“Choose a niche” they said.

Cool.

But how?

And when?

Do I have to decide right this minute??

What if I pick the wrong one?

Oh, and then there’s the fact that I can’t really afford to turn anyone away right now…

Sound familiar? You’re not alone!

The fear of choosing wrong, or narrowing the pool of potential paying clients when you could honestly use whatever income comes your way keeps a lot of designers from being intentional with the direction of their biz.

But did you know taking anything and everything can actually harm your biz?

Yep! Besides being a total recipe for burnout, avoiding choosing a niche:

  • Keeps you from becoming ‘the expert’ at anything

  • Keeps you from being able to charge premium (expert) prices

  • Keeps you on the client-finding hamster-wheel because it’s unclear what you do, so you will never be the first to come to mind when there’s an opportunity for a referral

  • Keeps you stuck in constant hustle-mode, chasing after every new marketing trend out there in the hopes something will stick and your biz will finally take off (and you can finally start living that life of freedom you’ve been dreaming of!)

Phewf. Heavy stuff.

If any of this sounds like you by the way, I invite you to check out my Square Secrets Business course, and join the ranks of past students who’ve used my biz-building systems to skip the years of expensive (and straight up soul-crushing) trial and error, and build a web design business they actually love the first time.

You know…one that does more than just (barely) pay the bills?

Together inside the course we’ll get your niche-needs all taken care of!

Okie dokes, so it’s pretty obvs by now that not choosing a niche will obviously be a big time hinderance to your web design business success.

And while your goal destination is pretty clear (read: you have one dreamy type of project or client you love to work with/on and you consistently get paid the big bucks to do it!) the path to get there is not always so straightforward!

I mean, it wouldn’t be called ‘niche’ if everyone’s journey was exactly the same, right?

Thankfully, we’ve got our trusty featured designers here once again to share the wisdom and encouragement they wish they’d had when they were first faced with these big decisions in their own businesses.

Let’s see what our ladies have to say in post #5 of the “Web designers speak out” series!

Web designers speak out:

What I wish I knew about choosing a niche

“Picking a niche is one of the scariest things I’ve done in my business, but it’s definitely worth it!

Niching has made it much easier to reach and communicate with the types of clients I want to work with.

One thing I wish I knew about choosing a niche is that it is always a work in progress.

Over time I’ve adjusted things when I realized the clients I thought I wanted to work with weren’t quite the right fit, and I’ve gotten more specific too.

It is perfectly ok for your niche to evolve as your business does, especially as your rates increase and you want to position yourself in front of new audiences.


– Jessica Haines, Jessica Haines Design

Website | Instagram


“I haven’t actually really niched yet, but it’s something I’m heavily considering right now.

Instead (of picking a specific niche) I’ve focused on the specific services I wanted to do and only offered those packages.

I also focused on the personality type I wanted to attract with my site copy, style and personality more than concentrating on a specific niche.”


– Lindsey Anderson, Six Leaf Design

Website | Instagram


“The riches are in the niches!

I “niched down” to business owners who have been in business for 3+ years and make over $100,000 with their business.

Additionally, 90% of my client are women ”


– Erin Neumann, Be Aligned Web Design

Website


“I’m still working on this one, but I feel like your niche is more about YOU and less about choosing the right audience.

Nail down what you’re best at (your offerings) and show up authentically consistently, and your people will find you!


– Malena Southworth, Southworth Design Co.

Website | Instagram




“There are so many ways to do this!

I decided to niche by platform (Squarespace) and business type (small businesses and entrepreneurs).

It’s easy to spread yourself thin across different platforms or types of businesses, but when you become an expert in one area you can work much more efficiently.

I focus on organic SEO for specific keywords to drive potential clients to my website.”


– Christy Price, Christy Price

Website | Instagram


“This is probably an unpopular opinion, but when it comes to niching my opinion is: At the beginning, it’s truthfully not alllll that important…

*dodges tomato soaring at head.*

Don’t get me wrong, choosing a niche is SUPER powerful and something I absolutely recommend 100%!

BUT, when you’re first starting out in your business, the most important part is getting good at your service and honing your skills.

If you’re a website designer, creating a website for a bakery, a biking company, or a barbershop will ALL give you amazing experience, portfolio work, and help you grow your skillset.

You don’t HAVE to niche down immediately – and if you try, you might find it feels impossible to find a lot of people in one highly specific niche who all want to hire you as a newbie.

So work with people you want to work with, and work with people who want to work with you.

Then as you grow, you’ll naturally begin to realize what businesses/people you enjoy the most, so you can begin niching down and working with them.”


– Corinne Pettit, Heart & Hustle Studio

Website | Instagram


“I tried to niche right away but defining it has taken time.

I started with a foggy idea of my niche and tried to put out what I wanted to attract through my blog, portfolio & website.

At the beginning, I needed to land every job to pay the bills but over time I’ve been able to be more selective as I understand what projects I love doing and which ones I just can’t stand. I use this to narrow my niche over time.

Now, after about 2 years as a full-time designer, I finally have a clear understanding of my niche.

My best advice – if you don’t know how to niche just focus on helping people.

Over time, as you gain more experience, you’ll learn from your past projects. Get into the habit of looking back at them and re-evaluating your ideal client.

I tried to rush this process but it had to unfold naturally as I learned about myself as a designer and they type of people I loved to work with.”


– Vanessa Bucceri, Vanessa Bucceri Creative

Website | Instagram




“I thought my niche needed to be a series of characteristics.

Like “Annie” is my ideal client and she’s thirty something and starting her own business and loves doing all the things. I steered myself wrong for a while.

Do you know what dictated my niche? Finding a process that I love!

Once I realized that I love to conquer a whole site in just one day my niche followed quickly.

Now it’s people who need a new website and want it done ASAP. They love knowing exactly when to expect it and knowing that the process won’t be drawn out.

I gravitate toward new business owners, and they gravitate to me because I post about my experience starting a biz on IG.

My niche shifted a bit, but there was a huge change once I found my process and what I liked. (I genuinely love new websites and not having the old site “lurking” in the background).

I learned a bit more about me and what I like and it all stemmed from there.”


– Becca Wood, Alto Design Co

Website | Instagram



“This is likely the single most important thing you can ever do for your business.

We like to think that ‘more is more,’ when in reality, the opposite is true.

The less offerings you have, the more familiar you’ll become known as an expert within that specific niche. You’ll also have more time to market your work, which is just as important as the work itself.”


– Rose Lindo, Bittersweet Design Boutique

Website | Instagram


“I wish I had niched down more narrowly, more quickly.

I was pretty open to a wide variety of clients when starting out.

Though that was good in a sense (helped me understand the types of clients and projects I prefer working with), it’s been hard to get away from because a lot of past clients return for additional work, or refer me to someone.

So it would’ve been a bit easier if I had started with a more specific niche and grown a following in that.”


– Melissa Stephenson, Five Design Co

Website | Instagram


“There are so many ways to approach choosing a niche.

The way I found most helpful was looking at the industries or fields of work that I’m interested in, which I realized were creative fields, health & wellness businesses and spiritual/alternative businesses, and working with as many of those as possible.

If you care about what your client is offering you’ll create a better connection with them and put more passion into the project.”


– Steph Bisson, Colour & Love

Website | Instagram


“For the longest time I felt like my designs had to look just like everyone else’s to be “cool”.

Hip, trendy, minimalistic – you know the ones.

But that is the exact OPPOSITE of me as a person and I really resisted it for a while. But that style just wasn’t ME.

It didn’t connect.

I finally decided I needed to lean into who I am and my true style.

I redesigned my website with bold bright colors and used language that resonated with me.

The second I did that everything changed for my business.

My dream clients started emailing me saying how my style stood out and it was exactly what they were looking for.

All of this to say, lean into who you are. Your style is exactly what someone else needs!

Don’t be afraid to be different from the “norm”. I know we hear that all the time, but it’s SO TRUE.”


– Chelsea Pimienta, 23 & 9 Creative

Website | Instagram


“Just choose one!

It seemed SO hard to decide who I wanted to help, but I just went with coaches because I love the work they do in the world, and I’m kind of fascinated by the industry.

When I focused my research, messaging, and marketing specifically to coaches I started filling up my calendar with clients that I love working with!”


– Carissa Erickson, Carissa Erickson

Website | Instagram


“I think it’s important to understand that a niche doesn’t need to be a specific industry.

My niche is beauty and lifestyle businesses, but many of the clients I work with have varied businesses.

It’s ok to niche into a set of values, a type of client, a design aesthetic, etc.”


– Jen Davis, Hello June Creative

Website | Instagram


“It’s ok to try different types of projects at the beginning to find out exactly the niche you feel passionate about.

Don’t feel pressured to pick a niche just because that’s what you are supposed to do.

Experiment a little and make a decision based on your personal experience.”


– Maru Ramirez, Studio Mer

Website | Instagram


“Choose a niche and stick with it!!

Get REALLY good at it, and strive to be the best in that area.

If you educate yourself and master a skill in your niche your work ends up doing the selling for you.

Your clients will notice you know what you’re talking about and it allows you to work with confidence. That confidence often times gives you motivation to step outside your comfort zone!”


– Hannah Phillips, Dear Brunch Design

Website | Instagram


“In a time when every female entrepreneur wants to cater to other female entrepreneurs, it might seem hard to compete for the crown.

Niching down is definitely going to be your saving grace!

What I always say is that your niche finds you, and not the other way around.

This happens based on a number of factors: your age, experience level, personal style, and the vibe of your business.

Once you’ve contracted your first handful of clients you’ll start to notice a pattern of similarity among your clientele.

You can either go with it and continue to show up for them or change your methods if you’d like to change your quality of clientele.”


– Kaitlin Hoppenstedt Ortgega, Studio Kait

Website | Instagram


“I wish I knew that finding a niche wasn’t all about picking an industry to focus on.

Sure, that’s one brilliant way to focus down. But there are other ways like design style, location or even price point.

I was totally stumped with the idea of niching down into an industry. I liked wellbeing but I also liked my wedding industry client!

But when I focussed my website and marketing on my style being my niche, I was able to confidently (and successfully) promote myself.”


– Eleanor Stones, Eleanor Stones

Website | Instagram


“My niche kind of just fell into place.

My design style is pretty feminine and that’s the audience I tend to attract.

I love working with female entrepreneurs for this reason and love how hard working and driven they are.”


– Jackie Elefante, Jaks Digital

Website | Instagram


“Finding your niche takes time so the sooner you start designing and putting your work out in the world, the sooner you’re likely to find your ideal niche.

It took me nearly two years to find my niche and only within the past year have I really aligned my entire brand and social media with my chosen niche.”


– Mackenzi Green, Kenzi Green Design

Website | Instagram


“I’m 1.5 years into business so I feel like I’m just starting to niche down more.

For awhile, I always marketed as working with all small business owners but that led to me working with some clients that I just didn’t love.

When you niche down, you are typically more successful at bringing in your dream clients!

I’m in the process of re-working my website to focus more on working with “personal brands” so bloggers and service-based business owners that are the face of their brand!”


Mary Kiser, MK Design Studio

Website | Instagram


“I wish I chose my niche sooner (Squarespace web design for NGO’s and small businesses).

I started out designing with WordPress, Wix and Squarespace, and it was way too much to know and learn!”


– Emma Hall, Retro Marketing

Website | Instagram


“Make it something you love. And narrow in.

Get narrower than you think you should. Clients will refer their whole network to you and you’ll become the expert!”


– Kali Edwards, June Mango Design

Website | Instagram


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Web designers speak out: What I wish I knew about choosing a niche