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2024 strategy sesh

Finding your niche

Taught by Tina @hellotinamay

You can’t be everything to everyone, and choosing a niche is an important part of building a successful business - but there is no one niche that’s the ‘best’ for everyone and I know it can be intimidating figuring out which direction to choose.

So in this lesson we’ll look at why it’s so important to have a niche, and then explore some of the different ways you can define your niche.

Ok let’s start with what a niche actually is - a niche is a specialised segment of the market for a particular kind of product or service, or another way of thinking about it is that rather that trying to be everything to everyone you get really clear on exactly what you offer (and don’t offer) and exactly who you offer it to.

Instead of you ‘being a photographer’ that does any kind of photography for any kind of client, having a niche means getting more focused. Maybe you’re a real estate photographer that specialises in high-end architectural buildings. Or maybe you’re a villa photographer that captures beautiful soft lifestyle content for small airbnb’s, or maybe you’re a portrait photographer that captures newborns in their first weeks of life. Or you’re a travel photographer that shoots incredible destinations all over the world.

Your niche affects so many different aspects of your business - if you imagine a day in the life of each of the photographers I’ve just mentioned, while all are technically making a living by taking photos the actual experience of running their business is completely different.

While having a clear niche is really important to your business, and we’ll talk about why in a moment, it’s also important to think about early on because it makes such a big impact on how you spend your days and what running your own business actually looks and feels like.

There is no one-sized-fits-all approach to the ‘best’ niche because it all comes down to you - what do you enjoy, what fits with your goals and lifestyle. If you love travel and get stir-crazy being in one place for too long, then building your business around studio photography isn’t necessarily a great choice, or if the idea of getting up at 3am sounds like a form of torture then travel photography might not be the best option for you.

Your niche can be a way to facilitate the lifestyle you want to have - dream big about what you want your life to look like, what type of clients you want to work with, or projects you want to work on and then define your niche around that.

You might be wondering though, why you even need a niche? Can’t you just do a little bit of everything if you enjoy lots of things. And you might be surprised to hear me say that you don’t actually NEED to have a niche, it’s optional.

But there are lots of benefits to having a clearly defined niche that make it a no-brainer for most people, especially when they are first starting their business:

  1. It’s easier to build your skillset when focus your efforts. Whether you’re a photographer, web developer or marketer there are skills, techniques and trends that are specific to different industries and when you have a clearly defined niche you can focus your efforts on getting really good at that one niche.
  2. It’s easier to build a strong portfolio when you have a clear niche. When you’re first starting out one of the biggest challenges is building an impactful portfolio to show your clients. And while you can showcase work from any industry, the more projects you have that are similar to what your client is looking for, the easier it is for them to trust that you’ll be able to pull off the project successfully. When you’re first starting out you likely have limited time to build your portfolio, so while having a diverse portfolio of work can also be an asset, it’s generally faster to focus on one thing at a time and build a strong portfolio in that first.
  3. You can’t be everything to everyone. This is probably the single most important reason to have a niche, and one of the biggest mistake entrepreneurs make in their business. To do marketing well, you need to be able to figure out what’s important to your target customer, and then clearly communicate all the ways you’re the best option for them — when you have a clearly defined niche, you only one customer segment that you need to understand well and you can get inside their hearts & minds, understand what their goals are, what their fears are, what matters to them.
  4. It’s easier to become known for something in your community. Which do you think is more appealing to a new yoga studio - Lucy is a social media management who does a little bit of everything, or Lucy is a social media manager for health & wellness brands. One to me signifies a small fish in a big sea, the other signifies someone who really get’s my target audience and will know how to represent my brand well.
  5. It’s easier to streamline your workflows when you have a clearly defined niche - the workflows, onboarding process, client communication etc all tends to differ from on niche to another. The more cohesive and similar your clients and projects are, the easier it is to develop systems that streamline your workflow and make your business more profitable.

So essentially having a clearly defined niche makes it easier to build your business in just about every way - it’s easier to build your skills, easier to build a strong portfolio, easier to build your personal brand & reputation and easier to market your business and attract your dream customer. It’s not that it’s not possible to run a successful business without a clearly defined niche, it’s just that it’s creating so much more work for you - if you want to focus on two or three niches, you need to be prepared to double or triple the amount of work that goes into your marketing, operations and workflow.

Ok so now that we’ve established why it’s so important to have a niche, especially if you’re just starting out and have limited time & resources, let’s talk about 5 different ways that you can define your niche.

  1. The obvious starting point is to define your niche based on the industry - fashion, real estate, hospitality, tourism, etc.
  2. You can define your niche based on the size of the client - do you want to work with individuals, small businesses, big businesses etc.
  3. You can define your niche based on values - do you want to work with only with sustainable businesses? Or businesses with ethical manufacturing? Do you want to focus on working with brands that give back to specific communities or support specific causes?
  4. You can define your niche based on your location - do you want to work with clients only within a specific area and really focus on their needs? Or do you want to work remotely with brands from all over the world?
  5. And an often overlooked option, you can define your niche based based on a particular style.

Ok, so now we’ve covered why it’s so important to have a niche and some of the different ways you can define it, the next step is to decide what your niche should be, and I have 5 tips for choosing your niche:

  1. Some niches are easier than others for you to break into, based on your current skillset and experience.
  2. What do you love doing, what are your interests & passions, and how do you want to spend your days?
  3. Think about your goals & lifestyle. Do you want to be working from home or travelling? In a team or setting your own schedule?
  4. Consider your values and what’s important to you personally.
  5. Choose a niche that’s right for you right now as a starting point, knowing that it can change over time.

Ok there you go, lots of food for thought, now you need to put it into action - dream up your ideal niche, share it with me in the discussions below and give as much context as you can. It’s easier to have a really defined vision for your niche and then go broader than it is to not have it defined in the first place. I’ll be checking the comments and sharing my feedback, and I’ll even hand-select a couple of responses to send a voice memo with some in-depth feedback on your niche.

Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

We’d love to hear what you come up with - share it with us under our dedicated post for this workshop on the IOC facebook page or instagram account. And as a little bonus, everyone who shares their thoughts or biggest aha-moment will go in the drawer to win all 4x of our new foundations mini-courses that are launching in 2024 worth $350 each!

P.S. Want to dive deeper? We hope you’ve found these strategy session lessons helpful as you plan your new year, and if you want to go further this is only a tiny fraction of the knowledge and practical techniques we share in each of our digital bootcamps. We pull back the curtain and share step-by-step exactly how to build a sucessful business as a photographer, web developer or social media manager. Enrollments for our 2024 digital & Bali bootcamps are open now and if you send us a message via live chat with the message ‘2024 strategy sesh bonus’ for an exclusive offer that expires on the 7th Jan.

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