Are you considering niching? I struggled with it for years. I fought against it. Railed against the notion!
What is niching down? It’s focusing on one area, one market, and going all in. Which is why I fought against it for so long. I like doing too many things! I like helping everyone!
“Dammit – I’ll make a website for anyone and everyone!” I used to say. But that lead to burnout and a return to researching niching down.
How the fuck do you decide to actually do it? To pick a “zone of genius” and a “viable market” and dive down and get to work? Well… for me?
I got pissed.
I was reading ebook after ebook, taking so many notes and reading blog post after blog post, about niching down, I could have made that my profession. I finally slammed my pen down on my desk, sat back in my chair, and with hands up, I yelled at my computer… “What am I supposed to do? Make websites for witches for a living?”
And like that, I could feel the heat from the light bulb over my head.
I got excited.
Why the fuck not?
Well, a few reasons.
Reasons Not to Niche (aka My Excuses)
Number one: I barely admitted to myself I was witch, let alone anyone else. Witchy? Yes. Witch? … can… can I call myself that? Do I call myself that? I mean, that sums me up more than anything… but… am I really?
(Yes, Patty. You are a fucking witch.)
Number two: what would current clients think of having a witch for a web developer? Would there be a mass exodus? Pitchforks and crosses? Would they fire me? (Turns out… people really don’t care!)
Number three: is there really a market for it? Or was it “too narrow.” Because… that’s pretty fucking specific.
Addressing issue number one actually made me take an in-depth, glaring look at myself. Why was I hiding this part of myself? Why was I scared to embrace a part of my own identity? What would it mean to just finally say, “Yes, I’m a witch.”
I wrote a blog post about it, actually. It took me months to finally push that blue Publish button. Being honest with myself and my potential audience was intimidating.
And then the damn thing went viral on Pinterest. The cat was out of the bag. My site had a proclamation that I am, indeed, a witch.
It felt scary, and then it felt amazing, and now it just feels like … what, you didn’t know?
Lesson learned: be authentic, even when it’s scary.
Keeping Clients, Finding New Ones
Issue number two: what would clients think?
I didn’t outright announce to my clients that “Hey, did you know? I am a witch,” because… it was unnecessary. I’m still providing the excellent level of web development I always have been; that’s not changed.
Did I announce to them when I got married? Or had a kid? No. Not unless it interrupted their service. Being a witch doesn’t disrupt their service, so no need to make a huge announcement. I just don’t hide it anymore.
Lesson learned: people really don’t give a shit unless they really give a shit. And the folks that are that concerned? Aren’t the clients for me.
Another lesson learned here? Claiming the word “witch,” embracing this part of me as a whole, actually allowed me to focus on my work, and pivoting where I would look for clients and what clients I would turn down. I spent a year working on market research and creating my ideal customer avatar and niching even further down on my offerings.
I began turning clients away, and not offering my services to everyone under the sun, which was really hard. I’m the go-to person for website help in my circles. Suddenly I’m not working on everyone’s website?
Hi, that’s boundaries at work and a topic for another day. But it’s also about marketing.
By turning away clients that didn’t fit my ideal customer avatar (ICA), I was turning down referrals that didn’t match that ICA. And that meant keeping the work I didn’t want even further at bay. Because, it’s been my experience at least, that one client will refer the same kind of client. (I learned that when I raised my prices.)
If the Niche Fits…
Issue number three surprised me: is the market too specific?
Turns out: nope.
Witches need some fucking website help.
I had attracted an audience of witches on Instagram once I was open about my witchy side and sharing more posts about the occult and tarot. Then, as I began considering my pivot in my development business to working exclusively with witches, I started posting WordPress tips and doing Q&As on the same Instagram account. My personal and business accounts began to blend, and I ran with it. I am my business, after all. (For all those folks touting separate Instagram accounts for personal (witchy) and professional (web development)? Yeah, fuck that.)
Suddenly I had fellow witches DM’ing me with website questions.
And now, a little over a year after starting down this journey to niche, I am solidly the #websitesforwitches web developer. Folks are often surprised at how specific my “branding” is. And you know what? The accidental tagline attracts who I want as a customer while turning away anyone that would be uncomfortable working with a witch.
Win, fucking win.
Not only did I find my niche, I feel that I am now in service to the exact people that need what I’m offering. So if you are considering niching down, consider it more! It’s painfully simple advice that is too often repeated, but dammit, it’s working for me. I almost hate to admit it.
I had to get angry about it to find it, but that argument and outburst with myself have really helped me focus on my goals.
By niching down, I found my voice. I found my tone. I found who I am speaking to when I market myself.
Blending witchcraft and web development together has been a fucking dream come true. And now, I’m working on a DIY email course JUST FOR WITCHES about getting themselves up and online, called Get Online, Witch.
I’m so fucking excited about it because I’m writing it for a very specific audience, which has helped me craft the lessons in a very specific way.
And, it’s something I would never have attempted to do before. It’s new for me, and very scary: another reason to actually go forth and do it.
So if you are fighting against the idea of niching down… do a dive and ask yourself some questions. Like… why? Why not? And why again.