On today’s test drive episode, I talk about what I learned in the process of finding my niche. I really dig into this more from a blog perspective, but I think a lot of these lessons can be applied to any area that you’re searching to niche down in your business, consulting, product, etc.
Before getting started, why niche down?
In hindsight, I realize there are a lot of reasons why finding and honing a niche can be powerful. When it comes to something like blogging, finding a niche is incredibly powerful because with over 300 million blogs on the internet, you better pick a lane and pick one quickly.
If you’re too broad, then how is anyone ever going to find you? By going narrow, it gives you permission to learn a subject deeply and start building an authority within that niche. Also, really practically you can start writing a lot of content and start building up SEO in that niche. People start looking to you as an expert, etc.
4 years ago, I started several different blogs. One was called theimportantblog another was called happiness4sale.com. I started a company called Servency, Aristo, and Coffee pops and the only thing all these random ideas had in common was — well, me.
I read books constantly, I had so many ideas, but I really struggled to find what people called “your niche”. The niche was ever elusive and once I found something that could potentially be my niche, I’d end up giving up after a period of time.
This was seriously probably one of the most discouraging things. As a writer, I felt this was highlighted in my lack of progress in a blog. Each time, I started something new, it didn’t last.
In 2014, when we decided to go hit the road for Hourly America, I decided that in this period of time I would hone my writing skills and go all into this blogging thing. I would become a better story teller and if I couldn’t “win” by going all in for a prolonged period of time — then I didn’t feel like I’d ever win.
In other words, I was going to find my niche.
At first, I thought my niche would be around work in general. I was doing this Hourly America project where I was working jobs across the country. Surely, this would be something I could build upon. But as it turns out, nobody really cared all that much about the jobs.
What people did start attaching themselves to was this whole RV lifestyle we were up to. Several posts about our travels, the costs of RVing, and what we learned on the road turned out to be something that resonated with others.
After all this time working to find something I could dive deeply into, maybe this was it?
While it felt scary at the time and I didn’t want to be pigeon holed into just being this random guy who lived and worked in an RV — it worked. Once we started going deeper and niching down into this RV space, we started building a community, a small little blog following and it’s lead to more client opportunities and even our RV Entrepreneur Summit.
Finding your niche
Looking back on this experience of “finding our niche”, there’s a few things I take away from the experience.
I think you have to let go in the process of finding your niche. Chase your creativity. I was trying so hard to start a blog and be known as “this guy”. When ultimately, I had to go out and explore and find something that truly resonated with me. I don’t think it’s something you can replicate or be inauthentic about. I love RVing, I love this lifestyle, the people and the industry. It’s something I can happily do for the rest of my life and I don’t mind diving deep and spending tons of time in it because it’s fun for me. I think it’s important to wait until you find that thing you can latch onto for a long time.
Give yourself freedom to be creative
Niching down frees you up to be more creative, not less.The worst feeling used to be sitting down at the computer and not know what to write about. I was all over the board. It was like when our teacher in high school told us that we could write about whatever we wanted, it was insanely hard. Now, we always know the subject matter and it’s easier to pull on our experiences.
Own a small niche
It’s more fun to own a small niche than to be a nobody in a big space. Sometimes I’m still afraid of limiting myself. After all, I lean more towards the business side of this podcast than I do the RVing side. RV life is just what has enabled this lifestyle, but I really talk about and love the business that we do while traveling. Sometimes, I wonder if I talk too much about RVing. But then, I remind myself that there has been a central theme that has helped us build this community. It’s so much more fun to know that we can provide value in this space VS trying to be all things to all people.
Once you find a niche, don’t act like you know everything about everything. One thing I’ve noticed about people who start blogs is that once they pick a subject matter — they instant starting saying “You should do this or that and it’s almost like overcompensating for what they don’t know”. On the flip side, the more I’ve read books from really successful people the more I’ve realized how often they say things like, “I think or in my experience or I could be completely freaking wrong, but I’ll share my opinion anyway.” Anytime I read advice from people who act like they know everything, it is a huge turn off. People want to connect with a real human being.
Document your story
Most of the people who I’ve really seen find their “niche” in blogging, they are just documenting their own story and there happens to be a pain point along their journey that relates to others. For us, we documented what we’ve been learning as we grow our business/income on the road. I know a guy named Jeff Goins who documented his journey becoming a writer and now he helps other writers. I’ve seen this over and over again.
I think this is because the subjects we’ve most struggled with are the ones where we can offer the most help to others. Plus, if we’ve struggled through it, it’s likely that others have or are struggling through it right now.