Why is having a niche so critical for online teachers?
Written by James Liu on Jan. 10th 2019
As an online teacher, you might be giving general lessons without being specific about what you do. You think that being a generalist allows you to attract students with all kinds of requests. Why bother picking a niche and becoming a specialist who only targets a subset of students?

This is a fair question, especially when you first start teaching online and are excited about the opportunity to meet students from all over the world through online platforms. It might seem right that the goal of teaching online is to put yourself out there and help as many students as possible.  

But, think about it another way. Teaching online actually allows you to have a niche with a sizeable market that is just not possible to get when you teach offline. 

So, what are the benefits of having a niche when you teach online? 

Four Reasons Why You Need a Niche

Allows Program-Based Teaching 

Without a niche, you are facing students with countless, varying needs. It becomes nearly impossible to develop integrated programs that address these specific needs. What are the benefits of program-based teaching? Program-based teaching can improve teaching quality, income, and most importantly, your teaching experience. Read this blog for details

Better Student Results

With a niche, you’re able to develop a program specifically targeting your niche’s problems. With a clear goal, your program is more likely to address these issues effectively and get your students results.  

In addition, one of the biggest challenges of online teaching is getting students to implement your teachings. With a good understanding of your niche’s motivations, you’re able to incorporate action elements in the program to better encourage your students to take action and generate results.

More Efficient Marketing

Online marketing is like throwing a fishing net into the ocean. Without a niche, you are marketing a broad message—you’ve got a wide net with big holes that the fish simply swim through. With a niche, you can clearly understand your students’ needs and develop specific messages that can help you catch more fish!  Read this blog for details.

Ability to Grow Faster

Most importantly, you can grow your online teaching business much faster with a niche. Because you are so concentrated and focused on your niche, you can quickly prove the effectiveness of your teaching methods and build your expertise in this specific field. It takes much less time to get to where you’ve developed the best program in the world (for your niche) and then you can consider transforming your model to group teaching and developing online programs that actually work. 

Since it is so critical to have a niche when teaching online, how do you pick a niche that is profitable and also perfect for you? 

Four Steps to Determining Your Perfect Niche 

1. Segment your students by their needs. 
If you are a generalist, you might have taught a wide range of students with different needs. Try to categorize the needs you encounter or know exist and then segment your students into groups in terms of those needs.

2. Evaluate the urgency of the needs from each group. 
The more significant your students’ needs are, the more value you provide, enabling you to charge a higher rate. A profitable niche should give you an opportunity to provide solutions to the biggest obstacles in their life holding them back right now.

3. Determine how much you enjoy teaching each group. 
Let’s face it—there are always certain times you enjoy teaching much more than others. Students that are highly motivated and dedicated are exactly the ones you want to identify and work with. And, enjoying what you do is always important, perhaps even more so when it comes to teaching.

4. Assess your proficiency. 
The last step is to ask yourself if you need to develop new skills to solve the specific problems for each group of students. If yes, how confident are you in developing the skills necessary to deliver results?

With these four steps, you can determine the niche with the best combination of all criteria to get the most out of your career teaching online. 

With all that in mind, however, there are some common misconceptions you need to be aware of: 

You think a niche is too small because you don’t have many students from that niche.  

Lots of teachers worry about the size of their niche because they didn’t previously have many students from that niche. It’s totally skewed if you base your understanding on only one sample, yourself. A more reasonable approach is to do some research online. Most of the time, if the niche is noticeable, the size is adequate for you to work with. 

You’re too nervous to commit to your niche.  

Some teachers take months to decide, even after researching all their options and strengths. First, you’re not marrying your niche, so don’t worry about getting the wrong one at first. Some teachers spend weeks or even months to determine a niche—you really shouldn’t be spending more than a couple of hours. Second, pick one, two, or three (or more) niches, as long as you can develop a separate, clear program for each one. 

You abandon your preferred niche due to a lack of skills.

It’s no problem if you don’t have the skillsets for now, as long as you can learn them. It is a problem if you are not confident in developing the necessary skills or communicating with your students. If you lack this confidence, when potential students speak with you on the phone or on video, they won’t feel like you’re an absolute expert on the topic. 

So, what is your perfect niche?

Watch the video here to learn more about how to start and grow your profitable, sustainable, and scalable business TODAY.

James Liu

James Liu helps online teachers start and grow profitable and scalable online businesses.  He is an expert at helping online teachers develop business skills and premium services that allow them to get students on demand and at a higher rate. 
If you're interested in growing your online teaching business, then definitely reach out and request a free strategy session today.
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