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When the sky’s the limit, how do you find your creative niche? 

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Whether you’re opening your creative business in a unique industry, or a saturated market, it’s important to recognise what makes you different from your competition. But in a world where anything seems possible, how do you focus on the right route for you? 

Defining your niche can be hard when the sky’s the limit, and refining your options needs time, effort, and a bit of clever thinking. Thankfully, Dropbox Director, Andy Wilson, is here to share some strategies you can apply on your journey to determining your own personal brand.

Filling a gap in the market

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What do you enjoy doing, and is there a market for it? What makes your product different? These are the questions you should ask yourself when trying to discover your creative niche.

Finding a niche that is willing to pay appropriately for the creative, means that you’ll be able to turn your passion into a profitable business. That is, if people want to buy what you’ve made, and if you’re able to fill a gap in the market.

Businesses who find and create within this  gap  are more likely to achieve success. They’ve been able to see something they can provide, which no one else has tapped into before.

For some, the niche is obvious because some brands exist in order to serve that gap. For example, Lauren Strapagiel’s business Really Gay Goods, a shop of handmade goods and stickers around LGBTQ+ themes, came from her own desire for queer representation in crafts. 

As you refine and focus your audience and create something that a group of people really want, you’ll be able to make more authentic connections with customers. This genuine connection will provide you with the space to experiment and take risks. 

Connecting with your audience 

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Building your audience is a crucial part of becoming a successful creator. Regularly communicating with your customers allows you to stay connected, while keeping them up to date on your business and life. 

When your audience connects with you, they’re more likely to engage and buy the things you make. In fact, there’s a psychological theory called the mere-exposure effect that suggests that we have a tendency to develop preferences for things simply because we are familiar with them. 

A great way to find your niche is to find your audience. Utilising the free tools available to us to connect with potential customers, such as social media, is key for exposure building your brand. 

You may need to decide whether you want your brand to grow organically on social media, where people engage with you because of the content,  or whether you are using paid promotions, or social advertising to help target the audiences you want to engage with.

The former can build a great loyal following, but takes time and regular posts, while the latter can have a more immediate impact, but requires upfront investment. 

Sticking to your niche

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Surviving as a creator can pose its challenges. Balance must be prioritised to ensure you’re not working 24/7 in order to earn a liveable wage. This is why so many creators will often work other full or part time jobs on top of their own passion projects. 

If you’re starting out, or are a smaller growing business, time is precious, so understanding what does and doesn’t scale for you is important to how you decide your time is best used. While an established niche might limit your creativity, it can be pivotal to your income. 

Diverting from your niche could enable you to reach a wider audience, it also means more competition. It can be tempting to do something more generic because you think it’ll sell more, but when you do, you could be up against a million other people creating the same thing. 

Appealing to a smaller demographic and keeping the business small will help keep your customers loyal, and your niche defined. 

Finding time for the important stuff 

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Creators start working for themselves, not because they know how to do every job a business requires, but because they have something to offer or something to say. By bringing your passion together with your day to day work, enables you to do what you enjoy and build a successful business that you are committed to.

Make sure to find the time to run your business, and use digital tools to help you stay organised.  If you’re a creative that works with clients, set up shared client folders and links to keep files together, your clients will always have the most up-to-date version, keeping them happy and in the know. 

Blocking out time for creative work, and time for running the business can also help you stay focused. At Dropbox we have implemented time-boxing that we call core collaboration hours, whereby teams will set aside hours in the day for meetings and collaborative work.

Freelancers and creatives can apply this mindset to their day-to-day; set aside the necessary time for emails, social media, and financing, so when you find your niche, you can settle into a creative flow without any worries. 

Making a living from a creative skill is becoming more and more attainable. Creators can set up an online shop with the click of a button, sell from practically anywhere, and build a community around their work that is both fulfilling and commercially feasible.

With some planning, careful promotion as well as the right digital tools to enable your work, there is nothing stopping creators from becoming their own boss and bringing their passions to work, and work being their passion, every day. 

Header image by Rob Hooper

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