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The Struggles Of Niching Down For Creative People
Let me share my experience with you.
Was it easy to choose your niche? Did you start with one niche and found out you write for a different one? Maybe you’re struggling like I did. But I think I found a way out of this constant struggle of thinking about what to write and I’d like to share that with you.
In no way I’m trying to insinuate that my way is better than another. I’m just sharing my experience and like always, feel free to disregard anything you don’t find useful.
Let’s get into it!
What’s Been Going On
It’s a Friday morning here in Israel. I think Israel is the only country where Sunday is a regular workday and Friday is a day off. So, imagine my Fridays are your Saturdays.
I’m here in the Ramat Aviv Mall, the place I visit every Friday to decompress from the preceding week. It’s also where I have some me time.
This week, I decided it will also be my newsletter time. Unless there’s a holiday, I’m here every weekend to drink my favorite yogurt shake and write words on my tablet.
It’s also the only time I’m alone with my thoughts. At home, there’s always something and I don’t really get to enjoy me time. That’s why I’ve been working tirelessly on this whole content creation thing. My goal is to be able to afford rent while I pay off my debts. It’s been hard to see my birthday getting closer and closer and not feeling any progress with my life.
I Struggled With Choosing a Niche
I’m a Software Engineer, but I’m also a nerd. The thing that made the most sense to me was starting with what I know. And that’s Software Engineering. I solve problems at work every day. There’s ample opportunity to document my struggles.
Something stopped me from doing so.
There was a voice in my head that said, “look, you’re not going to work as a software engineer when you make money on your own. Don’t create content for it.”
And so, for years I steered clear from creating content about my day job. But the thing is, I do love computers and code. I grew up with computers. I used to open my PC and probe its insides. You wouldn’t find me buying a cheap computer when I know that a better one would last me longer.
And so, I decided to write about the things that I was dealing with - content creation.
But that also felt inauthentic.
How could I give anyone content creation advice when I didn’t succeed with it myself? Who am I to do so?
So I decided to change my niche again to talk about the things I enjoy - TV shows and video games.
And as always, it felt too slow. I needed more progress. I was burnt out and fatigued. Something had to change.
The Era of Binging Podcasts
Instead of keeping this never-ending loop of changing niches because I didn’t see any results, I decided to binge some podcasts about content creation.
Three Podcasts inspired me to make the next steps:
I Am a Creator - by ConvertKit.
Smart Passive Income - by Pat Flynn.
Online Marketing Made Easy - by Amy Porterfield.
There were a couple more podcasts that I loved like Profitable Audience podcasts and Copyblogger. But those initial three made all the difference for me.
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The Lightbulb Moment
Last week, I listened to Amy’s podcast interview with Chalene Johnson and that episode made my mind’s lightbulb turn on.
Chalene was talking about how she did a lot of different things, too. How she didn’t agree to niche down. However, she did decide to focus. That focus on one thing, making it successful and then moving on the next thing was all the permission I needed to realize that focusing on Software Engineering now, doesn’t mark me as a software engineering content creator for life.
In a way, my vast experience of software engineering in general and backend development in particular could help a lot of people and enable me the leverage to create the lifestyle I do want which is to own my time, play video games, and travel the world on my own terms.
I’ve always looked at my day job as a burden I had to bear until my side thing would develop enough to replace it. But it doesn’t have to be this way. My day job and my degree in computer science make me qualified to talk about the things that can help other people. And it’s not a permanent shift in my personal brand to do so.
So, What Next?
Now that I look at my day job in a different light, I am no longer afraid to create content about software engineering. I have a lot to say from over six years of developing in Python and being part of a startup team.
But what about my other content assets?
I’m ok with giving focus to two things right now:
Nerdy Modern Blog.
I intend to write a few blog posts each week in both of these and see what happens. I have some automation in place to make sure things are shared after I publish them so it saves me some time.
I don’t have ads in either of those websites yet, but I will once I have enough content in them. Oren Codes is also a good segue to a YouTube channel about coding. But that’s a thought for later.
Once I get to even $1k/month from those sites, I can start to build some leverage because I’m still working a day job.
It will take time but I’m OK focusing on that now to free myself in the future.
What about you? Did you know your niche immediately? Did you focus on one or two things from the start? I hope reading this was helpful to you in any way. I will see you next week :)
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