The Renaissance Niche, Part 1 – Finding Your Niche
The Renaissance Niche, part 1
written by Gypsy from Estuary Magicks
Has anyone ever told you that you do too many things?
“Pick one,” career counselors tell us in school, or “what do you like more than anything else?” One of the first pieces of advice you get as a creative entrepreneur is to “find your niche” and stick to it.
They have a point. If your work — or your mind — is all over the place, your brand can’t be cohesive. The story of your business won’t be a story so much as a badly-made collage, and while you may get different buyers for different work, people will find it hard to appreciate your business as a whole.
But you don’t have to do just one thing.
In my little liberal arts college, I had the privilege of creating my own major. Creative Studies, I called it, and armed with that title I did theatre, screenwriting, poetry, painting, photography, novel writing, music theory, philosophy . . . you get the picture. I was all over the school. But every time I looked at specializing in one field, I mourned the loss of the others.
So I decided to specialize in all of them.
Each genre has its own process and its own rules, but they have something in common: creation. I discovered that my working method for lighting design was exactly what I needed to refine my abilities as an illustrator. Watching the shows taught me lessons about story and character that I now use in my novels. Music theory helped me write better poetry.
But what about niche?
If you want to work with multiple art forms, you should. But to have a successful business, you need to have a cohesive brand. If the unifying aspect is not your medium, think of what else it could be. Is it your process? Your materials? Your aesthetic? How do your different projects affect one another, and how do they interact?
A ‘niche’ doesn’t have to be a single, specific product. It does, however, need to be a unified idea or story. A niche is not a cage for your creative mind.
So the next time someone says, “find your niche,” don’t think that means to throw your novel (or amateur pottery, or assortment of vintage puppy statues) out the window. It means just this: find your story. Bring all of those interests together, and find out what makes it work.
How do you use different abilities in your business? Has your process ever been improved by lessons from unrelated fields?
Stay tuned for part two, where you will find specific tips and links for combining your many abilities.