Susan Friedmann

Written by Susan A. Friedmann, CSP, TheNichePreneur Coach, Lake Placid, NY, internationally recognized expert working with service professionals to increase their niche marketing  potential. Author: "Riches in Niches: How to Make it BIG in a small Market" and "Meeting & Event Planning for Dummies."

Susan Friedmann has written 18 articles for SB Informer.
View all articles by Susan Friedmann...

Riches in Niches: Why I Became A Nichepreneur


Susan Friedmann

October 08, 2007

2.0/5.0 (1 votes total)

It's safe to say that I was good at my job. Actually, very good at my job.  I loved working in public relations, and invested time, energy and money into my career.  It showed, too -- my clients were pleased, my supervisors was pleased, and I was pleased with the work I did.
For ten years, that was enough.  I spent a decade in the industry -- ten years that gave me all kinds of skills, valuable industry insights, heaps of practical experience, and a vast network of contacts. 
How much of this helped when the economy took a downturn and my employers were forced to downsize?  None.  Not one little teeny-weeny bit.  I was out on the street with many of my contemporaries.
Believe it or not, the same thing happened at the next job.
And the next.
Why was this happening?
It was happening because I'd made the classic professional mistake.  I'd become invisible.
I don't mean that I'd become transparent.  Physically, of course, nothing had changed.  But in a marketplace filled with a glut of public relations professionals, nothing made me stand out from the crowd.  I was one of a million -- the proverbial tree in the forest.    Then, when it came time to thin that forest, I was one of the first to go.
Does this sound familiar?  Chances are it might.  Some of you may well recognize my situation since it certainly was not unusual, nor unique to the public relations arena. Accountants, attorneys, financial advisors, marketing directors, advertising professionals, you name it -- service professionals of every stripe face the same issue.  The marketplace is overflowing with highly skilled professionals who offer top quality services, yet the consumer would be hard pressed to recognize one provider from the next.
Nothing differentiates one advisor from the next.  Can your clients tell which of a dozen advertising executives has the insight to handle their account?  There's a real problem of sameness.  The public not only views the services offered as commodities, but the service providers are also well on the way to destruction - becoming commodities as well.
I don't know about you, but personally, the thought of becoming a commodity doesn't appeal.  I don't view myself in those terms.  I don't believe my expertise and my passion can be interchanged for that of any of my colleagues and no one would be the wiser.  I especially didn't want the label "commodity" when it meant my livelihood was subject to the whims of the financial marketplace.
More importantly, I didn't want my personal success to be contingent on the success of the people I worked for.  Change was definitely necessary and it was time for me to take charge of my own destiny.
I made a promise to myself: If my ship was going to sink, it was going to sink with me standing at the helm.  If no one was looking out for my best interests, it was up to me to do so.
At this point, I decided to take a good hard look at the people who were successful -- industry leaders, gurus, speakers, teachers and masters in their professions.  These highly visible, very successful entrepreneurs had three traits in common:
- They were all considered experts in their fields.
- They all made substantial and on-going efforts to promote their expert identity.
- They all achieved their position through hard work and smart marketing.
I quickly realized that none of them was born an expert.  Experts aren't born, they're made.  Analyzing the process of how some professionals achieve high profile success revealed some surprising secrets: there are seven integral steps service professionals can take to position themselves as the Expert.
Being the Expert is the most lucrative, prominent place in any niche market.  Having realized that, I had to find my own niche.  If these other professionals could position themselves as Experts, so could I.
But in what niche?  I looked at my career. I focused my attention on what areas my experience gave me the most pleasure. I had spent countless hours helping exhibitors be more effective at tradeshows.  Much of this work included training and coaching staff members who worked the show on behalf of their company.  I felt confident advising clients about what did and didn't work on the trade show floor.
The path was clear: For the past twenty years, I've enjoyed a very comfortable existence as the Trade Show Coach.   It's been wonderful: world wide travel, lucrative speaking engagements, work I enjoy.  Who could ask for more?
Combining my professional skills with my personal passions led to the career of my dreams: one in which my success wasn't dependent on anyone else.  Being a Nichepreneur worked for me, and it can work for you!


Add comment Add comment (Comments: 0)  



Related Resources

Other Resources