mind-expanding limited thinking

Does anyone else feel a mild sense of fear when faced with a newly opened box of chocolates? Which chocolate to pick? What if you chose one you don’t like? Even if you own the whole box and you are going to eat every single one (except the soft, sickly creamy ones which you will throw in the fire) and it doesn’t really matter the order in which they are eaten, there is still a sense of panic when faced with all that choice…

…or is that just me?

As a graphic designer I love parameters. I like the challenge of a task with imposed restrictions. Restrictions of what I need to say, who to say it to and how it needs to be said. These restrictions inform the look and content of the end product.

I have been struggling with my Ladies Guide as no one has commissioned it and I’m not too sure who might buy it. I have vague ideas around the subject but there is too much choice. Without ‘restrictions’ I’m bumbling about, going hither and thither.

Last week was Enterprise Ireland Week. Recently, I completed a course with the Local Enterprise Office here in Cork so I’m on their radar and they on mine. I saw they were advertising free mentoring sessions in my home town in Bantry so decided to go along.


I met the most fabulous woman who gave me the most brilliant advice. She suggested I narrow down the whole idea and create bespoke versions of the Ladies Guide for a select number of places. She suggested that if I make content tighter and more specific I could increase the attractiveness of the product.

The following day I attended a seminar organised by the Local Enterprise Office. Again this message was reinforced. The keynote speaker, Sonya Lennon said (among other things) that in order to stand out, we must look to

create a micro niche, within a niche, within a sector.

She mentioned Daniel Priestly, who is an exponent of niche marketing. He accepts that people might worry about pigeon-holing themselves and losing out on business. He says:

In most cases people who focus on a market earn more money from being number-one at something and they are constantly given opportunities to expand their sphere of influence to new fields. Conversely, the people who present themselves as jack-of-all trades end up commoditised and competing on price. They take on so much low paid work that they don’t have time to explore.

Daniel suggest that niche marketing is a starting point. He uses the phrase “niche then pivot”. By that he means establish yourself as an expert in an area, grow you market and when you move on to your next area they will follow.

When I read “niche then pivot” I was reminded of “Bend and Snap” from the movie Legally Blond….but hey they are both methods of attracting and maintaining attention.

Join our mailing list & receive a free wallpaper and some really interesting emails.