July is over and its safe to say that I’ve officially made it through my first FULL month of blogging in my niche. I recently decided that blogging about pursuing God and my passion is befitting considering it’s something that I’ve struggled with for a long time. The two actually go hand in hand. I’ll get into all of that later though as you all continue to follow me on this journey. For now, I want to share a little bit about what I’ve learned since finding my niche.
What is a niche?
A niche doesn’t necessarily have to be something tangible (photographer, makeup artist, hairstylist etc.). It does not even necessarily mean that it’s something that you are skilled in from the beginning. It just has to be something that you are passionate about. For example, I’ve always been very passionate about finding my purpose. At the same time, however, it’s something that I’ve always struggled with. At this stage in my life, I’ve taken a leap of faith to pursue something that I’ve always thought was there, but never had the courage to do. So, because this is something that I’ve dealt with my whole life, and even though I’ve struggled with it, in a sense, I kind of become the expert in this area to the degree that this has been my experience. It is what I know. I can talk about what I did and did not do, how it effected me, what I would do differently, what I’m learning now, ect. In essence, my niche has become the very thing that I’ve struggled with– and that is to say that I write about what that journey has been like for me and share what I’ve learned in the process and what I am learning going forward in pursuing what I believe to be my purpose– which is teaching other’s what I have learned.
Get it? I hope that makes sense.
This is all primarily fresh, so I’m still learning, but I’d like to share what I’ve learned in these past thirty days. If you’re just starting out on a new journey in pursuing your passion and discovering your niche, I believe these things will also be of help and encouragement to you as well. Let’s begin!
9 THINGS I’VE LEARNED SINCE FINDING MY NICHE
1. FEEL YOUR WAY THROUGH. Generally, there are “rules” to be followed in every niche, but ultimately, no one can tell you how things can or should be done. You might be inclined to follow the rules in the beginning because of course, you want to be successful. What better way to be successful than taking the advice of someone who has gone before you?
While, their advice can be helpful, you sometimes have to just feel your way through. You can use their advice as a resource, but always remember that their way is not the end all be all. You genuinely have to seek out what feels authentic to you. You have delve within to find what helps you stay true to self and follow it. That is your guiding force.
2. FOCUS. Don’t get caught up into looking at what everyone else is doing. It’s great to look at other examples, but it’s very easy to get stuck there trying to make your work look similar to “so and so’s.” Don’t get caught up into making their goals your goals. Every now and again (actually as often as possible) you have to remind yourself of your goals, your reason, your purpose and stick to that. Don’t. Lose. Focus.
3. DON’T BE SO HARD ON YOURSELF. Give yourself a break for crying out loud. It’s called, “beginner” for a reason. A beginner is someone who has little to no experience. That would be you. So why would you beat yourself up for not being perfect? Why would you beat yourself up because your work looks amateurish? It is! Find some rest in calling yourself a beginner. Extend some grace to yourself while you’re learning a new craft and enjoy the process.
4. QUALITY SOMETIMES MEANS QUANTITY. Now, I know the saying is, “quality over quantity,” but in my experience I’ve found that quality sometimes lies in quantity or how much you give. For example, with my blog posts, I generally reach for a word count of 1,500 words. It isn’t necessarily about attaining a word amount (and sometimes I don’t always reach that goal), but I know that by setting that guideline for myself, it requires me to dig deeper. It requires me to reach beyond surface level to provide something that will be worth it for my readers. It’s a process of breaking things down and thoroughly explaining or illustrating a point. But at the same time, it doesn’t mean to consistently hammer out content just for the sake of having it out there. In that regard, it’s “quality over quantity.” You really just have to access the situation and decide if what you’re giving will effect the quality of what you’re dishing out.
5. CONSISTENCY ISN’T ALWAYS THE KEY. Just because you’ve started out one way does not mean that you have to continue that way because it’s what people expect from you. Again, if something doesn’t feel right. If it doesn’t feel authentic, move on, switch things around, go in another direction. See number 1.
It’s okay when you’re still learning the ropes and growing in your niche. You don’t have to lock yourself into one method for the sake of being consistent. You just have to be consistent in your pursuit.
6. WORK HARD. I cannot stress this enough. There’s just no way around it. As cliché as it may sound, if you want to see the results, you have to put in the work. That means committing extra time and hours to your project before and/or after work. That means getting up early on your day off to invest in developing your craft. It means assessing how you can amp things up or take things to the next level of productivity or professionalism and actually doing it. You won’t get very far without working hard. Your work will just be mediocre, it won’t stand out, and it won’t be attractive to other people.
7. THAT NAGGING VOICE…IGNORE IT. Everyday, I hear the same thing, you’re not good enough. what makes you think that you can do this? If that nagging voice bugs you too, ignore it! We all experience this. It’s the doubt that comes when you’re beginning to try something new. It’s the fear that wants to keep you from trying something new because you are literally stepping over into a land you know not of–unfamiliar ground, better known as the discomfort which comes from stepping out of your comfort zone.
8. LET YOUR PASSION DRIVE YOU. There are days I worry about the numbers, who’s following, who’s watching, who’s reading and who isn’t and it feels like I’m doing it all for nothing. When I focus on the numbers I get discouraged. When I focus on the passion that’s in my heart, when I focus on the why that made me begin, I get excited all over again. I get in my zone and go at it full force. See number 2.
9. DON’T THINK TOO HARD. We want things to be right. We want them to be perfect, but the truth is that we really only learn with time through trial and error and research. I would sit on something for so long because I was fearful of how it would turn out. I would sit on something so simple as an Instagram post because I wanted it to look a certain way. I wondered if it was the “right” photo or caption or post for the day. Many of times I’ve had to stop myself and say, “It’s not that deep.” And I’m telling you: It’s not. That. Deep. Put it out there (whatever it is) and if you make a mistake, it isn’t the end of the world. If you aren’t comfortable with it, find out why you aren’t comfortable with it and do the research required that will give you the knowledge and the ability to improve. That’s it.
Starting anything new can be challenging, especially when you’re trying to build something from the ground up. It takes a lot of grit and grace to be persistent in your pursuit. Just because something is your passion, doesn’t necessarily mean that pursuing it will be easy. You’ll have trials. You’ll have challenges. You’ll have moments when you feel like it’s just best to give up, but keep encouraging yourself along the way. Celebrate yourself and your accomplishments and take pride in being a beginner. Be proud that you’ve taken the steps to start something new. Be courageous in pursuing your passion and seeing your dreams through.