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Can Niching EXPAND Your Client Base? An Interview with Robyn D’Angelo, The Happy Couple Expert

Niching fear #298: Clinicians will stop referring to me if I choose a narrow niche.

It’s a whacky fear, but so wildly held that I gotta address it as part of this niche series. It goes a little something like this:

“If I narrow my niche to, say, fathers who are finding themselves on the verge of an affair as they settle into the routine of having a toddler in the home, other therapists who stop referring other kinds of cases to me. And, if potential clients hear about this niche, they won’t come to me because they won’t think I can help them with other types of problems. YAGH!”

As we will see from Robyn D’Angelo’s experience, having a niche where you demonstrate expertise, is just that – a niche. Most reasonable folks – referring clinician or potential client alike – will realize that if you’re good at working with first time fathers on the verge of an affair, then you’re probably also great at working with transition, relationships fears, guilt, anxiety, parents, men in relationships and on and on.

Wow – that just opened up an entire range of issues from just one niche!

But, don’t just take my word for it. It’s easy to dismiss a piece of marketing strategy when you hear it from just one person, but when you hear it from a wide variety of successful clinicians, then it’s much harder to ignore. This is why I am bringing you a series of interviews from clinicians who have decided to buck the generalist trend and focus on a defined niche.

This week, I am pleased to bring you an interview with Robyn D’Angelo, the Happy Couple Expert which totally debunks the “if I focus on a specialty, everyone will stop referring other kinds of cases to me and my practice will dry up” myth -with gusto.

Robyn D’Angelo is a rogue psychotherapist turned relationship coach and the founder of The Happy Couple Expert private practice in Orange County, California.  Robyn’s clinical work and/or writing has been featured on PsychCentral.com, MSN.com, DINKSInternational.com, HuffingtonPost, and she has been a guest on The Big Change of Heart Podcast, Coaching Through Chaos Podcast, and The Couples Expert Podcast.  She helps couples master the messiness of couplehood together and create their very own Epic relationships that last.

I know, I know. After an intro like that, you’re chomping at the bit to hear about how all this niching activity has impacted her practice. Without further ado – let’s find out!

deleteAn Interview with Robyn D’Angelo, MFT – AKA “The Happy Couple Expert”

Q: How long have you been in private practice?

A: I started my psychotherapy practice Jan 2015 and then I started my relationship coaching practice February 2016.

Q: At what point in your practice did you decide to niche?

A: February 2016. It was when I signed up for a 12 month business coaching program where they were teaching us how to create a community of clients and how to build relationships with them via online marketing. I thought, who do I want to talk directly to?

Q: How would you describe your niche?

A: It’s really interesting because I’ve always loved working with couples. I am known as Th Happy Couple Expert. I’ve dubbed myself as a major #GottmanGeek due to completing all 3 levels of Gottman training + additional Gottman workshops. So my niche is couples.

Q: What led you to niche down even further to focus on DINKS?

A: I started thinking about THE couple that I know best. That I can connect with and intimately appreciate their struggles and lifestyle, I thought about DINKS! Double Income No Kids couples. My husband and I are one. And so I thought, we can’t be the only ones out there experiencing our unique challenges and benefits of this lifestyle. So I did some research. There are many Child-Free By Choice groups, books, and communities out there. They seemed to be more “Breeder Bashing” than what I could relate to, so I started to build a community for those who have chosen to live child-free and who don’t hate kids. I hosted an online summit in April of this year called Love Filled & Guilt Free: Creating Epic Relationship for Wildly Successful Child-Free Couples. I interviewed 22 experts on living child-free lifestyles and it drew a pretty large crowd. I was pleasantly surprised.

Q: Did you have fears about niching? If so, what were they?

A: Of course! I love working with all couples and not just child-free couples. I was worried if I promoted myself as the Happy {DINK} Couple Expert I’d turn off parenting couples. I’ve found that although many people in my professional community know me as the DINK couple expert, I’m still getting parenting couples or those who want to be parents one day, still call and want to work with me. Also, not a lot of people know or resonate with the DINK acronym. I was worried that people wouldn’t know what it meant (we only have 7 seconds to grab someone when they arrive on our websites) and I was worried people wouldn’t take the time to look it up. Pretty valid concerns.

Q: What impact has niching had on your practice in regards to your professional identity?

A: My professional identity has shifted from the Happy Couple Expert to the DINK couples expert, but I still have colleagues referring unmarried and parenting couples to me all the time. It’s been fun to hear colleagues refer to me as the DINK expert. 🙂

Q:What impact has niching had on your practice in regards to your income?

A: Interestingly enough, I have not gotten DINK couples coming to me in large quantities but I have had people find me on social media and thank me for creating the FB Group Creating Epic {kid-free} Relationships as a place for them to come together and support each other’s struggles and celebrate triumphs together. I think it takes time to build a solid community and that’s what I’m doing. My income increased when I started putting myself out there more visibly and niching gave me a reason to do that. My phone rings, my practice is filling up nicely and people around the world are finding me because I’m not afraid to say “Hi, I’m Robyn – the happy couple expert and YOUR relationship coach, teaching you how to create your very own EPIC relationship that lasts,” in all my vlogs.

Q: What impact has niching had on your practice in regards to your productivity?

A: I go back and forth between creating video blogs on relationships, couples and dink couples topics. I have not completely moved to being 100% The DINK Whisperer and I don’t think I ever will. It’s not necessary. I want those looking for a Child-Free relationship expert to find me and I also want those who have children to know that I am just as passionate about and skilled in helping them connect and create EPIC relationships that last.

Q: What impact has niching had on your practice in regards to other aspects of your practice?

 

A: A few surprising things that has come from niching:

1) I’ve had older adults reach out to me and thank me for talking about DINK life as they struggle to accept their adult children’s choices to not have kids. They are grieving the loss of the dream of being grandparents. I’ve been honored to be a support to a community that suffers in silence.

2) I’ve been asked to speak at the NotMom Summit in 2017. I didn’t know this was a thing until I started researching. This is the ONLY conference in the world for women who are Child-Free by Choice or By Chance. People attend from all over the world and I am DELIGHTED to be speaking on Child-Free Living + Couples.

3) I’ve been thanked repeatedly by DINK couples or MINK (My income, no kids) singles, for advocating for them as just people. Not selfish because they chose not to have kids. Not “less-than” because they are not parents. And as fulfilled, successful and happy people who are living their lives, leaving their legacies and none of it involves children of their own. And that is so bad-ass!

As we can see, Robyn’s experience goes directly against the fantasy that choosing a niche and really honing in on providing massive value for those individuals means we will no longer get referrals from other groups. In fact, even as Robyn creates content solely for DINKS, she continues to receive the majority of her referrals for couples with kids.

We can’t be everything to everyone, but if we are able to develop laser-like focus on a narrow subset of the population, our dedication, perseverance and demonstration of clinical skill will transcend the ideal client that we are focusing on and reach an audience much wider than the net we cast.

But we must start with laser-like focus.

Want to know more about Robyn?! You can find her at TheHappyCoupleExpert.com, on Twitter (@YayCoupleExpert) or Facebook (TheHappyCoupleExpert).

Do you have stories about niching that run counter to popular fears?! Join the discussion in the comment section below!

 

photo credit: Wavebreak Media LtdMilena Ugrinova

Can Niching EXPAND Your Client Base? An Interview with Robyn D’Angelo, The Happy Couple Expert


Tiffany McLain, LMFT

 


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APA Reference
McLain, T. (2016). Can Niching EXPAND Your Client Base? An Interview with Robyn D’Angelo, The Happy Couple Expert. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 10, 2020, from https://pro.psychcentral.com/art-private-practice/2016/11/can-niching-expand-your-client-base-an-interview-with-robyn-dangelo-the-happy-couple-expert/