Should you go all-in?
How to find your niche of one
Last week, one of my readers, who is an experienced copywriter, shared her challenges with me. I asked to publish her email since it would be a great learning opportunity for all of us. Her pain point is something that many creatives are struggling with on different levels.
My background is in journalism, and I am passionate about writing and editorial strategy. I'm a senior copywriter at a tech company, and I'm a freelance writer on the side (covering craft beer, local makers and artists, food, travel, etc.).
My biggest hurdle is picking something to focus on. I have decision fatigue when it comes to writing vs. copywriting, picking a singular niche subject area-wise (I've always been a generalist!) and just moving forward with AN idea. Last week, I decided I really wanted to pivot my side hustle to focus primarily on copy and creative services for craft breweries. I updated my website to speak to that and got proactive new biz outreach emails drafted and ready to send out. I never got the nerve to send 'em though, because I worried that going all in on breweries was too niche, would box me in and would provide too few opportunities to get work.
That’s my biggest struggle: Fear of committing to one idea, but also letting that fear translate into me not committing to any idea as a result.
First, I appreciate your trust in sharing a naked personal piece like this. There are two common problems here that I’m going to address. This will help us when we are starting a biz or project.
Finding your niche in 10mins or less!
Niche is an overused buzzword now. Yes, you already know it, but let me try to give you a different perspective.
First, a simple definition of niche just to be on the same page: In a noisy world, you must find a narrow market so you can stand out.
You can also call this the battle for reaching the right audience. For a better picture, see this Google Trends graph:
As you can see, the keyword “how to find your niche”, has dramatically picked up over time. So?
Don’t wait! Target a niche and get rich!
I wish it could be that easy. For many, it’s very confusing to find a niche that is profitable yet so enjoyable that they can limit themselves to it forever!
A niche of one
In this piece I wrote about the rising trends of “the company of one”. I showed you how so many writers and creatives are running businesses that are mainly based on one individual. We are living in a new era where people are turning themselves into businesses.
A person ⟶ A business
But when it comes to finding our right audience, we tend to forget our business is completely blended with our identity.
In finding your niche as a creative, you shouldn’t begin from the business side. You need to start with YOU.
Your “specific” niche is actually a “broad mix” of your skills, vision, passions, and curiosity.
Let’s go from inside out. Ask yourself, "Who am I?"
I am a generalist.
I come from a background in journalism.
I have solid skills in copywriting.
I have a deep understanding of the tech world.
I have a major passion for local businesses.
I am also x,y,z.
But how could you find a specific niche with this complex mix? This leads us to the second problem.
When should we go all-in?
I have been here for years.
My problem was that I couldn’t create a unique biz that reflected my personal values and skills while also being focused on a profitable niche market.
What in the hell did I want from myself? Not even one thriving biz or serious project in the real world starts like this. Finding the right business, or designing a focused niche, is more like a real friendship, not romantic love.
Romantic love starts fast. One kiss leads to another. Then before you know it, it takes over your life. Love always destroys our balance. We drink cheerfully at 4 am, hide from others, and act like there is no end to anything. Love is revolutionary and sometimes comes with huge expectations: Let’s kill each other!
That's why so many don’t want a big love in their life! A real relationship or friendship is the opposite. It starts small and grows organically. It is always there for you, throughout your good and bad times.
That’s similar to how you figure out what your THING is in life. That’s how you dedicate yourself to a niche audience. That’s how a real biz starts.
What is a better way?
Let’s answer this question by solving the problem of our real example.
In this case, our writer wants to start a serious side business. She wants to focus on craft breweries as her niche market. But the problem is, she doesn’t know if this is the exact right niche for her. What if she loses interest? What if it's a very small market? What if so and so?
She ignores these questions, and tries to JUST DO IT. Next, she creates a website and crafts cold emails, but the pressure and confusion are so huge that she quits before she really even tries her idea.
The solution? Here is how I would start:
I would be in much better shape if I started this idea as a project, not as a business.
I would start very small, with just a dedicated social media page. I also wouldn’t start too narrowly. I would begin documenting my journey at local bazaars, restaurants, and bars on my social media.
I would support local companies and breweries by introducing their new events, products, or services in a creative way. I would add a newsletter or blog along the journey, trying to find a way to blend the culture, tech, and social life in order to feed my generalist self.
After doing this for couple of months, I would:
Build an audience (size doesn’t matter).
Attract real clients and collaborators.
From here, I would be able to identify areas where I had the most fun and delivered excellent stories. I could also identify posts that generated the most feedback. This would help me to SLOWLY discover the first layers of my own niche and audience— a niche of one which aligns with my authentic self.
Escape competition through authenticity. Competition can make you play the wrong game. No one can compete with you on being you.
Drink to the truth
Maybe you believe in love at first sight. Maybe my love example wasn't a good one after all. But I know one thing for sure. This is called STARTING. Nothing is more important than starting your dream. Don’t let big expectations or a lack of clarity stop you from kicking off your OWN biz. In reality, nobody starts with complete resources, perfect clarity, and a loyal audience.
You simply can reply to this email and write to me. As you see, I read all of them.
Take good care of your sensitive ass!
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