Stand out

Do you, or your business, have a very clearly defined specialty? Is there some part of you that feels safer casting your net wide?

Declaring your core competency in a distinct area may be scary, because of all the ‘potential’ work you’re excluding.  But being clear about your unique offer is hugely important to your future success. Being known as the “expert in” a specialty niche helps build trust.   

Take Facebook. They’re all about community. What does Twitter do? It delivers news. Snapchat offers messaging. YouTube is the place to stream TV. TikTok is for short form content. We love experts.

More than this, if you run your own business, identifying a niche that you’re passionate about and are an expert in, is transformative. It will determine what projects you say ‘no’ to, and every day will be filled with work that you love.

When I started my first TV production company I thought we could be everything to everyone. 

I honestly believed that with the right piece of content, we could produce any kind of TV show for any broadcast channel.  If we wanted to, I thought, we could make Saturday night family entertainment shows for a commercial broadcaster and high-end arts documentaries for niche channels.  Why not?  After all, the production process is the same no matter what the content, and my tastes and interests were broad. I enjoyed watching a broad range of content, so why couldn’t my company make a broad range too?

The fact is, we all prefer to buy from and hire experts.

You’ll be pleased to know that I abandoned my naive ideas about making all kinds of programs for anyone who would buy – and my first company became known for making youth-skewed programming about the edges of society.


But why was this my company’s specialty niche? Why were programs for young people, why were programs about the edges of society, my company’s specialty niche?

Was it because I knew this kind of programming would be successful because I knew this was what the market was crying out for?

No. As it turned out, the market was crying out for it, but the market didn’t know that back then. And neither did I.

As a young, gay, Jewish man, I was interested in exploring the edges of society. I was interested in youth programming. I was the audience, and I was an expert

Our company pitched these kinds of shows because we were a young company, and we were based in a diverse urban neighborhood.  We pitched these ideas because they represented who we were and what we were about.  

I made the same mistake all over again when I launched my coaching practice, Vitality.Guru.  I thought I could coach every kind of person.  These days I work as a coach exclusively for creative entrepreneurs, helping high-performers in media attract premium projects and grow profile, revenue, and profit.

Three Questions To Narrow The Field

  1. Suppose you or your company submitted 10 great ideas in 10 different genres, or applied for a job in 10 different specialty areas, with everything else being equal. What is the one genre or specialty area in which you would be most likely to make a sale, or get hired for the job?     Go on, and write down the answer.
  2. Ask yourself, of all the projects you have worked on, what is the project that comes closest to defining you as a professional?    What are the universal qualities that define this project? Write down the qualities of the project which you’re currently best known for.
  3. Now, look at what you love making the most. Narrow it down.   Once again, make a list of your dream assignments.

When you triangulate all the answers to the questions above, you will get some ideas for your specialty niche.  

Let me tell you about my client, Jamilla. She runs a consultancy aimed at the style needs of international Arab women aged 35-60 in London.  That’s a clear niche, right?

 When we started working together, Jamilla was offering services across a wide range of sectors for all women. So, we drilled down to look at who her ‘ideal’ client really was, it turned out it was not ALL women. It was upscale international Arab women.  And when Jamilla was still speaking to ALL women, she was not speaking to the unique needs of upscale middle-aged Arab women, so when they visited her website or read about her online, her ideal client did not feel she was speaking to them.

I know from her face and voice at the time, that Jamilla was terrified of refining her niche to just one small group of potential clients.  I’m not sure she fully believed me that it would work. But she gave it a try.  Instead of communicating her company’s services as though they were for ALL women, she started talking to just one ideal client, someone she knew very well.

Turned out, that there were thousands of women, just like Jamilla’s dream client. And they were delighted there was an adviser out there who understood them so well.

Today more than ever, it is essential that you are known as the expert in meeting the needs of a market segment with a specific kind of product.

These days Jamilla’s consultancy is thriving.  She’s even launched a second, distinct brand aimed at the specific needs of High Net Worth American Women in London.

It’s important that you don’t think of this as being about re-branding.  You are simply telling the market that you know what you do best.   Clients who know you well already know your specialty niche. They know your field of expertise.   This is about you owning it, celebrating it, and advertising it to future colleagues and clients. It will help bring you more of the work you already love the most.

It may be scary. but I promise, that being clear about your unique offer is hugely important to your future success.

It’s not a re-brand

Don’t think of this as being about re-branding.  You are simply telling the market that you know what you do best.   Clients who know you well already know your specialty niche. They know your field of expertise. 

Don’t Wobble

For the first time in its history, Facebook (Meta) made less money in Q2 than it did in the same period last year.  Twitter and Snap also posted disappointing results.

Digital content expert, Sam Barcroft partially attributes these dips to the platforms all abandoning their core competency or specialty niche.

Because only TikTok is still growing, Barcroft notes, other social media companies are lurching towards short-form, algorithmically-led video feeds.

What they are all forgetting in the dash for cash,” says Barcroft, “is that being different is what brought them to dominance.”

The lesson? Once you’ve found your specialty niche, don’t abandon it. If you’re bored by your company’s output, you can always launch another label. But don’t sacrifice the loyal customer base who were attracted to you or your company’s specialty niche in the first place.


  • Remy Blumenfeld

    Coach and business advisor for creative entrepreneurs   Remy Blumenfeld is a coach and business advisor working with individuals across the creative industries. His clients include founders from film, tv, advertising, publishing, and gaming.  He is the founder of two TV production companies and has been named as one of the 20 most influential LGBTQ people in the United Kingdom by the Independent Newspaper. He writes regularly on creative leadership for Forbes and Inc.
    Remy has created Stand Out For Creative Startups, designed to take your creative business, or business to be, to the next level.  The course draws on the wisdom, learning and mistakes of dozens of case studies across the creative industries. It will transform the business part of your creative endeavor into a winning game.