A better way to find your niche
Perhaps this may seem like common sense, to just say “yes” and get started. However, in recent years there’s been a push to “Find One’s Niche.” That is, to start by focusing one’s energy on a particular segment of the population or to limit one’s focus to a highly specialized service or activity.
While this may be excellent advice for an expert, it’s terrible for a novice. For an expert, it makes perfect sense to harness one’s focus to best match their expertise. However, it’s equally awful advice for someone finding their niche (their path, passion, lane, style, client base – whatever you want to call it).
There are two potentially damaging pieces in offering a novice this “find your niche” advice.
This may cause them to limit the scope of their services, thus not building on their skill set.
Perhaps, even worse, the person feels like they can’t start until they have it all figured out. This is damaging because rather than stumbling their way toward finding their path, they get stuck in paralysis by analysis.
Said another way, you’re much more likely to find the untapped niche in the current market if you’re exploring and experiencing it than you are all day by just thinking about it.
On the other hand, I get it. Being a jack of all trades and master of none doesn’t allow you to emphasize your point of difference or leverage your credentials and expertise. I am sure that people offering this “Find Your Niche” advice has excellent intentions. They’re likely thinking, “What advice would have helped me establish me more quickly in my field?”
However, there is a huge fundamental flaw in this thinking, and that is the Curse of Knowledge.
Typically, knowledge is an asset, not a curse. However, for one who is already successful and established, they tend to forget the actual route it took them to get there and mistakenly think, “perhaps I can help reverse engineer this path for others to expedite their process!”
In short, they’re wrong. There is no secret. There is no cheating in the process of outstanding achievement.
It’s like a parent who’s frustrated that their 16-year-old hasn’t declared a major yet. They think back to themselves, “If only I knew what I was doing sooner, I’d be better off. Perhaps I can help my child by pushing them to find their path sooner.”
So, what usually happens when this approach is taken? It backfires. Paralysis of analysis occurs, or a pressured decision is made at the expense of a correct decision.
What’s a better approach to the process?
This “Say Yes, Take Action, Stumble On” approach is the better path to success for me. Yes, it comes with stumbling blocks and hardships, but those are unavoidable, so why not embrace them? It is more natural to the growth process and more effective.
So, if it’s starting a business…
Take the next hour and make some business cards on VistaPrint. Choose a name (or use your own) and order them today. Spend $125 to register an LLC in your state. Get a tax ID (free). Get insurance (if necessary). Find an inexpensive place to operate from.
Then, say yes to every client you can (responsibility) at whatever price point essential until you’re full. Then, negotiate yourself into a higher price point once you have the real leverage to do so. Throughout the process, but especially at first: Under promise, over deliver.
When working with aspiring entrepreneurial clients, one of the first steps I encourage is for them to create their business cards. Even if their business doesn’t yet exist on paper, this simple act of creating a business card is empowering.
If it’s training for a marathon…
Start running, then find a great pair of running shoes. Not every run will be great or even better than the days before, but stick with it!
If it’s writing a book…
It’s starting the dang book! Worry about your direction and focus as you go! And as you go, constantly open new loops in the process.