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PP 156: Tom Ross on the Power of Niching Down & Why It Isn’t a Life Sentence

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The Phases of Your Creative Side Hustle…in My Opinion

I want to preface this preface of today’s interview: I’m speaking solely from experience here on my philosophy on the phases of your side hustle.

I think, early on in your hustle—once you truly accept you’re a creative and you’re figuring out what direction to go—that experimentation and trying new things is important. I think of this as Phase 1, and I was totally there. In fact, I played in this Phase for like 4 years, until I reached what I feel is Phase 2.

Phase 2: you start to figure out what is and what isn’t working. I call this the “sweet spot secret sauce” that overlaps your greatest passion/interests with your greatest strengths. You start to narrow down and go deeper down this rabbit hole and connecting with yourself and your potential audience/clients on a deeper level. You start to really understand yourself and what these hungry and connected humans want/need and how you could potentially provide that solution…that’s where Phase 3 starts to come in.

Phase 3, to me, is when you add the next ingredient to the secret sauce of the Sweet Spot: the market. You’ve now combined something you’re passionate about with something you’re good at, so now you need to pinpoint where you’re able to provide a valuable solution to that perfect follower or client. To me, this is where the magic happens: your ambitious side hustle pursuits start to really gain traction and shape into the possibility of something more.

I think Phase 4 is something I’m on the cusp of, but I don’t truly know what it looks like yet. However, I’m definitely thriving in my secret sauce sweet spot and finding new ingredients to add to the mix to help scale what I’m doing and go deeper.

Narrowing Your Focus By Niching Down

I guess this philosophy I’m speaking toward all started with experimenting, but now I’ve narrowed my focus. I not only listened to my gut, but I also soaked up outside perspectives and advice how I could steer my ship in a more strategic direction that still aligned with the Phase 2 of my greatest strengths and passions.

I continued to narrow my focus by saying no to things that didn’t align with where I wanted to go.

The narrowing of my focus is what we like to call niching down (“nitching” or “neeching,” based on however you’d like to pronounce it).

I was one who refused to niche, yet wondered why I always felt like I wasn’t making the progress I wanted…even though I had been doing Perspective-Collective for a few years.

However, as I started to gain more clarity and confidence in the direction I wanted to go, the more powerful niching down became. During this season, I can safely say I’m a Side Hustle Coach who helps creatives build fulfilling and profitable side hustles outside their day job.

This is my niche during this season, and I embrace it and realize this isn’t necessarily forever…and that’s the key to today’s episode.

Download Tom’s FREE The Ultimate Guide to Niching Down 

The Marketing Guru for Creatives

Today’s guest is someone who truly showed me the power of why the riches are in the niches and to embrace the discomfort that came with it.

I’m talking about my brother from another marketing mother, Tom Ross, CEO of Design Cuts, Face of the Honest Entrepreneur, Co-Host of The Honest Designers Podcast, and a new podcast he has in the works with Michael Janda.

He has progressively niched down over the years and has built successful companies left and right, but now focuses his attention on helping creatives like you and I are with marketing to blow up our side hustle pursuits.

TAKE NOTES ON THIS SHIT because Tom and I go deep on the topic of niching down and more specifically cover:

  • Why niching down isn’t a life sentence
  • Why you should be niching down and when
  • How to niche down and for how long to test the waters
  • Objections to niching (you’ll love these)
  • Standing out, serving your following, growing an engaged audience, plus so much more

I’m hoping you find a golden nugget in here you can immediately apply to your creative grind ASAP, so you get one step further in whatever phase you’re currently in.

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