One of the scariest things about starting a new web design business is committing to a niche.
“I don’t have much experience yet, so I can’t really claim to be an expert in any one area.”
“What if I chose the wrong niche and am forever known as THAT person?”
“I’m already having a hard time finding clients. Why would I further narrow down the potential client pool by basically telling like 90% of them that I don’t want to work with them?”
Well, take heart dear designer!
Because some of these fears you’ve been facing about picking a niche are actually some of the biggest reasons you DO want to niche (and niche early) as a web designer…
So if you have been putting off niching because you fear you’ll be making your business smaller and making things harder on yourself, then this video/post is for you!
So there’s this unspoken rule out there that you haven’t really made it as a designer until you are charging $5K+ per project.
And at $10K+ per site, you’ve officially hit rockstar status.
Now obviously success looks different to everyone, but I don’t know a single designer who wouldn’t want to be able to charge more for their services!
So allow me to let you in on a little secret…
All those clients with massive, big-girl budgets you’re dreaming of working with? They are not looking for just another website designer. They are looking for thee expert.
Someone who knows their industry inside and out, and how to build a website that caters specifically to their unique audience.
So if you’ve been avoiding picking a web design niche because you are scared you won’t be able to make enough money serving just one specific type of client, then let me put that fear to rest!
By avoiding niching, you automatically put yourself in the generalist camp. And the truth is, generalists just can’t expect to charge as much as a specialist, even if you offer the exact same service!
If you have yet to niche, then I’m sorry to tell you that your clients have no idea how to find you on the internet.
If they Google “web designer”, they are going to be overwhelmed by creative marketplace or agency ads, and you’ll be lucky to even make it on page 500 of those search results.
But if someone types in “bakery website” and sees your post on “10 best bakery website examples” and clicks over to your site, you now have the attention of the exact person you are hoping to serve.
When you commit to niching early on in your business, all the content and messaging on your site can be hyper focused around the specific group of keywords your ideal client is likely to be typing into a search engine when researching their options or looking for website inspiration!
Your SEO efforts will actually matter, and with more organic traffic you’ll be able to start attracting clients in your sleep.
So imagine you’re at the salon getting your highlights refreshed for summer. You sit down in your stylist’s chair and you start chatting about life.
She asks what you do, and you reply: “web designer.”
Then you quickly move on to talking about your kids, or about the latest episode of whatever show is currently blowing up your Netflix feed.
Now imagine if you sat down in the same stylist’s chair, and when she asks you what you do, you excitedly say…
“I build websites for small boutique women’s clothing shops focused on sustainable fashion.”
When that next person who sits down in her chair shares their plans of opening a boutique women’s clothing store in town, you are immediately going to come to mind.
Your stylist is going to say “oh my gosh! I need to connect you with my client so and so!
But the thought probably wouldn’t have even occurred to your stylist to refer you if you had just said “web designer.”
The same goes for pretty much any referral source. Whether it’s happy past clients totally bragging on you to other people in their industry, or even something as simple as asking family and friends to spread the word.
Having a niche makes you memorable, which means more word of mouth referrals for you, and less time and money you have to invest in finding clients yourself!
So skip ahead a few months in your business…
Thanks to your new niche, your web design calendar is now fully booked-out months in advance with no possible way to help all the people lined up to give you their money.
Sure, you can keep increasing your web designer rates, until hopefully you start to become too expensive for all but a handful of people.
But you can also take it as a clear sign that it’s time to create some sort of useful digital product or passive income product to offer all those other people on the side.
It may even become your main income earning activity like my Square Secrets™️ and Square Secrets Business™️ courses quickly did for me.
If you serve a super general audience, it’s going to be a struggle to know what kind of new revenue streams to be creating, since there’s no one specific person you are aiming to help, and therefore hard to know what your audience would actually be interested enough to invest in.
But when you commit to a niche, new revenue stream ideas pretty much start to create themselves.
You will start hearing the same specific questions, problems, and pain points on repeat from your audience, and all you really have to do is to decide the best format for solving them!
Ever dreamed of earning affiliate income? Or collaborating with other pros in your industry to expand your reach beyond just your own audience or marketing efforts?
These opportunities are so much more likely when you pick a specific niche!
Companies aren’t just giving stuff away for free just because! They are looking for other businesses with super target audiences full of the people they want to get their product or service in front of.
They are more likely to go with someone who has a smaller audience that is a perfect fit for what they offer, than a massive audience made up of people with general interests.
Niching means you can more easily connect with other businesses in your industry that compliment (but don’t compete with) your services.
For example, if you are a web designers serving musicians, and there’s a graphic designer out there specializing in album artwork, then you can strike up some sort of collaboration agreement with them where you send high-quality client’s each other’s way.
I recently interviewed Mariana Durst, a past student of my Square Secrets™️ & Square Secrets Business™️ courses.
She made the decision to niche early on in her business, choosing to focus on serving fine artists in need of website and branding help.
And because of that, she was invited to be a guest in an online course specifically for artists, getting her business in front of a whole new batch of dreamy clients she may never have reached with her own marketing strategies alone.
So imagine you are on a consult call with a potential client.
They own a small yoga studio in Vancouver, Canada, and they want to start offering live classes online, as well as booking for in-person class times.
As a general web designer, you might be able to assure them that you can build them a beautiful, functional website, but you won’t be able to speak specifically about how you plan to make that happen.
There’s going to be quite a lot of research that goes into recommending the right third party integrations for that client, and because you haven’t worked with that software before, you can’t really give your full stamp of approval that it works, or does everything you need it to.
So even if you click on a human level, you’re not exactly coming across as the expert on that call.
Now imagine you run a niche web design business where you ONLY serve yoga instructors & yoga studios.
You know the industry inside and out and how to talk to your clients about their struggles and goals in a way they understand.
You know which third party integrations rock, and which ones to avoid, and how to come up with a website visitor journey that converts yogi-wannabes into loyal students.
By choosing a niche and learning everything there is to know about that one industry or person, you’ll be able to:
come fully prepared to every single consult call
write much more compelling copy for marketing your services
design better web design packages
provide a much richer client experience
Trying to be all things to all people is a recipe for quickly reaching burnout and just generally not enjoying your business.
You will feel like a (very tired) broken record trying to market your services to the masses, and the inquiries that do come in are usually nothing like what you were dreaming of.
By keeping your offerings too broad, you are actually opening the door to a super common type of red flag client…the ones with low-quality content, no idea what they want, and very little commitment to doing this thing right.
Whereas when you niche, you’ll be attracting people who have a much clearer vision for how they want their website to look and behave, and will usually be much more willing to invest in getting there.
By niching, you’re basically hand-picking both the type client and the type of content you’ll be working with every day.
The earlier in your business you can make this distinction, the more curated your portfolio will become.
Rather than having a big mashup of 30 random sites with all different styles, industries, and functionalities (and basically speak to no one), your portfolio will have a very specific theme, and will have one very specific person dreaming of what it would be like to work with you!
You are much more likely to persevere and be successful in your business when you feel you have a purpose and a specific intention behind who it is you are helping, beyond just doing what it takes to pay the bills.