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Personal Experience: To Niche or Not to Niche

By Edited Jul 23, 2016 1 2

When I was looking into what to study after my GCSEs, I nearly went down the Marketing route (I also nearly went down the Leisure and Tourism and the Health and Social Care Routes, but they don't have that same ring to them as Marketing!). But, I always had this niggle in the back of my head, that if I went down a specific path, that I would be stuck in that "niche" for the rest of my life, and with a reputation for changing my mind, I didn't want to be stuck doing something if I didn't really enjoy it.

Move forward ten years...

When I made the huge decision to make a career out of my writing, I went to see a Business Advisor who made the suggestion that I should find a niche to focus on. Well, you can imagine that this went down like a tonne of bricks! My initial reaction was to worry that if I "bogged" myself down into a set niche, that I would only be able to write about that subject, and I'd eventually get bored of it, because in the past, writing is pretty much one of the few things that I have always loved. And, I was determined never to allow myself to spend a lot of my time doing a job that I hate - life is just far too short to live like that.

However, after poo-pooing the idea of specialising in a niche area, I began to question whether "spreading myself out too thinly", when it came to my writing, was such a wise move. I loved the fact that I was faced with a wide variety of subjects, and that I never knew what each day was going to bring, but deep down I kind of felt that I wanted to concentrate on one area, and become an "expert" in what I did, in order to be taken more seriously. But, when you're a girl that knows a little about a lot of things, and not a lot about a few things, how on earth do you pick a niche? Answer: With great difficulty.

I went through a long list of things that I know a bit about, but I never felt that I knew quite enough to specialise in it. So, it's fair to say that I drew a line under the entire idea of a niche, and just came to the conclusion that I would focus on being a "jack of all trades" type writer. And that is how it stayed for a long time.

Brainwave

I began to get into make up in 2007, when I was introduced by a really good friend, to Barry M Cosmetics. I had literally, never come across them before, and had no idea who they were. All I saw was this little stand in the middle of Superdrug offering eye crayons in what looked like every colour under the rainbow! One thing led to another, and I was drawn to the Barry M website and introduced to the amazing talent of Lauren Luke.

Lauren no longer does videos specifically for Barry M, but it was her passion that led my couple of neutral coloured eye shadows, to an entire collection of make up, in a matter of years. I've spent a lot of time experimenting with colour, and I've really begun to appreciate the power of beauty products, not just make up, but other stuff too.

Looking back, I don't know why it took me so long to choose beauty as a niche, but I suppose it's probably the same reason that it took me so long to get my head in gear to follow a path into full-time writing - I never think I'm good enough.

But, that thinking is exactly what pushed me into writing about beauty products - I'm not that brilliant at it, I don't know everything, but I want to learn, and I wanted to express a part of that journey in the form of a blog! Hence, my niche was born! It's ironic that I ended up picking a niche for the reason that had put me off choosing other niches in the past - the fact I didn't know everything about it!

The Point...

So, you're probably sat that thinking, that's really nice, but what exactly is the point to this blog?! Well, the point is, that finding a niche might pin-hole you into a specific area, potentially closing doors to you, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing. When one door closes, another opens, and finding a niche means that you're more likely to get a certain type of job. But, that doesn't mean that you should go through job listings, find an area that a lot of people are looking for writers in and pick that as your niche. Because, doing that is only good for as long as you can stand writing about those topics. And, if that topic bores you rigid, it is going to show in your writing, no matter how hard you try to hide it.

Don't fall into the trap that got me - don't think that you have to be an absolute expert in a niche, because you really don't have to be. You just have to enjoy it, and you have to show that you really want to learn more about it. Remember that the reason people read articles and blogs is predominantly to learn, and it's so much nicer (in my personal opinion), to learn alongside someone else.

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Comments

Oct 15, 2010 12:19pm
desperatejournalism
interesting info. it can be difficult to find a niche that is profitable and at the same time that will keep you motivated for years to come.
Oct 15, 2010 6:01pm
poeticmind
Excellent article and advice, thank you my friend!
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