Whether consciously or not, we all find niches as Pilates instructors. It’s just a matter of time. As we work with more and more clients, we notice and are drawn to the needs, wants and requirements of a segment of the population and start to direct our professional efforts to help them.
What is a niche?
Essentially, your niche is a specific segment of the broader market where you focus your attention and expertise.
Why should I work with a niche market?
As a Pilates instructor, working with a niche market has huge benefits.
When you concentrate your energy, attention and educational development in one market, you will become a specialist in that field. You will have a deep understanding of your clients needs and your confidence in working with them (and delivering results) will skyrocket. You’ll get a chance to go beyond the basics and really tune in to your clients special needs. In some cases, you can even get higher fees from being an expert in your field.
Upon starting your Pilates career, your niche will help you focus your marketing efforts. You must let your niche market know you’re open for business.
For example, if you’re interested in working with clients who have had hip replacements, you may consider connecting with some doctors, physiotherapists, staff in orthopedic surgery wards. Although the physiotherapist may be the most likely person to refer their client to Pilates, it would be helpful for others to mention Pilates as a fantastic ongoing movement program after the completion of their initial physiotherapy. If you’d like to also do preventative programming, you could get in touch with seniors centers, churches or community centres where many older adults spend time. Inform them you offer Pilates programming which is helpful to keep their bodies moving and strong. In turn, this can improve balance, prevent things like hip replacements or at least make the recovery process faster.
I don’t want to get stuck in one niche
Don’t worry. Specializing in a niche does not mean you can’t work with other populations…or two to three niches. This is simply a way of focusing your efforts to one area at a time. In the beginning, it’s the fastest way to boost your confidence, establish clientele and promote yourself as a specialist in your field.
How do I find my niche?
Start by identifying the populations you have a personal connection to and may be interested in working with.
Ask yourself two questions: Who do you think you’d like to work with? What interests you about working with them?
If you’re a dancer, you may be interested in working with dancers as clients. Perhaps you’re a young mother and understand the ins and outs of motherhood. On the flip side, you may have had a special connection with a grandparent and love helping older adults thrive in their golden years.
You can also select your niche by…
Age: under 20, 20–49, 50–74, 75+
Condition: back pain, neurological disorders, scoliosis, pre- and post-natal women, post-rehabilitation
Profession/hobby: musicians, actors, dancers
Type of athlete: runners, golfers, cyclists, swimmers, professional or recreational
Which niches pique your interest? Which are you most interested in starting with?
The most important thing is identifying where your interests lie. You want to be genuinely curious so you can be motivated for years. Do this and you’ll bring a wealth of knowledge, experience and unique spirit to anyone you work with.
What if I can’t think of a niche?
If you aren’t sure who you’d like to work with at this point, don’t stress. Pick one area and start with that. If you’re still stuck, go out and start teaching as much as you can to as many different types of people as you can. With time, you will likely find yourself drawn to a certain type of clientele and your niche may find you. Be open to recognizing this when it happens.
Please share your experience.
What niche markets are you interested in getting involved with?
Do you currently work with niche markets? If so, how did you begin working with them?
Author: Larisa Makuch
Larisa Makuch is a Pilates & Movement teacher, teacher trainer and ELDOA instructor. She draws on her experiences to create innovative teaching and business strategies. Larisa has a Body Harmonics Comprehensive Pilates diploma, several Specialist diplomas and a BA.
“For me it’s all about helping people move better, feel better and build their confidence each and every day. I especially enjoy those ‘aha’ moments when clients and colleagues make discoveries that translate into more freedom, more joy and less pain in their lives.”