Why Niching Down Should Matter To You

If you want to grow as a Freelancer or a Small Business – niching down is the best way to scale.

See the thing is, in order to beat competition, there are 2 universal truths

1 – Offer the same value for a lower price
OR
2 – Offer more value for the same price

A lot of folks out there, focus a bit too hard on the first part.
There is only so much you can cut in terms of your prices as a service provider before you burn out or realize it’s becoming impossible to scale.

So enter option 2 – Offering more value.

And as soon as you think about that, what comes to your head?
Usually a whole lot of things that don’t make any sense.

If you are like any other hard-working citizen out there, I am sure you are already providing the best quality of work there is, then how do you offer more value on top of that?

Well, you have to think outside the box – think from the other perspective. 

Who are you selling to?

Let’s take an analogy (hope it works well)

If I have a gold ring I want to sell, who will give me a better price for it?
A jeweller who deals in gold and understands what gold is worth
Or a scrap buyer who buys anything based on weight

The answer is obvious, but we often don’t apply this obvious logic when it comes to selling our skillset.

Let’s say you are a web developer, do you think most clients care about what tech stack you know, or what tools you use, or how many years of experience you have?

Not really. And if they do, they aren’t clients, perhaps they are looking to hire an employee.

A realistic client will only look at 2 things – are you the right fix for the problems they have and if you have relevant past portfolio/samples to show for it.

For building a portfolio, I cover a technique here: https://sknexus.com/how-to-create-better-portfolio-website-with-a-case-study/

As it comes to fixing problems, you need to pick and choose what you offer.
Niching down is the best way to offer more value. 

If you do everything under the sun, you will seldom outshine the competition.

Do a quick google search on how to niche down your services, and you will find a LOT of frameworks to adopt. And some of them work. Some of them don’t.

One of my favorite ones is the Elevator Pitch Framework that helps you figure out your business or product strategy.
If we take the three core parts from it, you can focus on

THE – what kind of services you are looking to provide. i.e web development, design, writing, etc
FOR – what kind of industry or niche you want to target. i.e ecommerce companies, telehealth companies, auto insurance brands, etc
WHO – what kind of outcome is the audience seeking. i.e increase sales, reduce churn, optimize performance, etc

This sounds simple enough, but is really hard to get to. If it works for you, great, no need to read further. But if you are still lost, let’s look at my approach.

My approach tends to work better for folks just starting to niche out. I am also placing an assumption that you already have some level of success as a freelancer or a Small Business. Here’s my step by step plan I want you to execute.

1 – Make up your mind

Acceptance is always the first step. You need to accept that you want to niche down in the long term until you find success with a specific problem-solution pairing.

The problem needs to be well defined, tested and validated, and be available in decent supply.

The solution you will offer is well equipped to deal with the problem, is messaged in a way which is easy to understand for your clients, and it covers your core skillset.

2 – Exploration

Now I am assuming you are already a relatively successful Freelancer/Small Business, so the next step is to explore your options. The goal is to find what is happening in terms of market trends and organic results.

Let’s say, you are providing copywriting services.

For exploration, I need you to take inspiration from the biggest/best copywriters out there and see how they are defining themselves.

Like this guy specializes in B2B content marketing – https://www.linkedin.com/in/contentkuba/

You can find folks in your industry by a simple google search or going through listicles of featured folks.

This step is just to get a high level understanding on what the space looks like currently for successful industry leaders. If they are showing up organically (ignore ads or sponsored material), means they are doing something that is working.

3 – Before you Imitate, Learn to innovate

Now you know what the top looks like, but to get there, we have to first look at how to package ourselves better.

I, myself have recently gone through this exercise when I wanted to package my services for my PM site. What worked for me, might as well work for you. 

Which was, going on Fiverr, and doing a simple search for the premium sellers and identifying niches they are targeting.

Let’s stick with our example of copywriting.
A quick Fiverr search hits you with a reality check, niching down the query:

Niching down on Fiverr

Even Fiverr wants you to be more specific, so let’s say I want to niche down into writing ‘Sales Copy’.

We get: https://www.fiverr.com/search/gigs?query=copywriter&source=drawer&ref_ctx_id=937962199e0d4c93b5f97cc2d4242ea2&search_in=everywhere&search-autocomplete-original-term=copywriter&sub_category=336&ref=seller_level%3Atop_rated_seller

Now if you browse around and open the full profiles of some of the best sellers, you will notice a trend.

See, although all of these profiles are for ‘copywriters’. They have ‘packaged’ their services in different niches.

And if you dig around enough you will quickly notice that even though Fiverr might not be the best freelance platform, it is the best platform to sell packaged services.


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4 – Learning through Execution

Now comes the hard part, go create a Fiverr account. Create 4 gigs. Go through the process of forcefully learning how to offer what you want to sell as packaged services.

The goal here is not to win projects on Fiverr, it is just to go through the exercise and forcing yourself to think in terms of a product offering rather than a service offering.

Here are some prerequisites to keep in mind when creating these gigs:
– All gigs need to be tied to your core skillset, so if it’s web dev, it needs to be related to web dev
– In your Gig title, you will message the problem you are solving, not the tools or tech you will be using to solve
– Have at least one gig which has multiple pricing options, this will help you figure out how to tier your offering
– Have at least one gig which is a low entry point or a low budget gig, this will add to the variety

If you manage to create 3-4 gigs based around your core skill set, and these gigs seem to get good impressions over time – it means you are now ready for the next and last step.

5 – Select, Test, Repeat

By now you should have a good understanding of how to package your services better. But you still need to test what works in the long term. This is where step 1 needs to be reminded of.

You start with 3-4 services, you create your proposals and pitches around that for your future clients, and you see what works best.

Whatever outperforms, eventually becomes your niche, and whatever doesn’t perform MUST get eliminated.

By the end of it all you will have identified your niche that will finally help you offer more value to your clients and make it easy for you to scale in a predictable direction.

As a Small Business or a Freelancer, it is becoming near impossible to stand out in the red ocean of competition. Niching down is your best bet to stand out. 

The goal is to figure out one core problem, different ways you can solve it, and then packaging yourself to show yourself as a specialist rather than just another xyz skillset person.

And always remember, optimization is a journey, not a one step action. What matters is your long term goal being met, not the short term actions you experiment with.
As long as the collective of all actions you take result in you niching down – you will be successful.

Always happy to see feedback, leave a thought!