Everyone is always talking about finding your niche. Or niching down. I’d like to share with you why you should bother.
But first a story….
When I first started in photography in the late nineteen hundreds (lol, 1998) one of the things that I loved about photography is that it had so much diversity in it.
I loved photographing so many things.
I loved being able to do street photography. I loved photographing the nude and figure. I loved photographing people in the studio. I loved photographing architecture. I love doing travel photography.
I was the kind of photographer who just loved photography. I loved the idea of being able to see something and then use science and this amazing tool to be able to interpret it and capture it in a way that I felt was unique to me.
The idea of having to choose one subject or choose one area or choose one thing to focus on for my business just felt so stifling as a multi-passionate person.
It can be hard for multi-passionate people.
It just felt like it was actually turning away business and it was almost ruining the whole reason I wanted to be a photographer in the first place – to have freedom of expression and be able to tell a whole bunch of different stories and work with a whole bunch of different people. I resisted, for a very long time (probably too long), the idea of finding a specific niche or area of expertise or a zone of focus.
Most of you who are just starting out in your creative business, may start by doing a lot of different kinds of work for a lot of different kinds of people. It’s a great way to start because it helps you identify what kinds of photography work or what kinds of design work you really resonate with.
Part of finding your niche is being able to do more work that you love.
Who doesn’t want more work that you love? More clients that inspire us, and more projects that fill us up creatively.
For me, making the decision to actually choose to focus on something was really challenging and really hard.
What I found was over the course of almost 20 years of being a photographer, my niche changed over time. I would focus on travel, and photographing hotels and resort properties. And then I moved into doing more event based, and then I moved into doing more corporate based.
Over time my focus really shifted, and it’s one of the things that I love about photography, is that I can be multi-passionate.
Finding my niche was really about being multi-passionate about one thing at a time.
That’s really what I help my clients do, is be able to find the first place that you’re going to focus your time and energy. To find that niche to build the foundation for your business so that you can start exploring multiple passions as you adjust your niche over time.
Why is finding your niche so important?
Why do so many people tell us over and over again…”you need to find your niche”?
Why do all of the marketers tell you need to have a niche? You need to identify your niche. What’s your niche?
Finding a niche really means narrowing your focus.
Finding your niche is about finding a specific sliver or area of the marketplace that you’re going to focus on. And that’s valuable in and of itself.
The ability to focus your time and your energy will help you avoid things like burnout and overwhelm. It will help you be able to be energized and invigorated by the kinds of work that you’re going to be getting.
Focus in itself is valuable for you and your business.
Focus is also really powerful and valuable for focusing your marketing efforts. Marketing’s hard folks. There’s a lot of work to do when you’re marketing.
Trying to market to a lot of different areas at the same time, is going to get exhausting really quickly.
And it might even be doing you harm.
If you’re sharing marketing messages about photographing headshots and architecture and families and travel and product and… it can start to dilute your expertise. It can start to have an impact on that trust factor that is so critical to people hiring us. Especially hiring us for creative services.
We need that trust, and the more consistent we can be in our messaging, the more consistent we can be in what our marketing is focused on, the more trust and credibility that we’re going to build up.
Finding your niche can help you figure out what you sell.
The last thing that I’m going to share with you about why I think it’s so important to figure out your niche is that finding your niche is going to support you in designing your offers.
What do I mean by that? You could look at a room full of photographers and you could say, okay, every photographer is going to be offering headshots in this room. But what you’ll find is that each of them has a different kind of headshot offer, a different way of packaging their headshots together.
Some do headshots in the studio, some do multiple different changes of wardrobes. Some do you know, 20 files, some do two files. Each photographer is going to design their offer to be very specific to how they like to work and how their niche likes to be served.
If you are trying to serve a whole bunch of different kinds of clients and you want to serve them with a whole bunch of different kinds of offers, again, you’re giving yourself so much more work and being a photographer or designer is hard enough.
Don’t make it harder on yourself by doing two or three or four or five times the work.
Having a niche will allow you to focus. What kind of services does that niche really want? And when I speak about niche, in this context, I’m talking about your target market and what that market really wants, values, and will pay for.
For creatives, your niche is not always based on your target market.
Now that you know why it is so important to find your niche, the next step is to choose one of the 3 different ways creatives can use to find their niche.