To niche or not to niche.
This dilemma is a lot like being tossed out of the safety net that is school and asked to go find the ONE thing you should do for the rest of your life. I've come to terms that this is a crazy concept, evident by the amount of different stuff I've tried over the last five or six years. It's impossible to know what you want to do early on in your life, and I'd argue that there may never be a clear-cut answer.
We're human. We evolve.
Up until recently, this knowledge hasn't carried over into the online world for me. Everywhere you look, someone is preaching the importance of niching down. I'll admit there is value in 'finding your niche':
- You'll have clear constraints that make it easier to find ideas to write about.
- Your audience will know exactly what they're getting.
- Growth will come at you fast because your value is clearly defined (see second bullet point).
These are all good things! But why no one talks about the potential downside of niching down and labeling yourself as "The 'X' Guy" or "The 'Y' Gal" confuses me. Because there is one massive drawback to labeling yourself right out of the gate:
You get bored.
I can only speak to my own experiences, but this is how niching down played out for me after leaving corporate. Lemme 'essplain:
Fitness was my first love, so naturally, I chose fitness as my first entrepreneurial venture. I quickly became known as "The Fitness Guy" within my circle of friends, which was pretty cool. Strangers were paying me to help them transform their bodies and health, which was fulfilling AF.
But all good things come to an end, and I became bored with the idea of being a personal trainer for the rest of my life. I started dreading the 5 am wake-up times, the late-night shifts, and worst of all, I had no desire to stick around and train myself afterward. Fitness was no longer my happy place because it was fitness, fitness, fitness–all day, every day.
My passion for training was fading. Maybe 'evolving' is a better way to put it (maybe I'll write another post about why following your passion is bad advice). On top of that, I had zero clue how to market myself and sell my services.
Losing interest + no money = 😢
I knew I had to move on to the next thing, but I already identified as "The Fitness Guy". Whoops. Packing it in almost felt like a failure. But I soldiered on so that I could focus on my brand new, budding interest:
Copywriting is written content with the aim of increasing brand awareness and persuading people to take a particular action, usually to buy a product or service.
I discovered copywriting when I realized people weren't just going to find me out of the blue and train with me–I had to sell my services! And so down the rabbit hole I went, devouring everything I could on the topic of copywriting, persuasion, and direct response marketing.
Headlines, emails, benefits, sales pages, emotion, CTAs. The whole nine yards. I became obsessed with human nature and watching people buy products or services after reading my words was a thrill.
I even had a successful stint as a freelancer:
- Brought in around $1.2 Million in revenue over the course of six months between two supplement brands.
- Earned a tidy $40k for myself in the process.
But I had made a mistake.
I labeled myself as a "Copywriter" and I felt the tides shifting once again–something felt off. You'd think I'd learn my lesson the first time, but no. I'm a slow learner 😅
Don't get me wrong, I love fitness and copywriting. There's no doubt I'll continue to learn, practice, and play in both of these fields. But I'm now aware that tying my entire identity around one thing sucks the joy out of me like a thirsty kid with a Capri-sun on a sweltering hot day.
What I need is a 'personal playground', or outlet, where I can be creative, explore my wildly varied interests, and have zero pressure to conform to a singular niche.
Which brings us to now...
This is a personal website and the main objective is to have a place that acts as my resume, real estate, time machine, and second brain. It will help others learn more about me, how I think, and why they should care. And it will help clarify my thoughts, share what I know, and build a reputation.
I stole this idea from Nat Eliason (https://www.nateliason.com/) because it sums up what I want this space to be.
Having a place to explore my curiosities–wherever they take me–will help me side-step the dreaded prison of a "niche". That's not to say I won't start a business in a specific niche, and I'll probably talk about what I'm working on here. But this place is for me and me alone (and you, of course! 😙)
No more labeling myself as "X" or "Y" and no more putting myself in a box.
Because fuck boxes.
Alex's Newsletter About Nothing
There's no theme or gimmicky structure to this newsletter. I write one email a week about skills I'm learning, rabbit holes I find myself lost in, my rocks (writing, self-awareness, physical health), and lessons I'm picking up along the way.
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