A big question among all designers is whether or not we should be doing one type of design or work with one type of client instead of doing a little bit of everything for everyone. In the past, designers could get away with working with all types of clients doing all types of design work.
However, now it’s important to focus on niching your design business in one way or another to help you stand out from the competition for your ideal clients. So, in this episode, we’re going to really dive deep and talk about why you should niche your services and how exactly you can go about doing it.
Addressing your hesitation
Before we get to the good stuff in this episode, let’s take a second to address the number one hesitation we see when it comes to this topic: won’t I start losing clients because I’m narrowing down what I do and who I do it for?
The answer to that question is yes, you may be missing out on some clients, but the keyword here is some. While it’s better to work with a variety of clients when you’re just getting started to help figure out who you like to work with and what you like to do, niching your design business can actually help you make more money in the long run – even if you’re not marketing yourself to everyone who needs design work.
Why you should niche your business
Both of us have worked on niching our business, and we’ve seen some great benefits from doing so. However, we don’t want you to just take our word for why this is a good idea. So, here are the biggest benefits:
You stand out when you have a specific focus
Kory here! News flash: there are tons of designers out there. I follow a lot of them in one way or another online, and I’ll be honest with you: most designers just blend in with their competition in my eyes. You don’t really stand out (to anyone – not just me) unless you have work that someone really, really likes or if you have a specific focus.
A great example of this is Kaitlyn of The Crown Fox, who we talked to in episode 9. She’s niched her design business to be focused on being a design assistant to business owners instead of a traditional brand or website designer. So, when someone is looking for a design assistant, she’s the first person we think of because she’s done a really good job of streamlining her business.
It becomes easier to market your business
The biggest marketing tool you have for your business is your blog, which is something that most designers push back on creating content for. I don’t blame you; it’s hard to consistently come up with new content for blog posts. However, once you’ve niched your blog, that takes all of the guesswork out of figuring out what content to create. You can now focus on creating content specifically for your target market.
So, here are a few examples: if you’re a designer for photographers, you could write content about how getting a professional website design can help them book more photoshoots. Another great example is if you’re a wedding invite designer, you can write content for brides-to-be.
The obvious benefits
Aside from those two things, the obvious benefits of niching your business is you can start to focus on doing design work that you enjoy with clients you enjoy working with. No longer do you have to force yourself to create branding for clients if you don’t enjoy doing it. You also can make sure that you’re taking on the types of clients that get you really excited about working.
How to niche your business
Niching your business can be broken down in a few ways. You can start only doing specific services (like Kaitlyn did) or you can start working with only a specific target market (which is what Krista did). At the end of the day, you want to focus on doing design work that you enjoy for people you enjoy working with.
When you’re a new designer
When you’re just starting your design business, you have no idea what your niche is, so it’s obvious that you’ll have to do a little experimenting. Take notes along the way so you can work on avoiding the types of projects or clients that are troublesome. For example, if you realize that you dread doing any type of print work, you can take that off of your list of offerings.
If you’re having a tough time booking clients, remember that you don’t want to niche yourself too soon. You may not have enough experience for the niche you want to work with or you may miss out on figuring out the exact type of client you get the most excited about working with. On the other hand, don’t wait until it’s too late. You’ll end up having a difficult time marketing your business and booking clients or you’ll get a lot of inquiries and projects that you don’t necessarily enjoy.
When you’re an experienced designer
If you’ve been designing for a while, you’re in a much better position to start niching your business today. First, you obviously want to take a look at the projects and clients that you’ve enjoyed working with the most and see if you can find any similarities in them. Ask yourself things like:
- What did the client hire you to do?
- What made the project successful?
- What did the client do?
You should begin to see a pattern that will lead you to develop your niche. When I did this for my business, and I noticed that I really enjoyed working with professional bloggers who were focused on making great content and earning an income from their blog. I also enjoy working with business owners because it gave me a more hands on approach to their whole brand. Thus, I formed my niche of professional bloggers and lifestyle brands.
- Take a look at your service offerings and see if you can narrow in on 2-3 packages that you enjoy the absolute most
- Look at the clients you’ve enjoyed most – what do they have in common?
- Consider using those similarities to start developing your more niched target market