You’ve all heard the phrase, “if you try to be good at everything, you’ll be excellent at nothing.”
But unless you’re one of the lucky ones, finding your niche can be really difficult.
Don’t feel bad if you haven’t found yours yet…it took me over 10 years of designing until I found mine.
Here at GDB we talk about how finding your niche (or superniche) can be really beneficial for your business.
So how did I finally find my niche?
I thought you’d never ask.
(PS: If you’ve already found your niche, leave a comment on this post and tell us what it is and how you found it.)
Finding my niche
To be perfectly honest, I didn’t select my niche. Niches aren’t nicely packaged starter kits; they’re journeys of discovery. My niche – information presentation and engaging content – became clear to me through a deeper understanding of my business, my expertise, and my passion.
Let’s take a look at my journey.
Understanding my expertise and passion
Quite simply, if you don’t know what you’re ridiculously good at or which projects make you giddy, you’ll never find your niche. That’s why it’s a great idea for new designers to intern or work for someone else for a few years to better understand their expertise and passion.
I worked at the design studio on campus throughout my college experience and followed that up with 5 years as an in-house designer before I stumbled upon freelancing and owning my own business.
Throughout that time, I learned volumes about what makes me tick. I found I’m super awesome at presenting information in a creative and engaging manner. I also design well for the professional arena, and I’m a great writer. I love projects that involve “fun” design and my brain loves the combination of left- and right-brain work in reports and infographics. Conversely, I hate working on photo-realistic design and I’m terrible at patterns and abstract swirls.
Follow these tips to find your niche.
- Understand your design strengths and weaknesses. You won’t know where your expertise lies until you go out there and design! Nobody starts designing with a niche – you find it along the way.
- Discover your passion. What projects make you excited to wake up and work on them? Which projects do you dread? Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself, but know what projects are your bread and butter.
- Learn about your business relationships. Your niche isn’t just about design work; it’s about your clients, too. Find out what types of clients you develop the best relationships with. Are you thrilled with helping people understand how to use design or happier to extend a marketing team’s capabilities? (I’m an educator at heart, so I love sharing information with clients who enjoy guidance and input.)
Understanding my business
To find your niche, you have to get serious. You have to upgrade from hobby to business and define it.
So when Preston released his ebook From Passion to Profit at nearly the same time I decided to get serious, I jumped on it.
Specifically, I laid the foundation for the future of my business through these exercises:
- Defining my success. For some, it’s 5 cars; for others, 50 employees. By setting business goals, you develop ideas about what you want your business to become and lay a road map for how to get there. Think big, and think long-term.
- Characterizing my audience. If you don’t know which clients you’re primarily targeting, you can’t tailor your business to that market. Use your expertise and passions to help characterize your audience.
- Naming my business. It’s not just “I need a name,” it’s defining how you want your audience to perceive your business. For example, Greer Genius creates a totally different perception than April’s Magic.
- Developing my business identity. Business name in hand, you’ve got to brand your business keeping in mind your target audience.
This ebook provided the framework and exercises for me to define and understand my business, and I’m absolutely certain my business wouldn’t be as successful without it. (Note: I don’t get paid or encouraged to say this. I really do think it’s a great ebook.)
Have you found your niche?
Leave a comment on this post and tell us how you found your niche, or if you’re still searching, where you are in your journey and what steps you’re taking to progress?