We often hear the statement “choose your teaching niche”. But to build a successful teaching business, we need to go beyond that. We need to make sure we are the best person to address a particular and essential problem for our clients at the right time. It also must be profitable so that it is a sustainable career.
To do that, we need to (1) Have a thorough understanding of our unique strength (2) Have a thorough understanding of our client’s essential needs. (3) Match our strength with clients’ needs to figure out our best niche.
In this article, I will start by addressing why ‘choose your niche isn’t enough. Afterward, I will explain how locating your best niche helps your long-term success and elaborate on the three-step process to facilitate you to figure out your best-suited teaching niche.
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Why ‘Your niche’ doesn’t work?
“Choosing your niche” should be a great idea for an online educator but why often than not, it does not work for your teaching business? These are some examples I heard
Example 1: “I help my student to improve their accents, but I can’t find students.”
Issue: this is still quite broad and not specific enough. There is still a lack of client understanding – which kind of students in which condition will seek to improve their accents and what is their motivation.
Example 2: “I help actors to have an English accent, but I am not paid.”
Issue: if your students don’t have the means or budget to pay for your teaching, you are teaching but not running a business. This does not create a sustainable business.
Example 3: “I have been a university lecturer in history for 20 years, but I got into teaching toddler English with online platforms due to the 2020 global pandemic. Now I want to go independent. “
Issue: there is a potential mismatch between your strength and your clients’ needs. It is a niche but not the right match.
In summary, to build your success, you need to find a niche that suits your professional life strategically and a career opportunity that suits your lifestyle sustainably.
How to make ‘’Your niche’ work for you?
While making the choice, you need to position yourself to be suitable (to solve your student’s needs), irreplaceable (you are the best one to help with their problem), and make this path sustainable.
When you make the right choice, you are suitable to help your clients/students to solve a problem and to meet their learning goals. Due to your experience and passion, you will already have the right subject knowledge, curriculum, personal skills to serve the need.
This compatibility makes your transition from working with platforms to working independently much easier. We will make all sorts of mistakes when we launch our own business. But your clients are much more likely to stay with you and tolerate glitches if they find your skills compatible with their needs. That will make your independent teaching journey so much smoother and enjoyable.
The further you develop the right skill and network in the area, the better reputation you will enjoy. So instead of committing a huge amount of time and money in sales and marketing, you will attract the right clients much more effectively.
Let us take this example.
A Brazilian businessman is trying to relocate this family to live in the US for a year. He is in the export-import trading business, and he has a daughter who is 10 years old. The purpose of moving to the US is really to give his daughter language and culture exposure.
You are an ESL tutor based in the US who speaks English and Portuguese. You have taught English in Brazil and therefore have a decent understanding of their culture. Your family runs a trading business, so you understand the basic language of business. You have a good understanding of the US education system as you have worked with public schools.
Another ESL tutor is a generalist with the right qualification. But between you and the generalist, who do you trust this Brazilian businessman would choose to work with? To serve that Portuguese-speaking business owner who is considering giving his child a language and cultural experience in the US, you are irreplaceable. Due to your previous background, you become indispensable.
For everything to be sustainable, you need to make sure your niche represents a profitable business opportunity, an opportunity that fits your own lifestyle.
If your students love your lessons but they don’t have the means to pay for it, it is a hobby, a social mission rather than a business proposition. Therefore, it is useful to reach your clients when they have budgeted their time and financial resources to learn.
If it takes so much of your time that you get burned out or you don’t have time to spend with your own family and friends, that won’t work long term. Therefore, it is very reasonable to ring fence the time and resources you can commit to building this business, this career path.
Focusing on the right niche helps you to build your teaching business effectively. Because instead of throwing your time and resources everywhere, you have a goal to aim at.
How to figure out the best niche for your online teaching path?
The key to figuring out the best niche is to find where your unique strength and client’s essential needs match. There are three steps: (1) understand your strength (2) understand your client’s essential need (3) match your strength with your client’s need
Step 1 – Understand your strength
This is the step to do your own inventory check, to review and reflect on your experience and celebrate your achievements. We will go through a process to pack your teaching treasure bag so you can step back and realise your unique strengths and assets. Please read a separate blog ‘A step-by-step guide: how to create a treasure bag for your independent teaching’.
Step 2 – Understand your client’s needs
This is the step to understand your client’s needs and make a judgment on what are some essential needs and what are some nice-to-have wants. We will go through a process to create user profiles for your clients. Please read a separate blog ‘A step-by-step guide: how to create user profiles for your independent teaching’
Step 3 – Match your strength with your client’s needs
This is the step to put your treasure bag and your client’s user profiles alongside each other, to make a judgment, a choice of who do you serve, and what problems you choose to solve for your clients. Our digital course ‘ Build a Successful Online Teaching Path’ will go through the process with you, by listing three criteria to make that decision.
Join our digital course ‘From Good to Great, Level Up Your Teaching Business’ to empower you to develop a sustainable and successful independent teaching career. Read our course page to find out more.
Having obstacles launching your independent teaching path? Book my 1-1 business coaching via the link.
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