When I first started working online, the most common advice I read was ‘how to stand out in a crowded niche’ and ’10 reasons why you should find a niche market’. I did every online course I could to try and become the queen of niche marketing. (I even considered branding myself as ‘queen of niche marketing’ – blind). What I later discovered, is that this can be pretty dangerous advice that can actually cause you to make less money, doing something you don’t really enjoy.
Incase you are unclear on what niche marketing is, here is a quick explanation from the Business Dictionary:
Concentrating all marketing efforts on a small but specific and well defined segment of the population. Niches do not ‘exist’ but are ‘created’ by identifying needs, wants, and requirements that are being addressed poorly or not at all by other firms, and developing and delivering goods or services to satisfy them. As a strategy, niche marketing is aimed at being a big fish in a small pond instead of being a small fish in a big pond. Also calledmicromarketing.
Makes sense right? Find something you’re good at, make sure there is a segment of the market who are willing to pay for it, and then become the best at it so that everyone looks to you as the expert, and you can charge premium prices.
I was good at web design, so I set out to be the best web designer in Cape Town. How did I define best? Best looking websites. I had a pretty fancy looking portfolio after about 3 years of working online and I would receive compliments all the time on my client websites.
But I constantly felt like I was competing like crazy with my competition. Web design is a very saturated industry and every 3 months or so I would stumble across another web designer in my area who had a better looking website or portfolio than mine. Not cool – I wanted to be the best! So I would go and redesign my website to make it look better than theirs. Over and over again this happened.
You see the problem with niche marketing is that it forces you to think that you have to choose 1 thing that you’re good at, and start selling it to 1 group of people.
There are going to be lots of other people who also think they’re good at that same 1 thing that you are – and they are going to be targeting the same 1 group of people that you are. And this creates: a saturated market, lots of competition and lots of copycats! The very thing I was trying to steer clear of.
So what’s the solution?
Most highly successful entrepreneurs that I know, are multi-passionate. And it’s very difficult for multi-passionate people to listen to all that marketing advice about ‘finding your niche’ when they have so many passions and no idea which one to choose. But here’s the thing;
It’s the combination of all your passions that makes you one of a kind. It makes you unique.
How to make your competition irrelevant:
Infuse your personality and your passions into your brand. Life is never just about 1 thing, that would be a big fat boring. If you’re a fun loving person who loves mountain biking and the colour neon pink, and you have a really loud laugh in real life, don’t turn down the volume with your brand. Make it YOU.
Email at least 5 close friends and 5 recent clients and ask them what they think are your 3 best personality traits. (This is a very revealing exercise, don’t resist it, just do it!) So for example, my most popular answers were: generous, honest, encouraging. Not only does this give you confidence, but it shows you where your deepest strengths lie and what people appreciate most in you. I want my business to be as generous, honest and encouraging to my readers as it can possibly be. You can do the same for your business using your strongest personality traits.
Relook at your business, if you have one, or brainstorm your business idea. Now ask yourself this question:
How can I make more of an effort to infuse my personality, my passions and my strengths into my brand to make my competition irrelevant?
There is only 1 you. Nobody else will ever be anything like you, so make it count.