“Choosing a niche,” or coming up with strong business positioning, is one of the most difficult exercises for many of the freelancers I’ve worked with over the years.
I think they point to a big disconnect between what niching actually is and what niching is thought to be.
What does it mean to niche?
Every transaction requires an application.
If I’m going to buy a new computer, justifying the purchase requires me to think about how I’ll use the laptop to better my business or my life. Why I end up buying a laptop is different than why you might buy that same laptop.
Likewise, hiring a freelancer (for the sake of argument, let’s say a freelance web designer) requires the business owner to rationalize how they’ll use the web designer to achieve the end they have in mind.
Consider for a moment the lifecycle that goes into hiring somebody like you:
- A business becomes aware of a problem that they have
- They realize that this problem can be solved
- They then determine someone like you can solve the problem
- They seek out people like you
That flow carries a lot of risk.
Companies that could benefit from working with you easily fall out of that funnel. Most businesses never realize that they even have a problem, or that it can be solved. And the ones who do realize that they have a solvable problem don’t know that finding someone like you is the best way to solve it.
For every one business that makes it to the end of that funnel, dozens or hundreds self-select out of it.
So to plant your flag and say “I’m a web designer, hire me!” you’re excluding a large part of the available market from ever finding you because they…
- Don’t know they have a problem that you can help them solve
- If they are aware of the problem, don’t know it can be solved
- Don’t know that a provider like you can solve their problem