Finding your niche is a phrase that is thrown around a lot – and if you’re just starting your business or still trying to navigate exactly what you want your business to look like, it can be frustrating as heck.
Everyone has their own ideas about what it means exactly do define your niche, but I think at the end of the day most business owners would agree that having a solid idea about your ideal client is one of the most important things you can do to grow your business.
Before we dive into customer targeting, avatars, and all that fun business lingo, let’s take a brief step back.
Our community here at QFYC has grown and evolved significantly since it first began, and many people don’t know the background on how this company came to be – or why.
In 2013, Pete and I were both working in Corporate America. Pete was starting his new job in Pharmaceutical Sales, and I was doing Management Consulting for a large, international company.
We were making great money, had a lot of benefits paid for by our companies, and were following along our little assembly line of “How to Be Successful in Corporate America.” (spoiler alert: it’s not all it’s cracked up to be).
Fast forward to early 2014, and we started to realize that this way of life – of pursuing success by climbing the corporate ladder – just wasn’t for us. We wanted more out of our lives.
We didn’t want to wait until we were 60 to travel. We didn’t want to chase higher paychecks in return for 60+ hour weeks and a week of vacation each year. We didn’t want to live out a suitcase, traveling to whichever city and project our boss decided to send us to next (my excitement about work travel was short lived.. also not my cup of tea).
Odds are, if you’re reading this blog you are probably as disillusioned with the status quo of success as we were.
Here’s where QFYC comes in – at first, it was simply a way for us to navigate through our own journeys of redefining success and happiness. It was personal, and it was extremely vulnerable for us.
As such, we took criticism to heart, and unfortunately listened to a few too many people (who we now know are not our ideal tribe) telling us we should change something or another about our blog.
And so we started speaking broader. We tried to apply our articles to everyone, when it truth it just made them that less relatable or powerful to the right people.
The past 3 years has been a trial of learning a very hard (and much needed) lesson for us:
“If your content is for everybody, it’s for nobody.” – Joe Pulizzi
In 2015, we set off on our backpacking trip through Central and South America. This trip was more of an internal journey than actively growing our business, but it certainly opened our eyes to the fact that there were a lot of other people out there – all over the world even – who thought and felt the same way that we do.
This awareness allowed us to feel more confident in narrowing in our audience. We knew our people were there, and we knew that they were looking for the same things: time-freedom, happiness, redefining success in their own lives, travel and adventure, and starting their own businesses.
Looking back, this moment was a significant shift for us. Giving yourself permission to narrow in on your ideal audience is so important in your business or brand.
If you’re also struggling with the idea of narrowing your focus, we want to tell you that it’s okay. Give yourself permission to exclude (or maybe just not target) some people, in order to really serve your IDEAL people best.
Think of it this way: by speaking directly to the right people, you are going to provide so much more value to your community or clients.
At the same time that we found this new focus, we also shifted our business focus.
It sounds a little counter-intuitive now, but essentially we knew who we wanted to reach with QFYC and we knew that we didn’t have the opportunity to make a real income on it at the time.
Our solution was to create a new business in order to support ourselves while we grew QFYC.
Enter: Shoobie Media.
Long-story short, we were living in a small beach town and recognized a need we could fill. Many of the small, family-run businesses had little-to-no online presence – they either had no website, a very outdated one, weren’t present on Facebook, and some were just nowhere to be found online. We knew that these businesses didn’t have tens of thousands of dollars to spend on web design and marketing, but we also knew these pieces are so important when it comes to attracting tourists during their busy summer months.
And so we threw a quick website up, filed a DBA, and started knocking door to door.
Our target client for Shoobie was very different than QFYC – small business owners with small budgets who needed help with web design and marketing – but we still had a direction.
Unfortunately, we didn’t quite learn from our previous experience. Since we were prioritizing earning money and gaining experience, we took almost every opportunity that came our way.
This resulted in working with some not-so-ideal clients. There were some people who tried to take advantage of us as new business owners and younger entrepreneurs. We said “yes” to people we didn’t genuinely enjoy working with. We weren’t confident in our pricing or our ideal clients.
All this goes to say that we learned a lot in that first year in business for Shoobie Media.
We gained a ton of experience, taught ourselves a crazy amount of new skills, learned to be confident in ourselves and our work, and more importantly, we started to understand who it is that we really love and want to work with.
These past few months, we’ve really narrowed in on who we want to serve, and where we can provide the best value. This also means that we’ve had to turn down some really big clients – which is super scary in a lot of ways. We had to say No to the wrong opportunities in order to say Yes to the dream ones.
Almost three years since the start of our brainstorming and we’ve shifted and grown this business in many different ways. And while this post is becoming a lot lengthier than I originally intended, these details are necessary – because it shows how crazy hard the process can be of growing your business when you don’t know who you are serving.
Put simply: You can only serve your clients crazy well if you know who they are, how to reach them, and what their needs are.
On a personal note, one of the biggest struggles I’ve had with growing our business is feeling like we have neglected QFYC. Shoobie Media was created to earn money so that we could do what we really loved: growing this community. And yet the more we grew Shoobie, the less time we had to work on QFYC.
After much prayer, brainstorming, and reflection, we’ve finally found our focus – and our answer.
We looked at it like a Venn diagram – Quarter for Your Crisis and Shoobie Media clearly had different audiences, but there was an overlap.
Not only did we get super clear on who was in that overlap, we realized that we are now in a position to serve those people extremely well. There was just one last scary step, and I mentioned it briefly above.
In order to serve your people well, you have to give yourself permission to speak directly to them, to narrow your focus, and provide even more value for their specific needs.
This means that it’s okay that your business or brand is not for everyone. But for the ones it is for, love and serve them well.
We know there are others out there who want to redefine success and happiness. We know that many times this comes from a deep yearning to live out our God-given purposes. We know there are others who want more from life, and those who seek that opportunity through entrepreneurship.
And right there, in that small little amazing place, we found our niche.
Helping people live out their God-given purpose has always been at the heart of QFYC. What was missing from this community before was exactly what we were helping our clients do with Shoobie: start and grow their own businesses.
Defining our ideal clients allowed us to finally see an opportunity that was right in front of us – the opportunity to marry our businesses and let our paychecks follow our passions.
Instead of taking on just any old marketing or web product, we are focusing in on helping other entrepreneurs and small business owners harness the power of digital marketing.
But this refined mission goes beyond our work lives. We want to empower people to step into all that they were created to be – and that means in our whole lives, not just our businesses.
We hope that if you’ve read this far, you are throwing your hands up in the air saying “Hey that’s me!”
If you are looking to put purpose back into your paycheck, to create or grow your business, to prioritize time-freedom and growth and adventure, then you’re in the right place. And we are so excited to have you here.
We promise you – we are going to give everything we’ve got to loving and serving you well.
If you’ve poked around our site, you’ll notice we still have a few more things up our sleeves (you can join our email list here to stay in the loop!). While we’re getting ready to announce our new projects, we’d love to hear what your needs are.
What do you struggle with? How can we serve you? What tools or content would help you grow in life and in work?
Leave a comment below with your answers or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org (We promise we read every one!)
Thank you for sticking with us for this crazy ride of life + adventure + entrepreneurship. This community is only here because of all of you, and we can’t wait to show you what’s next.
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