Today, I'm talking about the secret no one told me about niching. And it's probably not what you expect.
Now, the thing that has prompted me to talk about this today is finding my first-ever business card for White Bee Digital. It honestly looks so amateur now, but it's a good lesson. Everyone starts somewhere. And the thing that struck me most was not my old DIY branding, which I knocked up on Canva, which looks horrendous. But that I was calling myself. Aggie Meroni, Digital Marketing Consultant (and that was only 2 and half years ago).
That is so different from what I do now, how others see me and what prompted me to record this episode. Have a listen and see if you agree?
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Welcome to the freelance ABS club podcast with me your host Aggie Meroni. Whether you're a seasoned freelance ads manager, or just thinking about taking the leap in self employment, this podcast is for you. Every week, I'll be releasing a bite sized episode, I'll be sharing mistakes I've made and the lessons I've learned from my own freelance business. I'll be showcasing some of the amazingly talented freelancers in the freelance ads club. And I also will be speaking to some incredible guests who generously be sharing their knowledge with us to help us keep updated with industry trends. And I really hope that after listening to this podcast, you will come away full of confidence on how to win great clients, how to charge correctly, and most importantly, retain those dream clients so that you build a successful and sustainable business. Hello, and welcome to episode 12 of the freelance ads club Podcast. Today, I'm going to be talking about the secrets no one told me about niching. And it's probably not what you expect as well. Now, the thing that has prompted me to talk about this today is because I was reshuffling my office, and I looked in my desk drawer, and I found my first ever business card for White Bee Digital. It honestly looks so amateur now when you look back, but it's a good lesson. Everyone starts somewhere, okay. And the thing that struck me most was not my old DIY branding, which I knocked up on Canva, which looks horrendous. But what I was calling myself. Aggie Meroni, digital marketing consultant. Now that is so different, from what I do now. Well, I do elements of it, obviously. But I don't call myself that anymore. And it just made me realise how focused I now am on what I do in my business. And that was only two and a half years ago, so quite a lot has changed in that time. I was having a think about all the changes that have happened within two and a half years that made me get to where I am now. I started off as digital marketing consultant. This was back in the day, if you listen to the About Me episode. When I just graduated in digital marketing, post grad diploma, I was interested in lots of areas of digital marketing, and really felt that I could be sort of an outsourced CMO for a small business and basically help them do strategies across all the marketing channels. This was March 2020, April 2020. Over the next couple of months, I realised I just like social media, that's the thing that I really enjoy, paid and organic. So I became a social media consultant. And then I did further training in ads. In October 2020 I signed up to do quite an intensive organic social media strategy training. It was really, really intense, 12 week training. And I signed up for it. Within the first week I was like Why have I paid for this because I just want to run out, and I want to specialise in Ads. I became a self proclaimed ad strategist because that's what I enjoyed doing. And in running ads, I realised the thing I actually enjoyed the most was ecommerce ads. So like a lot of ad strategists, I picked a side. So I began marketing myself as a social media ad strategist for E-commerce brands. And to be honest, now I'm more of an E commerce consultant because so many things impact your ads. You know, I just find that I'm consulting on every other marketing channel they have because there's usually massive gaps in what they're doing, and that's impacting their ad results. So I'm not a niche consultant, obviously. And everything I'm about to tell you is stuff that I've observed both as a freelancer and also someone managing a community of freelancers, and how I found work and things like that. I may be of use to you, it may be obvious to you, but I think that there's a lot of advice that says you need to niche, the money is in niche and all that kind of thing. This isn't the secret that I was talking about in the title of this podcast episode because it's pretty well known. And I do agree with it. I do agree that if you niche, you can make more money. However, the secret is, just because you market yourself as an E commerce Facebook Ads Manager or I know some people in the Freelancers club have niched even further so their Facebook or meta ads strategist for baby brands, or Google Ads specialists for really specific niche. There's one guy I keep getting ads from who specialises in outdoor living ads. So it's very, very specific, and someone that specialises in ads for the veterinary industry. So it's possible to niche niche niche very specifically. Now, I am purely an ecommerce ad strategist. If you look at any of my social media, all I talk about is ecommerce, however, that does not mean I only DO ecommerce work. I think that is the thing that people freeze on when they panic about niching. Because they have so much to offer, and have lots of different passions and lots of different skills. But they worry that if they niche, the other things that they enjoy doing, they won't have the opportunity to do anymore. Now, I don't actually think this happens in real life, correct me if I'm wrong, but this is my experience. So if I use myself as an example, I only talk about Meta really, sometimes Pinterest, sometimes Tik Tok, because I manage ads on mostly ecommerce brands as well. But I do manage ads for agencies on LinkedIn. And that's all lead gen, and I never really talked about it. And it's always been word of mouth. I've also worked with quiz funnel strategist, Kylie whom you heard on the previous episode, she's been a client of mine. So the joy of being a freelancer or running your own business is even if you promote yourself as a specialist in a really niche particular thing. Especially I find with ads management, where it's massively based on trust. This happens to me all the time, if they know and trust me as a Facebook Ads Manager, they will say, Oh, can you run my Google ads for me, because I know I can trust you with my money. I never take on Google Ads work. Like there'll be a few of you in the freelance ads club that I've referred work to you for Google ads, because it's not something I feel comfortable managing. And that's an integrity issue for me, I just won't take on work that I just don't think I can deliver 100% However, those opportunities still come my way. And I think that's because as your network grows, you start making connections with people, they start trusting you. And that's when they start referring you for work that doesn't fall in your remit at all. So I think there's a lot of fear around niching, for people that have what is what Marie Forleo calls the multiple, passionate entrepreneur, and I see myself as one, there's loads of things I love doing. And if a project makes me happy and excited, I'm gonna take it on. And that's the joy of being freelance, you do have that flexibility. I have spoken to quite a few people that don't know how to position themselves. And I would look at it from a different perspective. So I would think about what work do I actually really enjoy, and that I'd be happy to just be known for. But that doesn't mean that I'm going to close the doors to any other opportunities that come my way. And I think that the reason why niching is important is because it helps people relate a certain thing to you or associate a certain thing to you. So for example, in the Freelancers club, the ads managers I know that have a niche. If anyone says to me, I'm looking for support with an ads manager because I run this type of business. I will automatically think of people I know have spoken to me about that niche stuff like okay, that person has experience in it or is passionate about it or even if their personal hobby is that a thing or they've just bought a house or they do a lot of the estate agents or whatever the niche is, if you make it clear to others that you have worked in that area, or you enjoy that area, or you've got the skills to support business in a certain area, you are going to get more work. It's just fact. It's also a trust issue because brands wants to understand that they're in safe hands with you. Now, if you're being offered work, and you say to the brand, I've never actually worked with anyone like you, there's still going to be an element of trust, because someone they may know has passed your name to them. So they know that you're a person of good standing. However, if you go in cold someone and say No, I've never done this before, it's a lot harder. Obviously, if you're someone comes cold to you and knows this person is known for managing ads in this specific niche, you're going to be in safe hands, so called case studies and things like that. I just think with ads management, there's just so much trust needed. Especially because lots of businesses don't understand the digital world and don't understand digital marketing. If they know that you're known in a certain niche or have a certain skill, I just think it's less aggro for you as a person, because they're not going to be questioning you all the time. They're just going to trust you to get on with things. Wen I realised this, and again, I'm not a niching expert. And maybe I'm like slow to the party. But it just totally chilled me out about niching. Because I love Pinterest clients and I love working on LinkedIn. For me, it comes easily. But if I become known for too many things, then people start to wonder Does she actually know those things in depth. So I would say don't be nervous about niching, you can always change your niche as well, no one says you have to be in this niche forever. And you have to only serve these people forever. If it gets boring, you can just change. If you're a solopreneur, or freelancer or self employed, whatever you want to call yourself, your time is so limited, and it can feel like you're being stretched in 1000 different directions. It's just so much easier to market yourself if you have one message or one niche that you're speaking to, rather than trying to talk about lots of different things to lots of different people all the time. From what I see of others as well. The ones that are the LinkedIn experts, or the LinkedIn ads experts, or even the LinkedIn ads expert for technology, SaaS companies, they're the ones that seem to get work easier. Because if someone in their network asks, oh, do you know someone that could help me with this. I'm in SaaS, I work at SaaS company, and I think, oh, yeah, I know that person, you'll be in safe hands with them. Also, when it comes to referrals, the referrer is going to be really careful about referring you because it reflects badly on them if you're not up to the job. So it's really important to constantly be putting yourself out there as a trustworthy person. And one of those ways to do that is to have a niche. Now, it's tricky because I speak to so many people in that niching and there's always resistance to it. I remember the fear I had when I niched, I honestly thought I was never going to work again. Because I just thought everyone that I could be speaking to, the pool was limited. But I think you just have to take the leap, take the leap, see what happens, give it like two or three months, but really market yourself in that niche and see what happens. It takes a while as well for people to come around to ads. So even if they're working with other freelancer, another agency, or if they've never run ads before; that consideration period to either change partner or start working with someone can be a few months. So I wouldn't be disheartened if you don't see results straightaway. That's another thing that I've noticed as well that the burn can be long. It can feel like you're talking into air sometimes, and then suddenly the leads start coming in. Anyway, that is my two cents on niching. Just because you promote yourself as one thing and become known for one thing, doesn't mean you'll never get work doing other things that you enjoy doing. And you can change your niche as it's not forever, you can do exactly what you want because it's your business. So yeah, those are my nuggets for this week. Let me know what you think in the slack. If you're not a member of our Slack channel yet and you're a trained ads manager then feel free to apply. We've got the link in the show notes. And if you're an agency or brand looking for support with your ads, then you can apply as well with the link in the show notes. And I will speak to you next time.