Creating Your Own Niche is Brave and Courageous, What’s Stopping You? KDS: 065January 28, 2021 February 1, 2021 /
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Creating your own niche IS possible…
If you’ve been in the online space for any length of time, at some point or another you’ve heard/read/been told that you need to niche down.
As someone who hasn’t ever really done this, I’ve been a little giddy to see a couple of articles popping up lately that go against that age-old advice. I’m going to start by saying you don’t necessarily need to be a generalist either… I’m saying create your OWN niche.
Back in the day when I was creating websites for clients, I never niched down. I also never advertised or marketed my services (which I’m not saying is a smart strategy, I simply didn’t want to be doing that work so let it just unfold and see what showed up, but that’s for another day).
Before we get too deep into this episode I think it’s also worth noting that if you are in a niche and it’s working for you, then fantastic. I’m not saying that niching down doesn’t work, because I can give you plenty of great examples where it does.
I have a friend whose niche is the building industry (construction). She has created a solid and growing business in a very specific niche. However, she didn’t start her business because she went looking for a niche and then picked the construction industry.
When I started my online business I more or less stumbled upon WordPress, enjoyed what I was learning and grabbed a great domain name (The WordPress Chick).
Those were the good ol’ days…. ignorance was bliss.
My imposter syndrome showed up as I started to learn more and it wasn’t until I found my own little space within the WordPress community (marketing & WordPress) that I started to slough off the feelings of being an imposter.
Which is why I shifted to my personal brand.
I love EVERYTHING about marketing.
Content creation, email marketing, copywriting, product creation, offers, chatbots, traffic, etc.
I go deep on things that interest me and let them evolve.
Let’s look at content creation as an example.
I started creating content and continued doing things I loved. I knew very little about SEO, had never done the ‘content silo’ and many of the posts or episodes I’ve created that have resonated most with people have very little to do with SEO.
Again, not saying SEO doesn’t matter (it does, and it’s worth doing and getting good at).
What I am saying is it’s brilliant to create and publish from a different place. If I don’t feel inspired with what I’m doing it’s simply not going to work.
Let’s talk about the whole “niche” thing, shall we?
First, let’s differentiate who we serve from the niche.
When you’re creating your customer avatar, with demographics and psychographics, you want to get specific. Whether or not that ends up being exactly who you serve isn’t the point.
Meaning, let’s say I were to say that my target audience is a female, between 35-60, who has an online business and is looking to stop trading time for money. In other words, even if they love the service work they’re doing they want some leverage. My psychographics are clear: they’re self-responsible, willing to do the work, and are non-judgmental.
Does that mean I don’t work with men?
Or I don’t work with someone outside of that age range
Of course not. What this does is help me get crystal clear on my messaging and who I’m talking to when I create content or copy (including email). When I was in the WordPress space my audience was pretty split (50/50 between men & women).
I don’t have current data on this right now but I can tell you that more women purchase from me than men (especially coaching services).
In a recent article by Nicholas Cole, he said:
Creators who stand out don’t “find” their niche.
The Reason why is hidden in the phrase above.
Finding your niche is another way of saying “figuring out where you fit in.” And people who stand out don’t fit in anywhere. Which is the whole reason why they capture and keep people’s attention.
They’re different.– Nicolas Cole
One of my favorite lines from that article, titled “Find Your Niche” is Terrible Advice” is this:
“In short: it encourages a mindset of competition.”
How much time do you waste paying attention to “the competition?”
There’s a huge difference between looking at what other people are doing and doing research. We can all go down that rabbit hole of FOMO when we start comparing what we’re doing or how other people are doing (thank you social media).
Here’s another mind-bending question (IMO): where do you think you would be today if you had simply launched or created the thing you wanted to create as opposed to judging yourself because you hadn’t gotten specific enough?
Before I get too much further with this, let me clarify that you still have to be crystal clear on the problem you’re solving.
Let’s take my latest obsession with newsletters.
In the last 2 months I’ve coached people in a handful of different industries. Most of them (not all of them), I recommended launching a newsletter.
They all had a common need: to grow a quality list of subscribers, provide value to their audience, and sell more through email marketing.
So in this case, lead generation and email marketing were the problem.
The solution was the newsletter.
I didn’t decide that I was only going to help female bloggers who “X” or only help freelance content writers.
See what I mean?
The book “Blue Ocean Strategy” goes deeper into this entire philosophy. The tagline of the book alone is enough to make you think twice about how you’re doing things:
“How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant”
What to do instead
I’ve often referred to the work I’m going to talk about as the intangible, sort of ‘behind-the-scenes’ work.
Getting clear on who you serve and the problems you can solve for them is only part of the process.
The harder part is how you define all this. In other words, your messaging. I’ve always been a “figure it out as I go” kind of person, but that will only get you so far.
At some point you have to do the work.
To hopefully make this more tangible, let me share something I’ve been working through.
In the next month I’ll be opening up a brand new group coaching program, called “#JustShowUP INSIDERS” – it’s a private, 6-month group coaching and mastermind.
I’ve outlined the 6 months in terms of content and deliverables on my end, how the calls will be structured, who I want to work with, and how I can help.
Here’s the “do the work” part…
Defining all that and being able to communicate it in a way that connects with who I’m serving and THEN… inspires them to buy.
THAT is the real work.
And it takes patience and diligence.
Specifically, it was writing out the who and the what. Then taking that and going deeper. Sometimes it’s painful and other times it flows and is easy. I don’t force things when I feels like I’m stuck, but more often than not getting started is what’s most painful.
After I’ve started that part I start turning it into a headline and using a framework (I have a sales page framework that I use for a lot of things now as it addresses a lot of the things I’m trying to get clear on) to get even clearer.
Then I’ll ask a friend to go over it with me.
Having an extra set of eyes from someone who knows me and is willing to give me constructive feedback is priceless.
This entire process is about communicating how and why they should work with me. In other words, circling back again to the problems I can help them solve.
Back to niching
The purpose of this episode is hopefully to get you out of your head and into production mode.
If you have a niche, you love it, and it serves you, by all means continue with what you’re doing.
This isn’t an argument against niche’s.
I do agree with Nicolas Cole that “finding your niche” is terrible advice.
With more people trying to find their way online the biggest differentiator we have is who we are.
One of the reasons I read so much content online is that I get excited every time I see a new way of doing something that has been around for a while ( I recently shared an article about YouTube sensation Mr.Beast launching a 300 location burger chain in a single day with something called “Virtual Concept Dining”… that such a thing even exists is exciting!).
Being the low price leader or adding features and benefits to something that already exists isn’t enough anymore (and quite frankly sounds uninspiring to say the least).
Courage and Bravery are required
I don’t know about you, but I am SO ready to mix things up!
Last year was challenging for all of us, and the few years before I had some serious personal challenges that took a lot of time and energy away from my business.
This past year (I’ve been in Idaho almost a year already, hard to believe) has been immensely healing and I feel a new sense of excitement brewing.
Change is in the air.
I’ve made a few content predictions lately, but beyond content, I think there are new marketing opportunities as well (there always are, right?).
- What’s old is new again: The bottom line with marketing is that everything works if you do the work. Whether it’s webinars, live streams, email marketing, podcasting, blog posts… they ALL work. You just need to be willing to be consistent and put in the time.
*Here’s the opportunity: how can you do it differently? What unique spin can you bring to a methodology that has proven to work?
- New ways to connect & build community: Things feel like they’re settling down a bit now that the US elections are over, we’ve had the inauguration, etc. I don’t know about you, but after the last year, I’m certainly craving more human connections! New relationships, reconnecting with old relationships, forming new communities, etc. With the new onset of platforms like Circle.so, where can you build your community?
*Here’s the opportunity: How can you create a community of supportive and like-minded community on a platform YOU choose?
- Gated content: Business owners are going to be much more selective about what they “give away.” There is a certain strategy to creating quality content that engages your audience without giving away the farm so-to-speak. Take a look at newsletters: there are lots of businesses growing a paid newsletter. The price point is low (there are much higher priced newsletters as well), but the model of going wide vs. deep feels like a breath of fresh air.
*Here’s the opportunity: Whether it’s a newsletter, monthly audio subscription, video subscription, or community. Look at the models that you pay for and notice what interests you.
I know these might not be the hacks and tricks you’re looking for (yes, I totally thought about “these aren’t the droids you’re looking for), but, to quote myself, “this shit works.”
Go deep on the mastery of your subject. Create quality content, spend more time promoting than you do creating (find your own happy place here, but just do more than the scheduled promotion… note to self here), and for the love of ALL that is good in the world… make your offers!
Give your business the chance to do what you set out to do. Be uniquely yourself and put in the work.