I love being an artist. I love artists. I love being around and working with creative people. But, oh, boy, do I get frustrated sometimes.
Because the things that I love the most about artists are also the things that bug me the most. On one hand, our creativity makes us fun and interesting to be around–never a dull moment. There are always new and exciting ideas being bounced around, and being creative is, for sure, one of the keys of success. However, whenever I meet someone that I will term a “slasher”, that is, an actor/producer/musician/bartender, it raises my hackles. Because really simply, there are few people in the world that can do all of that and be successful at all of them.
As creative people, we crave constant stimulation, new things. It’s part and parcel of being an artist. But I really believe that we have to resist the temptation to get into something new every time we have an idea about what that might be.
You’ll probably hate me for saying this, but we need to focus. We need to pick something, preferably our area of expertise, create a plan around it, and go for it. When you have that particular product or service underway, and it’s doing really well, then look for new things to branch out to and add to your success. The truth is, if you focus on too many things at once, your focus will be divided, and nothing will get the real attention it deserves.
The business term for this is Nicheing. It allows you to get really specific with what you are doing, and who you are selling to. You become an expert in your field, and therefore sought after.
I often ask potential clients who their audience or market is. Alarm bells usually go off for me when they say “everyone.” Most products and services are not for everyone, but have a specific market, and if you know who that market is, it makes it a lot easier to sell to, rather than trying to figure out how to get in touch with “everyone.”
There are some resources out there on this topic. First off, a book that is on my ‘to-read’ list that has been recommended to me by a fellow entrepreneur: Nichecraft: Using Your Specialness to Focus Your Business, Corner Your Market, and Make Customers Seek You Out, by Dr. Lynda Falkenstein. I also found this short-but-sweet nine-step process to finding your niche.
Good luck. It’s not…. hey, what is that over there? Something shiny! Oh. Wait. Sorry. What was I saying?
Nice post! And very true. The niche market is a great way to give your life focus and to succeed as an artist. Which is essentially what we all want.
I write plays for the high school market – schools and student performers. Very niche-y! And yet, it’s a starving market really as there are always going to be new drama teachers who have never heard of us, who want to do new plays, who want to give their students an experience.
I know lots of ‘slashers’ and certainly have been one myself. The amount of running around that is required of a slasher is exhausting. There’s something very calming about streamlining your focus on one small element.