By Lisa Harvey Roach, Wisdom Consulting, NSA Member

Our Fireside Chat, on Monday, October 7, 2019, at On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina, was graced by Linda Cohen, the Kindness Catalyst who is also the past president of the NSA Oregon chapter.

The topic was “Finding Your Niche.” Dictionary.com defines niche as “1) a place or position suitable or appropriate for a person or thing: to find one’s niche in the business world. 2) a distinct segment of a market.”

Regardless of which definition you use, it was clear after our conversation with Linda that her niche found her!

Timeline of Inspiration

Although Linda had a Masters degree in fundraising, she chose to stay at home to be a full-time mom to her two children. She dabbled in speaking but admitted it was more of a hobby. In the beginning, Linda limited herself to what was possible. It wasn’t until after her father received a fatal diagnosis that Linda was inspired to see her future, her purpose, and her business differently.

  • In 2006, Linda’s dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. To Linda, the following eight months were magical in that she and her dad bonded more than they ever had in years past. After her dad passed, Linda had the idea to blog about mitzvahs, the Yiddish term for “good deeds.”
  • In January 2007, Linda started her blog. Her goal was to blog 1,000 mitzvahs in one year. She blogged 500. After 2.5 years she had 1,000 mitzvahs documented.
  • In 2011, she published her book: 1000 Mitzvahs: How Small Acts of Kindness Can Heal, Inspire and Change Your Life.
  • Shortly after publishing her book, Linda met with a Branding Expert and her signature speech was born: “The Economy of Kindness and How to Transform the Bottom Line.”

Linda’s Marketing Strategy

Linda shared that, once she realized ongoing marketing was the secret to a successful speaking business, her business blossomed. More of her marketing tips follow:

  • Be mindful that business evolves constantly. Market directly to people who can hire you.
  • Use a system. Linda uses Kevin McCarthy’s program. Kevin is the author of Blindspots and was the speaker at our chapter meeting in July.
  • Purchase databases.
  • Realize that there are only about ten topics about which most speakers speak, each with their own spin. Find yours.
  • Leave a flyer behind at your speaking events for participants to share information about you with others. Linda’s includes a picture, a summary about her, a list of recent engagements, key contact information, and a space to write three ways you can cultivate kindness.
  • Healthcare has been a good niche for Linda; however, when she recently spoke at a Funeral Directors Association, Linda learned that you can get paid to speak at funerals. Who knew?

Linda’s Lessons Learned

Continuous learning and growing are critical components of any business. Linda stressed the importance of learning from others and more.

  • Leverage NSA members.
  • Say yes when asked to serve.
  • Tell your own stories.
  • Use laughter to connect with your audience. Record yourself. When people laugh, use those lines over and over.
  • Put your keynote together in five-minute parts. Make sure each part has an activity.
  • Save your pictures and recordings from all of your interviews. Linda was interviewed by WXYZ-TV, Detroit’s ABC station. Unfortunately, the footage is no longer in the station’s archives and Linda doesn’t have any documentation of what was a great interview.

Linda shared a number of speakers she admires and left us with a quote from one of them: “Curiosity did not kill the cat. Comparison did.”

This reminds us to be our true, unique, authentic selves. When we do, it will be easy to find our niche, or have our niche find us!

Not a chapter member or candidate yet? Join us today at https://nsamichigan.org/membership/join-our-chapter

About the Author

Lisa Harvey Roach is a speaker, trainer, consultant, and engineer. She is the founder and president of Wisdom Consulting, which offers expertise in the areas of Project Management, Communication Skills, Idea/Mind Mapping, and more. Lisa formed her company in 2008 and has since taught over 800 seminars to over 16,000 individuals all across the country.

Learn more about Lisa at https://lisaharveyroach.com