Curb Your Micro-Niching
Micro-niching. Finding your tribe. Being The Thing Guy/Girl.
This “ism” has dominated the creator economy over the past few years. If you can find your own little topic and become the master of it, success is inevitable—or so the logic goes.
But I’ve always been skeptical of this notion that the peak of creator success was being a microcelebrity in some obscure niche you carve out. And in a recent issue of my favorite newsletter (besides this one), Every, I was joyed to find a sympathetic perspective.
Rob Hardy, the author, spun a yarn about his micro-niche business. He was “The Guy” of a highly-specific industry—helping indie filmmakers sell films to niche audiences—and found respectable success.
But it didn’t end there. He was such a believer in the power of micro-niching that he built his own philosophy around it called “NicheCraft,” and was a de-facto authority in the art of finding your niche.
But then … he got bored. He felt trapped in his niche and was forced to face reality: he didn’t want to be The Niche Guy anymore.
This is the fate of all micro-nichers.
Being The [Thing] Person sounds like an intelligent strategy at first. After all, less competition, more money, right?
Not really. Sure, maybe you can corner a market at first, but eventually, you hit the ceiling.
Growth stagnates because, after all, there are only so many people interested in your ultra-specific topic.
And even if you manage to capture the attention of every single one of them, it still doesn’t address the elephant in the room: you won’t want to talk about the same specific thing forever.
If you want to realize long-term success and personal satisfaction, you need to allow yourself the freedom to evolve and explore new topics and fields. So what's the alternative to micro-niching?
The niche of you.
Your unique blend of skills, interests, and personality traits is what sets you apart from others in the creator economy.
Rather than defining a niche, define a narrative: what is the purpose of your presence in the creator economy?
For Ali Abdaal, it’s “[exploring] evidence-based strategies and tools that can help us be more productive, and build a life that we love.”
That’s unspecific by design. Choosing a personal narrative over a niche gives Abdaal the freedom to discuss almost anything he wants.
Imagine if he made his YouTube channel about “helping doctors become entrepreneurs” (which was his career path). Even if he wasn’t burned out by now, he certainly wouldn’t have over four million subscribers (and income to match).
So please, for the sake of your long-term success and sanity, ditch the micro-niche mentality. Embrace the niche of you, and craft a personal narrative that lets you grow, explore, and thrive in the creator economy.