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Niche Down

In his book, The Take Action Effect, successful entrepreneur Scott Voelker, describes what he calls “niching down,” as a process of narrowing down your choices for a meaningful vocation that would elicit passion and produce personal reward. After he graduated from high school, he went to work in his father’s construction business and learned a trade. He wasn’t raised to go to college, instead he was told to get a job. So that’s what he did, with the dream of one day owning his dad’s business. But he soon found out that raising kids and working more than 60 hours a week didn’t afford the freedom and flexibility he needed for raising a family.

He tried several side gigs, including an awkwardly bungled attempt at selling Amway, which taught him a lot about what he didn’t want to do in sales. He and his wife decided to start a part time photography business, with absolutely no experience except for some bad memories of their daughter’s photo shoots. After reading some books about photography, along with much trial and error, they finally got their business rolling, and after 18 months Voelker quit his day job. They found their niche in running a successful portrait studio for a number of years, before branching out to teach online photography classes. Being an entrepreneur at heart, he soon discovered a more rewarding niche in eCommerce and digital marketing. His mission now is to help others build online businesses that provide stability and the freedom to live life on their own terms.

Have you ever started climbing the ladder of success, only to discover the ladder was leaning against the wrong wall? If you have, don’t be discouraged. Nothing is wasted. Experience is the best teacher—but interestingly, she gives you the test first, before the lesson. You may have spent years going to school, only to land a job you hate. Who knew? Perhaps you like your job, but dislike the people or work environment; or hate your job but love the people or work environment. Know that you’re not the first person this has happened to, nor will you be the last. Lots of incredibly successful people have had multiple bad starts before finding their niche. Keep exploring and don’t give up. Here are some helpful questions to help niche down your choices:

  1. What do you want to do? – What do you have a passion and talent for? What do you love to do in your free time or would do for no pay? Are you a people person or more task driven? Do what you love, and it won’t feel like work.
  2. What skills do you have? – Do you excel in: math, science, or engineering? History, sociology, or English? Sports, music, or art? Woodworking, metal work, or auto mechanics? Regardless of the type of work that attracts you, there is always a shortage of excellent performers with passion.
  3. What environment attracts you? Public service? Private industry? Medical? Education? Nonprofit? Ecommerce or internet services? There are many work environments for you to choose from—pick one that appeals to you and go for it!

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