One of the things that is often most challenging about working with creatives is when I ask them to niche down or focus on their work. Niching is simply the process of identifying exactly what you do best and love most and focussing in on that.
Many times it is a web of fears that hold people back from actually deciding what it is they do in the world. So if the thought of finding a niche creates small bubbles of anxiety hopefully some of these reframes will help you ease the worry and claim your special something!
Fear of being unliked
One thing that comes up often is the fear that if you pick your niche, you will alienate audiences, fans and potential customers. If you stand up tall and say, “This is who I am and what I stand for,” you will by default be saying that you don’t stand for other things.
A lot of us are people pleasers, we want everyone to like us. If we narrow down what we do, we cannot please everyone. For some people saying no is way outside their comfort zone.
Worse than that is the potentiality of exposing our self, baring our heartfelt creations and intentions and showing our vulnerability and then having people not resonate with us or our work. Even with solid rationalising behind us this can still feel like a profound rejection.
Fear of Poverty
Another common reason people can be afraid of niching is they fear that saying no to certain opportunities will mean saying no to money. In an industry rife with poverty consciousness, turning down paid work is terrifying. When you are stuck in a fear of where the next pay check is coming from, creatives can be too afraid to say no to paid opportunities outside of their chosen niche or specialty area.
Generally this is flawed thinking, because entrepreneurial evidence is that the clearer you are about what you do, what is special about you and how you serve a specific clientele, the more you will attract people who want what you’re selling and long term the more work you generate. Being broad about what you do equals confused customers who don’t trust you and a decline in consistent sales. You run the real risk of alienating the very customers you dream of and keeping yourself stuck outside of your dream.
If financial worries are stopping you from niching down, I suggest you give yourself a period of niching that is supported by a day job or some other source of income. Give yourself a chance to be that expert!
Fear of Being Stifled
Often creatives get their back up when it comes to being asked niche because they’re afraid that it will creatively stunt them. The anti-establishmentarian in them, the person who’s used to thinking outside of the box suddenly fears that being asked to niche is going to trap them inside that very box.
In my experience opposite is the case. When you niche from a heartfelt place what you end up doing is being even more you. You’re able to creatively express what is the most true to you. You can be the most passionate you and without the distraction of hings you don’t actually care about.
Rather than boxing you in, niching gives you permission to be who you’ve always dreamt of being, who you are at your heart. A niche is an invitation to throw off the shackles and scream it loud and proud to the world. It is the antithesis to being confined. Niching, is in fact, the ultimate freedom.