7. Honing and defining your niche and your message.
If you’ve spent any time at all delving into the endless depth of marketing, you would have come across the term ‘niche’. A niche, in terms of creating an online freedom-fuelled business, is a unique and specific way to fill a gap in the market for your very distinct and particular audience. We Are All Weird by Seth Godin is a really great book on how this works.
My particular niche is free-spirited women who have ambitious visions of having a huge, positive impact on the world, and leaving behind a transformational legacy, for many people, as well as creating prosperity for themselves and their families, while maintaining a freedom and values-driven life.
It’s a niche, because this particular audience are women just like me who are facing contradictory desires: freedom and impact; flow and structure; time for themselves and success; money and spirit. What I teach here, is that, although for most of our lives we have been told otherwise, those desires can indeed be fulfilled simultaneously. I believe you can have it all. And my legacy is to be a leading example of that.
It definitely wasn’t always like that though. When I first began, I had no idea what my niche was. Nor how to figure it out. I just wanted to be helpful to everyone and anyone. And so I attracted no-one.
Allow me take you through my own personal business reinventions, and how I finally honed and crafted my niche, through trials and tribulations.
In 2012, I just had a blog. That there, on the photo was my very first every logo, created by none other than the now-famous Sian Richardson, when she was still working in a cubicle for ‘the man’. I had just completed BSchool for the very first time at that point, but had no idea exactly how I was to serve people.
All I knew was this: I loved writing; I was good at counselling people based on my experiences from finishing my Psychology degree a number of years earlier; and I want to have my own business that I could travel with.
I was an absolute novice, and looking back now, I smile at the innocent and unknowing enthusiasm with which I threw myself at my dream. At the time, I felt like a fraud, and like I was just making things up, and winging it. So I wrote and wrote and wrote and shared what I thought people would want to know about.
Behind the curtains, I was scared. I hid in the shadows. I didn’t reveal my personality out of fear that I wouldn’t be accepted and that no-one would take me seriously. And I beat myself up because my business wasn’t really a business. I had grand expectations that it would support me financially from the moment I began. However, it was not so…
My audience didn’t know what I was offering them, because I didn’t really know. I simply couldn’t figure out my niche. Mostly because I was afraid of being that specific and thereby excluding people through my focus. And partly because I was afraid to be so openly vulnerable in a world that made me feel insecure.
All this was happening while I travelled… Australia, Portugal, Spain, France. Then Amsterdam for 3 months, where I did some copywriting for small businesses. Prague, Germany, the UK where I stopped for a while and did some digital marketing for a pub. Then Mexico, and all the way down through Central America to Panama. Followed by San Francisco where I picked up a social media management role for 3 months to boost my income. And then Los Angeles. This is where things started to become interesting.
VM Logo 2013
By the time I moved to Los Angeles, I realised something huge. I could only serve “my people”, my unique, distinct niche, if I showed them my weird. I was only then that we could all get wrapped up in our weirdness together and make sweet business love. And my particular brand of weird was that I was this free-spirited, deeply spiritually connected, whimsical and wise gypsy girl, who was determined to make a career out of her chosen lifestyle, against all odds.
It was at that time that I discovered the word gypset. It resonated with me. “Yes” I thought. That is the closest description that I have come upon, so far, that matches who I am and what I do.
It’s impossible, as a multi-faceted and multi-passionate person and personal brand, to choose one statement, or even one word that encompasses all that you are. Every one of us is so much more than what we can possibly share in one statement or story. Which is why defining your niche is so important. Because it gives us all some clarity and a distinct understanding of what something or someone is about. Otherwise we get lost in the kaleidoscopic mess of humanness that we all are, which our linear thinking human brains simply can’t make sense of. And so we move on.
In LA I crafted a new logo. The one you see above, using my iPad and a photo app, and Pages. To this day, I am super proud of that logo creation. It certainly came to me in a moment of fevered inspiration. In fact, at the time, I was running my entire business off my iPad. It was wonderful and I felt so innovative and free.
Along with the logo, came a whole new way of expressing myself. I revealed that I was a traveling wanderer, who was passionate about cultures and people and freedom. I was starting to show myself, as I truly was, and thereby defining my niche: women who wanted to live a gypset life.
I created a new services page, I shared my truth and my stories, took a breath, and a huge leap of faith, letting go of all of my side jobs that were supplementing my income, and fully stepped into my business. Suddenly, and miraculously, within a week, I was fully booked out, for the first time in my entrepreneurial life. I saw how, when I fully trusted that I was doing, and what my heart and soul yearned for, I was supported.
Miracles upon miracles. August 2013 was when my business really started. And I moved to London.
2014In 2014, I lived in London for 5 months, which was a period of enormous growth and stress for me. I had just enough clients to support me, but my business and brand still weren’t quite what I wanted them to be.
Looking back, I realised that the anxiety I felt had nothing to do with the level of my business, but rather the unholy expectations I had placed on myself. I was focused on results instead of enjoying the journey. I was comparing myself to others who seemed to have reached the heights of success in mere months. And I didn’t appreciate how far I had come, and how unique my journey was. Nor that everything I was learning, was in fact going to become the rich fabric of experiencing that would serve my clients even more in the future.
What is gypset?
I went to India for 3 months. And then to Australia. Upon arrival I had a short flirtation with a rebrand. But it didn’t really feel right.
VM Logo 2015
In 2015 as much as I loved the ‘gypset’ feel and niche, it still wasn’t totally me. So I let it go, and waited. In the meantime I created this. It was clean, simple, and straightforward. And I focused on growing my business through building relationships and marketing.
2015 was a huge year for me. Things shifted and moved, and my business grew in leaps and bounds. I was still riding off the gypset niche, but something new was coming through as well. Something that was beyond travelling and all-encompassing. Something that could be experienced no matter what you were doing. And it all came down to my highest value: freedom. Because freedom is my thing.
The reason I share this story with you is twofold.

  1. To show you that you don’t have to know what your ‘thing’ is, what niche you are going to be residing in, from the get-go. And that it can evolve as you evolve. This is a very organic way to grow into your business.
  2. However, having said that, without a niche it is highly unlikely that you will be able to speak to the hearts of your people, and your unique, specific audience will not hear you, because you haven’t explained to them what you’re all about. You haven’t clarified your message.

I admit, this is a paradox. I’m telling you that you must have a niche, but you must not have one, right away. Defining and honing your niche and message feels unnatural to begin with because it appears to cut so many concepts and ideas out, that you believe in. Yet, as you begin to see where your specific strengths and interests lie, it becomes crystal clear exactly what your message and niche is.
Going through this journey myself over the past few years, I have a distinct vision and understanding around how to carve your unique niche and message, even when you don’t know what it is. And while creating that defined touch-point for your audience is crucial, so is being flexible and allowing yourself to evolve. I’d love to be a part of your evolution.
You can access all the articles in this 8-part series, here:

  1. Identifying your skills, and deciding what kind of business to start.
  2. Understanding your great, big, guiding why. (By using your heart and intuition to make decisions.)
  3. Overcoming fear, self-sabotage, and putting yourself out there.
  4. Creating a platform, building an audience and using social media.
  5. Finding balance and boundaries, to live out your freedom-fuelled life.
  6. Changing your mindset around self-worth, value and money.
  7. Honing and defining your niche and your message.
  8. Nurturing relationships and connecting with influencers to elevate your brand.

Top image by MichaelNewstead.com.

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