Transcript: How Niched Do You Need to Go


Megan Martin 0:00
This is talking small business with Kat Schmoyer. And Meghan Martin, a podcast for creatives who like to keep it real about what it actually takes to grow an online business.

Kat Schmoyer 0:09
We’re competitors turned to biz besties, who chat daily, and now we’re bringing you into the conversation.

Megan Martin 0:20
Hey, friends, welcome back to another episode of talking small business. Today we’re talking about a topic that I don’t know, I think Kat, you and I are gonna have some different opinions on this. But we’re talking about niching. And I guess to start, what is the correct opinion? Is it niche? Or is it niche?

Kat Schmoyer 0:42
It’s a definitely niche. Team niche.

Megan Martin 0:46
I know. Its niche. Right? And well, we know that we want to make money in business. And so the riches are in the niches.

Kat Schmoyer 0:57
There we go. They I feel like when people change it to me, they try. They’re trying to make it sound like way too proper. Like when you say like, I’m going to tarjay I’m like, Girl, it’s target like, yeah, going to target like,

Megan Martin 1:10
Yes, exactly. I know. I love all my fine art friends, but I feel like they’re trying to make it like Barry Francis.

Unknown Speaker 1:17
Yeah, no,

Kat Schmoyer 1:19
we’re not. So it is niche. It’s very good.

Megan Martin 1:25
Okay, we’re gonna say niche in this episode, if it absolutely drives you wild, so sorry. But we still think this conversation is important. This is a conversation that, again, I love that we’re talking about things that we see happening in the education space within our creative bubble. We’ve talked about should you only sell one thing on this podcast? And now we want to have this conversation that really there’s a lot of people on both sides of the fence, people who say, absolutely, you need to hone down your niche like three to four levels, that kind of talk and then there’s other people that say, absolutely not, you cannot tell me what to do. I’m going to let my creative wings fly and I want to do whatever I want to do. So we just want to have this conversation of what do we think? What have we seen cat? How many years have you been in business?

Kat Schmoyer 2:13
almost eight, almost eight

Megan Martin 2:16
years, I’ve been in business 10 years this month, which is super exciting. And so I think we both have different storylines in and around niching that we can share. So cat, I would love to hear where in your business currently, do you feel like you have a niche? Yes or no.

Kat Schmoyer 2:33
I do think that I have a niche, but I don’t think it’s necessarily the traditional zeroing in so intensely on like one specific person, I feel like the niche that I’ve tried to create with both the cashmere brand and with the creative at heart is more about the niche of the brand itself, like the uvp of the brand, and like the brand and messaging and the things that we’re talking about, and the people that we are resonating with, you know, the audience that it’s resonating with. It’s niching has always been really hard for me. I mean, my business is creative at heart, like for all creative. So then to be like niche down pick one I’m like, um, I mean, no, like any and all creatives, like you’re welcome here. And that’s not just like a cutesy little tagline. Like, it’s genuinely like our heart. And our mission is Here’s to the creatives. And so niching has always made me feel a little bit strange. And I’m sure some of you guys listening in feel that way too. It either makes you feel weird to feel like you’re alienating some people, or it makes you feel fearful that, gosh, I don’t want to tell anyone No, like I just, I want to be open to working with like a variety of people. However, if I really take a good hard look at the messaging and and who I serve, and the clients that are coming back and coming back and coming back, there is a niche to be found there. And that’s what’s been really fascinating to start to see over the years.

Megan Martin 4:06
Yeah, I love that you talked about your uvp in case you don’t know what that is, we mean unique value proposition and you’re speaking as about unique value proposition out from your brand as a whole. And I think you’re right, I think for you your niche is not necessarily do that I do one specific thing, or I serve one specific person. It’s this is the like the foundation, the core values of your brand attract a specific person. So for example, I would say if I were looking from the outside and I creative at heart, I would say that you first and foremost are a very heart centered business education hub. So you’re always going to share the tactical and practical business advice. But you also cater towards people who really care about building something like a legacy, building something that they’re passionate about serving other people really well. And that messaging is different, say from a conference perspective. From a conference who is going to talk about just social media marketing, or a conference that is going to talk about how do you hit a million dollars with a sales funnel, like those are very specific different types of messaging within the conference world. And so I think that’s a really important, even introduction into niching is that the traditional niche says it’s either one person or one thing or a combination of those two, but niching can be a little bit more in the gray area, like cat, where it is a brand messaging perspective.

Kat Schmoyer 5:34
And I feel like for those of us that consider ourselves to be multi passionate, which I mean, we’re both very multi passionate, and I feel like a lot of you are listening, likely fall in that boat, too. I think it’s a great permission slip to be like, Yes, okay, I don’t have to just say I only serve one person, or I only do this one thing, you can do a variety of things. However, finding your niche allows you to make sure that there is connection, just like when we talked last week on should you only sell one thing, you know, and having some of those connection points within the products of the services that

Megan Martin 6:08
you sell. Yeah, I think an a tangible way to understand how you can do this, if you like cat style, where it’s like I want to serve a variety of different customers. And I want to offer a variety of different things. One thing that you can do is tie it all into one storyline. So an entrepreneur I’m thinking of right now that does this really well is Laura Foote. She’s a photographer, and she has always been for years pretty adamant that she is never going to just offer one type of photography. She offers wedding photography, family portraits, newborn portraits, maternity she offers brand photography, she’s shot for people like Emily lay, I mean, she has really done it all. And instead of saying, Hey, I’m only going to focus on wedding photography, she has kind of woven a storyline through all of these types of photography and the tagline of stories love rites. And so when you see her showing up on Instagram, or in a blog post, or in an email, or you know, anywhere that she shows up, she tells the story of whoever is in the image. And she tells about how that she tells those clients love stories. And that’s how she is connected all the dots between these different facets of what she offers. And so absolutely, she has like almost zero niche, right, like she does all of the things. But it works for her because she’s created a storyline. Another person that does as well is Lauren Carnes with her like gather at the table concept. So she has, she loves cooking. And so, and she loves hosting people for dinners. And so she’s literally like through all of the different facets. She’s a photographer, she’s a communications coach, she does wild array of things. But they all kind of work together in this storyline. If you were to read every single page of her website, it all comes back to this gather at the table storyline. So that’s like one thing, one tangible way that you can work different offerings together if you’re not ready to like hard core niche.

Kat Schmoyer 8:08
Yeah, I love that. I and two thoughts on that. Number one, I think that storyline can be revealed to you by doing the work that you’re doing. I am someone and Megan knows this, y’all, we have had so many box conversations where I’ve been like, what am I doing? Like, what is my niche? Like, how does this connect to this connect to this, like, people probably think I’m crazy because I’m doing all of these unwritten things literally, that has been like fears and insecurities that I’ve personally had around the various brands that I run. So for me, I didn’t know the storyline right off the bat, you know, it’s taken almost eight years truly. And it’s taken a long time of me doing the work and seeing how my strengths, how my unique value proposition, how the brand messaging, how the clients I’m working with all of those pieces of the pot have been working together and now honestly within the last year, feeling a lot more like relief and clarity over some of those storylines. And so I want to give you all a permission slip if you’re listening to this and wondering like Well, how do those things connect? Give yourself like some brain space to think about how they connect, like take a step back, look at what you’re doing and talk to a good friend even to verbally process some of those things that you are doing and I’m willing to bet some of those storylines or one you know more apparent storyline will start to reveal itself to you. Um, that’s truthfully exactly how it happened for me so I want to give that permission slip I also want to say and I still want to talk about you and Megan with like finding your niche but I want to ask your opinion Megan when you brought that up so when I think about Laura foot and when I think about Lauren Carnes and we know them personally. So they’re exceptional women love not only following them online, but love like our heartfelt conversations and the business strategy talks that we have. When I look at both of them. I don’t look at their businesses and think that they’re not enough in any facet that they do. I feel like they do really, really well in all of the varying areas that their brands represent. However, something that I feel like the finding your niche crowd shouts is find your niche to be the expert. You know, if you need the eye, if your eyes hurting, you’re gonna go the eye doctor and you’re not going to go to the general practitioner, you need newborn photos, you’re going to go to the newborn person, not the girl that does a variety of different things. But when I think of Laura foot and Lauren karns, I don’t see them lacking in any of the things that they offer. So how do we figure out like, well, am I just not being enough of an expert in one thing? How do I combine multiple, like, what’s your thought on that mindset?

Megan Martin 10:45
Yeah, I think this is a two fold answer, in my opinion, the first nods towards what you just talked about the fact that it’s sometimes it takes time to find your storyline. But it also sometimes takes time to find where your sweet spot really is. So it’s like, both of those things can happen in tandem. For example, when I first started in business, I’m not doing anything similar to what I first started in business, because it took me a long time to find out what I was really passionate about. And then I was able to add the storyline after that. So I think first of all, you know, I, I can’t speak to Laura and Lauren’s businesses 10 years ago, you know, and were they great at all of these different offerings that they are now you know, but I think first of all, you’re right, you should give yourself time to explore. And that’s where like the finding your niche, we need a little disclaimer that, you know, if you are new in business here, and I’m thinking like 123 years in business, you should give yourself a free pass to explore what what creative passions come up. And that way you do give yourself the opportunity to find out what you really love and what you really do well for serving other people. But I will say On the flip side, my opinion on this answer is, I do think that if you specialize and you niche down, the answer is yes, you will be seen as an expert in that area. I think that’s why the finding your niche conversation is what it is. Because just like you said, if you have an eye problem, you don’t go to your general practitioner, you go to an eye doctor. And it’s the same concept here in the creative bubble. And I will say that I follow a lot of entrepreneurs, I follow a lot of people who are established, and I follow a lot of people who are new people I love like, one of my favorite little things to do is to try to spot talent when it’s coming. And so if I see somebody that looks like they’re talented, I’ll follow them, and I start watching their journey. And I will say I can see a difference in the people from, you know, even near the beginning of their business, who do choose to just go ahead and niche down as opposed to explore all the things, I can see a difference in this in the timeline of success, right? It’s just the truth. Like, I’m not gonna call them an overnight success, because I don’t think that’s true. But you can see somebody who started and saying, I’m doing this one thing for this one person A year later, they’re gonna have a lot more traction than somebody who says, I’m gonna do 10 things, figure it all out, I still don’t have a brand, I still don’t have a storyline. A year later, they’re still probably trying to find their thing, which is fine. And no, none of those business stories like either or is not wrong, right. Took me nine years to find my thing, like nine years to actually have a business where I feel confident that my business is not going to fall apart. Like I feel confident in the income that I’m making. That was nine years in business a really long time. But I wasn’t ready to commit to something in year one. And I yeah, so I just think that we have to have this conversation of like, yes, I do think finding your niche is going to help you be more successful, quicker. But it doesn’t mean that’s what you have to do.

Kat Schmoyer 14:06
Right. And I love what you you touched on here of just because you could do it quicker or faster or more efficiently. You know, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to be the happiest doing that. And that’s, that’s, you know, that’s not business strategy, right. But we want businesses that we love and that we’re passionate about. And if that means that in those first few years, you’re trying out a lot of things just like Megan and I did you know you’re trying out a lot of different things to figure out like what you like what you don’t like, Oh, this sounds fun. Oh, this doesn’t whatever do it. Like, let that be part of your storyline. And if you’re like me, and then even we’re going to get to Megan’s story with niching in just a minute, but if you’re like mine, for me, the storyline has been revealed to me over the last eight years because of trying out a variety of things and trying to figure out what I like and what I don’t like and now clearly seeing a niche within that which has been And I wouldn’t trip it like I genuinely wouldn’t trade that storyline for more money and more clients in year one.

Megan Martin 15:06
Yeah, absolutely. So I want to share a little bit about my story because mine’s completely opposite cat than yours. So yours is really a niche that’s built in to a storyline or really like core values of your brand and the core values of your ideal customer. My niche is more on the traditional niche side. It didn’t start that way. So in past episodes, I shared my story where I started as a wedding planner, then I pivoted into branded website design, then I pivoted into digital products selling PDFs, then I pivoted into digital products selling website templates, like all the pivots, right? You can go listen to the pivot episode, I don’t remember what number it is. But, um, so I finding my sweet spot for me, man, I literally just had to try all the things, I’m a seven, I’m an explorer at heart. And I’m the kind of person if I need to get something done in my business, I’m gonna learn how to get something done. Like I’m not the outsourcer, which is probably to my detriment, but whatever, I have fun learning new things. And so all of my pivots have happened as a result of learning something new in a need for my business. And so in what was it 2018, I started getting this hunch that I wanted to share about digital products, because that’s what was going on in my business, my business was really starting to grow after launching digital products. And I put out this random guide in 2018, only for a month, and we tested ads to it. And we got it was in November, which is important because this is Black Friday month, and anybody who tells you in the advertising space, like November is the most expensive time to advertise. Because the competition is fierce in November, we got over like 3500 leads in the door for this opt in at 11 cents per lead insane, insane, literally insane, insane. So it really cued me in that people want to help creating digital products. And I didn’t have any offer in my whole business repertoire at that time that had to do with that it was just this guide. And so that’s really what started my pivot into now teaching and sharing and helping other people create and sell digital products. And now that I’m in this spot, and I’ve started educating on it, I’ve started speaking on it, I’ve started creating content on it, I’ve realized that I am finally absolutely in my sweet spot, like I was good at things before. But I am great at this. And so now that I’ve like unlocked that part of me that I didn’t even know was there. Now I felt like it was time for me to finally go hard, like full out into my niche. And that meant letting go It was scary because I had products that weren’t, they were selling, right? Like they were not just sitting there not making any money, I had products that were selling, but they weren’t necessarily focused on somebody who is trying to create and sell digital products. So I made the decision to really strip away anything in my business that wasn’t focused on that person. So that way I could remove any distraction, not only from their personal customer journey, but also for me, it was really, really difficult to market my business when I had all of these different offerings for all of these different people going on. And I didn’t have a strong storyline like you cat or like Laura or Lauren. And I couldn’t I couldn’t figure out how to link these elements together. So I chose finding your niche like the the traditional niche style to help like remove friction from my brand, my messaging, and to also give my customer that experience of Oh, do you need help creating digital products, Megan is the person to create digital products. So that’s like my story of niching, which is so opposite from yours.

Kat Schmoyer 19:00
And it’s still so helpful to hear. I mean, we’re opposites in everything. So why would we not be opposites in this? But I also I think that it’s really hopefully empowering and like another permission slip for those of you guys listening and like hearing Megan story because Megan, I feel like you’ve done. I mean, you’ve done an amazing job at proclaiming that this is your niche and like being super bold, on your website, on your social platforms, like in all of your brand messaging, like this is who Megan is, and this is what Megan will do. Um, but I what I love though, is that within that niche, you still have multiple products and ways that customers can work with you. And that’s where I think and I know we talked about this last week so this is not to harp back on the like should you only sell one thing you know, conversation. I just think that it is interesting in light of the conversation of finding your niche, you know, because sometimes we think well if the niches one person, one product, that’s not necessarily true. You are I feel like your niche, even though it’s select products, it’s still a part of the overall brand messaging of what you help that customer do. And they might need several different types of products from you to get the end result. But it is still somewhat of a storyline in there.

Megan Martin 20:17
Yeah, I think I liken it back to the example of a wedding photographer. So Oh, you can claim your niche as the wedding photographer. And that’s one service, right? But there’s still multiple offers in there that you can serve your one client who is a wedding client, right? So you can offer engagement session for that client, you can offer a bridal session for that client, you can offer obviously, day of wedding and in day of wedding, you can offer multiple types of packages for that couple to choose what works best for them. And then after the fact, you can continue to sell to that person with something like an album, or prints. Whatever the case may be, I’m not a photographer. But this is like the most general concept, right? So that’s, that’s essentially the service providers version of a value ladder, which is saying you start with a, you know, think through price points, right. So the highest lowest price point offer you have is at the bottom, and then you start moving somebody up the ladder to the highest price point offerings that you have. That’s like the service providers version of that you have one niche you serve one person. But you we know, it’s more expensive to get new people in the door than it is to sell to existing customers. So it’s smart, just like we talked about in selling one thing, it’s smart to offer multiple offers to one person, which is what I do in my business as well. Mine is 100% digital products. But if you look at my array of products, they’re all serving one specific person, somebody who is trying to create and sell a digital product. They’ve I’ve got a course I’ve got digital product templates for Canva. I’ve got short website templates to sell your digital product on a sales page, I’ve got a membership. So you can we can do this for the long haul together. It’s lots of different offerings, but it all serves one person. And I think it just goes to show like you’re saying you can be on your side of the fence cat, you can be on your side and have a storyline and then offers that aren’t necessarily perfect. In terms of like walking up the ladder, you know, like your person gets to choose what they want to get when they want to get it my person. Because I’ve niched the way and the way that I have, it just makes a lot more sense to chronologically present things to them.

Kat Schmoyer 22:31
Absolutely. And that this has been my personal struggle for years, y’all like kid you not for years have, I have wanted a chronological journey. I’m a planner, I’m type A, I need the list, and helped me get the person from A to Z like I can, I can do that I know how to be task oriented. And it has been really, really hard for me, but also really encouraging for me to finally be at a place where I’m like, you know what, I don’t have an A to Z. Like, that’s not the way that my niche has been presenting itself over and over again, mine’s a little bit more like a buffet. And when somebody comes up, they can kind of pick and choose what it is they need in that moment, whether that’s within the Kat Schmoyer brand, whether that’s within creative at heart. And I now say that it’s all the same brand, but one is my right arm and one is my left arm. It’s kind of how I have been able to like, figure it out in my own brain of wanting to organize the various offers and the various ways that I serve people. And then you have really great businesses like Meghan’s and some of y’all you’re listening, I’m sure you have a very similar traditional value ladder format, traditional niche, and that’s wonderful, too. So it just depends on when you take a step back. When you look at your business. Who is it that you’re serving? What is it that you’re offering? And then how does your storyline if there is a storyline fit into which there shouldn’t be a storyline anyway? But how apparent is that storyline within the niche that you’re offering?

Megan Martin 24:01
Yeah, I think the other thing to think about too, is that I think there’s room for both of us, even if we’re competitors, I think there’s room for someone to be just laser focused on one specific thing, one specific person and there’s room in the market for somebody who is more multi passionate and their offers, again, like coming back to this example of the wedding photographer versus the photographer who serves all different types of customers. I think you’re going to repel them or attract on both sides. Right? So you if you are a wedding photographer who’s laser focused, that’s all you do, you’re going to attract people who want the best person at that job, right? Like the eye doctor, the concept. So people who were like I want the best wedding photographer, you’re going to attract them. But then on the other side of the coin, like if you’re like Laura, you’re a photographer and you’ll shoot somebody from zero to 100 no matter what life milestone they’re in, right, right. You’re gonna attract a different person. You’re like, I’m thinking back to my wedding. And if I were hiring a photographer for my wedding, I would absolutely want that photographer to be available to shoot when I have a newborn, and to shoot when I have another milestone in my life, like, I’m that kind of person who would want the same photographer for everything. And so there’s repelling and attracting on both attracting on both sides of the coin. And that’s a good thing. But no matter which side of the coin you choose, you should own it. And make it a part of your niche. If you’re multi passionate, and you’re going to let those wings fly, make it a part of your storyline say that right? If you’re going to laser focus, make that your storyline. I only do this. And I think that’s going to help. Even if you can’t find like a beautifully written storyline, like gather at the table like Lauren Carnes, you can truly own the fact that you offer multiple things versus one thing.

Kat Schmoyer 25:55
Absolutely. No, I think that’s such good advice for even for both of us to like remember, like just continuing to own like the path that we’re on the clients that we’re serving the offerings that we have, and knowing that I mean, who knows the pivots that

Megan Martin 26:11
come out right in

Kat Schmoyer 26:12
the future. But for right now, like this is the storyline. This is the niche. And at the end of the day, both Megan and I do believe in niching. We do believe the riches are in the niches. That is what it is. And again, whether that’s more concrete, or more of a storyline mindset, it doesn’t matter but knowing who you serve and what you do when serving that person is going to make everything in your business more strategic and more powerful.

Megan Martin 26:42
Absolutely. I love it. So I don’t know about you, but I agree. We believe in niching. You got to find what works for you. But I hope this was encouraging to listen to our stories and how we’ve niched our businesses in totally different ways. And now it’s your turn to go out and find your own niche and get rich and we’ll catch you in the next conversation.

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