A Case Study: Veronika Palovska on Niche Finding
Today I’m happy to share with you my interview with Veronika Palovska, the owner of DoYouSpeakFreedom.Com – a online English learning platform for female entrepreneurs.
I first interacted with Veronika when she enrolled in my LinkedEnglish courses. She then signed up for my newsletter, and has been one of my faithful subscribers, supporters and clients ever since.
At some point this year I noticed her fantastic content on twitter and decided to check out her website, which at the time was still being developed. What I loved about the website though is the domain name – doyouspeakfreedom.
Three things struck me:
- This is unique.
- It’s poetic (I’m a sucker for a good book, and just those words made me want to find out more about her programs).
- The name contains a message: learning English will make you free. We don’t learn English just for the sake of English. Generally people need English to feel free. Smart marketing.
When I received Veronika’s email about her website launch one phrase really inspired me, so much so that I couldn’t help sharing it in my Facebook group:
I’m learning a lot these days about letting go of perfectionism and embracing the messy reality of making things happen. Because that’s the only way to, well, make things happen, as opposed to just dreaming about them.
Unveiling the Website: What a Treat!
As I was browsing through her website I kept thinking, “What a brave woman.” It took me so many years to go from “help-everybody-who-comes-to-me” mindset to actually zeroing in on 1 thing that I’m most passionate about. Here was the courageous Veronika with her beautiful website, poetic copy, and attractive appeal to a specific group of people – female entrepreneurs. Wow.
Finding one’s niche is such a huge undertaking, and teachers spend months (and years – and rightly so) choosing, then narrowing down, then narrowing down again. Now I saw somebody who’s just beginning with so much definition and focus on her niche that it was scary (for me anyway).
[That’s one of the reasons why I kept hitting the wall with my services because for the longest time I tried to teach anybody who knocked on my door without finding my unique voice.]
So I wrote to Veronika,
“Congrats! Your website looks fabulous! I’m still navigating through this, but I’m loving the concept behind it, and your niche, too!”
I was both surprised and flattered to receive her unexpected response,
“Thank you for saying that about my website. It means a lot, because it was your book that has helped me define my niche, kill the overwhelm, and see it through. It’s a work in progress, but it’s not just a dream any more! “
That brought about even more questions, and hence is this interview – I hope you enjoy it ~ Elena.
When did you start working on your website and how long did it take you?
I started working on it at the end of February and it went live after about ten weeks. However, the website is just the tip of the iceberg – there had been a lot work before I even bought the domain and hosting.
When I started building the website, I had already had a well-defined niche and a business plan. During those ten weeks, I worked on the copy, packages, branding, content plan and all the technical stuff.
During that time, I also grew my social media following. I went from zero to 900+ on Twitter, which may not be a huge number, but it brought some people on my email list before I even had a website. The list is very small, but it means everything to me: knowing that someone is interested in what I have to say is what holds me accountable and motivated when things get hard.
Were you tempted in the beginning to be “Jack-of-all-trades?” Why/why not? If so, how did you overcome this tendency to offer everything to everybody?
Being able to niche down was in fact one of the reasons why I decided to transition to teaching online. When I started thinking about it for the first time, my local tutoring business was going well. Clients kept coming through referrals, and my marketing was pretty much on autopilot.
But I felt there was no space for growing the business, and I couldn’t make more money without teaching more lessons. I also didn’t have any niche whatsoever – my clients were simply “people from this town”: all levels, all ages, and all kind of linguistic goals.
I knew that in order to evolve, I needed to go from “teaching English” to solving specific problems of specific people. So I needed to go online.
So no, I wasn’t tempted to offer everything to everyone, but it doesn’t mean the process of defining my niche was easy. But it was totally worth it: once I gave myself permission to say who I really wanted to work with, everything became easier: copywriting, branding, packaging my services, choosing the social media platforms, and everything else.
#niche down. Focus. Your business will be more effective. Learn more in this case study.Click To Tweet
Were you afraid to zero in on this particular niche? Why/why not?
Sure, having such a specific niche is scary. But I knew the niche very well and the question wasn’t if there are people who need my services, but how can I help them find me.
I believe that you need to have a strong message, because once the right person (your ideal client) stumbles upon it, it resonates with them; they remember you, trust you and are likely to invest their time and/or money in you.
But you also have to accept the fact that having a strong message and a specific niche means losing many potential clients and not being understood by everyone. It’s the price you pay for being a perfect fit and delivering outstanding results to very few people, as oppose to average results to many.
Why did you choose this particular niche?
I’m familiar with the world of creative online business, because I’m a freelance graphic designer myself. It’s been my passion for many years; I’m a teacher by day and a designer by night, and linking those two things together was a natural thing to do.
However, although it sounds so obvious today, it took me a relatively long time to decide on my niche. I had so many crazy ideas, while all the time the answer was right there in front of me. It was so close I couldn’t see it at first, but when I did, it was a huge relief, and it was so liberating.
How did “Opted Out of the Traditional Classroom” help you build your business?
Several months ago, when I started researching, the idea of transitioning online and creating a website seemed so overwhelming. Learning and building everything from scratch seemed like a never-ending chain of difficult tasks.
“Opted Out” helped me break through all the noise, concentrate on what really matters and take specific steps, one at a time, instead of thinking ten steps ahead about things that aren’t relevant at all.
What really helped me was that it’s not just a workbook or a guide; it’s a story about someone who went through it all, with actionable tasks you can implement right away and see the results.
Veronika and I are now a team, working to help creative entrepreneurs “opt out” of their stifling jobs, cut through the noise and build smart businesses that speak freedom. Join us and our community at Smart Teacher’s Library – your first week is free. ~ Elena