Finding your small business niche (SBW P.2)

part 2 in the series, helping you to take the leap and become a Small Biz Whizz! (SBW)

Swapping the comfort of a regular wage to follow your dreams may seem self-indulgent to some, yet if you’re one of those people brave enough to take the leap, it’s almost impossible to put into words just how much you love going to work.

So, if you’re ready to feel as happy as Pharrell Williams on a bank holiday weekend, let’s figure out how to get you there.

Which Job Do I Actually Want?
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Sounds like an easy question, doesn’t it?

I had 8 years’ experience in general marketing and copywriting, had spent the last 3½ years specialising in social media and editing digital content for Tesco, yet I still wasn’t sure. All I knew was that it was time for change and despite figuring this out in September 2014, I didn’t reach a decision until June 2015.

I did make a lot of lists in the meantime!

So many choices…

It’s easy to dream about what you’d love to do, but most of us don’t really believe it will ever happen. Sure, this is more likely to be true if your dream is to be paid a million pounds to write one blog post a month from a Caribbean island. But you could take steps to get on that road by actually starting a blog because you never know where life might lead you.

In my case, I realised two things: I missed writing copy and I love exploring ways to live a healthier lifestyle.

I was a little wobbly about this at first (read ‘a bit of a drama queen’); I hadn’t written copy regularly for a while, so what if I’d lost the ability?! (I told you I’m OTT.) I have an innate fear of doing my best at something and it not being good enough. So it was time to take the plunge.

I started to write articles to build up my portfolio. I nervously sent them to complete strangers to be at best, critiqued, or at worst, rejected for being pants. I wrote about different topics like Why Every Entrepreneur Needs a Mentor, How My Blog Became My Business and What Happens When You Want Redundancy But Don’t Get It. To my delight, they were accepted AND without the need for any editing. It restored my faith in my own abilities and meant I could confidently build my own business as a copywriter.

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Tip: If you’re not sure whether your skills are good enough to turn into a business, test them out on impartial people in your industry. Don’t just ask for feedback from your friends; they love you and will only say lovely things!

Narrowing down your small business niche

Now you know what your general area of expertise is, let’s figure out your small business niche.

While blogging for fun at lottielovesfood.com was my only regular (unpaid) writing gig, it did mean that I was out visiting food shows to find new products to review. I got to meet lots of small businesses owners that made various types of healthy lifestyle products, and their passion was infectious. Spending time talking to them made me realise that I wanted to work with these people in my day job; they believed passionately in their products which mirror my own ethos for living a healthier lifestyle.

Some people may consider specialising in one area of copywriting a risky strategy, and I was one of them. I told my mentor Nadia Finer that starting my own copywriting business was great, but I wished I could just write about the stuff I’m most interested in.

“So why don’t you just specialise in healthy food and lifestyle copy?”, she said and of course, I babbled on about the fear of not attracting enough specialist clients.

Within 10 minutes, Nadia explained that honing your expertise into a specialist area means that your skills actually become more valuable. Anyone can write for money, but creating copy about a subject you have knowledge of, and a passion for, makes you stand out from the crowd.

This is how happy I looked after talking to Nadia – for the ladies out there, I highly recommend you come join me in Nadia’s Actionista Academy.

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It sounds silly but getting ‘permission’ to follow my writing dream less than a month into my business was the breakthrough I needed.

This decision has been the key to enjoying every single piece of work I’ve proudly produced.

Tip: Invest in a business mentor to support you throughout your career, but especially in the early stages. Talking through things like your business plan and niche with someone impartial and experienced can give you the confidence to make the right decisions.

How quickly did you narrow your niche? Or are you still struggling to figure it out? Let me know in the comments below.

Don’t forget, if you’re a healthy lifestyle brand that needs a copywriter to help you write wonderful words for your website, blog and articles like this, email me!