She’s out there, the infamous Jane of All Trades Mistress of None.
She has her hand in every pie and it makes her feel productive or maybe like she gets to have a taste of all the action.
But in reality what she is doing is failing to differentiate herself from her competitors, potentially confusing her target market and opening herself up to burnout.
Years ago, when I was a wedding and portrait photographer, I saw this phenomenon daily! The ‘specialist of everything’ as my photographer pals and I used to call it; is where, in a rush to the bottom, side-hustle photographers would clamber over each other on those ‘photographer who doesn’t cost an arm and a leg’ posts. (You totally know the posts I’m talking about!)
Her name is Jane, she’s a new photographer, she just received her camera for Christmas and it takes ripper photos of her kids, and her friends’ sewing projects, and her hubby’s mates’ fast cars, and her cousin’s wedding, and her sister’s baby’s cake smash, and the local grunge garage band…. And so on and so on, you get the gist. Jane thinks that by doing everything she is opening herself up to more opportunities.
So Jane starts posting that she specialises in weddings, babies, cake smashes, car shows, band photos and product photography. But she isn’t actually specialising in anything. She isn’t focused on any one thing and therefore is never going to be known for anything.
If I could tell Jane how to fix her budding business model I would simply say this: Jane darling, just pick one thing and do it better than anyone else out there.
Jane needs to niche it down, and here’s why you do too.
1. Niche marketing is easier. You have a single message, for a single market and that is a whole lot simpler than trying to market fifteen services to fifteen different target markets.
2. When you specialise in one thing, you put all your effort and time into honing that craft – that’s when you get better at it than anyone else around you. They say you’re not an expert till you’ve practiced for 10,000 hours. Over 15 different areas that’s a huge chunk of your life before you become an expert in anything.
3. Clients (and your target market) think of you instantly when asked about your specific niche. Think of the times someone has asked you for a recommendation on a specific service. Have you responded with someone who offers a million services and this is one of them, or is the person that pops into your mind a specialist with one very good skill set? I know I always recommend a specialist.
4. It’s far more profitable. As the leader of your niche, an expert in your field – you can charge accordingly. People will seek you out for your services and trust your skill, knowledge and judgement. As the expert, you are trustworthy. I’d listen to someone with 10,000 hrs in one field before I listen to someone with 100 hours in 15 different fields.
5. Opportunities arise. Other business’s seeking to collaborate and work alongside others will naturally seek the expert in each field. Not a generalist, but a specialist. This has opened up so many opportunities for me in business.
6. Customer satisfaction. This has to be said – if you’re not particularly good at a service you’re advertising and you perform that service poorly a customer is not going to come back to you for any of your other services either. You’ve lost your chance. Bam, it’s gone.
But as an expert with thousands of hours of experience under your belt, your clients will be happier and more likely to rave about you! It can be quite cult like!
You may be thinking ‘So Tilly, this is all great and all but I have customers who want other services!’
That’s great! Bring in a specialist in those services to help your clients together. Support another woman in business. Give your clients TWO experts.
Maybe you’re thinking “that this doesn’t apply to your industry”. But I promise, if you look at the most successful people in your industry they are all specialists (for any other services they bring other specialists in to serve their clients).
So, if you’re no new or old to this business journey my advice is to niche down. It has been the best move for my career that I’ve made and I promise it could be yours too.
Got a question about Niching Down? Ask Tilly.