20 months ago, I walked (*cough* ran) away from my ‘big job in the city’ and started my own business; a boutique branding, marketing and PR agency. The business has grown and continues to be a work in progress, and I am too. I am learning it is necessary to constantly reassess why I decided to start a business in the first place, what skills I offer and what the business should focus on and sometimes pivot (excuse the jargon) when necessary.
The global pandemic has given me time to reflect (expand my waistline), and consider my direction. With some newfound clarity I have decided to be brave and niche (gulp). When I started my business, I cast a broad net to capture as many potential clients as possible. The result is that whilst I have found lots of great people to work with, I haven’t always been passionate about the sector or content. It turns out that creating meaningful ‘plumbing’ copy is not all that inspiring for me. When I think back, it was a huge decision to go out on my own and I took what I thought was, a safe approach by targeting all kinds of potential clients. The truth is, even at the beginning I knew I should niche but fear held me back. I was worried I wouldn’t get enough work and I was concerned it would limit my earning potential.
It is interesting how we ‘lady folk’ always seem to doubt ourselves, right? Even with excellent results, generous testimonials and endless referrals we still suffer from imposter syndrome! (What is this about?!) I know I have had to overcome this time and time again and considering to niche my business was no exception. I asked myself if I was really specialised and skilled enough to niche. If I was capable enough. It is almost as if I felt like I needed to ask permission from someone. I am a ‘one-woman-business’ so asking permission would have been a short conversation!
I have realised that what it really comes down to is what I am passionate about and what I am known for. I am in fact a storyteller for the not-for-profit sector (I feel excited even saying that out loud). This is who I am. This is what gets me out of bed in the morning. I have a deep understanding of and love for the not-for-profit sector and have enjoyed over 14 years’ working with charities large and small across Australia. I am a sensitive soul with strong emotional intelligence and this allows me to craft campaigns, appeals and marketing collateral that is authentic and meaningful. My unique superpower is empathy (who would have thought). I can put myself in someone else’s shoes, sweaty socks and all. And so…. I decided to niche and service the not-for-profit sector exclusively and I am super-excited about it.
Here are the 5 questions I asked myself to come to this conclusion;
- How do I want to spend my time?
- What am I truly passionate about?
- What makes me unique?
- What specific problem do I solve?
- How do I add value?
If you are considering niching but have doubts, here are the potential benefits to consider;
- Super savvy comms; imagine knowing who your specific target audience is and what problem you solve! With this clarity your marketing efforts will be much more efficient and effective.
- Pennies in the bank; it is likely your audience will shrink which means you will save plenty on marketing and your efforts will be directed to the right people!
- Precious ‘me time’; you will save time by focussing your resources and energy.
- Bucket loads of joy; you will get to enjoy more time working on projects you are passionate about.
Whilst it has taken some courage to reassess my business and my skills, I am excited to move forward with a laser focus. I plan to test, adjust, repeat and leave room for continued change because my business and I are a work in progress after all.
Jen Hutchings is a Business Chicks Premium member and Director of Intrepid Creative, a boutique agency delivering unique, authentic and emotive creative content to drive donations, improve donor acquisition and retention and keep not-for-profit communities engaged online.