is doing the same thing over and over again.”
— Paula Scher
Some of the most common advice I get as a freelance business owner is to niche down.
Become known for one thing, they say. Only do logos for bakeries, or only do book covers for non-fiction books about logic, or only do wedding invitations for themed weddings. Get as specific as you can, and dominate that niche.
I get where this comes from. If I want to be top-of-mind as the designer to hire, that’s easier to achieve if I have one clear thing that I offer. I’ll stand out for that one thing. It’s solid business and marketing advice.
But there’s a fatal flaw in this idea, at least for me:
I don’t want to do just one thing.
Yes, I love doing logos, and book covers, and invitations. But if one of those was the only kind of thing I was working on, day in and day out? I’d soon get sick of it. Part of what I love about being a designer is the variety. I can dive deep into a custom logo design one day, and the next day be working out the nitty-gritty of a 100-page magazine layout. Different types of projects utilize and push my creativity and skills in different ways, and I like that. If variety is the spice of life, then repetition is surely the opposite (the white bread of life? Help me out with an appropriate opposite metaphor here, people…).
In choosing a direction for Studio Guerassio, I took this into consideration. I’m well aware of my aversion to repetition; I don’t even like having to repeat what I’ve said. That’s why I narrowed the niche of who I serve, rather than the type of project I handle. Focusing solely on lifestyle and creative businesses gives me a clear target audience, while still leaving me enough range in clientele and project type to keep me happy.
Could I niche that audience down further? Sure. But the same problem would crop up. I’ll take a slight hit to marketing ease in exchange for career happiness, any day.
Do you share my boredom with repetition? What have you done in your business to sidestep this?