I can feel it now… I am about to make a lot of stay in your one lane niche preaching teachers shocked! I have been thinking a lot about the “Niche” conversation within the creative industry. Here is how the Finding Your Niche talk goes: Find what you are really good at and work really hard in that specific defined category of business so you can be the expert.
I don’t altogether disagree with that sentiment, BUT I do think it often misses the boat in the delivery. When the niche mindset is presented, we often read into it as only ever doing ONE thing in our business. Or more simply, putting all your business eggs in one basket. Dare to expand your offerings or abilities? You are rebelling against your niche focus and therefore you shouldn’t. That is how I hear creative after creative has read into the conversation.
Friends, that just isn’t the case. There is power in niching, but you can most certainly niche multiple offerings!
Let me put it to you this way, the average millionaire has at least 7 streams of income. Seven. That is a staggering number of revenue streams to put your business eggs in and the longer I am in business, the more I happen to agree those millionaires are onto something!
As you know I love a good market example, so let’s dig into a gal in the creative market who has mastered both niching AND establishing multiple revenue streams: Emily Ley.
If you don’t know who Emily Ley is, she is the business genius behind the internationally sold Simplified Planner. She also has a big role in the Making Things Happen conference and movement started by Lara Casey and has a background in graphic and stationery design.
If you study the Simplified Planner brand, you will see it is expertly niched in its target focus. Every last detail of their visual brand like their logo, website design, imagery and more, tone of voice in their copy across every platform, design of their products and the products themselves are intentionally focused on creating a “simplified” experience for the target customer who wants to battle overwhelm and live a life of doing what matters over doing it all.
You might think, well duh that sounds great! But I can assure you that the Simplified Planner is not targeting every single planner customer on the market. Wishing they would add more content blocks in their pages like budgeting, top 3 to-dos in their own little space, a monthly business planning session, and etc? I have a very strong feeling that isn’t going to happen… like ever. They have a powerful foundation and goal to encourage giving yourself grace and giving the pages of your calendar whitespace for you to enjoy the little things of life instead of always checking off more and more tasks. If they were to veer off from that, you can bet your bottom dollar their massive customer base would feel the effects and sever their loyalty to the brand.
Captured by Sarahdipity Photos
But the Simplified Planner or it’s coordinating products is not the only revenue stream Emily has established. Along with the Simplified Planner, Emily has written a book, Grace Not Perfection, and is on her second, runs a sister company to the Emily Ley Brand, EL Playbook, a site with resources specifically for small business owners, is a national speaker, brand influencer, and recently became the co-owner of an online coffee shop, Concord Coffee. So from what I can see on the surface, she’s got 6 streams of revenue. You go, Emily!! (I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if there are more! She’s one smart biz gal!)
Here is the important thing, if you dig into each source of revenue, you will see the same care and attention to detail in the foundational elements of each branded offering Emily has. Each revenue stream we can see is extremely niche focused. EL Playbook? It is targeting creative entrepreneurs with an emphasis on women who want to be product shop owners. Grace Not Perfection? It is written for a family-focused woman who is doing it all and overwhelmed. You get the point.
Image Courtesy of SC Stockshop
There is a big difference between putting all your business eggs in one basket and crossing your fingers you can make it last and creating a niche for any given offering.
Do you have a big dream of doing something that has nothing to do with what you currently offer or sell? I want to encourage you to not get stuck in the fear of if branching out will cause your business to crumble, but take the time to ensure your new endeavor has a solid foundation. Not sure what I mean? Here are a few good resources to help you start:
The resources above speak in a broader sense to starting a business, but you can use the same concepts when creating a new offering within your business! I use these same tools every time I embark in a new revenue stream! I also encourage you to revisit these concepts if you are struggling with connecting with target customers or seeing lackluster sales. It might mean you need to hone in on your mission and ideal client even more!
So tell me, how many baskets do you have?