Discovering your niche

As a consultant, it’s sometimes tempting to try to be all things to all people. A prospective client contacts you and asks if you can do "X". You’ve done X before, but only a few times and it isn’t really what you excel at doing. However, it’s hard to turn down a new client and you could use the money. So you decide to take the contract.

The next week, another client calls. Could you do "Y"? You’ve only got a vague idea of what you’re doing, but you could use the money. You take the job.

A week goes by, and you get an email from an old contact. Can you do Z? Sure thing. You could use the money.

By the end of the month, you’re spending all your energy trying to master X, Y and Z. You’ve barely had time to do the work in which you really specialize. You’re overwhelmed, strapped for time and barely able to get the work done, let alone work.

What went wrong? You spread yourself too thin by trying to tackle more than one niche at a time. As a consultant, you need to figure out what you do best and stake your claim in that area. As your business grows, you can move into related areas, if it makes sense. But don’t try to do everything at once.

Not sure what you should focus on? Check out my Discover Your Inner Consultant guide or try doing a skills inventory.