Everyone is good at something. The problem is, that “something” tends to be the same as hundreds of other people. And in a world where you’re trying to make your way and leave your mark, that’s something that may not help you get as far as you’d like.
Have you been hearing the words “find your niche” being thrown around more than usual? The truth is, with such universal access to information, things that once might have been considered great to specialize in are now common knowledge among the consumer base, too, not just the industry professionals.
What is a Niche?
A niche can refer to a physical recess in a structure, such as a space built into your wall to house a vase, window seat, or bookshelf. Take this spacial definition and now apply it to the knowledge and expertise a person has; there are spaces your knowledge occupies that many other people’s don’t fit into because they haven’t been shaped for it the way that you have.
This is something you can use to your advantage in all walks of life. Why do you think those with exceptional height tend to play basketball or charismatic people go into politics? They exhibit characteristics that serve that role better than those of the average person. And it’s the same in business and your career.
Finding your niche is not about learning how to do something before anyone else; it’s about taking those things that you’re good at and continuing to groom that knowledge or those skills. You can then use that new-found situation to earn money by finding like-minded people or offering out your skills to those who need them.
Congratulations! You and your niche have now become a commodity.
Niche vs General Knowledge and Skills
So how can a niche serve you better than your general industry knowledge? Are there reasons it’s better to go with the general skills at some point rather than specialized? A comparison I always come back to is that of the professional versus the amateur.
You may want to be an expert in every aspect of your field, but you’ll find that as you try and devote time to each, you know a little bit about quite a few things and you can’t really keep up. If you’re happy to supervise or manage, this may be a good direction for you to go in. You’ll know more than the average person but the right amount to orchestrate your team of specialists.
As a professional, focused in on one aspect of the industry, you can become an expert that people seek out for help or special projects. The only downside is that you might also need to seek out a professional who has cornered the market on an aspect you haven’t had time to master.
If you’re just starting out, get a nice overview of the different areas covered in your industry of interest. As you become familiar with the “knowing a little bit about a lot of things” space, you’ll learn more about yourself, which things you’re really good at, and which things hold your interest more than others.
Why Become an Expert?
Really, being an expert isn’t for everyone, and it doesn’t appeal to everyone either. But if you prefer to hone in on your own work and its details, becoming an expert may be just what you’re after. And the more skilled you become, the more you will be able to differentiate yourself from the competition.
You may be one of a few that offer the same services or skills, but soon it becomes about the subtle differences in your workflow and methods. As you flesh out these nuances, you’ll be able to explain effortlessly what exactly it is you are offering that no one else can.
Get to Work!
If you like the sound of that end goal, then it’s time for you to take stock of what you’re willing to do to get there. Niche work could feel as simple as researching dirt bike mechanics and describing them intimately as a blogger, or you could dedicate years to appraising items like the experts at Infinity Coins.
Whether your niche is within a broad field or it’s a world all its own, you need to be prepared to seek out mentors and courses that can train you up well. And once you’re trained, you’ll survive much longer in that niche with a long-term plan for continuing education and study in place, including an openness to changes in how the field works.
Another way to get your foot in the door and stake out your own spot is to actively reach out to other people and professionals who would be interested in your knowledge and skills. Building a community among industry professionals and consumers is the groundwork that will keep your career healthy and moving forward.
What Do You Love?
One last important thing to take into account is your level of interest in that particular niche. You may have a few things in mind, and somewhere down the road, you may find that one or two or all of those subjects can’t hold your attention like you thought they could.
Finding your niche may take some trial and error, but don’t feel that you’re stuck with an idea you had six months or six years ago. It takes a genuine passion and riveted interest to delve into a niche, so be guided by your heart and instinct as much as your logic. Who knows, you may end up vigorously pursuing a line of knowledge you’d dismissed in the beginning.