Guided Goals Podcast #12: Finding your Niche with Howard Brodwin

Howard K Brodwin

Do you have a topic or industry you love?

Want to focus on something specific?

What’s stopping you?

Howard Brodwin joins us on the Guided Goals Podcast, and we’re going to talk about finding your niche. Howard is the founder of Sports and Social Change, a cause marketing agency in the sports industry, and he believes that a ball can change the world.

Your sport of choice can be your vehicle to go out and change the world, Howard says.

Howard spent 25 years in the sports industry, both on the manufacturers side and in the events business. He noticed the power and the passion that comes from getting people together around something they really love to do. Whether it’s a sport they play, a sport they like to watch, a favorite team, sports is a great community-building platform. Any time you have the opportunity to bring all those people together in a positive environment you start to channel that toward doing some good, and you can drive some significant change. Five or six years ago, Howard realized there was a lot of this going on in the sports business, but it was very fragmented. He launched his business to channel all of that. And that is where he found his niche: cause-related marketing and social responsibility in the sports industry.

It’s a niche inside of a niche. Many years ago, he was in a wedding-related niche within a niche business (for grooms), too.

Why a niche is important

A niche allows you to express what you are excited and passionate about. Your niche is something you would pursue whether you are getting paid for it or not.

Some people find a niche they are good at that they don’t enjoy and they might pursue it because it pays the bills, but eventually their enthusiasm might wane. It’s got to be something that makes you excited to get out of bed every day and pursue.

Howard also explains how he got into each of his niches, as well as what his mission with his current, uber-specific sports marketing niche and the importance of getting your company out there. This is important for everyone, not just the world of professional sports. For example, Howard says if you are an after school program that uses soccer to help teach literacy (America Scores), you have to let people know about you.

Your niche

Howard says if you are going to have a niche, you need to have your finger on the pulse of it and be a part of the community and be engaged in all those conversations. Know what’s going on, so when people ask you about something, you have information. You also need to be hungry to know more about what’s going on.

You niche is your badge. Wear it on the outside. Be proud of it. Make sure everyone knows about it.

Keep it shiny:

  • Stay active and engaged.
  • Ask questions and learn.
  • Stay on top of trends and see how they apply to you.

For example, at the beginning of social media, businesses did not know how it applied to them. Now it applies to everyone! Social media was not an integral part of every business even three years ago. Periscope (mobile live streaming video) didn’t exist a year ago. Things are constantly changing.

It’s the treadmill. Once you are on, it does not shut off.


Springwise is a trends forecasting service that has an amazing newsletter. On a weekly basis they send you information from Spring Spotters – people out in the world who find interesting things and send them on. They are business ideas from around the world. Think about what you can learn from the ideas and how to adapt them to your business.

Work/Life Balance

Howard has been playing the drums for 30 years and plays in a funk, soul and R&B band in Los Angeles. That’s his escape, his balance. He gets into the rehearsal room once a week for three hours and tries not to think about work.

His job is to set the tempo, so if he drifts off, he’ll run into problems and everyone will follow him into those problems.

Music is very Zen, he explains. You are in the moment. You connect around the music and that’s what makes it a lot of fun.

Plus, you can learn at any age.

Personal Goal of the Week: Start playing a musical instrument. Or at least watch a how-to video on YouTube. Howard says people will be amazed at what they learn about themselves through music.

Professional Goal of the Week: Sign up for the Springwise newsletter and brainstorm how your business can jump on a trend.

Want to hear more about embracing your niche? Listen to the entire interview on iTunes or Stitcher:

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The Guided Goals Podcast gives you the tools, direction, and resources you need to pursue your passion project. Thanks for tuning in.

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Tell us how you are doing on your goals in the comments.

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About Debra: A project catalyst, Debra Eckerling works with individuals and small businesses to create a strategy, set goals and manage their projects. Follow Debra @GuidedGoals, Like Guided Goals on Facebook, Subscribe to YouTube.