How to have a niche and still be all of yourself
Is your niche boxing you in? Niche. Box. To me the two are pretty much the same. I’ve never really liked the concept of a ‘niche’ because I’ve always felt like it was too restrictive. Like I was putting myself in another box.
And once I was in that box, I couldn’t get out. I had no room to grow. The result of being so caught up in needing to fit within my niche — 3 Instagram accounts.
One for my personal/influencer life. One for my travel content. One for my business content. At one stage I had even more. To the point where I felt like I was pulling myself in so many different directions and I just wanted to be one person, in one place.
Before we go too much further, let’s first take a look at what I mean by niche.
What is a niche?
The official Oxford dictionary definition for a niche is a small section of the market for a particular kind of product or service. In business and branding we generally look at this as your market.
A niche market is a segment of a larger market that can be defined by its own
unique needs, preferences, or identity that makes it different from the market at large.
Nearly every market can be further refined, or divided, by the particular needs
and preferences of the people that make it up.
For example, within the market for women’s clothing are many different
segments or niches:
- Clothes for petite women
- Clothes for plus size women
- Clothes for women who care about sustainability and slow fashion.
Then you’ve got more specific things like:
- Clothes for corporate
- Clothes for fitness
- Clothes for going out etc.
These are all niche markets within the larger market for women’s clothes.
Some of the most common ways to go about breaking down a niche are:
- Price — luxury, modest, budget
- Demographics — gender, age, language, income level, education level
- Level of quality — premium/VIP, mid-range, economical
- Psychographics — values, interests, attitudes
- Geography — country, city, neighbourhood
Misconceptions around having a niche
Often people are afraid to define a niche because they think it will make them feel stuck, or boxed in. Or they’ll alienate people.
Or they feel like they’ll pick the wrong niche. I’ve totally been there. There’s so many things I’m passionate about and I found it hard to define myself in just one niche.
I still don’t totally love the concept of a niche. But I have come to realise, I can have a niche and still be myself. And as we continue through this article I will share with you how to do that.
Why having a niche is important
The clearer and more specific you can get, the better you’ll be able to effectively communicate with your audience.
No brand — particularly a small one — can be all things to all people. The more
narrowly you can define your target market, the better.
“When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one”
~ Meredith Hill
Carving out a niche market and positioning yourself as the go-to brand for that specific audience not only establishes your credibility over others but also results in a more focused brand.
Which in turn makes it easier for the right customers to say, “This is for me.”
So how do you decide on your niche? Let’s take a look.
How to define your niche
Start by doing a brainstorm of all the following:
- What are your top interests?
- What are you already always posting content about?
- Are there already other people sharing content in this niche?
- What are you skilled at?
- What can you help people with?
- What point of difference can you offer?
- What is the biggest thing you want people to take away from your content?
- How do you want to make people feel?
- What type of people do you want to connect with?
Once you’ve done your brainstorm think about your overall market.
This is the broad market you’re most drawn to.
- Health & Wellness
See how each of those topics is super broad and there’s so many different paths you could go down within them?
This is why you’ll need to start getting a bit more specific. Earlier on, I spoke
about the common ways to break down a niche. So let’s start to think about those in more detail. As well as start to think about what key topics within the niche you consider yourself an expert in.
Also think about any specific types of things people always ask you questions
about or come to you for advice on?
Once you have a good idea about what your niche might be, it’s important to do some market research. This is so you can make sure it’s actually something people look for, and confirm there’s a demand for this. Simply go to places like Google and YouTube and type in some of the main keywords you’ve specified for your niche.
You’ll be able to get a feel for the actual topics people look for, what’s popular, and what kind of content you can create to suit your audience.
Next you’ll want to tell people what you do. Let’s look at how to do that.
How to communicate your niche
Once you’re clear on your niche, you can come up with a statement to articulate what your niche is and what point of difference you bring.
Mel Abraham, best selling author and founder of the Business Breakthrough
Academy and Thoughtpreneur Academy created something called the “Your
Value Articulator Statement”
You can learn more about this model here: https://melabraham.tumblr.com/post/154181771355/how-to-make-sure-people-know-your-value
It helps you to clearly state what problem you’re solving, who you’re serving, and how you’re helping them achieve the results they desire.
Fill in the blanks so you can come up with your own.
I help (who) do (what) so that (results) unlike (insert any alternative result, if necessary) because (why).
I’ll give you one hint when you’re doing this exercise. Remember to start with your why, and work back through the rest of the blanks. Once you know why you do what you do, everything else becomes a lot easier to fill in.
For more insight into the importance of starting with why you can read my post on this topic: https://jadescarfone.com/2020/08/the-importance-of-starting-with-why/
As an example of a Value Articulator Statement, here’s mine:
I help mission driven females to awaken to their full potential, so they can come out of the shadows and shine their lights brightly. Because this is how they create magnetic personal brands and have a bigger impact in the world while attracting all kinds of opportunities, growing their income, and creating absolute freedom.
If you read my article about starting with why you will see this is very much aligned with the mission I shared in there. Because I know my why and I am deeply connected to that, everything else just flows.
So, is your niche a box?
Now, as I mentioned at the beginning. Sometimes I find the idea of a niche to be a little restrictive. I understand why having a niche is important. But I want you to realise you don’t need to let it become so defined and restrictive that you don’t share all the parts of you.
Your niche helps you to clearly define what you do so you can attract your ideal clients. I’m a personal branding coach that teaches female entrepreneurs how to own who they are and show up online with confidence.
That’s my niche. But I am not my niche.
I am a person operating within this niche. And I still get to show up as myself. I still get to share who I am, what I’m interested in, and talk about whatever I want to talk about.
And so do you!
Because that’s all the stuff that makes us unique, that’s the stuff that sets us apart from everyone else in our niches.
We are not our roles. We are not our labels. We are human beings and we need connection. And the way to form real connection is through being ourselves.
So let me share with you how to maintain your niche while still showing ALL of who you are.
Ways to show up in your niche without losing your essence
First things first, drop the safety net. Let it burn.
Safe = boring.
Instead of staying safe and creating content you think people want to see, just show up and be yourself.
Share the stuff that excites you. Share the stuff that fires you up. Share the stuff you’re passionate about. Share the stuff you really want to say.
Whenever you catch yourself thinking “ooh I better not share that because…” or “no I couldn’t possibly say that…” “eek, what would so and so think if I shared this…” That’s probably a good time to go, “oh wait a minute, THIS is what I should be sharing. Because this is me.”
As I mentioned earlier, just because you choose a niche, doesn’t mean you have to be stuck in a box. There’s plenty of ways to share all your passions without detracting from your primary niche.
- Share your daily life in your Instagram stories, this is where you can open up and share all sides of you. And keep your feed posts relevant to your niche (or go all out and share the other stuff in your feed too, I do)
- Pick 1–2 platforms that you use for personal use so you can share all the other sides of you and not feel restricted. E.g. I love using TikTok, I create fun, random videos that aren’t always related to business so this is where I can share more of me.
My final thoughts
Yes, have a niche as a guide and position yourself as the expert in that niche. But don’t be afraid to go off topic, don’t be afraid to share ALL of you.
Share whatever you want to share. The world has enough people stuck in boxes. Breaking free from yours gives other people permission to break out of theirs too. 🌈✨🌺💖