Is your side hustle idea too niche?
What Is A Niche Business
Let’s talk about what is considered to be a niche business. According to our good friends at Shopify, A niche market is a segment of a larger market that can be defined by its own unique needs, preferences, or identity that makes it different from the market at large. In this episode, we will be discussing if your side hustle business idea is too niche or not.
And I like to define a niche business as a unique business model with a specific buyer, looking to accomplish specific goals. Here are some examples. My friend Kaitlyn Reek was on episode 9 of Side Checks. Kaitlyn runs an in-home bakery but also has an online course where she teaches fellow bakers how to start their in-home bakery business.
Another example of a niche business is an Instagram crush of mine, Optimize Your Flo By Berri. Berri teaches menstrual cycle syncing for women looking to increase their productivity and has better periods. And even though her audience is arguable, half of the planet. Berri focuses on structuring her resources towards entrepreneurs, homemakers, and working young professionals.
The Pros and Cons of A Niche Side Hustle
Niche businesses have so much to offer and can really get our creative juices flowing. In this episode, I’m going to walk you through what a niche business really is. The pros and the cons of a niche business. Then I’m going to give you a 3-question, simple checklist for determining if your side hustle idea is too niche.
When you create a niche business, you have the potential to serve a specific audience really well.
You are likely to solve a specific problem which means the buying decision of your customers will be easier.
When you have a niche business, your customers don’t need to be educated or convinced as much (or at all) that they are in the right place.
You are more easily established as the subject matter expert because you aren’t positioning yourself as a jack of all trades but an expert inside your niche. This can help build trust and authority.
And when you have a niche business, you likely do something specific and creative that you enjoy.
The first is, when you have a niche business, your audience is likely to be smaller. Your product or service is not here to serve everyone.
Growing and expanding your business may be limited depending on your business type
And it’s harder to pivot your business after you’ve niched down.
Determining If Your Side Hustle Idea Is Too Niche
When your business is too niche, you run the risk of not selling enough and your business not succeeding. I’ve seen this done a couple of times when entrepreneurs get really excited over a very unique product or service.
We want to ensure that our niche idea is a viable business model and one that won’t leave us creating more effort for less return. Let’s walk through a checklist for determining if your business idea is too niche.
- Is there an existing audience?
- Do you have competition?
- Can you sustain the niche?
Follow along as I walk you through these questions and how to apply them to your business.
01. Is There An Existing Audience?
First, ask yourself “is there enough of an existing audience for your business? Or can you create one?”
In order to sell a supply, there first must be a demand. Are people currently looking for your product or service? Or are they looking for solutions to problems centered around what your business does? If there is already a demand for what you want to offer, you’re in great shape.
Remember niche businesses refer to unique and creative segments within an existing industry. They are not centered around exclusivity.
If there isn’t a clear demand for what you want to offer, you can always ask yourself a follow-up question “can I create a demand?” Now, this isn’t something I would recommend right out of the gate.
It’s always easier to start a business where your audience knows they need your services and you don’t need to spend as much time educating them on why. However, I also don’t think it’s a game changer if you can create demand effectively with minimum effort.
02. Do You Have Competition?
The second question on this checklist that you want to ask yourself is, “is there zero competition?”
Despite how it sounds, it’s not always a good thing to have zero competition. And there’s a few reasons for this. When you have zero competition and you’re the only business offering your product or service, a buyer isn’t seeing proof of concept of validation through other businesses doing the same.
I know this sounds backward, but having competition can be a good thing. It paints a picture of credibility in our business idea if more than one person is doing it. Having competition also means the industry is growing, is competitive, and has proof of concept that the offer is in demand if more than one person can do it.
And I know this may be down the road for some listening, but I like to think big picture when creating a new business. In the future, if you want to sell a business, a lot of times your business actually needs to be compared to competitors to establish worth. Just some food for thought!
If your business idea has zero competitors it may be too niche.
03. Can You Sustain The Niche?
The third question for determining if your side hustle is too niche is “can you sustain this?”
A lot of times when we have a niche business, it means that the customer return rate may be smaller than it would be if our business was more broad, serving a larger scope of people.
So for example, if our niche business idea was to sell birthday dog biscuits, well our pool of buyers is still large enough to see regular orders. However we have to consider that our buyers will be purchasing a product likely one a year. This may be perfectly fine, depending on how many orders we sell on a regular basis.
I think when this becomes too niche would be when our dog treat business only created birthday dog cookies for bernese mountain dogs. Suddenly our audience size is drastically cut. And even though our product may be perfect for some, we run a very high risk of not being able to sustain business with the potential decrease in total orders.
What To Do If Your Business Is Too Niche
If going through this checklist, you’re concerned that your business idea is too niche, there are a few things you can do.
The first is, see how you can broaden the scope of your audience. This can be through tweaking your offer, making it appealing to a niche audience, but one slightly larger.
Ask yourself if your offer itself is niche. You may be doubling down on the unique factor and creating something too specific.
Lastly, instead of broadening your product, maybe you want to dig deeper into this very specific segment of people to see if there is something else in demand that you could offer. If this pairs well with your existing offer, you can likely increase sales by increasing your product breadth.
And of course, if you ever want to customize this further and really dive into creating the perfect balance of a niche side hustle, you can also book a 1-hour coaching call with me. This is something we can dive deep into, put real strategy around, and send you off with a game plan for success.