Have you set your mind on starting your own business or becoming a freelancer? When you have found out why you want it, it is time to find out how to find your niche and reach your goals.
It is tempting to think of a life where you are your own boss. And by all means, try it out if you have the confidence to do it, the drive to get results, the stamina to power through hard times and you have found out your “why”.
But then how are you going to stand out from the rest? With more freelancers, more small businesses, more clutter, and banners shouting for your attention online. More competition. What is your edge?
It is a banal question. But an important one if you want this to work for more than just a few fun months and then you run out of money.
You are a business
Think of yourself as a business. A business needs customers. Who is your target audience? And why should they choose your expertise, products, or know-how over the tons of other options?
I made the mistake myself, the first time around, not to seriously think this over. I did not form a company, just settled for the title of freelance. I could offer a little bit of everything. I got customers. Because I’m a damn hard worker and because, to begin with, I had a great network and a belief in myself. But honestly, as far as competitive advantages go, I had no other than I was fast, independent and a good writer. It was hard to see how to scale it.
That’s why you need a niche.
I found that I knew something about startups. I had been in the environment for years. I had felt the pain of being in a startup myself. I had asked all the important questions to the people, that startups would love to be able to ask but couldn’t. I had written business stuff for a major Danish newspaper, I had a magnificent network of startups, investors, accelerators and the like, and I have always had a profound curiosity for the future and the technological advances that would help shape it.
How to find your niche
Too many freelancers within media, communication, design and so on settle for the same themes: lifestyle and culture. I think that many think it is easy to come about, something we all know a little bit about. But the competition is hard if you are not the best in the field, the most well-connected, the most die-hard fan of movies, the most hard-working goddamnit freelancer out there.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What do you know more intimately than most?
- What do you find exciting enough to build a career or a brand around it?
- Do you see yourself working in this field for years, expanding it into other markets or services?
- How are you going to corner a spot on the market for yourself?
- How are you able to reach the goals you set for yourself?
- How are you able to scale your business?
- How are you going to be the person clients, partners, and people outside your network are going to turn to for your expertise?
Have you read: Why I decided to quit my nine to five?
Write it down. Be practical about it. Make a business plan, not a big bureaucratic one with lost of KPI’s and such, just one that works for you to get your mind settled on your mission, vision, values, and audience.
From there try it out. Discuss your niche with someone in your audience that you trust, but not a family member or a close friend. Someone who can be the devil’s advocate.
Make something like a SWAT analysis. Just to make sure you know your competitors and how you differentiate yourself from them.
Sleep it over. Do you still feel the fire within? Does the plan need any tweaks?
Or maybe you need to make that website or social media profile, where your customers can find you?
In need of feedback? Feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free discussion about whether I can help you take the next step or follow me on Instagram for inspiration to go your own ways!