FINDING YOUR NICHE
I used to do “individual, couples, and family counseling” but now I “help angry kids, frustrated parents, and distant couples…and just about everyone else.” Finding a niche is one of the most important things for a counselor to establish. It helps them:
- Determine their market, who is good for them to see and who is not a fit
- It helps them stand out from a busy crowd of professionals
- It gives the client and yourself focus
- It helps you to increase your pricing, since you are the expert in an area
Finding a practice’s niche is a lot like determining what career to pursue in high school. The luckier ones know right away, while others eliminate options as they go. If you are unsure of what a niche market is or how to determine your niche, here are some tips to get you started.
What is a niche market?
A niche market is the specific group you offer services to. This can be clients of a certain age, lifestyle, religion, or any other characteristic you may specialize in.
Why should counselors have a niche market?
Niche marketing is significant to any small business. Small businesses cannot produce enough product or offer enough services for an entire market, but niche markets allow small businesses to focus on a group size they can manage. For counselors, this means providing the greatest quality of care to the greatest amount of clients they can help without burning out.
Example niche markets in counseling include helping clients with depression or relationship issues, those going through divorce or problems coping with career changes, sexuality, personality disorders, recent diagnoses, etc.
Determining Your Niche
Examine Your Interests
Your niche should be something you are passionate about.
What did you enjoy studying in school? What kinds of articles or studies do you read in your spare time? Are there certain appointments you look forward to more than others? Are you a member of any organizations? Do you have personal experience with an issue?
Think about your answers and see if there are any common denominators.
Listen to this podcast for more information on unique niche markets.
Analyze Your Area
Look at other counselors’ profiles on sites like Psychology Today.
Are there any holes in the market? Do you specialize in something that other counselors aren’t offering? Are there any groups of clients that may have trouble finding a counselor?
You will be more likely to attract clients if you stand out from other counselors in your area. Don’t be afraid to take a class or learn about new counseling methods. For example, information on becoming an Autism expert can be found here.
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