reed that night.

And it was such a great workshop! Again – an amazing group of folks (pictured on the right). The folks who ran The Aquarian (a spiritually and politically progressive newspaper) were there. It’s an amazing thing – it’s already been going for twenty years – they were so ahead of their time. Other folks were into local food, performing arts, yoga, furniture business. A real motley crew.

I invited Beth Martens to sit on the hot seat that night (something I’ve only just started doing with my workshops and I really like it).

I asked her which target market she wanted to jam on.

People who have someone in their life who is struggling with a serious illness like cancer.”

And are you wanting to help the person with cancer or the person who’s helping them?

Both, in a way. I’m a cancer survivor myself, so this is close to my heart.

Okay. Sometimes that can be a good strategy. Sometimes people won’t reach out for help themselves and you need to reach out to the people most affected by them. Instead of trying to sell bride’s a ‘stress relief’ CD – sell it to the bridesmaids. You know?

I pointed out how incredibly important empathy is in marketing – the ability to speak to people where they’re at vs. where we wish they would be. I invited the group to speak to the typical experience of a caregiver. “What’s it like to be them?” I asked.

The answers came: stressful. exhausting. overwhelming. you can begin to resent the person you love. hopeless – you want to help them more but don’t know how to.

And if you could wave your magic wand – what result would you most want them to have?

The answers: peace, a sense of control, feeling connected – not so isolated, understood, a sense of direction and hope, a sense of being okay no matter what happened.

I asked the group what kinds of offers she could come up with for this kind of group. And they delivered a bunch of great ideas:

  • a spa day or weekend for the caregiver where they could be pampered and connect with other caregivers who were in a similar boat and not feel so alone.
  • a workshop on how to deal the stress
  • a communication workshop so they can relate to these people better

And what would the hubs be? Where would you find these people?

  • support groups for specific diseases
  • other holistic practitioners
  • doctors

So Beth,” I said. “Let’s pretend that you were to focus only on this group – and not saying you should – but can you see how this would develop a reputation and help word of mouth? Imagine it, a practitioner is talking with a client and the client is going off about how hard it is to be supporting his wife. And they say, ‘Oh! You need to talk with Beth Martens. She specializes in this.’

This is why having a specialization is one of the top ten things a practitioner needs to become a trusted advisor.

But check out my workshop in a single picture – this is what my whiteboard looks like at the end of my workshop. Pretty much everything I cover in my full weekend The Radical Business Intensive is captured here.

Tomorrow we’re having a secret party! I’ll tell you all about it soon.


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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

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