In this blog, I share with you how did I find my niche and how you can too!
Sowing the Seeds
Sometime in late 2013, I started my first start-up. Thanks to my start-up, I was getting a lot of opportunities to go on stage. As an entrepreneur, I had to do a lot of pitching for the growth of my business. It didn’t matter if I was comfortable with the stage or not.
Initially, I would tremble the moment I stepped onto the stage; my mouth would get dry, I would feel a gush of cold wind running across my body, making me numb. Even though I was passionate about my venture, I couldn’t pitch well. We couldn’t crack a lot of business because of my lack of effective communication skills.
For a while, I kept doing sloppy presentations. The more I did terrible pitches, the more my determination grew. I kept practising and getting a little better every single time. Soon I realised I was enjoying the stage time. I loved that space, and eventually, I started owning the place.
The result started showing in the way the entrepreneurship diaspora started approaching me. I would get requests to speak about my journey, be part of panel discussions and more. I got interviewed by YourStory and a couple of other start-ups media houses. However, most of it was random and obviously, pro bono.
I wasn’t even thinking of speaking as a career then. I was simply enjoying myself on stage. In one such panel discussion in late 2015, I was talking about failures. I was thrilled to share my failure story. The addiction to success in entrepreneurs always bothered me, mainly because I had just failed in my first business! Therefore, when this offer came by, I jumped at it.
Signs of life
I was speaking at a public Co-working space in front of 100-150 people. I was the last one to talk among the three panellists. The other two panellists chose to speak more about success, primarily undermining the potential of failures. And, sitting on the stage, I could see the disappointment in the audience’s face.
I started with ‘So what I failed?’
At the end of an hour-long speech, the audience was still longing for more. That was the first time I knew what it meant to impact people genuinely. Half the audience personally came to thank me and congratulate me for what I had shared with them. I had a dinner plan with my family, which got cancelled because of the extended conversations.
Even after this incident, I didn’t get the message that I was destined to speak professionally. Neither did I realise ‘Setbacks’ was my topic.
Fast forward to 2017; I was struggling with multiple challenges at my second start-up. Thanks to the problems, my mind was restless. Seeing this, one of my friends coaxed me to attend a meditation class. I had never meditated before that.
Believe it or not, during the meditation process, I saw myself speaking at a large stadium, and the audience loudly cheering for me. I thought this must be because I am an entrepreneur, and I was giving the best pitch of my life!
What I didn’t realise then, Speaking was my calling. It was my destiny. The stubborn and dumb me needed to go through some more struggles before I could find my mojo. A couple of months later, I came across a brilliant mentor and a teacher. Seeing him rock the stage, I was fascinated by it. And, that day, I made a promise to myself I will be a professional speaker one day.
That’s how I became serious about speaking and making an impact. I started working on myself. Went through numerous pieces of training and masterclasses and attended a vigorous residential program for five days which would begin at 9 am and would go on until midnight, non-stop for five days. I was exhausted at the end of this training, but something inside me was changing rapidly. I was becoming more focused, and clarity was getting better.
The process of growth
Mind it; I was still looking for my speaking niche. In late 2017, I started my seminars. My first six seminars bombed severely. I needed to go back to the drawing board once again. This time my mentor made me realise that I wasn’t speaking on my niche. Hence, the audience could gaze the nervousness and lack of passion. It took me many months and two rounds of deep introspection to finally find my niche.
When I think of it now, honestly, it didn’t have to be this difficult. But my stubbornness, lack of awareness and ability to get signals from the universe made it extra tough for me. It took me many months of sleepless nights and dabbling with three different niches for a long time before I realised what my true love was.
I needed to be brutally honest with myself and keep peeling off the layers of coloured glasses that my myths, unproductive belief systems and fears that put it on my eyes. It was a harrowing process, but worth every bit of it. The fantastic thing is, it doesn’t necessarily be that painful for you.
I started Speaking Niche Mastery Series only for this reason. I intend to guide every speaker, trainer, and coach to find their niche, their true love quickly so that they can leverage their expertise more effectively and impact more people. Even though I had terrific mentors, initially I refused to listen to them. I am sure you aren’t stupid like me.
Do you have a speaking niche? Do you want to have a niche? If so, feel free to comment below. I am happy to listen to your story and guide you through to make your journey a little easier and pleasant.