If you're in the photography world, or I'm sure most small business areas even outside of photography, you've heard of "Niching Down". In short, this term means to narrow down your ideal client/style/target audience. While this can have so many helpful benefits, I encourage you to check out some of the not so helpful sides of this as well...and that's what we're going to do now!
What makes Niching Down AWESOME
Schedules are easier
No one likes to be so bombarded with a crazy schedule. Then you miss out on fun/important family events or time with friends or just "me time". If you're anything like me, you thought when you started your business you needed to be/stay as busy as possible in order to succeed. While yes, being busy results in more "practice" of your talent and therefore more advertisement for your business, busy isn't all sunshine and rainbows.
Everyone (unless you're some type of a robot worker) is going to burnout. Not meaning you'll stop loving your career choice, but you may run into a creative wall where you just need to step back and focus more. Or you may have run into a physical wall and you're body is telling you that you need to take a break.
When you Niche Down, it allows your schedule to be lifted a bit off your shoulders, and your mind to be more at ease. Niching Down allows your mind to have some free space to get creative and enjoy your job again.
Quality > Quantity
You know where I'm going with this one.
If you're stretched so thin in your business pleasing absolutely EVERYONE, then your work isn't getting the attention it deserves.
If I have 8 sessions to edit that range from Fresh 48 to 8 hour Weddings in the middle of Fall (if you're in the Wedding Industry you'd know that this time of year would not be ideal for this scenario), I'm going to have a really hard time finding any time for anything BUT editing. In this case, I may feel so overwhelmed that I get the "Just Do It" mindset. Now before you think "but that's a good and encouraging phrase, yes I know. But I think it needs reworded. How about, when you're using it for anything but promoting a sports brand, we say "Intentionally Do it".
If we do tasks just to get them done, that's what they become, a task you got done. If we create art so that we can share the best of our abilities with our clients, then it means so much more to us and our clients (and in my career, looks better too)
The Client Experience
While you can read over there in "Quality > Quantity" and get a gist of how Niching Down can effect client experience when it comes to the work itself..think about these two other aspects...
You need time that isn't rushed to truly communicate with your clients.
Goodness knows I'll be working on my communication with clients till the day I can no longer hold my camera. I think its for sure an area that can always be improved upon for any business. If we're so focused on MORE clients, we can be so focused on clients as individuals with individual needs/requests and concerns.
Your Client is looking for an EXPERT
Your client may truly love all of your work. But if they only need/are only requesting a portion of that work and not the entire package deal, they need to trust that they can get it. Seeing proof repeatedly that you're consistent in the areas they need you to be, will ensure them they have nothing to fear. Knowing that who they are hiring takes this job much more seriously than "just another talent/hobby I decided to pick up and start on" brings so much ease to their mind.
What I want you to know before you consider Niching Down
Yes, we can be so creative inside our little niches we create. But what if you want to be creative *you truly want to, not even a "make more money" type of scenario* outside of your niche?
INTENTIONALLY DO IT!
In my personal experience as a photographer, I enjoy my Niche when my Niche is in season (Wedding Season that is). And when I say enjoy it, I THRIVE! That's my bread and butter y'all, and come the end of October/Middle of November when I'm living on prayers and timelines and telling myself "Ain't no way I'm booking this many weddings this close together next year"...I know in my heart I am gonna do it exactly the same. BUT...Wedding Season don't last forever. Yeah, there is a little jump back into it for spring....but y'all there are so many babies in the winter months! If you know me, you know I love babies. The smell, the squishiness, and sweetness oh my! There ain't nothing that can convince me that I don't need to take pictures of babies when I know I ain't got nothing better to do. I ain't got a Wedding I just did that filled up 1 1/2 cards, I ain't got one coming up I need to save my sanity for...I'm gonna see those babies!
Don't hop on the Bandwagon
I may be redundant at this point, but hear me out
I see ALL the time posts talking about how businesses need to Niche Down. And while I Do agree, very much so, tis not that simple.
Know that even if you Niche down to maybe just 3 types of work rather than 5, just 2 rather than 4, or even just 1 rather than all 6 you were doing last year, your creative desires, and the reasons you started your business can still hold strong in your heart and your mind.
Just because you see everyone saying you have to, know that if you do you can do it in your own way, and at your own pace.
Make your client experience and the quality of your work the top priorities and go from there on what you WANT to offer.
Your clients want an expert, but they are human too. They may love their job just as much as you love yours, yet they still have other hobbies they would really hate to lose. They will understand if you don't "give it all up" outside of a Niche.
Tips for Niching Down
List your services in order of what makes you happiest
From this list, see what you may be able to move to the "hobby" side of your business to do during the times you have more freedom, those slow times.
*Don't actively advertise these services, but you may let people know by word of mouth that you're still open to doing them if you're available.
If you're having a hard time deciding what you love most
Try creating some polls, and asking your clients/audience what they love most about your business. Perhaps build on their responses of how you can grow your name and calm your mind at the same time.
This isn't a Race, and it may not even be a walk..
You don't have to Niche down if you're offering plenty of services and aren't stressed out with a sense of burnout.
Niching Down is important to do when things are starting to drown you and the reasons you started your business are fading far away in your mind. If you offer a lot of services but cant imagine even letting one go, don't.
“Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”