Should you choose a Niche?
Have you heard about the act of specializing and choosing a niche within your creative discipline?
It can sound scary. It can sound daunting. And most of all, the at of choosing a niche might seem like a drastic move.
Sean McCabe of the seanwes network talks about how Niching down is essential in this short video.
I was fascinated by this ever since I heard about this. Because in a lot of ways it makes sense. Of all of the sub genres that make up an entire discipline, you are choosing one subcategory to specialize in. Not three, not two… Just one.
For example, Graphic Designers, you can’t work on poster design, icon design, web design, infographics and logos. You just have to pick one.
You can apply this to any creative discipline. Or really any type of business in general.
Because being a general Designer or a general videographer or a general craftsman, really puts you at a disadvantage.
Being a general, “do it all” type of brand, projects the following:
- First you confuse any audience whose attention you have managed to capture.
- It will appear to anyone watching you that you are switching disciplines on a weekly basis. So if you are building a guitar pedal one week, some people think you build guitar pedals. But if you start building rustic coffee tables out of repurposed barn wood, anyone new seeing you will think that is your specialty.
- You will have trouble capturing an audience’s attention, because you are constantly changing the style of work that you project to the world.
- After an audience gets over their confusion on what it is you do:
- You will most likely get caught in the race to the bottom. Because you do it all, customers will want you to compete with other generalist style competitors.
- This typically drives the attitude of “Hey you can do it all, so do it cheap, do it faster and hey throw in a discount.” Hence, the race to the bottom.
How to decide
Well if you have multiple interests, have you tried experimenting with any of them?
If you haven’t tried to create a series of websites, coffee tables, watercolor paintings, icons or whatever your interests are, try that. You can always divide your time into chunks.
Like I’ve talked about before, the act of Reverse Engineering a goal, which Gary Vaynerchuk talks about in this video.
So what if you took 2 months to work on a certain niche, then the next 2 months to work on a differnt discipline, then a final month to compare the two.
By comparing, you can talk about the likes and dislikes of both.
For instance, you can ask questions like these:
- Which one is more technical and math heavy? And are you a technical or math adept person?
- Which of the two relies more on storytelling? Are you a good story teller or do you wish to become one?
Also, talking to people is essential. Online and at meetups and conferences.
I follow Kyle Adams on various social media platforms. He was doing a Snapchat series on choosing a niche. So I sent him a message. He was nice enough to respond to me personally and as well as publicly.
Also, I started talking to friends who are also creatives and they were telling me about why they chose new paths or why they decided against education and why they stuck with their known discipline.
This can add immense amounts of clarity to your decision.
Writing is a magical thing. So it’s too bad so many people hate it.
Before I took the 30 Days to Better Writing course I struggled a lot. I was inconsistent. I had no form. And worst of all, I didn’t write daily.
Now that I write daily, I not only really look forward to it, but it’s like I’ve unlocked a secret code.
That code is how your brain sculpts ideas and refines them. So you can write about personal frustrations or business dreams and anything in-between. Creative ideas that need incubation and large goals. You can and should write out your entire creative process.
Writing really helped me to choose a niche in the end. It provided clarity and laid out all of the facts.
Real world confirmation
I went to a small business development center with a friend last year. I asked the woman who we got to speak with, if Graphic Designers choose a specialty and if it helps.
Her answer was almost instant. She said “Yes! And they usually double their clients and charge a lot more.”
It makes sense if you think about it. If you have a skin fungus, you’d go to a dermatologist, not a dentist.
It’s also worth mentioning that there are small business development centers at many of the local state colleges in NY state! You should find out if this free and valuable resource is available in your state.
Becoming a specialist through a Niche will give you many added benefits to your creative discipline or business. People will look to you. Like the example with the medical specialists above.
If you learn everything there is to learn about woodworking, for example, you probably wont get many inquiries in regards to metalworking.
So now, potential clients and any potential audience members know exactly what you do. There’s no doubt or guessing left for people looking in on your brand. Because your curating an output that only consists of your niche.
This is why choosing a Niche is necessary and albeit not easy.
When it comes to social media, which is the lens by which the world will view you, you need to be consistent. You really need to show off your unique talent and not get sidetracked with what you had for breakfast this morning.
Side note: If you struggle with this, you can always have personal and professional accounts. This does make your life a bit more distracting, but ultimately can help your brand stay curated and professional.
So it took me almost a year to decide between icon design and infographics. As you can see, I choose infographics.
Do you have two or more interests? Do you have more love for one over the other? Or more experience with one over another?
I’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch and let me know if you’ve picked a niche or if you struggle with multiple specialties.