To niche or not to niche? That’s the question.
My belief is that niches arise either as a result of having a super clear plan for your business from the get go (if this is you, well done) OR (as in my case) as a result of trying lots of creative avenues out and happening upon one you love. There isn’t a right or wrong way to happen upon your specialty, however having a niche can really help you on your path to creative business success.
I started my photography career shooting weddings. Simply because this was the area I first had the opportunity to learn as a second shooter. It wasn’t something I actively chose to pursue and in all honestly it wasn’t something I really loved. From my wedding photography came event photography and portrait shoots, but at the beginning of my career if someone offered to pay me to photograph something, I went out and shot it. Again, also totally fine, getting out and creating is how to hone your craft.
Most photographers and creatives start their careers as generalists. It’s the best way to learn and there is nothing wrong with that. However, if you want to build a reputation and earn good money from your creative craft, niching is the way to go.
These days, alongside business mentoring and creative coaching, I’m a specialist dog photographer, a slightly obscure little niche I stumbled, quite accidentally, upon 10 years ago, a good seven years after my professional photography career began.
The dog niche has proved to be very good for my business. As a result of following my passion and honing my skills, I’ve become the ‘go to’ photographer for both private and commercial clients in South Africa who need images of pets. Having a niche (and being really good at it) positions you as an industry leader. I no longer have to take ‘any and every job’ that comes along and I get to work with high profile brands and really fabulous clients. The images I create continue improve as a result (we’re always learning right?).
- You get to do something you really enjoy and from my own personal experience, the more you enjoy doing something, the better the results, the happier your clients and the more likely you are to get repeat business.
- When you have a niche you are considered to be an expert and the ‘go to’ person for your creative speciality. Clients will always be prepared to pay for specialist expertise and will place more value on the work you create.
- Earning more from each job will give you the freedom to choose which work you take on and decline creative projects which are not aligned or in your zone of genius.
I didn’t choose a creative path because I wanted to get rich quick (insert laughing emoji here), I chose to start my creative photography business because I love making images that tell stories. Had I paid more attention and focussed my efforts on creating work that lit me up when I started my career, I’d perhaps have found my niche a little faster (there’s a lesson here in listening to your inner wisdom and understanding when it’s having fun and when it’s not). My own experience of having found my niche is what’s inspired me to write and share this blog with you. Follow your heart when it comes to your creative work, it will pay off.
I’ve built a very successful photography business by specialising with a niche and I’m always happy to share my knowledge with other creatives on a similar path with business coaching. To find out more, please schedule a complimentary exploratory call with me here.