Gerry loves shoes and she has developed an art for seeking out really good quality second-hand designer label shoes. She has a wardrobe full of them. One day a friend suggests she start a side hustle selling shoes since she is so good at getting them. She decides to give it a go and now she has an eBay store with all sorts of ladies shoes, flats, sandals, platforms, heels and even tennis shoes. She’s getting some sales but not the kind of sales she wants, considering the amount of work going into the side hustle.
One day while discussing her shoe business predicament with her friend, Gina, she gets asked a question, “What’s your favourite shoe type out of all the shoes you sell?” Gerry can’t see the point of the question, but she answers anyway, “it’s the platform ones.” Gina replied, “Then why don’t you concentrate on only selling platform shoes?” “Why in the world would I do that? That will narrow my merchandise and attract less customers,” replied Gerry. “Not necessarily, it’s called creating a niche market where people know you for one thing,” replied Gina
The principle of having a niche market for your service or product is one of the key lessons that Allan Dib teaches in this book. According to Allan:
“A niche is a tightly defined portion of a subcategory.”
He believes that:
“To be a small business marketer you need laser-like focus on a narrow target market sometimes called a niche.”
But what are the advantages of defining a niche market for your side hustle? To understand the advantages, you have to know the disadvantages of the alternative which is mass marketing or trying to market your side hustle to everyone. While this may seem logical, for side hustles, it is a recipe for failure and there are a number of reasons why which include:
- The fact that you have limited resources for your side hustle. It’s best to focus them on a narrow niche to get your message out.
- Marketing too broadly will dilute your message and you will miss the opportunity to target who specifically your side hustle is for.
“Being all things to all people leads to marketing failure.”
Allan writes that:
“Targeting a tight niche allows you to become a big fish in a small pond. It allows you to dominate a category or geography in a way that is impossible by being general.”
Therefore, for your side hustle, think about one area you can dominate, not two or three areas that need you to spread your energy on.
Going back to Gerry and her shoe side hustle, Gina was trying to advise her to focus it on a niche so that it will be easier for her to identify a target group and serve them more effectively. By focusing on just selling platform shoes, it becomes much easier to market and attract ladies who mainly want to buy those type of shoes. Plus she craft a focused marketing message to tell people what she is selling in a really big way. If you want to buy platform shoes would you rather go to a general shoe store that has 5 pairs of every type of shoe or one that has 50 different types of platforms?
About your side hustle, what’s your niche?