When you’re starting out in private practice, the thought of choosing a counselling niche can feel overwhelming.
- What niche to choose?
- What if you get it wrong?
- Will it mean you’ll miss out on clients who aren’t in your niche?
There’s also that thought:
“I don’t want to niche – I want to work with a variety of clients. I want more experience before I decide what my niche is“
And yet you read all the advice about how niching can help you produce more targeted advertising (for example, my blog on ticking all the boxes) and you’re left feeling confused. This means you stop dead because you’ve no idea what to say in your counselling profile or on your website.
My Secret About Choosing a Counselling Niche
Let me tell you a secret.
When I started out in counselling private practice, I didn’t have a niche. I didn’t even know what a niche was.
But I quickly built my business up and had a full practice within six months.
So how did I do it?
As my practice developed, I realised I was attracting a certain type of client. They were coming with the same sort of problems. And I knew how to help them.
One of my mentors says:
You don’t find your niche. Your niche finds you (Janet Murray)
So if the thought of finding your niche is getting in the way of you developing your private practice, I’m here to tell you to stop overthinking. It’s time to get that counselling profile or website written with what you already know.
When I started out, I held two things in mind:
- The clients with whom I’d felt a real sense of connection
- How I’d felt before I had therapy
I spoke to those people in my advertising and the results I generated were people phoning me up and saying:
“I feel like you’re talking just to me”
These referrals were people who worked on deep set issues over a prolonged period. Long term clients who helped sustain my business.
So don’t be scared if you don’t know what your niche is yet. Name the feelings that people are experiencing and show them that counselling can make a difference.
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Questions for Choosing a Niche
One of the first things I do when mentoring counsellors is help them value their wisdom and experience and this guides them in choosing where to focus their marketing. The following questions may help you too.
- In your training and recent experience, who have you worked well with?
- What underlying problems did they have?
- Can you see any patterns emerging, any similarities between clients?
- What sort of feelings did they express?
- How did counselling help them? What difference did it make?
- Think about yourself. How did you feel before you started counselling?
- What sort of problems did you have?
- What was your life like?
- How did counselling make a difference to you? How did it change you?
- If you were a client looking for counselling now, which of the feelings you have listed resonate? Which of the results would you look for?
Your answers will form the basis of your advertising. Remember to avoid that mistake of talking about yourself and your qualifications – talk about what your clients need (see my blog on writing your counselling profile)
Know your niche
My tagline is
Find your purpose, your voice and your clients
When you work out who it is you work well with, you’ve found your purpose. You’re able to speak to them because you really get it. And because you really get it, and you’re able to talk about it, you find your clients.
My niche is helping counsellors to get clients. I’m really able to help you know who it is you work well with and to have the confidence to communicate with them.
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