(Hint: don’t be a Jack of all trades)
This week we had our monthly group coaching call on Zoom with an interesting, very international bunch of female entrepreneurs of no less than five nationalities. I am attracting an adventurous global crowd, and I love it! One of the excellent questions asked was by a woman, originally from Kenya, who recently launched a contemporary clothing brand to promote Africa as a modern continent. How do you best focus your attention when building your business? She wanted to know, as she had lost her mojo lately and didn’t get the results she wanted. As her question is one that many others could have asked, I wanted to share it with you today.
Most people in the West immediately think of traditional African culture when imagining clothing or homeware from this part of the world, and Wairimu wanted to change this perception. Not only that, she felt passionate about making fellow Africans around the world feel prouder of their descent. A great niche and mission!
But because of lack of traction, she began to doubt her niche, lose focus…and start to randomly shoot from the hip. Anything for a sale!
She had set up her online stores on Etsy and Redbubble, and had been selling some products, but after a while, frustration kicked in. Was nobody interested in her idea? Maybe it was too specific? She tried out lots of other things, jumping on seasonal themes like mother’s day and even St Patrick’s day, thinking that tapping into a wider, less Africa-focused market would perhaps be better. More international, serving different cultures, selling to basically everyone. Serve the whole world with more generic T-shirts.
By serving everyone, she ended up serving no one.
This struggle is a common problem for new entrepreneurs. You start with lots of energy and focus…only to discover that it’s bloody hard to make enough sales. You think that perhaps there is no demand, so you become a Jack of all trades and try to serve a wider audience, only to discover that that doesn’t work either.
The problem is not the product; the issue lies in your messaging and clarity in who your audience is and what you are offering to them, building trust and making people excited about your products. So work on your message, define your audience, and create your niche. And do plenty of storytelling!
I advised her to go back to the drawing board. What was it that fired her up to launch this brand in the first place? Where did her passion come from? What are her core values? Why did she believe this was a good idea last year? There lies the answer. She has a beautiful story she can tell, and a culture worth sharing as part of her marketing strategy. That will be the key in building her brand. Zooming in, not zooming out.
Stick to these rules and you’ll get results
- Know what you want and have a crystal clear vision and mission
- Know who you want to sell to: be very specific
- Craft a unique story behind your brand, and create interesting content that is making people excited to follow you.
- Stick to your guns. The solution lies in your focus and message, not in widening your niche.
- Be consistent, and keep going! Don’t give up.
Niche down. Don’t be afraid to REALLY focus on what you are passionate about and believe in. The more you show your unique and quirky self, the more ideal clients are attracted to you. But you’ve got come out of hiding. You will see a big change in engagement and leads when you start showing more of yourself and your passion behind the business. Try it!
Whatever you do, believe in yourself. You are a brave, creative human, and you have a wonderful story to tell. Go and tell it.
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