Why It’s Time to Choose a Niche Side-Hustle
It’s tempting to start a side-hustle and want to be everything to everyone. Everyone is a nice-sized customer base.
If you sold even a quarter-percent to everyone, you’d have legacy-level wealth.
…but those businesses don’t exist.
If we chase everyone, we sell to no one.
Instead, we’ve got to go niche with our side-hustle. And not just any niche either. We need to go as narrow as we can, within the people we wish to serve.
The old adage of ‘choose an inch-wide, mile-deep’ niche still applies today. With the cost of entry near or at zero, anyone can start a business from their phone.
This leads to an over-supply of competition.
When you’ve got a lot of competition, most people turn to bottom-feeding.
They want to sell something to everyone, so they compete on price.
But what if you were the only player in your field?
If you choose the right niche, becoming the only player is not only possible, it’s preferred.
- No more competition with bottom-feeders
- No more worrying about price
- You get a higher-quality customer
- You become the only game in town
This is the power of a niche side-hustle.
If you’re looking to choose your own business, it’s time to get laser-focused on the smallest group of people that have the power to buy your best work.
The Riches are in The Niches
When you choose a deep niche, you no longer compete on price. You become the taste-maker.
If a customer wants the perfect solution to her problem she must come to you.
No, your teach isn’t as broad at first, but you don’t need a broad reach to build a successful side-hustle. All you need is enough people to earn the end-result you want to achieve. You can sell a high-end product to a very small customer niche and do very well financially.
The quality of your customers is what matters, not the number of people on your email list.
The riches are in the niches, because it takes all the comparing and searching out of the buying decision.
The customer has one choice, buy or not, if she wants your perfect solution.
Niches are Easier to Dominate
Your super-specialized niche becomes your Blue Ocean. You have the toll booth position. Instead of competing in the generic ‘self-help’ category with millions of books and courses, you own the ‘self help for millennial nomads’ niche.
If you can’t dominate a niche, create one you can.
For example, I’m a marketing coach for writers and creators only. These are people I relate to on a rep level. I don’t try to sell to anyone who sells stuff online.
I planted a flag with a specific niche and all my work goes towards serving them.
I dominate my area of expertise, because there aren’t many (if any) other choices for my audience.
You Become an Instant-Authority
When you dominate a niche you become the sole voice. This gives you instant-credibility.
Instead of trying to be the loudest in a sea of copycats and also-rans, you now have the ability to use your inside voice to draw customers.
Instead of jumping and doing clown tricks for a couple clicks, as you will if you compete in crowded spaces, with a tight niche you are the expert.
There’s no shame in the self-proclaim (ing).
You have experiences and knowledge that are unique to you. Capitalize on this knowledge with coined phrases, white papers, and key frameworks you recognize as your own.
If your niche is narrow-enough, you can become the authority today.
When you’re the authority, your reach grows to other niches. Your name expands. You gain notoriety. Others will look to you for advice.
When you become the authority you also gain word-of-mouth exposure.
You Become the Toll Booth
If a customer wants your particular solution, she has no other choice. She must buy from you. No more coupons. No more deep-discounts.
If you want to ride the ride, you’ve got to pay the full ticket price.
Sure, once you establish any modicum of success, the wolves will be ready to copy you.
But it’s a lot easier to defend your work if you were the first dominant player in the space.
Build your booth at the start of the bridge.
The toll booth potion allows you to charge any relative price you want, if your reader wishes to cross your road.
Toll booths are more than money too.
When you own a toll booth position in your marketplace you become the standard from which all other competitors are measured.
You don’t have to be first or the loudest, either. You just need to be the best choice.
When You Serve a Niche You Build a Tribe
Your niche and tribe become synonymous. You understand their deepest issues, strongest struggles, and darkest fears. When you build a tribe, your side-hustle is no longer a one-sale relationship.
When you build a tribe you grow lifetime customers—people who buy from you repeatedly.
We don’t have to chase buyers anymore.
When you chase buyers you need to repeat the process every month. You sell to one person then go find the next.
When you build a tribe you take a stand, saying “O made this for you, not for you.”
This is how we save time prospecting. This is how we build a lifetime customer.
Tribes Are Loyal
Think of how little loyalty you have to a business where all they do is compete on price.
Now look at your favorite niche business.
Think of how loyal you might be to a certain brand you love. You can do the same with your side-hustle no matter what you sell.
You want loyal fans.
Loyal fans return frequently and buy more stuff. Loyal fans tell the others—they promote your work via word of mouth.
Not only will loyal fans help you create your next product, they’ll also push you to create more stuff they can consume.
Loyal fans are always hungry for more. And a good creator never runs out of things to sell her tribe.
As you’re in the early stages of a side-hustle you’ll make a lot of mistakes. But if you build a specific tribe around a niche, and those people watched you grow as you shared your journey, they will forgive you when you stumble.
You want to build a group of raving fans who are as close to family as possible.
Family returns when you make mistakes. Buyers who only care about price will be the first ones to dump you when you make a mistake.
You will make mistakes. This is how we grow, by failing-forward.
The question is not ‘will you make a mistake?’ but ‘will your customers stand behind you when you do?’
When You Start with a Small Niche You Can Always Expand
It’s harder to go from big to small, than small to big. If you start with trying to be everyone to everything, you’ll end up with a patchwork customer list.
Some people over here will think you serve them, while others will think y0u meet their needs.
If you launch a product that’s incongruent with most of your customer list, you won’t sell much.
In contrast, if you build your name as the dominant force in a small niche, word will get out. People in different niches will feel you can help them too.
Your net will widen, from the sheer excitement of FOMO.
As you gain traction in your niche, your side-hustle will grow elsewhere. Don’t try it the other way around. All you’ll do is alienate most of the random people on your list.
There is No Other Choice but to Go Small
When you serve everyone, you instantly jump in the arena with the biggest players in the game.
Would you rather compete with Google and Facebook, Tony Robbins, Grant Cardone, and Gary Vee, or would you rather own your niche completely?
Going small doesn’t mean you must think small or earn small. Going small means you occupy 100% of a tiny spot in your customer’s mind.
When she has the problem you solve, you business becomes the only solution on the playground.
This is not thinking small.
This is the power of the niche.
This is how we stop competing on price, build tribes of raving fans, and dominate a tiny toll booth position on the map.
How to Choose Your Niche
Study Amazon. Look at books in your niche. Are there any top-sellers close to the people you serve, but with room to get more-specific? Read the customer questions. Read the good and bad reviews.
Are there any sub-Reddits that serve the people you want to serve?
Read the reviews. Listen to their pains and questions. Customers suggest ideas and ask for solutions in these public spaces.
Gather all this intelligence and uncover a tiny hole in the market. Find the people you wish to serve and let them know you’re here to help.
Build your tribe via email, not just on social. When we build a business only in social, the platform owns our business and can shit is down any time.
Your niche email list is your insurance policy against overnight shut-down.
As long as there are enough people to serve, where you can live well if a small percentage of them become buyers, you’ve got yourself a solid niche.
August Birch is an author, email expert, and entrepreneur from Michigan, USA. As a self-appointed guardian of writers and creators, August teaches indies how to make more work that sells and sell that work once it’s made. When he’s not writing or teaching, August carries a pocket knife and shaves his head with a safety razor