Unexplored Niches

A man exploring a rocky niche in a kayak

In the previous post in this series, I wrote about the value of a niche audience. I said that going deep into a group of specialists—instead of going broad and trying to appeal to everyone—was more valuable, especially online.

To recap: There’s a direct correlation between how much you specialize and how much you can earn per hour.

“Weight-loss specialists” charge more than “online fitness trainers.”

“Sport performance specialists” charge even more.

“Executive trainers” charge even more.

Sure, some celebrity plays into it. But you can build your own stage.

And yes, niches can be hard to crack if you’re an outsider. But you can always become an insider.

Here, just for fun, I want to give you some sample niches you might not have considered.


Riders Only?


First, I’ll use a cycling example, because that’s my niche.

Dynamic Cyclist is an amazing example of the power of a niche audience. Take a look at its programming and exercise library. Hell, look at its backdrop—it’s clearly in a CrossFit-style gym and a yoga studio. Dynamic Cyclist is not prescribing unique stretches. It’s not using any special techniques or exercises. Its foam rollers aren’t different from yours.

But it can sell the program to guys like me because the company says, “This is for cycling.”

To use Seth Godin’s phrase, “People like us do things like this.” In other words, “Out of all the stretches you could do, these are the ones for cyclists.” And, “Out of all the exercises you could do, these are the ones for cyclists.”

What else is sold to cyclists like me, who regularly spend over $5,000 on a bike (and as much again on gear)?

Nutrition Coaching




Let’s be clear: These are the same nutrition tips, yoga poses, supplements and CrossFit workouts that other people do. But because they’re “for cyclists,” they’re more valuable. I’d pay more for them because they feel special. And most people are far less skeptical than I am.


Need a Niche?

Now, as promised, here are some unexplored niches:


Professional referees are practically professional athletes. They’re out there skating or running beside the best in the world. The average NFL referee was paid $205,000 in 2019. But studies show that fit referees make better calls in every sport. Why wouldn’t they train to be better?


OK, “people with horses.” I remember training a client who owned a horse. Denise always showed up at the gym straight after the barn. She was one of my favorite clients ever—always happy and smiling, always compliant, always quick to pay for sessions in advance. Such a wonderful person.

And she loved to talk about her horse. When she told me that her new horse bed cost $10,000, I almost choked. But when she showed up one day carrying a “Pilates for Dressage Riders” DVD, I gained a life lesson. Dressage is a niche within a niche: It’s a style of horseback riding. There are other styles (and there are Pilates DVDs for those, too). You can watch a clip here—again, no special exercises, just niche dominance.

After listening to Denise talk about horseback riding for two years, it finally occurred to me to ask: “Denise, how can I help you get better at riding horses?” and “Denise, is there anyone else you know who wants to get better at riding horses?”

By the end of the week, I had three more clients from Denise’s riding club.

The Religious

Your niche doesn’t have to focus on performance. Some people will be attracted to messages like “family friendly” or “faith driven.” Check out Shaped by Faith: Pilates for the Soul. In the CrossFit world, look at Faith Rxd: These are great people who have identified a niche and found a way to help.


Even as the definition and scope of autism broadens, the opportunities to help become clearer. IgniteGym was a company I founded to help; now Ty and Hilary Krueger are working in this niche at Behavior Change Collective. Opportunity abounds if you have the mindset for it.


On Two-Brain Radio tomorrow, we’ll talk with Rob Connors about how he’s quickly taken over online training for golfers. It took months, not years, and he’s going to walk you through the process step by step.


As I wrote in “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief,” I think that training entrepreneurs is a massive opportunity. Sometimes we need hard HIIT workouts to clear our brains. Sometimes we need long, slow aerobics to focus and get into “flow state.” And sometimes we just need to calm down.

This niche is full of people with time flexibility, income flexibility and the desire to make fewer decisions. They’re the most likely people to say “just tell me what to do” and then be willing to pay for it. If I were looking for a niche in my town for bricks-and-mortar training, I’d start with entrepreneurs. But that’s just me.


How to Find More Niches

Look at your best clients. What do they do when they’re not at the gym?

Where do they work?

What are their hobbies?

What are their kinks? (Not sexual, necessarily—but what are the things they “nerd out” on? How can fitness help with their butterfly-catching passion—and who else needs help catching more butterflies?)

This is a great thought exercise, but it’s also a powerful opportunity. Think narrower and go deeper instead of trying to appeal to everyone.


One more thing!

Did you know gym owners can earn $100,000 a year with no more than 150 clients? We wrote a guide showing you exactly how.