I talk a lot about finding your niche.
But the other day, I had a cup-of-coffee call with a person off my email list. If you haven’t heard about those before, I randomly pick 4 people every month off my email list and send out a link to schedule a 15-minute chat.
This person asked me how I went about niching down.
And I’m not sure I actually ever spoke about how I felt, the time spent, and really went in depth before publicly, so here ya go.
I was very much a generalist web developer and found myself in my second go around in freelancing in the same place I was in the first time when I had to go back and get a full-time job.
Found myself depressed
It was just about 2 years in, which was around the same time the first time too, when I felt that funds were running low, I was getting burned out, I was tired and felt that I wasn’t doing the best work I could be for my clients.
I also had thoughts like:
- Why am I putting all this on me?
- Wouldn’t life be so much easier if I woke up, went to work at 9 and then came home and didn’t have to worry about work
- Seems like other folks are happy doing the 9-to-5
- Maybe I’m just trying something that I’m not meant to be doing
The Kick I needed
So I had this long conversation with my then fiancee about me going back and getting a job.
“That’s not what you want though, I know it, you know it. We’ll figure it out together.”
That's what my beautiful wife told me back then.
So obviously I had the best, most supportive, girl on the planet by my side that I couldn’t disappoint.
I said to myself that the pity party was over, Joanna is right. Let’s do this thing!
BEGIN THE PROCESS OF GETTING YOUR MINDSET RIGHT
I sat down on my couch literally for the next 4 nights for a good 4-6 hours per night and plugged away at the issues, problems, what I was doing right, what I was doing wrong, how I can do more of the right and less of the wrong.
I didn’t know it then, but what I was doing was niching down. I found out that by going through thought exercises, working through my existing and past clients, and thinking about the business from a higher level, I was specializing my business.
Things I explored were the personalities of the folks I wanted to work with and not work with.
Industries that I enjoyed being a part of.
I also looked at what I was doing with my skills and the benefits that my clients were getting from that.
All formulating a plan to really double down on what works for my clients and for me the best way possible.
decide what not to do
I decided to not take on any of the Ruby on Rails, custom PHP, Magento projects and customers. Not because I didn’t enjoy them. Not because I couldn’t do them. But in evaluating all the things I was doing, I found that I was providing the best solution I could around WordPress and specifically WooCommerce.
It was a ton of soul searching, process, thinking and sleepless nights too.
But it got me out of this funk. Kept me away from going to work for someone else and be my own boss.
EVERYTHING BECAME EASIER
All the other things around marketing myself, telling folks who I was and what I do became 100X easier.
And within 6 months I was getting leads coming to me saying “you’re the WooCommerce guy, right?” with a stable business that was supporting us all the while living in NYC.
I’ve gone ahead and niched further down several times since then, to be honest. And each and every time it’s accelerated me to where I wanted to go.
I’ve built out a framework to follow if you are interested in working together. It’s exactly what I have my coaching clients go through.
But I hope in me sharing this, how I was feeling and some of the process I went through, you not only get value from it, but you know that you aren’t alone either.
Every business owner has doubts around what they do sometimes and struggles in finding their path through that if they say they haven’t then they are lying.
Don’t ever hesitate to reach out to me. That's what that bubble in the bottom corner of my website is for.
More episodes in this topic:
Do you struggle with work, family, sick kids, etc?
How to work from home effectively?
How does the house run with 2 stay at home, freelancing parents?
Isn’t it hard to have self-discipline when you work at home?
What did your parents/partner say when you told them you wanted to freelance?
How to freelance when you are depressed?
How did you do it?
How did you find/determine your niche?
What is the best thing about being a freelancer?
What has been the biggest challenge in your business so far?
Do you have a tip to get over thinking I don’t know enough?
What is your mantra or personal manifesto?
How do you make time for your side projects?
How do I go from self-doubt to being confident?
What do you want for your birthday?
What is your favorite quote?
How do you stop comparing yourself to someone else?
How is parenting as a freelancer?
How is business going?
Why I didn't set goals for 2019?
One year in, what's the next 5 look like?
Best of Season 3 - Get out of the comfort zone
Best of Season 3 - Building Relationships
S06 E12 - Undercharging, Targeting the Wrong Audience, and What You Should Do About It with Alex McClafferty
S03 Bonus - Tom McFarlin on Blogging, Balancing Work and Family, and Building a Business that Lasts
S09 E11 - Differentiation, Reputation, and Pivoting From the Top-Down with Peep Laja
S01 E11 - Kai Davis helping freelancers get more clients with outreach