Author: Lindsey DeSoto, RDN, LD
As dietitians, we are automatically programmed to want to help everyone. We also don’t want to fail. This often leads us to believe that if we serve a broader audience, we will have more success. However, this isn’t exactly true.
Although it can be scary, finding your niche is hands down one of the most important things you can do to level up your nutrition business. You’ll not only be able to serve your clients better, but you will also be able to focus on your passion.
Let’s look at an example. If you have a severe allergy, you’re likely to request an allergist or immunologist over your primary care physician. This doesn’t mean that your primary care physician cannot help you, but you would have more trust in an expert within the allergy industry.
The same thing goes for a dietitian. If someone has a child with an eating disorder, they are looking for a dietitian who specializes in children’s eating disorders. While an RD with a broad skill set can certainly help this client, the client is more likely to choose an RD specializing in eating disorders for children.
So, how do you find your focus area and niche down?
In this article, I want to talk a little more about finding your niche and discuss a few tried and true ways to find your focus area.
What is Niching Down?
Niching down is a term used to describe targeting your services to a small group or population of individuals.
Instead of targeting a broad audience, you focus on a well-defined population with a specific need. By spending time researching and digging a little deeper into a specific group’s needs, you can better target them and determine how you will rise above the rest and stand out.
Now, we all know this is much easier said than done. We may be scared if we niche down too much, we may lose out on potential clients. However, the exact opposite holds true. Before we get into steps to finding your niche, let’s talk about why having a broad niche may not be the best for your business and how to overcome your fear of niching down.
Why You Should Niche Down
You can’t be an expert at everything. In fact, I often referred to myself as a “jack of all trades, master of none” when I first started. With the field of nutrition being so broad, it can be challenging, if not impossible, to truly master every area.
While it can be difficult to turn down clients, taking every client can lead to you spreading yourself too thin and causing burnout.
By zeroing in on a niche where your passion lies, your clients will not only achieve the results they are looking for, but it will come naturally to you. (And you’ll be able to charge more!)
Plus, you’ll already have most of your educational materials and forms targeted at your client.
So, how do you discover your niche? Let’s discuss three steps to help you find your focus area.
How to Find Your Niche
- Find your passion or interest
The first step to uncovering your niche is finding your passion. If you’re great in a particular area of nutrition but absolutely despise it, would this be something you want to do every day?
On the flip side, say you really are interested in helping children with allergies, but you may not be an expert right now, don’t let that stop you! You can absolutely learn as you go and become an expert while seeing your ideal client!
- What do you have experience in?
What do you do now? Do you work to help older adults gain weight? Do you hold any certifications? While these seem like no-brainers, it is often an excellent place to start.
A less than obvious option is using your personal journey. What led you to be a dietitian? Have you struggled with trying different diets?
Using personal experiences to uncover your niche will help you connect with your clients. By relating to them, you’re likely to establish a better relationship and see better results.
- When you have an idea of your niche, narrow it down further
If you’ve discovered that you really enjoy helping older adults gain weight — consider narrowing this down even further. You could narrow it down to helping older adults on hemodialysis gain weight or helping older adults with dementia gain weight.
This will not only help you better serve this population, but it can also help you hone your marketing efforts. By speaking to an individual (or their caregiver) compared to a broad population, clients are more likely to gravitate your way.
Even with so many people telling you to niche down, it can be scary—especially if you’re just starting out and need the income. Consider finding another side hustle or PRN position as you build your practice within your niche.
At the end of the day, niching down not only allows you to serve your clients better, but it will also be easier on you in the long run. We cannot be an expert in everything, and that’s okay! People prefer to go to someone that is an expert in one area. When your services hold a higher value, you can charge more. It may take time to build up your practice, but as the saying goes, “the riches are in the niches!”
Here are a few niche ideas:
- children with autism
- children with type 1 diabetes
- children with kidney dysfunction
- teen athletes
- teens with eating disorders
- transgender nutrition
- keto diet
- intuitive eating
- breastfeeding moms
- picky eaters
- children with celiac disease
- college football athletes
- older adults on hemodialysis
- adults with breast cancer
- adults with stomach cancer
- home enteral or parental nutrition support
…. And the list goes on and on.
Author: Lindsey DeSoto, RDN, LD