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The video “The Most Profitable Niche Is You” by Dan Koe inspired this episode.
The digital marketing and creator space is one where you can go from feeling excited and inspired to jaded and exhausted in only a few weeks.
I will avoid the advice we’ve all heard about productivity and routines because I agree with most of it… and that’s not what this is about.
Plus, I don’t subscribe to the idea that there’s “one” right way to do anything.
There’s only a “right way” for you.
In the 15.5 years I’ve had my online business, I’ve had periods of extreme focus and consistency and other periods when life has knocked me on my ass. In those moments, I did the best I could.
Albeit not without some self-judgment, which is something I’m always working on.
I now understand, at a deep level, that self-judgment will come up… that’s part of being human. My goal now is not to feed it. As my mentor often says, acknowledge, bless, and move on.
In other words, don’t feed it.
The best way not to feed self-judgment is to ensure I’m true to myself.
This can be tricky in the digital marketing and creator space.
Here’s what I mean:
I have zero use for regurgitated content from 20-something men who have done listicle posts about the creators, books, or gurus who have inspired them the most on their journey.
Because they consist of lists made up entirely of the same men.
Over and over and over again. 🥱
HANG ON… don’t leave or roll your eyes thinking this is going to be about bashing young men or the men they follow.
We all have experiences and perspectives contributing to who we are and how we view the world. Who am I to judge what drives and inspires someone else?
These things don’t resonate because I’m not their target audience.
I know, duh.
At least not in the sense of demographics.
A few key points:
- I was widowed at 32 with a six and a two-year-old (I’m now 53). The last thing I’ve ever needed was anyone telling me to “work harder” – let alone men with no responsibilities to anyone but themselves or a wife at home who took care of everything else (Yes, I know. I’m a bit of a martyr here, but also… #facts.).
- At one point, I subscribed to Western culture’s mantra: “You are what you have and what you do.” As a proud GenXer, the war cry of the 80s (SUCCESS!) wasn’t missed on me. We’re always supposed to be striving. 🤮
- Life experience: I wish there were a better way to say this, but most women I know who are my age (and older), around 50, start caring a whole lot less about what other people think while at the same time having far more compassion and empathy for people in general.
- I’ve accepted that:
- Life is hard
- Life is unfair
- Life is messy
- Most people are genuinely doing the best they can
- It goes by a lot faster than you think
- Life is beautiful
- We’re all worthy of love & belonging (thanks, Brené Brown!)
- There’s always something to be grateful for
- Meditation is magic 😉
So much of my journey has been about trying to do what others were doing.
I don’t mean that I was trying to be someone else, but when I hired a coach, bought a course, or read a book, I would tend to feel like I had to do it exactly like it was being taught.
After all, that’s what worked for them, right?
Last year, I invested five figures in a coaching and training offer. It was a combination of courses, one monthly call with the instructor, and weekly calls with her coaches.
Fair enough. The content was great, and her coaches were well-trained and very knowledgeable.
One of the strategies they taught was to require an application for a free webinar.
This didn’t resonate with me, but I did it anyway because I had committed to doing exactly what she said.
Needless to say, it fell flat.
Other things needed tweaking and adjusting, but because the front-end of my offer was this application and it didn’t feel right, it created an energy in me that was just off.
Which translated into zero sales.
This brings me to what Dan Koe said, which felt like a massive “HALLELUJAH” moment.
You are the niche.
More specifically, “The Most Profitable Niche Is You (Create Your Niche of One).”
I’ll share more about Dan’s video and my takeaways in a minute, but first, I want to share where I’ve struggled in owning this (until now, because ya’ girl is done with what doesn’t work).
The first coach I ever had was when I was starting my business in 2008.
It was a 5k investment, and his advice was to make a list of ideas (this was before I had my website or had become “The WP Chick”), and then we would talk about the best path.
He suggested I work with my brother, who has expertise in salt-water aquariums and fish, make videos of him doing his thing, and sell DVDs.
Mind you, two other guys did something similar and got their DVDs into Walmart, but that’s not the point.
It wasn’t that it was a bad idea or wouldn’t work, but I couldn’t care less about saltwater aquariums or fish (although I did admire my brother’s tanks; they were super impressive, but that’s about it).
Basically, this coach advised me to create a business I had zero interest in because there was a market, and it would sell.
Are you effing kidding me?
Needless to say, I didn’t take his advice.
I discovered WordPress, fell in love with it, and The WPChick was born. And by the way, when I went to this coach’s in-person training, he told me WordPress wasn’t really a good ‘niche’…
Where I’ve Struggled
I talk a lot about doing things in a way that works for you, but in many ways, I’ve played it safe when it comes to ‘what works for me.’
Following that mantra when I started was much easier because ignorance truly was bliss. I didn’t know what I didn’t know, so I created content about what I was learning.
I was “building in public” before it was called “build in public” (although this was more about the building of a brand vs. building a product).
Fast forward a few years, and I knew enough to be dangerous.
This is when I really started comparing myself to other people.
I had a lot of doubts. I dealt with some trolls but kept going.
Enough people were finding what I was doing helpful, and I was having fun.
The game changer for me was launching my podcast, The WPChick Podcast.
In 2013, there were only a handful of WordPress podcasts, so it was easy to get some traction. And because I started my podcast to have fun, i.e., I wasn’t focused on how to monetize it, it came through. I also know that my personality comes through, and people felt they could relate to me.
I alternated between solo shows and interviews, found my voice, and created great relationships in the WordPress space.
I pivoted to my personal brand in 2018 because I didn’t really want to talk about WordPress anymore. I was shifting into content marketing (I had shifted a few years prior but was still doing everything under The WPChick) and knew it was time to make a move.
I was still playing it safe.
Let’s go back a few years. I don’t remember when I had this site mockup done, but I’m going to guess it was somewhere between 2013 and 2017.
Take a look at the content and messaging… (ignore how busy it looks…the value of white space wasn’t quite what it is today) 👇:
Why I’m sharing this:
- The messaging & language:
- I worked with a woman who helped me come up with the messaging & naming of things. Things like “Voice + Vision, and Visioneers.” I also loved the tagline: “Do Business. As Only You Can Do,” which I’ve used at different times but never stuck with it.
- This is where I really started to pull in more of what lights me up, but I held back. It really wasn’t until #FtheHUSTLE and then the SPARK that I started pulling in language that felt more like me.
I’ve held myself back out of fear.
Fear of judgment, others’ opinions, and a fear of blowing up what I’ve spent years creating.
Here’s the rub, though…
If what I’ve created isn’t exactly what I want… why not blow it all up?
I’m being a little dramatic here, but you get my point.
After all, it’s not like I will turn my personal brand into a gardening site. But it’s time.
It’s time to do what I’ve been talking about for years:
Before I explain what that looks like, I want to circle back to Dan Koe and his video that felt like massive relief because it validated something I’ve been thinking and feeling for years.
The Most Profitable Niche Is You
When I listened to this video, I felt a huge weight off my shoulders and massive validation.
When I was The WPChick, WordPress was my niche, and before I pivoted, I had found my sweet spot in marketing and WordPress. The content I created was around the business side of WordPress.
At the time, not many people were doing this. WordPress was free, and there was almost an anti-marketing attitude. God forbid you make money with WordPress because it was open source.
It was also a very male-dominated space.
Because I wasn’t a developer and had zero coding skills (still have zero coding skills and zero desire to gain any), I talked to the everyday user who just wanted to use WordPress for their business.
When I moved into content marketing under my personal brand, it seemed that that was my niche.
But even then… that wasn’t all I wanted to talk about.
I still talk about content marketing, but I’ve narrowed it down even further to email marketing and newsletters.
There is SO much more I want to talk about.
Back to Dan Koe & The Most Profitable Niche Is You
I love this video so much that I downloaded it, transcribed it, and highlighted some key points. I will share those key points and why they resonate deeply.
“And the third thing was I was never confident in my niche, and that led to an immense amount of friction and shiny object syndrome.”
– Dan was referring to his Facebook Ad Agency he started. He also shared that he didn’t give a flying f*ck about Facebook ads. This was kind of how I felt about doing WordPress sites, running an outsourcing company, or even doing “done for you podcasting.”
When I started my business, I never desired to have a service agency of any sort. But somehow, I ended up with three… because those business models looked more “legitimate” to the outside world (in my head anyway).
“Choosing a niche is the biggest problem ever in this creator economy.”
– I know this stresses SO many people out. It’s kind of a newer version of picking a college major. The idea that you’re supposed to pick something to study that you’ll do for the rest of your life… at the ripe old age of 18 is a little ridiculous.
“Let’s make this whole one-person business a simple thing. One, build for yourself. Two, write for yourself. Three, sell to yourself.”
– This is kind of the “rule of one” part two. How much easier do you think it will be to create if you’re building, writing, and selling to yourself?!?
Instead of creating an arbitrary idea in your head of your “ideal avatar” and creating for them. I’m not saying there isn’t value in those exercises (creating your avatar), but man… this is definitely a faster path to clarity.
“There are millions of people with the same interests, problems, and desires as you, and you only need to find a fraction of them.”
– AMEN! The problem is we don’t give ourselves permission to explore outside the niche. Most people aren’t going to write/create about every single thing they’re interested in, but there’s probably an intersection where your interests, problems, and desires meet.
That’s the sweet spot.
“But, one thing made me stand out among all the others. That is, I didn’t have a static niche.”
– Think about the people you’re drawn to. No one is one-dimensional. The people I enjoy spending time with the most are those I can talk about anything with.
It might be business, spirituality, books, dumb movie quotes, relationships, travel… it doesn’t matter. What matters is that it’s all of this combined that makes spending time with these people so appealing.
“I talked about whatever I wanted to in a way that was interesting to other people.”
– The only way to find out what is interesting to other people is to try different things. You have to be willing to hit publish on whatever it is you want to talk about.
When people started publishing online, keywords, SEO, niching down, etc. worked great for driving traffic (and no, I’m not saying those things don’t work anymore; it’s just a lot harder to compete) – but getting that traffic isn’t as easy as it used to be.
Especially with the onset of AI.
The biggest differentiator is YOU.
Here are the last three quotes from the transcripts I want to share:
“You need to take a step back, zoom out, and create your brand as something unique as something that is you without attaching to any specific ideology and instead create a holistic philosophy for your own brand.”
“Your story is what separates your personal brand apart because every single person’s story is niche, individual, and unique.”
“But if you don’t have a vision for your future, how are you going to educate and execute in a conducive manner toward that vision? How are you going to take directional action to gain experience in life and pass that experience down?”
These last three quotes kind of sum up the general idea of the video. Dan also shares actionable things you can do once you start creating this type of content to get it out there and see what sticks.
Why this struck such a nerve with me
As much as I think I’m combining other subjects and ideas into my content, I know I’m holding myself back.
I’ve talked to my mentor about this a lot.
I differentiate the things I want to discuss in two ways: Tangible and Intangible.
Example: The tangible is all the actionable business content. How to, documenting processes, sharing case studies, courses on doing something specific in email marketing, step-by-step guides, etc.
The intangible is all the content that isn’t a one-size-fits-all all, whereas most tangible content can be applied as is. You implement, you get feedback and/or data as to what worked, and you adjust from there.
The intangible is just that. Intangible.
Here are some of my examples of the intangible (also not a one-size-fits-all all):
– How the work you’re doing makes you feel
– Thoughts and ideas
– Personal experiences that impact our day-to-day lives
– Belief systems (what they are, how to shift them, etc.)
– Energy & Alignment
As much as I love marketing and being a part of this landscape, I love all of this just as much (maybe even a little more?).
That being said, I also bring ALL of that to the tangible work.
After a call with my two friends this week (this is our mini-mastermind we do twice a month), my friend Liz said I was like “an energy bomb.”
Which I loved.
I bring my personality, heart, and knowledge to my work. It’s not something I’ve ever found easy to describe what I do and how I do it.
And I’ve been shit at asking for testimonials and feedback (all of that is changing – so this is my public declaration). But here’s one from a coaching client that I did a 90-minute session with on how to use ChatGPT in her business:
You nailed down more in 90 minutes than I’ve been able to in 90 days.
I’ve been up since 4:30 this morning. That’s actually normal for me but I’ve knocked out more content for myself AND a few clients today than I usually do a week.
ChatGPT is PURE GOLD, but honestly, without your rock star guidance, it was just a “cooler than most” new tool.
I came to the call with high expectations. I knew it would be time and money well spent, but it didn’t take me long to realize this girl didn’t have a CLUE…
I expected to learn some new ways to use ChatGPT to grow my business, but girl… I left with SO much more!
I can’t thank you enough for sharing your wisdom and your energy. I was already stoked about my project, but every time I sat down to pull my ideas together, I would get caught up hopping from one rabbit hole to another, trying to connect the dots between different content pieces. Every step I took seemed to lead to something that had to be done before I moved forward. You nailed down more in 90 minutes than I’ve been able to in 90 days.
If anyone is on the fence about booking a call, let me just say, this is, without a doubt, the best money I’ve invested in the last 5 years!
I showed up with lists and ideas. I left with:
Content for a landing page
Follow-up email series
AT LEAST 10 fresh ideas for additional content and bonus offers. INCOME GENERATING bonus offers. YES!
A PHD in ChatGPT
But the real gold was watching you do your thing. You didn’t feed me for a day.
You taught me to fish.
You didn’t just pop my ideas into ChatGPT and wait to see what it spits out. You connected with me and expanded on my ideas. The results would not have been the same without your marketing genius and creative energy.
Thank you for sharing your “SPARK”! You’ve reignited the fire in my business, and I can’t wait to see how far it spreads. 😉
A Fresh Starting Point
I’m both incredibly excited and a wee bit nervous about stepping into this.
But I’m going to do it anyway.
Dan’s ideas in his video aren’t earth-shattering or necessarily new, but they’re new to me in this space.
I hardly needed permission to step into all of this, but Dan’s video was kind of the swift kick in the ass I needed to say, “What are you waiting for?!”
Not to mention… focusing on the ‘tangible’ hasn’t brought the results I desire. Why not try something different?
And as I’ve preached so many times…
You get clarity “through the doing.”
So here’s to “doing” things differently. Buckle up, buttercup.