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I'm Elizabeth, and simply put, I design brands and websites. I mix in marketing strategy, personality galore, and tons of fun to create custom brands, custom websites, and website templates. These designs convert lookers into buyers and take the headache out of the design process. I believe your brand should be a knockout. I'll help you create a captivating + profitable online presence! Join me, won't you?!

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of the year

Don’t Niche Down As a New Business Owner — Do This Instead

Reading Time: 6 minutes

You will often hear the business advice, “the riches are in the niches”. And while that's sometimes true, what I like to say is there's no money where there are no clients. So if you niche down and specialize too fast, you ultimately risk not actually having a business if you cannot get clients after doing that. So today, I’m going to tell you DON’T niche down as a new business owner (and then I’m going to tell you what to do instead!).

If you want to start a business and you're trying to get all your ducks in a row, or perhaps you already have started and you're in those early months of finding clients, this episode is for you. Today, we are talking all about niching and specializing in the early days of entrepreneurship. 

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First of all, I want to say congratulations on your plans and desire to start a business. This is so huge and exciting, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll actually look back super fondly on these early days years and years later after your business has grown and changed a ton. 

I’m actually 9 years into this business thing and I often look back on those early days (that felt so hard and confusing at the moment) with just such fondness over how I put myself out there, took chances, was super scrappy, and it’s AMAZING. And you’re doing it now too, so GO YOU. Whether you’re starting this thing straight out of college, after leaving a long time 9 to 5, or as a stay-at-home mom starting something on the side, you’re crushing it. And I hope the advice I have for you here is helpful today!

Read More: 5 Shifts I Made To Go From Freelancer To CEO When I Started My Business

Don’t Niche Down - It’s OK To Start Wide!

What I've learned from my business (and from teaching and consulting with other people in their business) is that you don't actually need to specialize or niche down from month one of your business to day one of your business. 

When you start, I would argue that it’s actually smarter to start with a wide range at first (when it comes to your niche and your specialization). While I agree with the phrase, “the riches are in the niches” long-term, I don’t think it’s necessarily true on day one. One thing that we have to think about during the early days of starting our business is that in order to get clients at first, you really need to cast that wider net. 

I teach them this extensively inside my course Booked Out Designer, so if you've taken that course, some of this might sound a little bit familiar even, but that course has helped hundreds of designers get started in the starting phase to actually get clients.

A short version of this is that there are two ways that you can get more specific with who you're marketing to in your business. One way is through your niche (the type of client/business), and one way is through your specialty (the specific service you provide).

So for example, you could be “a designer that works exclusively with online course creators” OR you could be “a designer that works exclusively with Showit”. Again, I would say don’t niche like this in the beginning!

 

 

3 Reasons Why I Recommend You Don’t Niche in the Beginning

 

1. You probably don’t know who exactly you want to work with yet (or what services you prefer) 

If you’re anything like I was (and like the other women I’ve coached around this stuff), you probably don’t know exactly who you want to work with and what you want to do yet anyway. You know what skills you have and what interests you have, but you need REAL PROJECTS to get more detailed than that. This is the figuring out time - so enjoy it! Often having pressure to niche will cause you to feel like you have to commit to something before you even have all the information you need to make a decision.

 

2. You don’t have a business without clients

Like I said earlier, you don’t have a business without clients. So, you can be as niche as you want, but if you’re new and super niched, there might be no one “knocking on your contact page”. 

As an example, when I started my business, I was offering a TON of different services that fell under the category of “design and marketing”. I’d manage your social media, design your website, design your brand, or even make your brochure, restaurant menu, or billboard. I even did some email copywriting. 

I did a TON, and it was all things I had experience with and interest in. 

Eventually, I got to a point where I had tons of social media clients on retainer and was booking some design work too. But I realized I didn’t love social media as much as I loved the design work. I also wasn’t as good at it and it didn’t go as well with the lifestyle I wanted. With social media management, you’re ON all the time with so many clients. So I slowly pivoted away from that work, and specialized more to brand and website design.

But here’s the point I’m trying to make: IF I didn’t start with all those social media retainer clients, I wouldn't have had enough money to do this thing. Those consistent clients were what paid the bills. 

Those clients gave me testimonials, experience, and helped me work through errors in my workflows for projects and all the things! 

 

3. The time you spend doing other types of work will benefit your business and future clients overall because you’re growing in your skills

Let me use my husband Adam as an example for this one. He’s a therapist, and he’s been practicing for around one year now. He took on ALL types of clients to start, which led to him discovering what types of issues he wanted to specialize in. It also helped him immediately bring in income (going back to my last point!). 

My point here is that all of this variety will certainly help him in the long run. If he specializes in marriage counseling, for example, he has still gained so many skills from working with teenage males. Or a single adult woman. The skills and experience you have are growing you, and this is true of your business too. 

Read more: 6 Crushing Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make Early on in Their Business (AND How You Can Avoid Them!)

Don’t Niche Down Because You Feel Like You “Have To” 

Basically, what I want to say is that you should not feel bad for going wider in your offerings to start. We hear the term like “Jack of all trades and master of none” but that’s not what we are talking about here. You will over time remove services and get more and more specific in what you're offering, but this is a smart way to start your business. 

Don't feel bad or like you're going in the wrong direction. If you take on a project and realize it's less than ideal, it's all learning and growing. The only mistake you can make, I would say, is not casting a wider net to start so that you can learn quickly, get clients quickly, and all of that. 

Another mistake would be not to eventually specialize somewhat. But I truly believe that I would not be where I am today in my business if I had not started off being that girl who was like, “give me your billboard design, give me your restaurant menu, I'll do your website, I'll do your copywriting”. All those things brought me to where I am today and helped me learn what I was best at and what I wanted to focus on more. So I truly would not be here without offering so many services in the beginning.

Elizabeth-McCravy-Maternity-Studio-Shoot-1

Starting a new business

So I hope this short little episode gives you some good ideas and helps you have more clarity around who you're marketing to in your messaging as you start your business. I also wanted to throw out, I have a free guide all about choosing a NAME for your business: Grab that here! 

Plus, if you’re a new business owner, here are a few ways I can help you as you get started:

I’d love to support you however I can! Congratulations!

Links Mentioned:

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June 11, 2024

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podcast

freebies

template highlight

gabby podcast kit

Oh, you wanna know more?

design

business

marketing

template showcase

personal

listen to the podcast!

I'm Elizabeth, and simply put, I design brands and websites. I mix in marketing strategy, personality galore, and tons of fun to create custom brands, custom websites, and website templates. These designs convert lookers into buyers and take the headache out of the design process. I believe your brand should be a knockout. I'll help you create a captivating + profitable online presence! Join me, won't you?!

Hey there!
of the year

@ELIZABETHMCCRAVY

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