One of the most valuable things you can do for your business, is niche it. Knowing EXACTLY what you offer and who you're offering it to makes your job 100% easier. It also means that you are able to cater to that specific audience and actually see results!
As a designer I often struggle with my audience as I serve a range of clients and customers across all different industries. However, I've learnt very quickly that niching your specific offerings and creating unique target markets for those offerings is a great way to cater to a wider audience. So in this resource I'm going to give you my own experience and the strategy that works best for me - be prepared for some personal examples.
While establishing my business I realised that I have so much more to share than just my design services. As someone who has a background in Media and Communications, as well as a ton of online marketing and strategy experience from my days as a Social Media Manager, I am in a unique position to serve my business and my clients businesses with design AND strategy. So by following the strategies I've learnt along the way, I can adapt them for my own purposes.
So here are some things to do when choosing your niche...
1. IDENTIFY YOUR PASSIONS, SKILLS AND INTERESTS
You've got a lot to offer, so think about what you are most skilled at AND most passionate about. It's not enough to be great at something, you need to love it to really make it a success. Get a notebook and jot down some ideas that you could see turning into a business. For me, it was easy. I love creation whether it's graphic design, art, writing, web development, photography anything where I can see a story or visual take form.
2. BRAINSTORM YOUR POTENTIAL OFFERINGS
Think about what you could offer within those skills. For every idea you wrote down in the last step, expand on them by exploring the different ways you could profit from those skills. Think big and small, and don't be afraid to write things down that you don't know how to do yet. The great thing about growing a business, you can grow your skills along with it! When I first started my business I created offers for a bunch of different services and I said yes nearly every enquiry. In doing so, I took on work that I had never done before and I taught myself on the job. So I recommend brainstorming any ideas you might be interested in - you never know what might happen!
3. RESEARCH YOUR COMPETITORS
Once you've got a range of ideas and offerings, start researching. The bulk of your time should be spent on researching to make sure that you can and want to make the commitment. I'd suggest looking online, particularly within Facebook groups and Pinterest. When exploring Facebook, try searching for key works and looking for pages and groups that offer services you might be interested in or even communities where you could find inspiration and get your questions answered. Do the same for Pinterest but instead follow the image links to websites and blogs and see what other people are doing within your potential industries. Make note of what others are doing, what you're drawn to, what you'd like to know more about and what you could see yourself doing too.
4. FINE-TUNE YOUR OFFERINGS
Once you've completed your research, you'll probably find that a few websites or business really stood out. Take another look at your offers brainstorm, add to the list with your new ideas and start crossing out some of the ideas that don't inspire you. First I would recommend starting with one or two key ideas and explore your potential offers until you have a specific niche you'd like to try.
Just remember that even if you're left with a bunch of ideas, you can always find a way to include all of them later down the track. I launched Kira Hyde Creative with branding and web design services. It wasn't until I was established enough that I started including more services. Once I had at least the two months booked in advance, I started planning for additional services. Now I have three main 1:1 design services, brand strategy and launch services, as well as my free online resources (VIP Squarespace Vault, Resource Blog, Launch Your Laptop Lifestyle FB Community) and an online course currently in development!
5. TEST YOUR NICHE
One of the most essential things I can tell you to do, is test your niche. Just because you've got a great idea, doesn't mean it will be profitable. Now I'm all for doing what we love even without a profit, but making money, or at least making enough money to cover the essentials, makes it easier to commit to your passion. So I recommend testing your niche and seeing if there is a market for it. If you are a creative who loves social media like me, then start an Instagram account all about your niche and see if you can build a small following and get some engagement. You could also post in Facebook groups by offering your skills in exchange for a small fee and a testimonial at the end. Using social media to test your niche is a great way to get some feedback and perspective. Take it from someone who launched her business with one post online, and got forty emails the first night after posting, and twenty emails the second. If you have a professional attitude, a great offer and an obvious passion for what you're doing, then people will notice and you can succeed!
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Are you struggling with maintaining an authentic, consistent and impactful brand?
It is so easy to get caught up in the ‘launch’ of a brand, that vital steps are often missed. Whether you’re a start-up or someone who has been in business for years, having a solid brand foundation is essential to your success.
Now as a Brand Strategy and Design studio, we have worked with countless women in biz who are struggling with their brand - and we’re not even talking about the design.
Before you can even think about the design of your brand, you need to commit to the process and build layer, after layer, a brand strategy that covers everything from your own personal goals, motivations and skill, from your business name and tagline, to the way you serve your audience and the offers that you serve them with.
The key to a successful brand is a strong foundation. It’s plain and simple.
So, stop wasting time and energy on uncertainty, and take the next step to solidify your brand, today!