Build something so good and so specific it stands alone.
Throughout my career, the most common question I’ve gotten is, “How do I find my niche?”
And trust me, I’ve been there.
- I had more than one interest
- I found all the most popular niches boring
- I felt creative and saw the connection between my passions
- I was good at doing a few different skills, but didn’t know how to combine them
- I didn’t know how to make my unique talents and passions profitable
All of the above will leave you feeling paralyzed, to say the least. Not to mention, boxing yourself into a niche that isn’t right for you (and then sacrificing your creativity).
But there’s an answer.
You are a unique individual with a unique perspective, collection of experiences, talents, skills, and passions. There is no one like you. That means no one can compete with you if you stand out and showcase who you are.
But “who you are” is really hard to pin down and define, let alone package and monetize. But both are a requirement if you want to make money online. So here’s the ultimate guide on how to create a niche of one.
What is a niche of one?
Derived from the term “Company of One” from Paul Jarvis, a “niche of one” is exactly what it sounds like: a niche centered around you. It’s a unique concoction of your skills and interests in the only way you could possibly monetize it.
It’s based on the idea that you can build a successful company or practice around your interests and skills. And it’s not just a matter of saying you can, it’s practicality. While everyone else is competing for a sliver of space in one niche, this concept takes a different strategy.
Creating a niche around yourself ensures that you are in competition with no one except who you were yesterday. It’s also the only way you can stand out authentically in the long term. But to truly understand this concept, you’ll have to understand what a “niche” actually is.
How a “niche” is different from a “niche of one”
If you’ve ever heard the saying “the riches are in the niches,” they’re talking about the idea that dominating one small subcategory can make a profitable impact on your business. This means the more specific you get with defining what you do and who you serve, the more return you can get for your marketing efforts.
A niche is a very small category within a larger category. Consider some of the most popular categories: Health & Fitness, Business & Money, Personal Development, Productivity & Tools, etc. These are very broad categories. So when experts advise businesses to niche down, they mean to pick a smaller subcategory. This will ensure that the audience is very segmented and targeted and becomes far easier to market to.
If we were to take Health & Fitness, a smaller category would be CrossFit. An even smaller sub-category would be CrossFit for veterans. Typically, large companies will pick their niche based on a vertical industry or a horizontal market. But small business owners must niche at the intersection of both. This is because they can never get a return on investment in their marketing dollars without a specific game plan. And because of this, it’s very normal for people, especially in e-commerce, to pick niches based on how profitable they are. This strategy forces you to “specialize.”
But this approach is very different from creating a “niche of one.” We’re currently going through one of the most significant resurgences of creativity in the world. When you take on the unconventional strategy of creating a niche of one, you are taking a combinatory approach to market your skills and passions and creating a business around them for the digital renaissance.
The backstory to building your niche of one
People in the modern world have variegating interests. In psychology, we call this phenomenon multipotentiality. It marks not only the artistic or intellectual ability to excel in two or more different fields but simply the curiosity or preference to follow different passions. If you’re provided with appropriate environments (like the Internet) you can select and develop a number of competencies to a high level.
Let’s say, for example, your interests are pets, academia, and knitting. You might ponder the combination of these topics where no one could blend them as you do. One of the ways you might do this is by creating content of you knitting university sweaters for dogs. It’s a little weird, but you try it out.
You commit to posting every day showcasing your talents, interests, and personality. All the while, you’re slowly building your personal brand by giving people a backstory of who you are. And over the course of a year, the amount of followers and engagement you get validates your weird idea.
You decide it’s time to launch an animal knitwear product line styled for the latest academia fashions. And your store sells out on day six of the launch.
This example outlines, not a fantasy, but an opportunity. Just by taking a chance of sharing your creations, passions, and personality online, you become a creator. Your skills and interests as a creator become your brand. And your brand could very well become the next sensation on the Internet. But without testing it, it will never be a possibility.
The importance of building a niche of one
The concept of a “company of one” rejects the idea of success needing to scale beyond one person. For years we’ve had business gurus from the baby-boomer and Gen-X generations saying that if you are working in your business, you’re not working on your business. This means you’re bound to your business and cannot just take an impromptu vacation because its success is reliant on you. But in the era of automation and low- to no-code platforms, it just isn’t a necessity as it once was to buy more freedom with scale. You can do it now with automated systems.
And so, the “niche of one” concept expands on this newfound freedom and rejects the idea that one person should only pick one thing to be known for. It’s predicated on the fact that you are a completely unique individual who has the complete capability of using the level-playing field of the Internet to grow your career and your earning potential. You could very well be good at a few different things and also passionate about learning more than one thing. And because of that, you don’t need to settle for a small or narrow box to place yourself in so that you can make sense to others thereby increasing your income potential. The logic is no longer necessary. Instead, you now can develop a league of your own. And you can do what with personal branding.
There’s no competition except yourself
Typically, common small business advice would be to identify the intersection of a horizontal audience and vertical industry. And if you’re able to do this, there’s no other way to directly fast-track your success in building an audience and your business. But this also means you would compete with other brands in this niche that might already take up a huge market share. But creating a niche around yourself ensures that you are in competition with no one except your own self. You’re the only person who could limit or sabotage your own success with your own self-imposed limitations or habits. If you can get past that, your creativity can produce new and ever-evolving solutions. But you must commit to mastery and leveling up. Thomas Waschenfelder wrote a short article on Why You Should Become A Niche of One that quickly outlines this.
Screw getting pigeon-holed, get purposeful
Much of the issue for multi-passionate, multi-hyphenated, jack of all trades, polymathic generalists is that after picking a niche, they will outgrow it. They feel the need to challenge themselves once again, satiate their curiosity, and stimulate their creative, contextual, and connected brains. And for so long our collection of curiosities is chaulked up to shiny object syndrome, which to some degree is true. Creative types suffer from distraction as well as burnout from spreading themselves too thin. The only way to combat this is by committing to defining your dreams and living them. You must be in it for the long haul so you can see yourself make your dreams come true. After all, once you master one topic, it can help you understand many other topics as well, making your niche of one rich with intellectual property only you can capitalize on.
Your ticket to long-term authenticity
Many creatives who dabble in many disciplines secretly dream of a job where they can be paid to be their natural selves. If they could avoid doing things for a prolonged period of time they would because once they quickly understand it, they need to move on to something else. Their authentic nature is of a strategic mind and of a big-picture thinker. So they search on and on for new roles that will give them the level of freedom to be themselves not only in their style of work but with their fluid personalities. They despise feeling trapped in a box because they know identities are social constructs. And it can be damaging for personalities high in Openness. Building a niche of one is equivalent to creating your own dream job. Your focus becomes on building your brand as a vehicle of sharing what you love with others.
Give yourself freedom to experiment
What people don’t consider when they create personal brands is how much you will need to experiment. You cannot simply wait to gather all the answers with research and not make a move right now to test if your ideas are even based in reality. You must put out what you are thinking immediately. Now, creatives who set an intention to fail will succeed at creating their niche of one remarkably faster than those who fear failure. And what so many creators get wrong in the beginning is that they think they need it all figured out. Your entire success as a creator is to find idea market fit. You are looking to explain and develop your ideas in creative form as fast and as uniquely as possible. Then and only then will you be able to find content-market fit, and then hopefully product-market fit to monetize.
Stay one-step ahead of trends
The hardest thing for most founders of businesses to do is to stay ahead of the market. As they try to establish or replicate a viable business model, they lose out on innovating what will be useful to their customers as time elapses. And as a result, they miss out on creating authority in their industry or with their market. But as a creator of ideas, you can stay ahead of the curve and predict what’s coming. Ask yourself, what’s new, what’s next, and what’s better? They are the primary questions every leader asks when faced with the uncertainty of the future. But the faster you start to answer those questions, the closer you start to get to finding the right ones and predicting what will happen. When you can start to predict trends, people turn to you as the voice of reason in a sea of confusion.
Exercise your true thought leadership style
The way you bring your own unique flavor to your interests and skills is the most important ingredient. Anyone and everyone could very likely be talking about the same exact things as you are. This is because semantically, we’re sharing the fundamental terms and concepts to understand our niche. If we are really good, we wander into the realm of leading conversations that expand the niche. This means you start to lead with your own personal philosophical perspective. You start to break down terms and concepts but then elevate them into specialized insight for others to learn from you. I say specialized because your obsession with understanding your niche of one creates idea synthesis between concepts we haven’t yet thought of. And this contributes greatly to not only validating your niche of one but also more than one field.
Let your persona shine
Humans are drawn to people more than things. Even if someone’s obsessed with things, we humanize things in order to relate to them better. Because of this, you cannot carry on with business, content creation, or thought leadership without really showcasing your personality. Your own unique style, your own unique voice, or your own unique curation of creativity is all bred from your persona. If you don’t think you have a marketable personality yet, you’re not looking for your natural ability to react in the moment to things in your genuine nature. Humans love to connect on reactions to things because it tells us something about someone’s character and philosophical core. It instantly puts your own authentic stamp creating a signature style over time to anything you do. And when you do that you have unlimited strategic moves at play to build your brand. This artistry becomes unmistakable against copycats.
Build your personal brand and your personal monopoly
What most creators fall into the trap of a “hodge-podge” brand. This is when they identify with too many things and cannot be individually differentiated. But a niche of one combats this and brings even more focus into your name, image, and likeness. And this is by defining who you are what problems you are interested in solving. When you define this, this adds to your own personal monopoly, which is an expanded concept of the “niche of one.” It positions you not only as the go-to person with a niche of one but the only person with a personal monopoly. Differentiate yourself even more by choosing your aesthetics right now that would naturally fit your personality, vibe, and the best way your ideas will be received by your audience. Aesthetics are power in being recognized and remembered before you offer anything.
Examples of personal brands with a niche of one
If you’re still looking for inspiration or some real-life people building and monetizing their niche of one, you won’t need to look too far. Many personal brands who started years ago like Tim Ferriss and others are preaching the concepts. And there are tons of new creators and business owners that are capitalizing on the niche of one concept. But specific ones stand out amongst the crowd as also practicing what they preach. They come from a variety of backgrounds but turned to a niche of ones as their unique solution to their problems. Here is a list of top personal brands and the companies they have created as a niche of one.
Jack Butcher, Visualize Value
When Jack Butcher was in the middle of leaving his high-paying advertising job to starting his own agency, it was nothing short of a struggle. He realized he was burning money searching for clients and doing a range of customized design services. When he turned to social media to make use of free promotion for his business, he realized an opportunity and a point of passion. Jack’s creations were simple black and white graphics that relayed timeless quotes and business advice on his Instagram. He discovered that he loved the ability to make visualizations of complex ideas. And when his following started to grow, he noticed that by the simple act of visualizing value, he stumbled upon his niche of one.
By then Jack created his first-course Visualize Value teaching thousands of entrepreneurs the foundations to of breaking complex ideas into simplified visuals, which in turn creates value for their audiences. The course became a keystone to getting more work of that kind of work at Jack’s agency as a signature service. But as his audience grew and he learned the benefits of selling a course as a leverage-building tool, he came out with another course called Build Once, Sell Twice. Those two courses were such a success that he then released a short course called The Permissionless Apprentice. This is now based on the idea of accelerating your career by leveraging the work you do for others online while you learn a trade in turn giving you even more authority.
After basically paving a path for himself by slowly showcasing his unique edge in the market, Jack’s eye turned to explore the crypto markets. DeFi has no doubt been an asset to building value, freedom, and leverage, and experiments in that domain as an NFT artist.
Justin Welsh, Audience & Income
After burning out from building a $50M company as a startup executive, Justin Welsh turned to the Internet to see how he could start working for himself. His hypothesis was that if he wanted to work for himself online, he was going to need to create some attention. So he turned to LinkedIn. But when he first started out, he was confused about how to leverage the platform and start generating revenue. That was until he found a system to create five different revenue streams that amassed him more than $1M in one year.
Being an advocate for the one-person business, Justin created five different revenue streams including being an advisor for early-stage startups, an angel investor, a digital product creator, a private community organizer, and a coach. His ability to build his income by building his audience on LinkedIn is the cornerstone of the ideas he shares in his two best-selling courses. Idea.Audience.Proof.Product. shows you the blueprint of essentially creating a knowledge business around your niche of one idea. And The LinkedIn Operating System detailing his step-by-step back-end strategy that generated him all his business in those five different revenue streams and over 140,000 followers and counting.
He was the second person I had heard talk about the niche of one concept. Now as he expands, his goal is to make $5M per year building a portfolio of one-person businesses. In the age of automation and low- to no-code, it’s an entirely plausible and exciting possibility.
David Perell, Write of Passage
Another solid example is David Perell. Living in a small town of 5,000 people with two of the nearest major cities being an hour away, he always felt as though all of the ideas were happening everywhere else. So he turned to the Internet and connected with tons of people that ended up landing him a job in New York. But when he got laid off, he realized he needed to find a way to have better career security.
So again, David found himself turning to the Internet, but this time to write. And through some of the jobs and guests he interviewed for his podcast, he noticed that people would read his work and it struck a chord. He called himself “The Writing Guy” on Twitter by taking his love of writing and embodied himself as the go-to person to talk about all things writing. His love of ideas, writing, and learning allowed him to blend his unique skills into teaching others what he knows no matter where they are in the world.
Packaging his ideas into a course, David launched the Write of Passage, a writing cohort dedicated to helping you leverage the power of writing online to create your own personal monopoly. David was the second person I heard share this concept of a personal monopoly, an extension of a niche of one through the positioning of the breadth of worth that you create over time. Now he shares his love of lifelong learning with his growing audience of 35,000 subscribers and counting.
Nick Milo, Linking Your Thinking
Being the owner of a successful boxing company and a talented video editor for big-name TV shows, Nick Milo’s path veered even more into the world of knowledge management. He struggled for years with storing his creative ideas on his computer. Stressed with an unfulfilling note-taking system on Evernote, his learning was limited by his ideas constantly getting lost. He felt he was consuming too much and not focusing on creating his own ideas. That was until he stumbled upon the Zettelkasten system most used and popularized by Niklas Luhmann, a German sociologist. But Nick didn’t stop there. Trying new note-taking app after another, he finally landed on Obsidian, a small company creating a note-taking app only run by two developers. Inspired by their work, he updated the note-taking system he learned with Zettelkasten and adapted them to what he calls fluid thinking frameworks.
Thus, Linking Your Thinking was born. He quickly got online by sharing some beginner’s videos on YouTube to help you get started using Obsidian. All the while, he quickly put together a course that would share his thinking frameworks with others. Focusing on delivering a phenomenal cohort experience set on connecting with the community, he’s put together 5 cohorts in a year and a half worth of time and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.
As the world of PKM grows larger, Nick plans to share more of his love for linking ideas together and thinking up entirely new concepts with a growing community of note-makers, a term he coined. It represents a group of people who are wary of utilizing the same old systems to harness their ideas. When you become a note-maker, the possibilities to create more ideas that validate your niche of one and grow your personal monopoly are great.
Rich Ux, Rich + Niche
One of my favorite examples of a niche of one creator is Rich Ux, a law graduate who took a hard pivot into running his own digital marketing consulting agency and academy. Rich started working with his wife as a content marketing duo traveling Asia. He always saw the value in leveraging his skills online and gaining freedom as a remote worker, something he wouldn’t be able to do as a lawyer. But Rich never settled for remote capability and skill mastery. He committed to searching for more forms of freedom.
Fully believing in the power of digital marketing and niching to unlock his life, he dedicated himself to being a prime proponent of showing others how to do it. Rich began creating content teaching digital marketing with a remote lifestyle. By showing his audience everything he did behind the scenes, he set an example for those just starting in digital marketing baffled with how everything online even connected. He offered a holistic view of marketing that most gurus wouldn’t. By giving away everything he knew, Rich built up trust with his audience as the go-to person to understand the complexity of digital marketing and becoming decentralized in web3.
The first course he launched online Full-Stack Digital Marketing Funnels promises to teach you how to leverage the most valuable no-code skill you can learn online. He now leads 500+ members in his private community. Soon after, he released three other courses within the year that someone can learn about in his most recent masterclass. Ranging from calling himself a Full-Stack Digital Marketer to Decentralized Remote Income Content Creator, Rich is devoted to helping the average person become a brand’s most valuable asset and living a remote-capable lifestyle, a positioning predicated on his passions and beliefs that he could only occupy.
Chris Do, The Futur
In the middle of building a successful Emmy-award-winning motion graphics studio, Chris Do never expected in his entire life to be doing what he’s doing now. While building their business, Chris’s business partner proposed that they get online and share what they know on YouTube. He explained to Chris the opportunities that might occur if they shared their knowledge in attaining the clients they wanted. Being a full-fledged introvert, Chris turned down the idea. He couldn’t see himself speaking on the Internet let teaching anything while being himself when he had a high-profile clientele. Yet, video by video, he started to open up and get comfortable with teaching. So much to the point that he found his passion by helping others make a living doing what they love.
The reason for making video content changed to doing it to use it as content that attracted the right clients to help other designers and creatives in their community level up their business. Thus, they officially branded their online school The Futur offering creatives the support they need to make a living doing what they love. And they created a big mission. The 1B Mission. To teach 1 billion people to make a living doing what they love.
From being a designer to a motion graphics studio owner to the CEO of an online school, there’s no telling what’s next for Chris. In 2021 along, The Futur hit 1M followers on YouTube and are now closing in on 2M while bringing in $3M a year in revenue through their online courses, coaching community, and variety of workshops from their expanding faculty list. Not to mention all this making way for brand deals and opportunities like being a keynote speaker at Adobe MAX. It brings one to ask, what’s next?
Stephanie & Nate Owens, Gold Sheep Design
Who loves a badass husband and wife pair who have badass clients and make badass work? It didn’t always start out that way. Nate & Stephanie Owens began their businesses separately. Nate as an illustrator and Stephanie as a lettering artist and brand strategist. Struggling to get clients, they decided on taking a long-term approach. Nate ended up creating sick illustrations of comic book villains for fun and posting them to Behance. Stephanie added SEO keywords on the images so they could be discoverable. And then they waited, but all the while, doing other things they loved doing. Their ethos was that they wanted to do what they loved doing. And they had a hypothesis that if they were discovered for that kind of work, they could do more of it for clients who wanted that kind of work in the future.
It wasn’t long until they had their work discovered online by big names like Six Flags and Universal Studios. They realized that could combine their skills into one business and that’s where Gold Sheep Design was born. When they rebranded they asked themselves, “what do we love doing?” and they made a whole list and on the top of it was music. So they decided to niche their business for musicians and rock bands.
But here’s the thing. They don’t just work for rock bands. They have an extensive client list who love the work that Nate and Stephanie produce. It’s given way for both of them to do even more of what they love like Stephanie being an educational consultant and for the Agatha Christie Foundation Now she’s teaching creatives how to also find their passion and creative voice so they can also create a portfolio that attracts the work they want by doing work they love doing.
The Art of Purpose, Create 24/7
Our last unconventional but fantastic example is The Art of Purpose, an anonymous creator. Once a public school teacher who turned a millionaire, The Art of Purpose took to dominating social media as his next challenge out of creative boredom during the pandemic. Armed with an anonymous identity and a sharp personal philosophy, he began sharing his thoughts on Twitter and networking with some of Twitter’s most influential creators. By studying and collecting what they did that worked, he replicated their success and attained 25,000 followers in less than six months.
What is he tweeting about that gets so much traction as being anonymous? He’s actually being very authentic with his voice and beliefs. Much of his experience and truth comes out in his tweets, but the templates and formats he uses make them digestible and hard not to like. He compiled these tweet templates into an ebook called 101 Ways to Write a Tweet outlining what top Twitter creators have used to bring them success. This is one of the many knowledge products he started selling on Gumroad with a top-ranking course called Create 24/7. His following doubled in a year as he came out with a community inviting other Twitter content creators at any stage of their growth to share their knowledge and gain support from one another called Masterclass 24/7.
While the Art of Purpose keeps a low profile, his niche of one around mastering Twitter isn’t the only thing he’s about. He advocates a creator’s mindset will take you further than being a consumer. That if you want to find success, you must have a purpose, be authentic, and earn the attention of every follower you have. And he clearly does that by sharing what works with as many people who want to learn as possible.
How to find your niche of one
In order to create a niche of one, you need to find it first. And the way you can do this is by being in an active mode of reflection and experimentation.
This ongoing feedback loop is only made when you can create content and share it online in many formats. Even if you’re not creating content right now, you can get started. Refinement comes as you go along. And your assignment must be to create things only you believe in and love.
Now, whether or not you’re capable of making things you believe in, there are different frameworks to help you with whatever stage you’re at. I’ve outlined four of the best ones.
For aspiring creators taking a holistic approach — Ikigai
For seasoned creators who want to step up their game — Specific Knowledge
For creators who want a unique way to define what they do — Hybrid Professional Identity
For thought creators searching to find their edge — Personal Philosophy
Find your Ikigai
This is creation method is perfect for aspiring creators who have not found their way to the promised land of niche. Ikigai, the Japanese word for “reason for being,” is a holistic way of looking at your purpose. If you can find and live your Ikigai, it is said you will never have to work a day in their life again. And it’s known that the Japanese live significantly long and fulfilled lives as a result of their Ikigai.
The concept of Ikigai is broken down into four areas: what you love, what you’re good at doing, what you can get paid for, and what the world needs. The space in which all these areas overlap upon one another is your Ikigai. And as simple as it sounds, it’s not as easy to dial down and figure out. Many Western interpretations have butchered the understanding of the Ikigai with oversimplification.
It requires patience and dedicated reflection to be able to start to find one’s Ikigai. But you cannot do it without taking action by following your curiosity.
Take some time to fill in these circles. Write down on a piece of paper what they are without thinking too heavily or judging yourself. When you finish, are there any repeating items? Are some items closely related? Describe how they’re closely related. Be curious.
Let the exercise soak in and come back to it over a period of time. In between rest periods, share what you know with others. Or look for evidence that points you closer to how each of these circles connects for you. No one will have the same Ikigai as you.
Arm yourself with specific knowledge
Introduced by Naval Ravikant in his tweetstorm in 2018, and then explained in-depth on his podcast, specific knowledge is something you only know that that you can get paid for. It’s something so unique to you, that the moment someone else knows it you’d be in competition with them.
And very much like Ikigai, it is found pursuing your curiosity. You can’t find it at a university and it’s definitely not the next hottest job or niche. It’s at the edge of what people know. It is what’s being figured out right now, either by you or someone else. Because if you’re passionate about something more than someone else, you’re likely to outperform them.
But by statistics, you may never be the best at one thing. That #1 spot is probably already taken by someone else. Unless you’re dead set on knocking them off it’s usually not worth fighting to be in the top 5 percentile. A better idea would be to combine three or four things you have an obsession for and get really good at all of them. Then you become the go-to person who brings unique value with the combination of those things.
The advantage to taking this approach is the law of diminishing returns. If your only focus is on making the most money or just holding a title, you’re not passionate about it. You want to find what makes you excited. Because the amount of effort you put into learning the combination of these skill sets will result in your ability to capitalize on it later. You can choose anything, but the way you pursue your specific knowledge should be in the attainment of excellence and bringing more value to the world.
Communicate your hybrid professional identity
Sarabeth Berk author of More Than My Title introduced the concept of hybrid identity to communicate your unique professional value. She argues that no job title can sum up the breadth of what creative professionals can do. And to fill this gap, hybrid professionals need to do some rebranding.
Branding your unique value is one of the most important pieces to the puzzle of creating a niche of one. In order for people to understand your unique value, they need to understand how to identify you. Humans have many different identities. But it would be annoying to know your Ikigai or have your specific knowledge and not be able to explain it to others, wouldn’t it?
Berk suggests that to find this hybrid identity, you must start to explore the intersections where one identity overlaps with another. Let’s say, for instance, you’re a waitress, a yoga instructor, a singer, a writer, and an improv comedian. You would only be able to pick no more than four identities you are obsessed with.
Berk advises against picking more than four identities. The job of this exercise is to help you explore the intersections that overlap with one another. When you combine four identities, you have nine intersections to explore. Going higher than that will underestimate the work it takes to explore an intersection. And building on the concept of specific knowledge, we want to give you the highest long-term chance of winning.
Leave room to go deep and explore these intersections. Look for the best intersection for you. Your hybridity is something no one else can bring to the table except you. It’s made for you. Designed by you.
Thought Mining your personal philosophy
Born out of a need to get feedback for my writing, the Thought Mining process is a framework to use for leaders and creators looking to generate their most unique value. This process gave me a creative outlet and a philosophical structure to explore and experiment within. It’s a logical and intuitive thinking framework to help you find the core of where your thought leadership and personal brand edge stem from, which gives it longevity and legacy.
It all started with me wanting to find what the diamond nuggets were in what I was saying. And as I used this process, I was able to make my writing not only more compelling but stronger and timeless. This is because a title, my Ikigai, my specific knowledge were all great frameworks for me to think in. But what was missing was a way for me to think through all of it in a meaningful way for me.
Thought Mining is the process of moving from asking why, to what, to how, and then who. Creating a niche of one will solidify what you can be doing that will be meaningful to you and your life.
Personal philosophy was the thing that connected all of it together for me and my clients. It’s the cornerstone of who you are. It makes you think deeply and answer how you want to approach projects and problems. It’s a holistic mental model that helps you love knowing who you are. Having one makes it easier to find meaning and use it for decision-making, an important component when faced with nuanced problems where there are no hard and fast rules.
How to dominate your niche of one
There’s no way to come right out of the gate dominating a niche of one. It is something you cultivate over a long period of time. It could take months or years to build up an avalanche effect so you need to remain patient and diligent.
Your way of defining this can take time as you learn more about yourself. Be proactive and build up a portfolio of work that speaks for itself. Don’t worry too much about being perfect in the beginning as refinement comes with executing the process. And always remember to center yourself when you find it too hard to make decisions.
Start with one thing and then expand
Many people start getting overexcited with a niche of one concept but have no idea where to start. Which passion or skill do they pick over others? You’ll have to assess carefully, but you’ll want to make sure you pick things that you are passionate and obsessed over, things that you can develop and achieve a high degree of skill in, and something you can market and make money off of.
You might want to take the Warren Buffet approach by writing the top 25 things you love doing or want to do on a sheet of paper. Then you might cross off half of those items as definitely not in one of the above categories. If you’re lucky, you’ll have no more than 4 options that are within range. But pick one to expand on and that you see the potential in. One that you feel completely at home with. You can keep the others handy for when you start to lose steam or need to revive your interests in this one topic.
If you want more of a challenge than just picking one topic you already know a lot about, try picking a topic at the intersection of two things. But only solidify it to one thing. This may seem counterintuitive, but trust me, you’ll need it for the next step.
Build in public
When you pick one thing, it does two (well three) things. First, it narrows your focus to defining what that thing is (not only for yourself but for Google too). And second, it helps other people come on the journey with you. Where you go, you will not go alone without the validation of people following where you’re going. Create intrigue and interest in the unique angle that you are chasing.
Remember that niching helps others identify what you are about and how you help. But when you pick a niche of one, you are focused on building a brand around yourself. And when you do, you are in a flexible area to do a lot of different things like creating a blog and newsletter, or creating graphics and uploading it to social media, or creating programs that you want to attract people to take. If people like those things they will want an option to follow along with you. So make yourself discoverable and followable.
When you are trying to be discoverable, focus on improving your SEO skills to take advantage of Google. Google also appreciates specificity for things you write. When you rank on the first page for keywords you want to be known for, people will come because they are interested in that topic. But if you build your niche of one in public, they’ll stay wondering what you’ll say about other things. You become their hidden gem. So give them a way to follow you by having an email list. And keep them intrigued. Build more assets to increase your personal monopoly and your authority in your niche of one.
Commit to being exceptional at what you do
It’s great if everyone is attracted to what you do in the beginning. Maybe they were also wondering how to articulate a mix of two different disciplines. And you expose yourself to a variety of people this way. But it doesn’t mean they will stay and associate you with solving their problems or future issues in these topics if you’re not remarkable.
You cannot get far without putting in the work to be exceptional at what you do. You do not have to be the best, you do not have to be perfect, but you must be world-class. And world-class is evaluated by giving what you do a 5-star rating. Define what 5-stars is to you. Rate yourself consistently and with accuracy. Do not shy from finding out what you need to do to improve what you’re doing. Get a range of people who like, who don’t understand, or who even don’t like what you do to tell you the truth so you can assess properly.
When you commit to continue leveling up you start to ride the evolution of your craft. This will take you from being a practitioner to a craftsman, to an artist. Once at this stage of excellence, you’ve already learned the rules, but you start to break them and make your own. And being an artist assures that no one can take your ideas and copy them.
Be the rabbit and the turtle
In many ways, creators will treat their growth as a race across the finish line. You’ve heard of the story of the Tortoise and the Hare. The lesson of the story was, slow and steady wins the race. And while building a niche of one, this is also the main takeaway. When you build your niche of one at a steady rate you can keep up with, you and your audience capitalize on your consistency.
Some creators will always be more concerned with fast growth and follower acquisition. This is because the numbers to them equate to greater monetization later. This rabbit approach isn’t the best approach if you have nothing to offer. Even if you do have something to sell, spend more time refining your offers and your content value. This will ensure you are exceptional.
But being slow isn’t the takeaway here. You don’t let that keep you from making experimental decisions to try things out. Don’t overthink your flow, but commit to taking action. You must strike a balance of being both the rabbit by getting better at marketing yourself and experimenting. But you also must be like the tortoise and produce value at a steady rate. Do the best thing and manage your energy and ideas as a thought creator. Thought creators will always be concerned about some level of both.
Allow room for discovery
You have a plan and you’re on the road. But it doesn’t mean you’ll end up exactly where you think or if you’ll be confused along the way. These are powerful moments of reflection. Without it, you would not be growing into the exceptional personal brand you can be.
The process to creating a niche of one means you must lean into taking action while learning and reflecting. You are on an emerging path and you need to give yourself room to discover and synthesize what you are learning. You cannot rush the process and you cannot expect yourself to think you have all the answers. The thing with having a niche of one is the ability to give yourself room to discover.
What else you can create within this subcategory that no one else can dominate? What other questions have gone unanswered? Is there a way to draw distinctions between concepts? In what ways can you visually communicate what has not been communicated? These areas of opportunity will lead you to find new answers to connect things together in a way you haven’t before. And if you’re unable to define what any of the intersections are, don’t worry. Keep dabbling. It’s a sign that your hybridity is still emerging, and your niche of one will develop with it in time.
Create content endlessly
To be able to build your niche of one fast into a personal monopoly, you must become a prolific content creator. You must come up with a system that is holistic to you. Managing your energy is the most important part of being abundant with ideas and executing them. So maintaining the systems and routines that will help you thrive are the most important to build sustainably and efficiently.
When you are a content creator, you cannot always be in create mode unless you want to burn yourself out. So you must also find a way to you must work on a machine system that will generate endless ideas to work on. When you create this system, you become your own idea bank. And having an idea bank gives you endless ammunition to work on clarifying and executing these ideas.
When you have new content coming out on a consistent basis whether that’s twice a month, once a week, every day, or several times daily, you build up the ability for your audience to know, like, and trust what you provide. Focus on attaining content market fit by testing many formats until you find your signature style. Once you find it and you feel at home with it while the audience loves it, keep on executing on what works.
Success in interations
You don’t get lucky right out of the gate. If you did, it was a fluke and you’ll have to find out what made up that success so you can attempt to repeat it. That’s why it’s better to start off not doing so well so you can shape what you make along the way. It doesn’t have to be perfect right from the get-go. If it is, you spent too long getting it out there.
Find the freedom in testing and experimenting. You are in search of idea market fit, the content market fit. But when you come to product-market fit and actually monetizing what you do, you have to try a lot of concepts out. If you’ve done your due diligence by building in public, ask your audience to help. Build your next step closer to your niche of one in tandem with them.
You have to keep adjusting. Keep refining. Don’t lose sight of what you are doing which is to be in search of the niche of one for you. And you might not know what that is upfront and you’ll have to put out a few rough prototypes, but at least you did. When you do that, you can start refining it which will lead you down the path of success.
Take the path inwards
This might be an exciting and liberating concept. But it’s hard. It’s not easy to go down this path, especially if everyone outside of you is telling you not to take risks. It’s just most people are worried you’ll fall apart, or it won’t work out for you, and they’ll have to deal with the negative consequences of that. Don’t blame other people for their short-sightedness. Follow your instinct and take the path inwards.
The internal path is a path of knowing yourself and the love of knowing who you are. There is a deep empathy that results in taking this journey. And the best creators are those who can have deep empathy for themselves. They do not hide their pain from themselves and they deal with what comes up as obstacles and blocks in a timely and productive manner.
But if it ever seems like things are not working out or that people do not understand, many times the best way to lean into your niche of one is looking at your pain. What has caused you pain in the past can inspired you to solve for that. Your pain is not only a great indicator of what you can use your internal reserves of energy towards to solve, but it’s also the exact thing that you can help contribute to the world by sharing your solution.
Remember this always: what you feel is temporary. What you create out of it, is forever.
Get started and good luck.
Need help creating your niche of one?
Okay, so if you’ve made it this far, you’re officially part of the Monster Gang. Congrats, and I’m glad you’re here. You’re a true value squeezer. You’re in it to win it and that is sh*t I respect. If you’re ready to find your niche of one, I’m excited for you.
And if you need more support beyond what I gave you here, hit me up for consulting.
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