A proven way to find a solid niche
At some point in their journey, almost every freelancer worries about where their next project will come from. Those who keep busy often wish they could sell a project or service at a higher price, but lack the confidence to do so.
For both of these dilemmas, the solution is not as simple as waiting for prospects to come knocking on your door, or just adding an extra zero to the price you typically charge. (Then again, I’ve never tried either. Ha!)
If either of these scenarios describes you, I’m going to assume that (1) you don’t lack hustling powers, and (2) you’re motivated enough to show up everyday and work.
If these are both true, then what’s the problem? Well… my first suspicion is that you most likely lack focus. Which tells me that either:
- You have no niche.
- The niche you’ve chosen is weak.
- You’re failing to use your niche and persona as your single focus.
What I’ve come to notice is that many creative hustlers don’t lack hustling powers; they just don’t know how to niche.
When you fail to niche, you’ll have zero control over your business, and you’ll stay stuck selling low-priced projects. You’ll never find your ideal high-quality clients who are willing to pay you what you’re really worth.
Identifying potential niches
You can identify potential niches by asking three questions:
- What are you good at?
- What do you enjoy?
- Who is willing to pay you for what you’re good at and enjoy?
Brainstorming and answering those three questions will expose all the potential niches you could build your business in.
Before you try to answer all these questions, let’s go over each one in more detail. Even on their own, each of these questions can be very powerful, forcing you to be honest with yourself and use some of your creative juices.
1. What are you good at?
It goes without saying that your skill set and skill level helps clients justify the investment they make in you. Their investment isn’t only monetary; it’s also an investment of the time and trust it takes to build a long-term relationship with you.
However, this doesn’t mean you need to be the best if you’re just starting out or exploring a new niche. You just need to be better or know more than someone else! If you’re new to freelancing or trying out a niche, don’t let your lack of perfection deter you.
After all, your pricing should reflect your skill level.
Ideally, your quality of clients should match your quality of work.
Only time and practice will help you perfect your craft, which is why it’s important to have a single focus.
2. What do you enjoy?
When you don’t enjoy your niche, your frustration level can go through the roof! Staying focused on work you enjoy will keep you in the creative hustling game during tough times.
I’m not talking passion here, although if you’re passionate about your niche, then you’re lucky! I’m talking pure enjoyment.
In creative hustling, enjoyment is more important than passion.
Passion can be a good thing, but sometimes it deceives and can even blind people into not making smart business decisions.
But enjoyment leaves room for clarity, motivation, and having a good time through your work. Simply put, enjoyment is enough to keep you going and make a niche worth your time and effort.
So think about the things you enjoy enough to do daily. Don’t consider money yet; just think about pure enjoyment.
3. Who is willing to pay you for what you’re good at and enjoy?
The people you’re aiming to help and serve are most vital to the success of your business. Without them, your business fails.
Here is a solid set of criteria that the people you choose to do business with should meet:
- They’re willing to pay good money for what you’re good at and enjoy doing.
- You like them enough to befriend them.
- Enough of them exist to keep you busy.
Choosing a niche
Once you’ve answered these three questions, your niche can be chosen from the space where they intersect.
Image taken from the Find Your People course.
Essentially, you’re choosing a niche where you can perform with skill, stay dedicated through enjoyment, and make money by serving a specific audience.
Don’t be scared to choose! There is really no unsafe answer since you’ve already put lots of thought into identifying potential niches. They all can work! Plus, you can always change it later.
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Simplifying your niche into a single sentence
You should be able to state your niche in a single sentence. Many make the mistake of keeping their niche general so that anyone can understand it. But that defeats the purpose of having a niche: niches are specific.
When stated as a single sentence, your niche should make the most sense to the people you’re aiming to do business with.
There are niches that anyone can understand, and that’s okay. If your niche only makes sense to the people you aim to serve, though, that’s even better.
When someone asks about your business, stating your niche in a single sentence can be a great way to begin an elevator pitch…and filter potential clients.
Someone who has no clue what your niche means clearly isn’t a prospect, and you don’t have to spend energy convincing them of the value you provide if you don’t want to. Again, your niche should make the most sense to people who are potential clients.
Your niche simplified into a single sentence should state what you do and for whom. Kudos if you can tie in actions, results and/or emotions when you explain your niche in a single sentence.
Here are some bad examples of niches (I’ve heard each of these many times):
- I design websites for small companies.
- I’m a personal trainer.
- I’m a photographer.
- I’m a life coach.
Here are better versions of the “niches” above:
- I help travel startups grow their audience with better web design.
- I train busy moms get their dream body.
- I photograph business owners’ ideal headshots.
- I coach non-profit leaders in living a balanced life.
Notice how the niches above are specific: you’re either in or out. There is no in-between or grey area. It’s black and white.
This is called positioning, and it works quite well for freelancers (and businesses).
A friend of mine was able to charge 5x more just by niching his business. He also has a steady stream of projects. Niching has worked wonders for him. It’s incredible.
There’s more than just riches in niches
They say that the riches are in the niches. This is true, but building a business on a niche offers way more than just riches.
With a solid niche, you’ll gain confidence to charge more and find relief in securing future projects.
Decisions become easier, and your time will be invested wisely.
You’ll regain your sanity when you niche. With your niche as your single focus, everything you do in your business should revolve around it.
If you don’t have a niche yet, spend time choosing one… right now! You’ll see the specificity pay off in more than just your bottom line.
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