If you’ve been in business long enough, i.e. 2 minutes, then you’ll be aware of many experts advising you to ‘niche down’ when starting up your own business or blog. I know that my initial reaction to this was to brush it off, purely because I had so many interests in so many different areas, and I wanted to cater to everyone. In reality though, taking the general approach can slow your momentum down massively when trying to grow your own business.
The reason why you should niche down when creating a business, is that it makes it so much easier to acquire not only more clients, but more clients that you actually want to work with. The difficulty you have when you don’t have a ‘speciality’ is that it makes it harder for potential clients to associate you with their problems, or better yet – with their solutions. By specialising in that one industry, topic or subject, you shortcut half of your marketing efforts as it will become abundantly clear as you build up your portfolio, as to what you do, who you can help and how you can help them.
The trouble then comes as to figuring out which niche you actually want to specialise in, and how do you do that anyway – right? Well let me take an example of when I was getting my tattoo sleeve done by my friend Nico Dray. After my third tattoo session, Nico had shown me this sick new logo design he’d gotten for his tattoo shop. After my initial amazement, I asked him how he came to find the artist that designed it, and it turns out it was someone from Instagram who does nothing but design logos for tattoo artists.
The logo was designed by @anocostra. Basically what he’ll do is design a new logo, upload it to his Instagram account, message tattoo artists from around the world that he’d like to design for, they then check out his account and think “this guy’s legit” and they give him money without even batting an eyelid. Amazing right? In fact if you check out his account, he’s averaging a new design every 2-3 days, and the main reason why he’s so successful is because he’s built himself a platform that speaks directly to his ideal customer. There’s little chance that Nico would have paid him a penny if Ano’s logo portfolio also included a mixture of anime, boat and unicorn designs – No matter how good they might be!
Ano didn’t even have to sell himself, he just reached out and said “Hey I can design a logo for you, check out my portfolio if you’re interested”, and sure enough his portfolio will tell you that he designs logos for tattoo artists. Much like when I’ve seen web designers profit heavily from just specialising in building websites for dentists only. They’ve cut out half of the sales-talk by demonstrating that they’ve had dozens, if not hundreds, of other dentists invest in their services. Why? Because people want to know “will it work for me?”, and the best way they can answer that is by showing you that people just like you have left great reviews.
But what if I want to work in a few niches?
The brilliant part is that you can have a niche business, within a general business. For instance, you can own more than one Instagram account or website. There’s no reason why you can’t direct a niche demographic of people to your ‘Tattoo’ Instagram page, whilst directing another group to your ‘Dentist’ website. With that being said I think it’s important to go all in on one niche, and then once you’ve established that business you can then branch out into other niches, replicating the same process.
Let’s not ignore the fact though that by sticking to one niche, at least in the beginning, will help you to develop your skills to a point where you become an authority in that chosen industry, meaning that people will look at you as an expert in that field, making it that much easier to convince them into investing in your services.
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How to get off the ground with a niche business
Now building a niche business can sound like a great idea, but you might be wondering how you can get a business like that off the ground. After all, your prospective leads won’t know that you specialise in that niche until you’ve got some case studies to show off – right?
Right. That’s why you may have to sacrifice some time (and money) in the early stages of the business, in order to build up your portfolio to a point where it sells itself. Unless you’re the next Wolf of Wall Street and can sell ice to the Eskimos, it means that you’ll want to spend some time doing some jobs on the cheap, or even on for free before you establish yourself in that particular industry. Don’t worry though about missing out in the beginning, as your hard work will surely pay off down the line when you’ve got a huge stack of testimonials, heavily targeted towards your ideal clientele.
If you’re a creative, then you might want to spend some time creating some mockup ideas for your portfolio, which means that you’ll be better suited to charge some money when it comes to acquiring your first client. The great thing about creating draft designs is that you are in full control of the quality of the design, meaning that there is no client standing over your shoulder – dictating every change and detail, which in my experience can at times lead to the overall design being ruined.
When it comes to marketing your business, as mentioned earlier your portfolio will sell itself, so all that will be required is to reach out to your chosen demographic and place your designs, case studies & testimonials in front of them. You’ll be surprised at easy it is to sell this way, when compared to pitching a general service. This being said you should look into putting together a solid content marketing strategy for social media, as I strongly believe that this will be the best method of acquiring new clients for most businesses.
Acquiring clients doesn’t come much easier than when you have a niche business that is directly targeted to that chosen demographic, as not only will you build up a client portfolio that speaks for itself, you’ll also build and develop your skills in that niche to a point where you become an authority in the industry.
Have any questions or feedback regarding this post? Feel free to drop me a comment in the comment section below!