On Niches and Personal Brands
Niches are a blessing and a curse.
Finding their niche has been a welcome boost for many creators. But for how many has it been a roadblock? How many gave up before they even got started? Just because they felt like they needed to know exactly what to create.
And yet, if you dream of creating a personal brand, niches are an indispensable first step.
Having a niche allows you to be recognised more easily.
When you hear James Clear, you think about habits. Nicolas Cole? Online writing. Arvid Kahl? Bootstrapping a business. And if you don’t know these people, it’s only a matter of time before you will. That is, if you’re interested in any of these topics.
Because that’s the beauty of a niche. You can become world-famous to a specific audience. People from all over the world may recognise you, but only if they’re interested in your niche.
Of course, having a niche comes with limitations. The content you’re allowed to create neatly fits inside a box.
This is a problem for many early creators. They run out of ideas. Or they don’t have the patience to see what’s going to happen and they jump to another niche.
Or maybe they’re fine with both but they can’t decide if it’s the right kind of idea. They’re overcome by perfectionism and comparison.
Jerine Nicole struggled to commit to one topic. She learned about the importance of a niche and it didn’t feel right to her.
So she coined herself the “multi-passionate creator”. Ironically, that’s her niche now. It’s what she talks or writes about most of the time. For instance, all three of her featured blog posts have the word “creator” in the title.
There’s an important lesson here.
Perhaps your niche isn’t what you define before you start creating. It’s the result of everything you create.
After years of being observed by their peers, Belgian and French boy and girl scouts receive a totem animal. The thing is: you don’t choose your own totem; you receive it based on your unique traits.
Your niche is like your totem. You don’t decide it on your own. Your peers choose it based on what you do and who you are.
One day, however, you may get bored of your niche. What then?
Start all over again?
Few people would.
Fortunately, there’s a better option. It’s called a personal brand.
The best creators have found ways around the restrictions of their niche.
Little by little, they add short anecdotes, stick to a style and showcase their weirdness.
Until one day, followers don’t just want more of their work or ideas about a niche anymore. They want more of them.
And this is where the big jump happens.
Their personal brand is taking shape.
After this jump, they can stop worrying about their niche. Again, little by little. Thanks to their authority in a domain, people start to attribute authority to them in other areas as well. Their word is considered the word of God, no matter what they talk about.
That’s why Jack Butcher, who’s famous for his visuals, is now invited to talk about writing. That’s why famous people have an edge in politics. That’s why more people would appreciate Elon Musk’s opinion of the Olympics than the opinion of your local athletics coach.
A personal brand seems far away but it’s not out of reach
Narrow your focus before you widen it.