How to Find Your Niche in Business

Episode 44: How to Find Your Niche in Business, with Stephen Woessner

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Stephen Woessner is the founder and CEO of Predictive ROI, a digital marketing agency, and the host of Onward Nation and Sell With Authority Podcasts.

Since the advent of the commercial Internet, Stephen has collected tens of thousands of data points that have given him the ability to identify what he calls the “8 Money Draining Mistakes” and the “8 Money Making Opportunities.” Darren Hardy, then-publisher of SUCCESS Magazine, interviewed Stephen to discuss how business owners can identify and fix the mistakes.

Stephen served in the United States Air Force, spent six years at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse as a full-time academic staff member and taught digital marketing classes to small business owners throughout the state, including the prestigious School of Business at UW-Madison, has owned five businesses, and is the author of three books, “The Small Business Owner’s Handbook to Search Engine Optimization”, “Increase Online Sales Through Viral Social Networking”, and “Profitable Podcasting.”

How to find your niche in business? His digital marketing insights have been featured in,, The Washington Post, and Inc. Magazine.

We are doing something a little different for this episode of Sell With Authority by sharing my full-length interview from an episode of the Build a Better Agency Podcast with Drew McLellan. Drew is the owner of McLellan Marketing Group and the owner and leader of the Agency Management Institute.

In episode 354 of the Build a Better Agency Podcast, we have an important conversation about finding right-fit clients by going narrow and niching down – and how pivoting that niche can lead to fears of stepping into scarcity, instead of abundance. We talk through how pivoting agency niche can actually help improve sales and build community.


What you will learn about in this episode is about  how to find your niche in business:

  • Exploring the flexibility of how to find your niche in business and why choosing your agency niche doesn’t have to be a permanent decision.
  • Why sometimes throwing out the playbook and pivoting in a different direction is a better move for your agency, even if it doesn’t seem that way at first
  • How to know which types of clients you’re already serving the best (this could be your new niche)
  • What is cornerstone content, and why is it so important to establish?
  • The importance of building a community of people wanting to learn from you and others to make more effortless sales
  • You have permission to think differently about your agency and how you want to position it in your industry




How to Find Your Niche in Business: Full Episode Transcript


Welcome to the Sell with Authority podcast. I’m Stephen Woessner, CEO of Predictive ROI, and I am grateful for you taking the time to join me for this episode of the podcast. We’re going to do something a little bit different than our normal format. Normally, we have an interview with a super smart guest, or I share some insights during a solocast. So, instead, I’m going to share the full interview that I recorded with Drew McLellan, CEO of Agency Management Institute, for his podcast, for the Build a Better Agency podcast. I’m going to, we’re going to insert episode the full length of episode 354, so 354, into what you’re listening to right now. I just wanted to give you some additional context on why I decided to do that. This is a really important conversation. And here’s, here’s, here’s what I mean by that. So, we recorded that episode and drew, and I recorded episode 3 54, so we could talk through the niche and how to pivot the niche or the permanency around the niche.


And here’s what I mean by that. Oftentimes, Eric and I, Eric Jensen, my business partner here at Predictive, when we start talking about niching down, or we talk about going narrow and so forth, yes, we see, feel, and hear the trepidation, in an agency owner’s voice about the perceived scarcity that they’re going to be stepping into as opposed to the abundance that they’re going to be stepping into if they decide to make that niche or decision to niche down. But then also, there’s this perception that there’s the permanency around niche. Do we think you should swap niches every two to three years? No.  But sometimes, you might already be committed to a niche and know that you need to switch it, but how do you do that? And that’s what Drew and I wanted to talk about, and that’s why we got together to record episode 3 54.


And candidly, you’ll hear me share with Drew how it became easy for my team and me, and more so for me to become super highly committed to the niche. But then, and this is my part, becoming super stubborn and inflexible to change, but we realized, well, I realized because my team kept saying, Hey, we need to make a shift. And so I talked through all of that with Drew, and this is a, a special opportunity here because this lens that Drew is asking these questions through, essentially, is a great lens because he walked alongside Predictive as we made this transition or transformation, like when it started to become really clear to our team and me that there was a better way, and that we should be, there was a better way for us to be approaching our business.


He was there helping guide those decisions and conversations. So then, on the other side of that decision, having clarity around that is what really led to this new version of Predictive being born. And that led to this pivot over the last several years; we’ve become the authority in teaching our clients and sharing with our clients how to become the authority in their respective niches. So you’re going to hear me share with Drew all of the decision points that led up to that pivot, all the decisions that my team and I had to make during that, let’s call it the shifting process. Then, we had to reinvent all of our content and reestablish our cornerstone content to align with our new niche without throwing it away. And that was my biggest fear, throwing away all of the work, the years and years and years of work that we’d put into that first niche if you want to call it that.


Read more about how to find your niche in business in Stephen’s post on LinkedIn: Why Pivoting Your Niche Will Help You Sell Better.


How to Find Your Niche in Business: Navigating Niches and Pivots in Your Business Journey


How do you find your niche in business? So, if you take nothing else away from this, what you’ll hear is a very transparent and open conversation that I had with Drew. If you take nothing else away from it, my hope is that you will see that you have permission to think differently about how you want to position your agency, your coaching practice in your consultancy, and how you want to position that to potential clients. And it’s okay for you not to make the niche to be permanent. It certainly can be, but that’s why it’s so important for us to talk through this permanency piece. So, okay, here’s yours truly alongside Drew McLellan in episode 354 of the Build a Better Agency podcast.


Stephen, welcome back to the podcast. It’s been a while. As always, thanks very much for the invitation. I always love being able to spend time with you and your community. So, thank you very much.


So, when you and I were talking about you coming back on the show, one of the things we were talking about was in the book, in our book. Hence, authority, we talk a lot about niching down and not trying to be everything to everybody, really understanding who your community and your audience are, and then serving them well. And your agency Predictive ROI was rocking that. We certainly used your model as an example in the book. We talked about how you had built a huge community around the Onward Nation podcast and that you guys were very niched and focused on, in the beginning, being a podcast shop and being a podcast producer for clients and helping them create that cornerstone content that they needed to really kick off their position of authority.


But over the years,  you’ve done some pivots. So, I want to talk about one of the things today in the show because I think I get this resistance; I’m curious if you do, too, when people talk to you about the book. They admit what they’re afraid of doing, or that why they’re not following our advice in the book, or why niching scares them, is that it’s the permanence of it for them, that they feel,  so obligated to make the right decision because it’s forever. So, do you get that from your side as well?


Yeah. And I think the resistance is absolutely similar. So not only the permanency but also, because you and I have talked about this, this has happened in the workshops that you and I teach; if I make this decision today, Thursday, does that mean that I need to go and meet with my team on Monday, and by Tuesday at noon, we fire all of our clients, and we start over?

Yeah. The ones that aren’t in the niche. Right? Right.


Tune in to our free tutorial, The “WHO” Framework, to sharpen your insights into finding your niche in business.


How to Find Your Niche in Business: The Evolution of Niche


Which, of course, is not what we’re talking about. That is a progression. And I think the way that you’ve answered that it’s a two-to-three-year thing. Right.  It makes a lot of sense. And the reality is, the biggest pushback that we get is, yes, permanency. Yes, this happens; it needs to happen tomorrow, which, of course, doesn’t. And that all of a sudden, I’m going to step into scarcity instead of abundance. Right. And actually, the reverse of all of those is actually the truth. Yeah. I think many people think that when they niche down, they have to say no to everybody. And what it really does is it opens the door to say yes to more people who are in that narrow lane.


How do you find your niche in business? Okay. So, that reminds me of something that you actually talked about at the March workshop in Chicago because somebody asked you a question about that. Like, okay, let’s say that I niche and then said, client comes along, we can do good work for them. It’s aligned with where we can be helpful. Should we still take that bag of money? You answered it. Great. So that would be helpful for this conversation if you wouldn’t mind sharing.


Yeah. Well, they’re saying they aren’t in my niche, right? Right. So I made this decision: I’ve chosen only to serve butchers, and they’re a bank, so should I take the money? And of course, our answer is that you should take the money initially. If you can do great work for them, be of service, and be early in the niche development, just like always, you would take clients you can help and make money helping. But there is a moment in time as you evolve into the niche, and you drill down deeper where you actually say no to the bank because there are so many butchers coming to you that you don’t have to step out of the niche. And what you find is that the longer you’re niched, the better you’re at that work.


Because you do it all the time and have such depth of knowledge, you can make more money, and it’s so much easier to keep serving people in the niche. And it’s harder work to do people who aren’t in the niche to take care of them. So there is; you and I both often say it’s not a revolution; it’s an evolution, and you have to be patient with it. But all of that said, you were well on your path to being very niched. You had written a book about podcasting. You were serving a lot of clients in the podcast space. Your podcast was really well received. It had built quite a community around it and was doing all the things we talked about in the book in terms of having prospects be guests on the show and then getting to know them and creating a relationship, which opened the door to sales opportunities.


Tune in to our free tutorial, The “WHO” Framework, to sharpen your insights into finding your niche in business.


How to Find Your Niche in Business: Finding Courage in Business Evolution


How do you find your niche in business? All of those things were aligned beautifully with the book. And then you and your team decided that that wasn’t the right niche for you anymore. So I think one of the things when people read our book, talk to us, or attend our workshops is the sense that their decision is so heavy because it’s permanent. It reminds me of my conversation with Kelsey when she was trying to decide what college to attend many moons ago. She and I and she was feeling such pressure to make the decision, and I said, help me understand why this is creating so much anxiety for you. And she was like, well, because  I’m going to be there forever, and it’s going to influence my career. And I said, Kelsey, you can go your freshman year and decide it’s not for you and pick a different college.


It’s not permanent. Right? So I think sometimes, which relieved a lot of the pressure for, I think, so I guess it’s the same, that same sense of this is this huge decision that is going to influence me for a really long time, and maybe not. And so when one of the book’s authors who’s teaching all of this stuff decides that the niche we picked isn’t the right, I’m going to pivot. I think that’s worthy of some conversation. So let’s talk a bit about what led you to shift from being a podcast shop to doing what you’re doing now. So, let’s talk about what you’re doing now, but let’s talk about the shift.


How do you find your niche in business? Okay. And the path was an interesting one. And the cool thing about this conversation is that you were walking alongside us on that path every step of the way. And so I think it’s incredibly valuable. Because I don’t know that we would’ve had the courage to make that decision. And I say courage because I’ll share some numbers here in a second, but I say courage because you were a great thinking partner, a great strategic partner for us, a confidant, somebody who we knew had our best interests at heart, and also could be unbiased.  e even though we have this depth of relationship, obviously, and we’ve been in the AMI community for 10 plus years, even though you could separate yourself from any personal connection and say, wait a minute, guys, and ask us some really difficult questions.


Tune in to our free tutorial, The “WHO” Framework, to sharpen your insights into finding your niche in business.


How to Find Your Niche in Business: Business Growth, Satisfaction, and Aligning with Purpose


That was immensely valuable throughout the process. But as we launched Onward Nation in 2015 candidly, I wrote about this out of desperation because we were looking for that next sort of business development thing. You helped us develop the Trojan horse of sales. Things were clicking along. Yeah. After a year or so, the podcast in Onward Nation had listeners in 141 countries. To your point, we built a cool community. We had an email list of 28,000 people. And, on the surface and looking at those numbers, we felt good about it. But I also got some personal satisfaction from that. Sure. Of course.


Right? I’m not saying that is a good thing, but I started feeling a little bit prideful about that. I don’t think I’m egocentric, but maybe that was getting a little bit of a stroke, too. And so we talked about this actually during our Q and A yesterday.


How do you find your niche in business? Well, I honestly think endorphins are released when you help other people, right? I mean, when you serve a community, and you are helpful to clients and helping them move the needle, I think one of the coolest parts about our work is that we do get to be helpful. We do get to change the trajectory for clients, which may feel egocentric, but really, it’s just satisfaction in doing your work well and being a value to someone. And we should feel good about that. So, I don’t think you’re unique in feeling prideful when it’s working, the business is going well, and you’re serving clients well. But I also don’t think it’s really ego in a bad way. I think it’s ego in a great way. It’s knowing that you’re doing good work for good people, which should feel good.


Thank you for that. And, even through that,  we started noticing this clustering, right? Yeah. We had all these conversations in our quarterly leadership team meetings that you were leading for us. And we started seeing this clustering just like the sweet spot client filter you advise people on. It’s like, well, wait a minute. 30% of our clients are agencies. We’re spending a lot of time with agencies. Drew and I are now batting around this book, which is obviously designed for agencies, right? And it just made sense. And where this started, actually instead of deciding, okay, we’re going to go all in with agencies, coaches, consultants, where this started was us getting really aligned with, from a service perspective, with the book. Right.


Tune in to our free tutorial, The “WHO” Framework, to sharpen your insights into finding your niche in business.


How to Find Your Niche in Business: Aligning Service Models, Podcasts, and Becoming the Authority


Because we wrote the book, released the book, and then I came to you, and I said, even though this is our book, I don’t feel like Predictive ROI is 100% fully aligned with the book from a service delivery model. and we need to adjust that. And then, through that process, we had even deeper conversations about, well, what it would look like if we were fully aligned from a niche content perspective and so forth. And then, in fact, I think you and I were walking through Epcot one day, and you said, help me understand the infamous question or the infamous introduction to the difficult question from Drew, the help me understand. And then we talked about onward, right? And how the content was aligned, but for as much as it was aligned, it was also misaligned. And then, what would it look like if you had a podcast with a different name and it was more appropriately aligned? And, but even still, as that was a two-year evolution for us.


Well, again, it’s working. So why rock the boat? And interestingly, your original niche, we talk about a niche, doesn’t have to be an industry. You don’t have to serve an audience. It can be an industry or that you have a depth of expertise in an audience like millennial moms. It can be a service line delivery like you’re a PPC shop, or in your case, you’re a podcast shop. And so one of them, I think one of the interesting parts about your pivot is that you went from the service line niche and recognized that you were attracting people who had an alignment in their profession and made a move eventually over to serve a certain group of people. But then you layered it with, I think, a twist on the service line with this whole idea of, look, we’re going to help, we’re going to help agencies, coaches, and consultants sell with authority.


How do you find your niche in business? And so you aligned both,   an industry, and you can argue that there’s a thread that ties agencies, coaches, and consultants together for sure. So you then shifted to an industry and then layered on top of it sort of a methodology that you and I obviously believe in, and that was how you were going to serve that industry. And so you got super specific in two categories and said, if people can check both boxes, we can be super helpful to them. So, an interesting pivot there. And I think you really hit the nail right on the head when you said super helpful, right?


Because we talked about this during our planning process, we’re certainly not there yet, but we are moving toward our sort of goal. And I don’t know that this goal will ever be accomplished because there’s always room for improvement. But we want to be seen as the authority on how to become the authority. And if you’re going to do that, I think it’s even more. And if that takes a lot of help, And if you’re going to do that, it isn’t easy to do when you’re spread out and your content is not as focused as it could and should be. Right? And so part of living that out and being of the greatest service possible, like you, you cited the Edelman trust barometer, right? And I think in chapter one or chapter two of a book, you talked about the two biggest things, or two biggest attributes, if you will, that really develop trust and empathy with an audience, according to Edelman and their worldwide study of surveying 30,000 people on an annual basis. They’ve been doing it for 20 years.


Tune in to our free tutorial, The “WHO” Framework, to sharpen your insights into finding your niche in business.


How to Find Your Niche in Business: Big Moves in Business with Courage


Is that industry expertise like you just talked about? Yeah. Second is someone who looks like me, not literally, of course, but someone who shares attributes and experiences those types of things. And so when you put those two together, that is pretty powerful when we think about niche because it gives you an opportunity to be helpful at a completely different level. Completely Right. And earn and develop trust, empathy, rapport, and all of that. And that makes the business development process easier. But you can be of greater service.


No doubt. So, talk a bit about some of the conversations that you and Eric, your business partner, had as you considered making this move because this was not a small pivot. This was a huge pivot. And it was walking away from a lot of things that were really working, that had already gained you guys some notoriety and were already attracting good clients to you. So this, this wasn’t,  this wasn’t a move out of desperation. This wasn’t a working decision. What we’re doing now isn’t working. It was really great. I’m ready to walk away from something that’s working, and then we can go from there.


Well, I have to give much credit to Catherine Bessler, who I know well. because she was on our team for eight years, a member of our leadership team.  and so this, again, started several years ago when I thought the niche was B2B professional services firms, which, of course, is not very narrow, but that’s what you had in our workshop. If somebody said, Hey, we’re going to be,  if somebody’s in B2B service, there are our clients, you and I would’ve both gone. No, that is not a niche. That’s an entire world of industries. Yeah. Just like healthcare. Yeah. Right. Just like healthcare is not a niche.


And so I thought that that would sort of pacify, the conversations. Yeah. And to her credit, and just like you, dogs with a bone and not in a bad way, in the way of like, are you sure? Could it go a little bit? And so this is where that progression was. Again, I was resistant because I felt like at that time, which was not the reality, but I thought at the time it was blowing up everything and starting over, which was not the case. Well, in some ways, it was blowing up everything and starting over. You were starting from a different starting point. So, that’s fair, right?


Tune in to our free tutorial, The “WHO” Framework, to sharpen your insights into finding your niche in business.


How to Find Your Niche in Business: Complex Decision-Making in Business Evolution


You had walked far away on the path. You had built a reputation. You guys had built a lot of systems and processes to serve people. The book had been written. So you had been on this journey, but at a certain point in time, you decided, rather than continuing to walk straight, I’m gonna take a left here.


Right? And so when there were, there were just a lot of different decisions that were going through those couple of years about Yep. About niche, about Eric deservedly, so having a greater face in the content. If so, how will we focus on that content and improve it?  Catherine is thinking of asking us difficult questions about B2B professional services firms, but probably not since you and I were in the process of writing the book. So all of that led to us kind of questioning many different things with the, with, with the essence of, okay, if we’re going to do that, right, that might be helpful to this group, but that’s going to leave out this other group. So we ask ourselves questions about that every Wednesday and quarter with you. Right. And even still, it took us a while to really catch up with everybody else.  But yes, that led to some very, let’s call that dynamic conversation, right? Because I candidly made this more difficult than it needed to be. Why do you think that was?


I think it was because this was years ago, but I was still learning at that time. I still needed to do some research. I still needed to have some additional proof points. This, that this wasn’t permanent. That this wasn’t something that, and this truly did, actually give us an opportunity to step into abundance and indeed be helpful at a whole other level. Once I saw that and understood the data points, once I had the conversation with myself, it wasn’t like throwing this body of work out the door and now saying, well, that was meaningless. Now, we’re starting over in this way. No, that body of work that you did for years and years actually helps you jump off this next or up to this next summit in an even faster way. Right? And so once I made that connection, it was like, oh, okay, this is not that big of a deal.


Yeah. Well, and again, in many ways, really talking, going back to the B2B service and the podcast, in some ways, the podcast was a super narrow lane of this huge highway you were on. And the huge highway was anybody who’s in a B2B service industry, right? But what you really did was, you guys, you didn’t get off the road, really, but you, you just changed lanes. You chose a narrower road in terms of audience but then broadened the offerings. Oh, what you said was, well, you know what, everybody’s not a podcaster. But that doesn’t happen, but as our book talks about, everybody needs to have some cornerstone content that establishes their expertise and position of authority. And so what you did was you flipped, right? You said, okay, rather than the service office service offering being super narrow, we’re going to help our clients do podcasts and research and write a book and do the other thing, video series, courses, whatever that is. But rather than all B2B services, now, we’re recognizing that we’re most aligned with agencies, coaches, and consultants because we’re like them and can connect with them. So that’s the lane that we’re going to narrow down.


Tune in to our free tutorial, The “WHO” Framework, to sharpen your insights into finding your niche in business.


How to Find Your Niche in Business: Embracing New Opportunities for Business Growth


Yes, 100%. And here again, what is the axiom or line? For example, when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Yeah. Right? So we had essentially told ourselves that unless you had a podcast, you couldn’t be an authority, which is ridiculous, Right?


But the hammer that we held in our hand was a plain gold and silver package that was all about creating a podcast for somebody, right? We also had dynamic conversations about embracing new opportunities for business growth.  again, if we’re going to be helpful, we have to be fully aligned with the book. And, thankfully, we’ve gotten there. And then this other really interesting thing started happening, certainly didn’t happen overnight,  but as we started gaining traction and started really doubling down on how we could be helpful to this audience, so we call it a CC, this really amazing thing happened. We started getting calls and we started having conversations with clients who wanted to sell through to that audience. Now, they were still aligned with the niche. Their audience happened to be our audience, or their prospective audience happened to be their audience. And they, and so sir, like we could be helpful to them, but they started saying, we’re really interested in how well you know agencies.


And that’s who we can help. Do you think you could help us because you know that business so well? And it was like, oh my gosh, yes, we can. Yeah. And that’s worked really well. Right?


All right. I want to take a quick break, and then we come back. I want to talk about the decisions you made, like ending a popular and successful podcast and really beginning to shift your offering. So I want to talk about sort of the decisions you made to realign with this new niche in a second. But first, let’s take a quick break. Hey, everybody. I promise I will not keep you for more than a minute, but I want to ensure you know that we offer virtual peer groups at AMI. So, think of it as a Vistage group or an EO group. Only everybody around the table,  figuratively, in this case,  is an agency owner. So you have to be an agency owner to belong. The virtual peer groups meet every month for 90 minutes on Zoom.  this was not a covid creation; it was pre-covid.


Tune in to our free tutorial, The “WHO” Framework, to sharpen your insights into finding your niche in business.


How to Find Your Niche in Business: Transforming Transactional Relationships into Strategic Partnerships


You see the same people in your cohort every time. So you get to create relationships with them. And it is facilitated by AMI Stafford Craig Barnes, who has owned his own agency for 25 or 30 years. So, plenty of great experiences, both from Craig and learning from each other. So, if you are interested in learning more about how that works, head over to the AMI website. Under memberships, you will find the virtual peer group, and you can get all the information there. All right. Okay. Let’s get back to the show. Alright. I am back, and Stephen and I are talking about, so normally, when Stephen and I are on the podcast together, we’re talking that we’re co-teaching from the book, the workshop we’ve developed out of the book, or things like that. But today, what we’re really talking about is the evolution of Stephen’s own agency, Predictive ROI, as he actually began to think about and run his own agency’s decisions through the filters in the book and decided they wanted, didn’t really need to, but wanted to make a shift and narrow their audience,  and serve them in a variety of new ways.


So, okay, so you’re chugging along. You have clients that are, granted, you already had 25 or 30% of your clients in the agency coach and consultant space, but the other 70 weren’t. The Onward Nation was a huge success. You had built a huge audience. You had how don’t, how many episodes you had over a thousand episodes, right?

Yeah. 1,032, right? Yeah. So, normally, you and I talk to people about podcasting. We’re like, well, if you can get the first 10 episodes in the can and you can still go, then odds are you’re going to go for a while. So you had clearly done that a thousand-plus episodes. That’s a lot of inventory, history, and reputation to sort of step away from. So, talk to us a little about the decisions you and Eric made around how to shift the business’s focus, what you had to walk away from, and what you had to change.


So let me connect this back first to helpful and then retention. Yeah, and here’s what I mean by that. We agency owners are always talking about, gosh, I wish I had a strategic seat at the table.


Yeah. Right, right. I want to advise, not just sell stuff. Or, worse yet, like Robert Rose and I were talking about the other day, where you used to have a strategic seat, and now you’re a vendor, right? You got pushed out of that seat.


And so one of the things that we noticed is, again, the clustering, as I mentioned before the break, and following the sweet spot client filter, we saw about 30% of our clients were agencies. And that made sense. We were hanging out with a lot of them and all of that, but also the other 70%, candidly, we didn’t really have a strategic seat at the table, right? The relationship was kind of, sounds sort of like a yucky word, but sort of transactional, right? It was basically X amount of scope of work for X amount of dollars. And we did that for, and it was profitable work. Yes. But if we really, but yet, then the clients,  the 30%, we actually did have a strategic seat at the table, and they did ask us more things, and they did invite us in for those conversations.


Tune in to our free tutorial, The “WHO” Framework, to sharpen your insights into finding your niche in business.


How to Find Your Niche in Business: Building Rapport for Faster Business Development


And it was like, okay. And so part of that was, okay, could we do more of that? Right? Like, we really enjoy doing that. And then I found from a business development perspective and having a Trojan horse conversation, it just seemed like it was or not, and it seemed like it was faster to develop rapport with that next agency, right? Because of the commonality and the things that you would talk about. And it was just all of those things stacking together finally were data points that I could say. Yeah. Gosh. That makes so much more sense. It’s just easier. It’s just right. There’s less friction, and I don’t mean friction in a bad way, but it’s just like, everybody knows what it feels like when you walk into a session and a, a new business meeting or whatever, and it’s just like the chemistry hits right away.


Well, and the buyer is so much further down the buying cycle. They’ve already done it. It’s really a chemistry check, more than it is.  prove to me your stuff check. And we talk about that in the book. We talked about that in the workshop, that the advantage of selling from a position of authority is that you eliminate a lot of the upfront sales process because of the credibility you’ve created, because of the rapport and relationship you’ve created with this audience without you even knowing they’re out there because they’re consuming your content that’s helpful to them. They’re learning from you. So they could create an affinity and affection for you and respect that moves things along. So it makes perfect sense that your sales meetings were lubricated because people already felt like they knew you, they knew your stuff, they knew you, knew your stuff. And so it’s really a matter of what it’s going to cost. Do I have the money to do it? But I’ve already decided if I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it with you. And so, you are much further down that conversation.


And it is, as you like to say, a beautiful thing when that happens. It’s, yeah. And so, I think going back to your question about decisions, I do believe that Eric had already decided that, like if we were going to plant our flag of authority truly. We’re going to be aligned with the book from a service delivery model, then, of course, it made sense that we’re going to also go all in, in being helpful as we possibly can or as helpful as we possibly can with that niche, from, from, from an industry perspective. Right. And, then, I believe Catherine had already decided on some of the other filters that you mentioned, and we had very open conversations with you. I was the last one.


Yeah, it was right to decide because I was so wrapped up in the thousand 32 episodes that I had recorded, and I hadn’t quite come to the realization yet that I should step further into helpfulness around this niche that does not diminish the work that our team has done.

That’s right. And I know that it sounds simple. You and I laugh about this all the time: sometimes, it takes me a little bit longer to get to where everybody else is. Once I figure that out, we will patiently wait for you.


Tune in to our free tutorial, The “WHO” Framework, to sharpen your insights into finding your niche in business.


How to Find Your Niche in Business: Transformed Content Delivery for Agencies


But once that clicked for me, I was like, okay. And then, going back to the story with Kelsey, it isn’t this permanency thing, nor does it diminish the work in the healthfulness and everything that our team had done. So then, it was actually, in my mind, a relatively easy decision because I was just catching up to everybody else. Right?


But again, you had built this fantastic foundation and then built a business that sat on this really solid foundation. So it’s not like we were, it’s not like we were saying, Hey, you always eat grilled cheese for lunch. Why don’t you change to peanut butter and jelly? It was you and your team had built something rock solid, serving you well and making good money. And so, it is a little counterintuitive to go, you know what, I’m just going not to do that anymore. And I’m going to do something different. And again, you didn’t just launch a new podcast. I want to talk about sort of what the new model looks like and the decisions you made around that. But you didn’t just launch a new podcast, which was basically starting over, right?


Yeah. I mean, you’d also develop other ways to connect and build a community and create an audience that seemed like it was starting from scratch and not in some small ways. So, talk about how once you got on board with the decision with everybody else, you and your team very quickly went into a kind of production mode of creating a new foundation of content. That was very much based on the book.  and really takes elements out of the book and blows them up in terms of detail and how to, and why to, and talking a lot about,  each aspect and element of the book, but in ways that were very tutorial for people, it was, it was very much like,  you had created this living course that was just going to be ongoing, with the book as the foundation, but obviously you’ve now escalated far beyond the content in the book. So, talk a little bit about how you thought through how to post and reposition yourselves, as well as what you could create for your cornerstone content that would be super helpful to the agency consultant and coach audience.


Okay, and there were undoubtedly a lot of decisions and progression along the way. Along that path,  a couple of sort of guideposts, if you will, one,  chapter 10 that you wrote in the book,  which is titled The New Business Blueprint. and that’s, that’s probably with the exception of, of chapter two, where you go through the, the 10 Truths. Chapter 10, in my opinion, is, well, of course it’s my favorite. So, if I say, in my opinion, I guess that makes sense. But anyway, chapter 10 is my favorite. And the reason is that it truly is a blueprint, as the title says. You walk through each of the macro, micro, nano, and existing stages, break all of those down, and give examples. Yeah. That’s where the deer analogy is. And I’m literally using Chapter 10 as the initial blueprint as it’s intended and picking pieces out of that if I’m the author of this book. I need to make sure that when I step into a conversation with somebody, they say, well, can you show me how Predictive does that? Right.


Tune in to our free tutorial, The “WHO” Framework, to sharpen your insights into finding your niche in business.


How to Find Your Niche in Business: From One Trick Pony to Dynamic Teaching Platform


And if that makes me uncomfortable because we haven’t done that, then that needs to be fixed. Right? And, literally, we started teaching the book to our team. We started having great conversations around the book and wanted to get in total alignment so that we could be a great representation of living out the book. And then also we knew that if we did that well, we’re going to be raising the bar of being helpful in a great example. And all of that, which indeed came to fruition. But also, I will say that in the one trick pony chapter, which I think is chapter five, you and I had a lot of candid conversations around it, like back in 2018, when we were prepping for that workshop. Later, it turned into a book. One night, we had a really candid conversation about being a one-trick pony. Honestly, at that point, we had a book and the Onward Nation podcast, but we weren’t maximizing the value of that content. Yeah. We were a one-trick pony, and that was a tough pill for me to swallow. And, so knowing then, if we’re going to align with this book, we will not be a one-trick pony. We were going to be a true living, breathing example of doing it with excellence. Yeah. Do I think we can still make improvements? But that has really opened our eyes to how we can be truly helpful to our audience. And I think it’s really doing that and being helpful.


No doubt. I mean, look at the community you’ve built. So you ended the Onward Nation podcast, and you started the Sell With Authority podcast, but that was actually much further down the decision tree. You didn’t do that right away. What you really started with was creating teaching content online. I don’t want to say courses, but they were courses. Still, they were really video tutorials, and you packaged all of that inside a vessel that people could become members of or enter into and get all kinds of content about how to sell with authority. Right? So that was really your first step, which was to recognize that you wanted this online library of teaching content that people could consume at their own pace. And depending on where they were at in their own journey in terms of developing content or developing a position of authority or working on a cornerstone or picking a niche, whatever it might be, you were creating content that, in essence, brought all of that to life, right?


Yeah. What was fascinating about that was the lessons that we learned while doing that. So,  when we built the first eight modules of what we called the Fast state, that in and of itself was, was, was cool. And then, but, to your point, those are video-based. Do I think the videos are helpful? Yes. But then, going back to the book, it’s like, well, wait a minute. We can take that video and slice and dice it in different ways. Or then all of a sudden, we started doing like the Q and A’s, and it’s like, well, wait a minute. We can take those and slice and dice them. Because I think part of the lessons out of Cell with Authority that you really championed was in every agency, doing this either consciously or subconsciously, right? They’re out creating what could be cornerstone content. They’re delivering presentations, speeches from stage, writing a thing, but then that’s where it stops, right? And I think through so close.


Tune in to our free tutorial, The “WHO” Framework, to sharpen your insights into finding your niche in business.


How to Find Your Niche in Business: The Power of Personal Connection


Right, I think through that creation process, we learned that it wasn’t just about the membership program that you talked about, but then it was like, well, wait a minute. We can take some snippets of content out of this and then share that publicly. And that’s super helpful, too. And maybe at some point, they might want to join, but we’ll see. But it was just another level of how we could take something, create it for the right audience, and then slice and dice it to other levels of being helpful.


Well, I think, and I’m curious if you think this is true, too. I think it was the live Q and A’s you started doing every week that was sort of the gasoline on the fire for you. So, you had all the video content at that point. You hadn’t started the new podcast yet, so it was really driving people to video content. And then you started,  you and Eric started doing a live Q and A every Wednesday, and you opened up a Facebook group for the folks who attended the Q and A and were sort of if you will, members of the Predictive community in some way. And I think it was really those live interactions, those live teachings, which again, you then realize you could slice and dice and create video content and other things where you really began to create connection.


And the reason I think that’s what accelerated the growth of the agency. But I also believe one of the things we have to think about when we create content is that, at the end of the day, people still want to know and be able to communicate with the creator of the content. They really do want to understand who the authority is and feel like they have a connection to them. And when can they actually have that connection in person, even if it’s on Zoom, but it’s at least live? They know that you see them, you hear them, and they can ask you a specific question; I believe wholeheartedly in our cell of authority model, and I absolutely do. But at a certain point in time, the sales catalyst is meeting and talking to the person they’ve been learning from.


Oh, it’s you. I have talked about this a lot, and I’ve seen it happen repeatedly when somebody is from across the country or, in some instances, around the world. Yeah. Fly to where you teach in a workshop, and they walk in, and they’re sort of on the periphery at first, and then they come up and introduce themselves to you, and they say, you’re exactly the person I thought you would be. Yeah. Right. They want that reassurance.


Right. Yeah. Because every time they turned around on a dog walk or a jog or the treadmill or whatever, there you were being helpful in some way, shape, or form in some form of content. Yeah. So I think you’re a hundred percent right. We’ve seen this litmus test many times that you’re exactly the person they thought and hoped you would be because that isn’t always the case. Sometimes we meet somebody in person, we go to a thing, and you’re like, oh, actually, they’re completely incongruent with who I thought they were going to be. Right. And that was not the case with you.  the other day, Eric said something to me, so big props to you; Eric said to me that we stepped out of Q and A, and it just felt, or no, we stepped out of RightFit clients back on June 22nd.


Tune in to our free tutorial, The “WHO” Framework, to sharpen your insights into finding your niche in business.


How to Find Your Niche in Business: Building a Space for Mutual Help and Growth


And it just felt so good to be sharing stuff and experiments for three and a half hours. Good, bad, otherwise, it’s like this worked, this didn’t, and this blew up in our face. Please don’t do that. But do this and have full transparency of what works and doesn’t. Anyway, it felt so good. During our debrief, Eric and I said that it felt really, really great. Yeah. It felt like the community was there, and it really felt like they were helpful to one another. The chat transcript, which we turned into a Word doc, turned into 27 pages of people helping one another. and it wasn’t just Eric and I answering questions, right? And it wasn’t just Eric, Megan, Hannah, and I answering questions. They were all answering each other’s questions. So we stepped out of this in the debrief, and Eric said to me it felt like a great community.


It felt like we were starting to do what Drew does and how Drew builds this community, and we’re just coming back from the summit. Right. That was three weeks before that. And he was in awe of it. Many of us are aware of how you stand in front of this AMI community, which is packed with amazing, awesome, wonderful, beautiful, and incredibly smart agency owners. And you talk about grace, and you talk about generosity, you talk about giving. And he said, I felt, I felt some of that. He goes there, and there are worse people to model after Drew.  And he is like, this is really, really feeling good. Yeah. And I think that’s what happens when you really pour yourself into helping a community improve. Yeah. You do help them be better, and you then plant your flag of authority, but you don’t do that in such a way that here I am the authority. You are doing that by being helpful. And it’s amazing.


Yeah. It’s gratifying to know that you are truly helping someone. Again, all of this is to say that you get rewarded with the opportunity to serve in the way that your business serves. Right. So, it’s not all altruistic, and it’s not all about kumbaya building a community. Do you give some service? Absolutely. Do you give away some of your knowledge? Absolutely. But make no mistake about it. You’re doing it to earn the right, to earn someone’s business, and to make good money doing that. And so that’s the other part that honestly feels good. It makes the sales process easier and more pleasant because everyone is just going, ” Hey, tell me again how you can help me. And you tell them, and they go, great, I’d like to do that. I mean, that’s, well, that really is often the entire sales process, right?


I think one of the lessons that we have also started following, again, being fully aligned with the book, is something that you say all the time at the existing and nano levels of, or stages of, the sales funnel. That is, you should do something: Get everybody together, your prospects and your clients, where the only thing they have in common is you. Right. And that works even better when they’re from the same niche. Absolutely.


Tune in to our free tutorial, The “WHO” Framework, to sharpen your insights into finding your niche in business.


How to Find Your Niche in Business: Transforming Sales through Group Dynamics


Absolutely. And we’ve started seeing that where is opposed to, well, I run this type of firm, and I run that type of firm like a professional services firm, and they’re trying to find the commonality of why they’re together. Right? Instead, you set that aside, you bring the niche together, and then, truly, the thing that they have in common is you. What ends up happening is that this really amazing community starts being formed. And you’re at the center of that. That’s a beautiful thing.


Right. And  I think agencies don’t think about building a community or building an audience. They think about their sales as if they were having all these one-to-one conversations. And I think that absolutely can work just fine. But I think you, your sales process, and the connections around authority exponentially grow when you gather them together. And they can not only see how they’re learning, but they’re watching how other people learn. And they’re not only learning from you, but they’re learning from each other, and they’re, and they’re realizing. At the end of the day, I think every business owner, regardless of what their niche is at the end of the day, thinks they are unique. You can’t understand anybody it like you can understand them when they see that there are people who are struggling with the same things and that you can help and you’re, and they’re watching you help other people, and they’re going, oh, well wait, I have that issue too.


My employees ask that question or this, our clients do this thing. Oh, okay, I can learn from this, too. And then they start sharing back and forth. They get something they didn’t realize they wanted, which is a group of people who understand their world that they can communicate with, celebrate with, and communicate with. And you get the credit for bringing them together. And as you are teaching individually or as an add-in to a group, which every agency and every agency owner can do, everybody who’s listening to this podcast has something to teach your core audience, whoever that may be. Now, what you’re doing is you are, instead of doing it one-on-one, which is fine. And we still do some of that, too. Instead of doing it one-on-one, you’re killing a lot of birds with one stone. You are able to serve a lot of people at once, and you get credit for the service even when they’re teaching each other. Right. So because you brought them together, even when you’re not teaching at all and you’re not the one being helpful when they’re being helped inside a live Q and A or at an event or whatever it may be, you and your agency get the credit, which is crazy, but lovely.


Tune in to our free tutorial, The “WHO” Framework, to sharpen your insights into finding your niche in business.


How to Find Your Niche in Business: The Evolution of Your Agency Niche with Courage and Purpose


100%. Yeah. And you said something from the stage at the first Build a Better Agency Summit last year, and it rang true, and then it rang true this year. And when we’ve seen that in action, we’re like, okay, that’s some, that’s an ingredient we need to put into our recipe. And you stood from the stage and said, Hey everyone, yes. Grateful for all of that, of everyone being here. And yes, the people on this stage are smart and have a lot to share with you, and I hope you learn from them. Learn. But here’s what I also hope: you teach each other and learn from one another in this amazing, awesome community. And that was like, it was like, it was like putting gasoline on a fire. It was so combustive. And because everybody did that, there was no competitiveness, and there’s none of that. Everybody truly jumped in the trenches to be helpful to one another and to teach and share experiences, the good, the bad, the other, and all of that. Yeah. And when we started seeing that come into our community because we subscribed to that, we’re like, that makes total sense. That’s amazing. And when we see our community feeling that same thing too, then it’s not about like giving somebody a capabilities presentation, a Predictive ROI, they know we get them. Right. And that’s a beautiful thing.


Yeah. It really is. We could talk about this for another hour because I feel like we’ve just scratched the surface. So, we’ll have to come back and maybe do a deeper dive into the mechanics of what you did and how you did it. Because I think that would be helpful. Because again, you’re an agency, and I think a lot of people are like, well, agencies don’t do Q and A’s, or agencies don’t do half-day teaching events, or agencies don’t create video tutorials. And I think all of that is a misnomer, but the takeaway I think from today’s episode is that it’s okay if the niche you picked isn’t the niche forever. I’m not saying you should change every month or year. I’m saying that when you define a niche, you don’t have to go into it with the fear that you cannot change. But again, changing was painful. Changing was expensive; changing took time. It was all for the right reasons. But it wasn’t something I believed that you would do wholesale over and over again.


Right. And 100%, this just occurred to me as you were saying this, as, as we’re, as we’re wrapping up and coming in for a landing. I think this really ties into this conversation and hooks into what you shared from the stage at Summit this last time in your keynote, and that is, we’re at a time that we’re about to step into this amazing renaissance, and that yes we did need to seek the shelter of the safe harbor because of all the things that have happened over the last several years. Still, now it’s time actually to go back out into the storm, the rough water, whatever it is, to find that next thing. Yeah. That gave a lot of courage to the people in the room. And, niching down for some people does require courage. It did for me.


Tune in to our free tutorial, The “WHO” Framework, to sharpen your insights into finding your niche in business.


How to Find Your Niche in Business: Lessons from the Predictive ROI Journey


And I think what you shared at Summit gave everyone in that room courage. And that was a really powerful thing. And so as we’re thinking about this decision that, that, that is, that for us, it was the, yeah, we had kind of a safe harbor and that we knew that if we’re going to continue this next level of growth for Predictive, we needed to get back out into the quasi rough waters. But making different decisions and all of that and changing the business are sometimes not easy. And, but we did that, and now we can see that the business is on a different path and trajectory, and yay for that. Right? But that keynote you shared was so heartfelt and really appropriate for this conversation. 


I think, yeah, it all connects for sure. So it’s okay not for your niche not to be permanent. It’s okay to think about different ways to communicate, teach, and be helpful. And by building a community and actually letting your prospects and your clients come together in some way, you can speed up the process of sales because they feel, be they feel beholden to you, that you have exposed them to these other people that they can learn from, not just you. And I think those are some of the big takeaways from today.


As always, it’s great to have you on the show. It’s fun to watch you evolve your model and obviously be a part of it. I know I’ve been a guest on a bunch of the Q and As and on the podcast and other things, so it’s fun to be a part of you and Eric and your team really doubling down on sort of this new vision of what Predictive can be for clients and how you can grow your business and all of, and all of it’s working. I mean, it’s playing out exactly how we would’ve predicted it. Yeah. There have been some misses, and we would’ve predicted that there were going to be misses for sure. Because none of us get it right all the time, but we get it right most of the time. The good thing is our audience also understands we’re human and recognizes that we’re not going to hit a home run every time, but we’re so valuable most of the time.


There’s a lot of grace around that. So, hopefully, I think this inspired folks to think a little differently about how to apply the book’s content. So, thanks for being on the show again.  nobody can tell this, but we got up at the butt crack of dawn to record this, so thank you for getting up early and doing this with me. I know it less painful for you than it was. I was going to say. I know this is normal. Your, never mind. I’m not thanking you for that. You’re up anyway, but thanks for being back on the show and for being transparent about the decisions you made, the paths you took, and the paths you almost took. Because I think, and I think it helps people, I think it’s a living example of here are the two guys that wrote the book and they didn’t get it all right either. And so they’re still learning from their own content and their own experiences, which is a good reminder to everybody that this is all a work in progress, and we’re learning together, and we get smarter together. And fortunately, we get it right most of the time, but not always.


Tune in to our free tutorial, The “WHO” Framework, to sharpen your insights into finding your niche in business.


How to Find Your Niche in Business: Guide to Applying Key Strategies for Growth


Amen to that. Thank you again for the invitation. It’s always a pleasure to be here with you,  so thank you very much. It was great. You bet. Okay, everyone, no matter how many notes you took or how often you go back and re-listen to what Drew and I shared with you, which I sure hope that you do. The key is you have to take it and apply it; if you do, you will roar through 2023. So, as a quick reminder before we go, be sure to visit our newly rebuilt resources section at because you can download our brand new who, what, and how frameworks, three new frameworks, and a whole lot of other helpful resources, and honest everything is a hundred percent free. There are no hoops to jump through or strings attached. So go to I look forward to you joining me over the next two weeks because we’re going to shift our attention from niche, which is what we just covered here; if you download the WHO framework, you’re going to see a lot of alignment with the WHO framework because the focus is on WHO niche, right?


So, in the next two weeks, we’re going to shift our attention to what we call the what framework and the how framework. So what is the hero offer and how to create it, how to design it, and then the how framework is all about putting a system into place that generates a steady stream of right fit prospects flowing into your sales pipeline. Those are going to be a lot of fun, but buckle up because, holy bananas, they’re going to be detailed conversations, lots of data points, and lots of action steps. So,  for the next two weeks, the what framework and the how framework until then onward with gusto.

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Sell with Authority Podcast

The Sell with Authority Podcast is for agency owners, business coaches, and strategic consultants who are looking to grow a thriving, profitable business that can weather the constant change that seems to be our world’s reality.

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