YOU’RE STARTING SOMETHING - A BLOG, a BRAND, a BUSINESS - AND THE EXPERTS ARE ALL saying THE SAME THING: NICHE DOWN.
Which you don’t really want to do because:
- You’re a rebel and you don’t want to put yourself in a box;
- Even if you did want to do that, you wouldn’t even know where to begin!
Listen, I get where you’re coming from because I’ve been there. More than once. And the truth is that I have listened to the experts more times than I would have liked. But there comes a time when you stop listening to the experts and start listening to your own gut or internal compass or whatever you call it.
There comes a time when you need to do what works best for you.
Now let’s see why this is really bad advice...
First of all, it doesn’t account for those of us with many passions. How could we possibly choose one thing and discount everything else? Secondly, to niche down as it is defined by the experts doesn’t even scratch the surface. To niche down means to pinpoint an exact thing to give to a chosen group of people. Which is useful, but definitely not when you're building a foundation.
THE PROBLEM IS THAT THE EXPERTS ADVISE YOU TO STAY ON THE SURFACE. AND I WOULD RATHER YOU STARTED FROM THE CORE.
The Surface is when you talk about tangible things - skills, job titles, etc.
Surface things can be quantified, they can be easily explained, and they are the front layer we all carry with us, when faced with fellow human beings. These things are our Surface Suits. They're the what and the how.
The Core goes wayyy deeper. It’s the Underlying Current of things, and it's all about the why. (You know, like that Simon Sinek video.)
Rather than tangible, the Core is more existential and therefore difficult to explain. It deals with your core feelings, desires, fears, and dreams. It’s the storm that’s going on underneath the (seemingly) calm Surface.
So when you start by “niching down” to a specific skill - tangible, aka Surface - and a specific group of people with a specific job title - again, Surface - you’re just going to build a flimsy foundation. A foundation that doesn’t reflect who you are or what you value and desire most. What you're ultimately doing is confining both you and your audience to the Surface.
Now you decide...
Do you want to build on the Core, or stay on the Surface?
My favorite constant is the Core Message.
Your Core Message is the thing you want everyone to know. It’s the message that permeates everything you write, create, sell, etc. It’s not something that you figure out right away, but it helps to start thinking about it. When you focus on something with intention, you’re always looking for it at the back of your mind, and eventually, the answer will arrive. Don’t rush the process, be patient, and know it’s a process, not any one single decision.
My own Core Message took a while to form. It arose from an underlying pattern and a lifelong struggle of trying to fit in and failing, which made me passionate about helping people overcome the same. Now I help “creative rebels” come to a similar conclusion: Everything you do should be as unique as you!
If you look to your idols, I bet you’ll be able to discern their Core Messages and how they utilize them to attract their people and grow their brands. For example, Caroline Zook’s message is “being your best and brightest self.” Sian Richardson is all about “helping you win on your own terms.” All they do starts from those simple & vague phrases, and they grow creatively in the meantime. Magic.
Your Core Message is your legacy. Start building on it.