During my third year as a professional photographer, I decided to attend one of our industry’s most significant professional events. I’d been to a smaller workshop the previous year, but this was my first time attending the main event—and I was on top of the world.
I packed my suitcase with all the essentials: My camera, cute outfits, and of course, my business cards.
Flash forward to the event itself: I was meandering around the event floor, checking out the latest camera gear, and networking with other photographers. I wrapped up a conversation with a photographer who was a little further along in her career, shared my business card with her, and that’s when it happened…
“Wow, you do it all don’t you?.”
Ouch! Nothing she said was actually hurtful… And yet, my feelings were definitely hurt. I couldn’t help but feel like there was a little bit of judgment in her tone—or at the very least, like my lack of a niche made me look like an amateur.
But that was the thing: Niching down wasn’t a concept I was super familiar with yet.
I’d heard of it, sure… But I didn’t really see the value in it. And more to the point, I didn’t feel ready to choose just one type of photography yet. I was still figuring out who I wanted to be as a photographer, where my passions were, who my ideal client was, and how I could help them.
But what I hadn’t realized yet was that my lack of a niche made it harder for me to grow. I was struggling to build a brand or develop a reputation because I wasn’t known for any one thing … I was, in most folks’ eyes, just another photographer. I needed to specialize if I wanted to become known.
How niching down can help you scale your business up…
The Case For Niching Down
As a Branding Expert & Business Coach, I meet many women who feel exactly how I felt back then. They’ve heard other entrepreneurs talk about their “niche,” and they sort of understand that they probably need to define theirs …
…. But they don’t really see the value in it. They don’t like the idea of labeling or limiting themselves, and they don’t feel ready to choose just one area of expertise yet.
I totally get it! Niching down when there are soooo many things to love about what you do can be a considerable challenge.
But the reality is, being a generalist is probably keeping you from reaching that next level of business growth. Niching down can help you…
- Become known for one thing—which empowers you to build your brand faster and more intentionally
- Gain momentum by focusing all your attention in one direction rather than spreading your time and resources across multiple paths
- Connect with your ideal clients on a deeper level because they’ll trust that you know exactly how to solve their specific problem
Niching down doesn’t mean you can’t ever offer any service or serve any client outside your niche. It simply means you’re choosing to develop expertise in one particular area of your market. And when people see you as an expert, they remember you, respect you, and are more willing to pay rates that more accurately reflect the value of your work.
How to Start Choosing a Niche
When it comes to choosing your niche, I always recommend that my clients start by answering three simple-but-important questions:
1. What’s Your Why?
If you can define your mission as an entrepreneur, you can more clearly understand who you need to be serving.
2. What Do You Enjoy Most About Your Work?
Is there a particular part of your business that you enjoy most? For instance, do you love taking family photos but **reallly** love newborn photography? Or maybe you enjoy painting furniture—but there’s just something about interior design that really sets you on fire. Honing in on what makes you feel most aligned is a great way to get clarity around your niche.
3. What Transformation Do You Provide For Your Clients?
This is a big one. Once you’ve settled on who you might want to serve—for example, interior design for commercial projects or design projects for homeowners, sticking with the examples above—you can get clear on how you want to serve them. When you can tell your ideal client exactly what impact your work will have on their lives, marketing your services becomes much easier and more effective.
If you’re ready to start the process of niching down, I hope this article gave you a clear starting point! Take out your journal, brainstorm some answers to the questions above, and see what you come up with.
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