No Niche? No Worries!

Sarah's Soapbox
 
Warning. It’s rant time. I’ve got my soapbox stacked on top of a table so everyone can hear me. Ready? Here we go…

I’ve been doing lots of online courses about blogging lately. I’m pretty new to this game and there are a million and one people out there who will happily sell you their version of how to be famous and have an insta-business that’ll boom shake, shake, shake the room/world overnight (or yesterday if you pay extra).

I have no problem with this and I’ve gotta say that some of the stuff I’ve learned has been beyond awesome. I mean who knew you could SCHEDULE Facebook posts?

One of the topics that comes up over and over again is the niche and the general consensus is that if you’re a brand new blogger you should GET ONE – FAST!

Defining your niche basically comes down to choosing a nice, sensible subject you know a fair bit about and then building your business around that. The theory being that your expertise will help others.

The advice goes like this:

  • Be an expert.
  • Keep it consistent.
  • Don’t confuse people.
  • Make sure people know what to expect.
  • Figure out your place in the world and sell the shit out of it.

The word on the street is that people won’t follow you, like you, share you, validate you, applaud you or PAY YOU if you don’t make it absolutely 300% clear to everyone who visits your site (hi Mum!) what you’re all about.

This is pretty smart advice when you think about it. I mean, who goes to the local Italian restaurant expecting Chinese food, right?

But here’s the thing. What if you have no f**king idea what your niche is?

[Cue panic attacks, freak outs and loads of tears]

What if, like me, you like about a hundred different things?

What if you’re a jack of all trades and master of none (well maybe one or two – I make a mean granola, I can type pretty fast and I do a good impression of Cartman’s Mum from Southpark).

Be unapologetically YOU

But seriously, what if you’re still figuring out what you’re all about? I know I am.

How about you?

Do you have everything figured out?

Nope?

Welcome to the club, my friend.

What if, in the process of figuring it all out, you think it might be fun / useful / interesting / entertaining for yourself and others to share it all?

Well that’s where I’m at and, quite frankly, I’m kinda over putting myself through the wringer due to my lack in the niche department.

It’s even getting to the point where I have niche envy!

I’ve realised that not having a niche doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

Maybe it’s ok if I write about the hundred and one different things I’m interested in. Or the holiday I’m on. Or the random new class I tried the other day (crystal bowl meditation in Bali). Maybe I don’t have to fit myself neatly in a box.

Maybe in amongst writing about everything that makes me ME, I might find my niche.

Maybe you might identify with something I share, or you’ll try something new or you might just have a laugh (at me or with me, I don’t mind).

So for now, this website will keep on keepin’ on as a big mix of all the things that make life interesting.

Strap yourself in for a little rollercoaster of crazy – and so what if you don’t know what to expect – isn’t life more fun that way?
 

YOU CAN TOO:

Do you ever feel pressured to fit yourself neatly in a box, act a certain way, look a certain way or do particular things because other people expect it? Break out of that box right now and take the challenge!
 

CHALLENGE:

What’s one thing you can do this week to break out of the box and ride the rollercoaster of crazy fun? Dye your hair, eat something new, wear something you don’t usually wear, try a new class, sing out loud in front of strangers? Do something that’s unapologetically you and tell me what it is in the comments section below.

 
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39 Comments on No Niche? No Worries!

  1. Tracy Milam
    24/10/2015 at 7:07 am (1 year ago)

    I was beginning to worry I’d never be able to identify mine either…glad I am not alone in this. Will quit worrying about it and just let it flow!

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Sarah Jensen
      25/10/2015 at 7:06 pm (1 year ago)

      You’re definitely note alone Tracy. Let it flow and your niche will find you. xx

      Reply
  2. Georgia
    01/12/2014 at 10:04 am (2 years ago)

    Sarah i LOVE this article! Im all for the anti-niche! Im still sorting it too! I have a love of so many things too, and just want to share it all! Great words hun. Very inspiring. Good timing for me to read!
    G x

    Reply
    • Sarah Jensen
      01/12/2014 at 9:53 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Georgia. Great to meet a fellow anti-nicher. 🙂 I figure the unique combination of all the things you love and want to share is what makes you unique and special – so why not share all of your awesome with the world! I’m so glad this post came to you at the right time and I really appreciate that you took the time to say hi and share your thoughts. Huge gratitude. S. xx

      Reply
  3. Chloe
    17/11/2014 at 3:20 pm (2 years ago)

    I really loved this post Sarah. It has really comforted me as I am only new to blogging and have just been trying to create content and struggling with the idea of a niche at the moment. Thank you xo

    Reply
    • Sarah Jensen
      23/11/2014 at 6:05 pm (2 years ago)

      Oh I’m so happy to hear it gave you some comfort Chloe. I’m new too and I was stressing out big time about not having a niche. The funny thing is that when I gave myself permission NOT to have a niche I was actually able to get a little clearer on what I’d like to write about and what I think I have to offer. I certainly don’t have a neat little niche yet but I’ve realised that’s ok. It will happen in time.

      You’ll get where you want to be if you let things evolve and don’t force it. In the meantime, just keep being beautiful you, keep connecting with beautiful souls and keep having fun. xx

      Reply
  4. Vanessa
    14/11/2014 at 3:34 pm (2 years ago)

    I am anti-niche as a blogger and I do ok!! I’m me, and me is interested in lots of things. People seem to be able to deal ok 🙂

    Reply
    • Sarah Jensen
      16/11/2014 at 11:25 am (2 years ago)

      Good on you Vanessa. I love meeting people like you who are confident and kicking ass by being their true selves! I’m interested in lots of things too. I have loads of different goals, a bucket list a mile long and I get REALLY excited about trying new things. I’m with you and I think ‘why squash that excitement, passion, enthusiasm and sense of fun’? Instead of fitting neatly into a box, why not make the whole world the box? I say go everywhere, do it all and love every minute of it!

      Reply
  5. Lisa
    06/11/2014 at 6:20 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi Sarah, I struggle against niches too, I like blogging about different things but I have focused on my blog as being a portfolio for my writing work now after being a parenting blog for the past two years. If you have to label yourself you can call yourself a personal blogger. The End hehe. Covers so many things.

    Reply
    • Sarah Jensen
      08/11/2014 at 5:37 pm (2 years ago)

      Your blog is wonderful Lisa. I really enjoyed your recent post about Nikki Parkinson and the Brands and Blogging Workshop. I really related to the advice about comparisons and how they are the thief of joy and creativity. I think that’s really relevant to niches too. A lot of it comes out of comparing ourselves to others instead of just loving and being happy with what we’re writing about – whether it’s one topic or a hundred! Thanks for stopping by to say hi and share your thoughts. It’s so lovely to meet you.

      For those of you who’d like to read Lisa’s great post about Brands and Blogging check it out here: http://www.lisaberson.com/styling-you-brands-and-blogging-workshop/

      Reply
  6. Lila
    02/11/2014 at 10:11 am (2 years ago)

    Love this Sarah. Have you also noticed the contradictory advice that comes from the same people?
    You must be a niche, but you must also do things that are different / behind the scenes / surprising for your readers!

    So frustrating, and what’s more many of the bigger aussie bloggers are not actually niched blogs.
    Sure the less niched way my old blog ran my have confused some new readers as to what I was all about but the ones who stuck around got to really know who I am and what I was all about!

    Reply
    • Sarah Jensen
      02/11/2014 at 5:00 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks Lila. I agree with you. The contradiction is rife and for newbies like me it can make me want to tear my hair out, scream a bit and then cry in the corner. It’s SO confusing. I think the freedom comes in realising that and deciding to stick with what feels good for you. I’m finally through all that stress, pressure and crazy. I’ve taken on the advice that fits with my values and morals and I’ve politely passed on the rest. Ultimately I had to give myself permission to be me. My aim is to be real, honest, nurturing, loving and kind. I’m not about numbers, niches, fame or fakeness. I figure as long as what I’m writing fits in with those ideals then the lovers will love, the haters will hate and the rest won’t care one bit and that’s perfectly fine with me. 🙂

      As for you my dear, your old blog was lovely and so very personal and you’ve grown that into something special, unique and magnificent. I love http://www.mamanourish.com – I think you’ve created a beautiful, nurturing and homey space where people can learn and really connect with you. Congratulations. xx

      Reply
  7. Kylie @ Octavia and Vicky
    28/10/2014 at 12:15 pm (2 years ago)

    I’ve been fighting against the niche thing since starting blogging. I guess I’m a ‘mummy blogger’ but I love writing about kids, food, technology, fashion… whatever takes my fancy. I’m not sure where my blog is going, I just write about what I love right now 🙂

    Reply
    • Sarah Jensen
      02/11/2014 at 4:37 pm (2 years ago)

      I think that’s such a great way to be Kylie! I think when you write about what you love and it comes from the heart it’s so much easier for others to connect with you as a person and with the information, advice and stories you share – that’s very much what I’ve learned through being honest about my ‘niche’ battle. And you know what? You might be a ‘mummy blogger’ writing mostly about kids but I’m in my 30s, I don’t have kids and I always find something I relate to in your posts. It’s because you let your beautiful self shine through instead of keeping it all boxed up in a tight little niche. Keep up the wonderful work honey. xx

      Reply
  8. Rebecca
    27/10/2014 at 2:19 pm (2 years ago)

    Thank you so much for posting this! When I first started my blog, I had NO clue what this whole niche concept was about so it was only when I got serious about blogging did I realize that finding your niche was supposed to be the hot thing to do for a successful blog. After much thought, I realized that I’d rather keep my blog, filled with random posts than one that is specific to a certain niche and loses the passion I have for a wide variety of posts. I’m so glad to read that I’m not alone on this!

    Reply
    • Sarah Jensen
      02/11/2014 at 4:33 pm (2 years ago)

      You’re so welcome Rebecca. I’m so glad you can relate! I’ve been overwhelmed (in the best possible way) by all the supportive ‘me too’ comments from fellow bloggers like you. It’s easy to feel like you’re the only one sometimes but it’s so great to know I’m not alone. I love “random” blogs because they feel so personal. When I read the stories the writer has shared I feel like I’m making a friend, getting to know someone new and learning about them. Keep up the beautiful random lovely and thanks for stopping by to share your thoughts. xx

      Reply
  9. alex
    21/10/2014 at 8:38 pm (2 years ago)

    So long as your blog is written for passion and with passion then that’s all that matters!

    Reply
  10. Lisa | Mummy Made.It
    21/10/2014 at 6:57 pm (2 years ago)

    I like to think as long as you are being true to yourself it doesn’t matter if it’s about elephant mating rituals or flower arranging…if you can sleep at night then it’s ok!

    Reply
    • Sarah Jensen
      25/10/2014 at 4:10 pm (2 years ago)

      Ha ha ha! Love it Lisa! Spot on. 🙂

      Reply
  11. Toni
    21/10/2014 at 4:12 pm (2 years ago)

    You sound like you’re having fun with it so I don’t think a niche really matters so much – each to their own but I read blogs I like, not because they fit the cookie cutter.

    Reply
    • Sarah Jensen
      25/10/2014 at 4:09 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks Toni. I’m definitely having fun and loving connecting with new people. You’re so right too – people will read what they like, not what fits a mould. Smart advice. Thank you! 🙂

      Reply
  12. Sophie Crooks
    21/10/2014 at 1:12 pm (2 years ago)

    I’ve come to realise this myself over the past few months. I’ve decided to just think of me being myself as a branding direction and niche. By simply living an awesome and authentic life you can inspire and help others. One day a more laid out niche may reveal itself, but for now I’m just loving being me!

    Reply
    • Sarah Jensen
      25/10/2014 at 4:08 pm (2 years ago)

      Love that Sophie! – ‘Help and inspire by living an awesome and authentic life’. Beautiful sentiment. xx

      Reply
  13. Julie Small
    21/10/2014 at 12:07 pm (2 years ago)

    Hey Sarah – I love this post. My blog is about travelling but i sometimes think I should have a more specific niche within travelling – and my blog is new so it’s developing but then I think too bad! I will post what I think is right for me and hopefully others will get it. Authenticity rather than chasing a market. “I want out of the labels. I don’t want my whole life crammed into a single word” Charles Palahniuk

    Reply
    • Sarah Jensen
      25/10/2014 at 4:05 pm (2 years ago)

      I love how you said “authenticity rather than chasing the market”. That really resonates with me. I want to connect with people and I hope that what I write will help others and make them feel happy and supported. There’s so much competition, marketing and inauthenticity out there – I don’t want any part of that. I agree with Chuck – no labels please! Just love. 🙂

      Reply
  14. Jacqueline DuJour
    21/10/2014 at 10:53 am (2 years ago)

    I’ve been told that my niche is too broad. I have to be true to me and thosw who “get me” will follow along-or not. Continue to be true to YOU! Good luck!

    Reply
  15. Jen Hajar
    21/10/2014 at 9:49 am (2 years ago)

    I totally agree! Fitting in the neat little box isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. When I started writing my blog over a year ago I decided that the hardest hurdle to jump over was just to write consistently. I’ve since created categories and generally stay within the overarching umbrella of a ‘healthy lifestyle’ blog, but in fact this week I’ve decided to start adding a STYLE section! No niche for me, no thank you 🙂

    Reply
    • Sarah Jensen
      25/10/2014 at 4:01 pm (2 years ago)

      That’s awesome Jen. I love that you’re sticking with what feels fun and comfortable for you. It’s definitely advice I’ll take on board as I’m learning to do the same. I guess it’s all part of the fun and adventure of learning.

      P.S. I’m excited to read your style posts. 🙂

      Reply
  16. Suzanne Chadwick
    21/10/2014 at 5:58 am (2 years ago)

    Hey lovely,
    totally know where you’re coming from. I started blogging 4 years ago at stylise.com.au and just wrote about what I loved which was fashion, food, craft, travel and whatever else took my fancy.

    It just evolved over time and it was fashion and beauty that ended up being more of a focus and that’s what businesses wanted to work with me to review.

    I just think if you want to blog then you don’t need to have a set topic if you love loads of things. It doesn’t matter, it’s your space and it’s what you want to share. If you want a business that’s a different thing as people want to know what you’ll offer but blogging can be what you want it to be.

    Just enjoy the ride. I learnt so much just playing with my blog and building my twitter following @STYLISE_ that it really gave me everything I wanted at the time.

    Don’t put pressure on yourself, you’re doing so great here on the blog!

    Reply
    • Sarah Jensen
      22/10/2014 at 11:15 pm (2 years ago)

      Such smart advice (as always) Suze, thank you! You’re right, there’s definitely a split between personal blogging and business blogging. I think for now I’m going to do a Marie Forleo and “give myself permission to dabble”. It’s funny too because about a day after I hit publish on this post I kinda had this a-ha moment along with, I’m not kidding you, 60 post ideas. It’s like when I gave myself permission to not have a niche I kinda got one. Maybe it’s the rebel in me – I always used to get in trouble at school for talking too much, being cheeky and talking back! Maybe I needed to buck the system before I could step into line. 🙂

      I love your advice to stress less and take the pressure down (sorry for the John Farnham reference there). And thanks for your very kind compliment, I really appreciate it. xx

      Reply
  17. Monique@The Urban Mum
    20/10/2014 at 6:56 pm (2 years ago)

    Ha – the old ‘niche’ chestnut… I used to lie awake at night worrying about what it was I was trying to say on my Blog (seriously I did). I even stopped blogging for a year because I decided I really had no idea what I was saying. Ridiculously it took my 12 year old son to get me back into the groove (he passed on my blog address to one of the school Mum’s who liked what she read. Just tap away and the rest will follow. For the record though – I actually had read your about page before this post – I already had you as an interesting person with a story to tell that others might relate to. So I would say you have your ‘niche’. As mentioned above – it is you…

    Reply
    • Monique@The Urban Mum
      20/10/2014 at 7:00 pm (2 years ago)

      whoops – forgot the challenge – I’m sending in a novel manuscript – to a competition – I have been sitting on it for years…

      Reply
    • Sarah Jensen
      22/10/2014 at 11:10 pm (2 years ago)

      I totally believe you about staying awake at night – I can relate. I’m really glad to hear you came back to blogging – I love your writing, it’s so vivid, so descriptive – I feel like I’m there. I loved your latest post about the markets and those pictures were gorgeous – http://www.theurbanmum.com.au/2014/10/local-markets-airlie-beach-north-queensland-australia.html

      Thank you very much for your lovely compliment, so kind of you. I think it just took me a little time to come around to the fact that I am my niche and it’s ok to let it all evolve (recovering perfectionist right here!). 🙂

      I’m sending you mountains of luck, success and winning thoughts on your manuscript Monique. Good luck! xx

      Reply
  18. Lauren Reid
    18/10/2014 at 8:54 am (2 years ago)

    This is exactly what I’ve been pondering this week, Sarah! I like being a jack of all trades in my work, study and blogging lives and so I worry I might get bored with a niche.

    As for that rollercoaster of crazy fun? I’m basically going to be in a study lockdown this week but will have to get my thinking cap on and come up with something that might make a good study break activity for letting off some steam…

    Reply
    • Sarah Jensen
      22/10/2014 at 11:00 pm (2 years ago)

      I hear you Lauren. I guess the beauty of having an online space is that it can shift and evolve as you do and there’s nothing wrong with that. It just took me a little while to figure out that that’s perfectly ok. 🙂

      Wishing you well with the studies (and study breaks) this week.

      Reply
  19. Kate @rosehipsrhubarb
    18/10/2014 at 7:04 am (2 years ago)

    My advice would be to stop worrying about your niche and stay true to yourself. You are your niche. Why conform to what a course tells you? The genuine innovators aren’t slavishly obeying course advice; they’re forging ahead joyfully doing whatever they damn well like.

    Reply
    • Sarah Jensen
      22/10/2014 at 10:58 pm (2 years ago)

      Well said Kate! I’m with you for joyfully forging ahead. Thank you!

      Reply

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