NICHE ARGUMENT & SPECIALIZATION

Hace algunos días Cultura Creativa España me invitó a hablar en su Instagram sobre algún tema relacionado con la creatividad. Como ilustrador decidí hablar sobre el argumento de nicho y la especialización. Creo que el momento actual es una valiosa oportunidad para pensar en cómo podemos cambiar nuestro discurso de trabajo para los tiempos difíciles que vienen, ¿qué se puede aportar más allá de lo obvio? Y por supuesto como diversificar nuestros ingresos./ A few days ago, Cultura Creativa España invited me to speak on their Instagram about a subject related to creativity. As an illustrator I decided to speak about the niche argument and specialization. I think that this moment is a valuable opportunity to think about how we can change our work discourse for the difficult times that are coming, how can go beyond the obvious? And of course, how to diversify our income.

🎯WHAT IS A NICHE ARGUMENT? 📌

Un nicho tiene que ver con productos y servicios creados de una manera concreta para un mercado muy específico. Si lo vemos desde el punto de vista del creador, es esa zona de comfort o cosa particular en la que te consideras muy bueno. Y llega la pregunta del millón, ¿es mejor especializarse en un nicho para destacar o es mejor ofrecer, un poco de todo?/ A niche has to do with products and services created in a specific way for a very specific market. If we see it from the creator’s point of view, it has to do with that comfort zone or a particular thing you’re very good at. And here’s the million dollar question: is it better to specialize in a niche to stand out or is it better to offer, a little bit of everything?

💭WHAT IS IT FOR? 💭

Lo maravilloso de las redes sociales, de Youtube y de los blogs es darte cuenta que hay público para todo, y no es como que las especializaciones se hayan inventado en el 2020, simplemente estos canales nos permiten encontrar a esos nichos pequeños, pero leales./ The wonderful thing about social media, Youtube and blogs is realizing that there is an audience for everything, and it’s not like specialization was invented in 2020, simply these channels allow us to find those small, but loyal, niches.

El nicho sirve para que te reconozcan rápidamente, para crearte una personalidad en un mundo lleno de cosas impersonales: “Ah, esa marca se dedica a hacer jarrones de papel”, “ese es el canal de youtube que habla de moda gender neutral” o “este es el blog que toca temas de belleza cruelty free”./ The niche are good to quickly recognize your style, to create a personality in a world full of impersonal things: “Oh, that brand is dedicated to making paper vases”, “that’s the YouTube channel that talks about gender-neutral fashion” or “this is the blog that talks about cruelty free beauty products”.

THE IMPORTANCE OF A NICHE

La magia de esto es que ahora se te puede reconocer por tu voz y tu estilo propio. Yo como ilustrador puedo dibujar un círculo, ¿pero qué valor agregado tiene ese círculo para que alguien quiera tenerlo?/ The magic of this is that now, you can be recognized by your voice and your own style. As an illustrator I can draw a circle, but what added value does that circle have for someone to want to have it?

Eso sí, no por eso quiere decir que hay que cerrarse a otras posibilidades, sobre todo si estás empezando tu proyecto o estás a punto de lanzarte como freelancer. Es importante que la especialización venga de manera genuina y hablemos con honestidad: hay trabajos que son un poco aburridos pero dan para pagar el alquiler, otros se disfrutan más y algunos dan prestigio y contactos./ Of course, this doesn’t mean that you have to close yourself to other possibilities, especially if you are starting your project or if you’re planning to become a freelancer. Specialization needs to come in a genuine way and let’s speak honestly: there are jobs that are a bit boring they give money to pay the rent, others are more enjoyable and the rest is ideal to give you contacts or prestige.

PROS ✔️

– Al enfocarte en algo tan concreto, te terminas volviendo un experto en hacerlo./ By focusing on something so specific, you end up becoming an expert at doing it.

– Al conocer tan bien a tu audiencia, puedes atenderles de una manera especializada y entender sus motivaciones aún mejor./ By knowing your audience so well, you can serve them in a specialized way and understand their motivations even better.

– Conoces mejor tus tiempos y métodos de trabajo./ You know your times and work methods better.

– Lo más importante: es menos probable que te pierdas en un mar de opciones. Poco a poco llegará el momento donde los clientes se acercan a ti por esa propuesta de nicho./ Most important: you’re less likely to get lost in a sea of options. Little by little, customers will come to you for this niche proposal.

CONS ✖️

– Puedes llegar a encasillarte y a aburrirte, por eso dentro de tu mismo campo es importante ir haciendo variaciones./ You can get pigeonholed and bored, that’s why within your own field it is important to make variations.

– Hay que tener cuidado con los nichos que puedan ser muy momentáneos o con tendencias que pasarán de moda./ Be careful with niches that may be very momentary or with trends that will go out of style.

– Habrá copycats, aunque eso por otro lado puede ser un indicador de que las cosas van muy bien./ There will be copycats, but on the other hand it may be an indicator that things are going very well.

✏️ MAKE IT WORK ✏️

Es algo que toma tiempo y en muchos casos (como en el mío) es algo que viene de forma natural y se empieza a pulir a base de prueba y error. No hay que forzarlo, piensa en que te gusta y en lo que se te da bien. Hay que pensar que no se trata de crear el hilo negro, sino en como podemos crear un nuevo envoltorio para darle ese plus a algo ya existente, atendiendo una necesidad concreta que no esté muy saturada./ It is something that takes time and in many cases (like mine) it is something that comes naturally and begins to be polished based on trial and error. You don’t have to force it, think about what you like and what you are good at. You have to think that it’s not about creating the black thread, but how we can create a new packaging to add that extra detail to something that already exists, attending a specific need that is not very saturated.

Personalmente estoy en un punto donde estoy cambiando en como abordo mi argumento de nicho. Trabajo con la ilustración, pero eso no significa que de repente no pueda tomar fotografías y experimentar con ellas desde el campo de la ilustración o que este mismo expertise me lleve a tomar la foto de una manera más pictórica. Al final crearte un universo también refuerza tu argumento de nicho./ Personally, I am at a point where I am changing how I approach my niche argument. I work with illustration, but that doesn’t mean that I cannot take photos and experiment with them, maybe I can make collages with those images or create compositions in a more pictorial way. In the end creating a universe for you also reinforces your niche argument.

TIPS:

– Se constante con la manera en la que pones tu trabajo en la mesa, así se te identificará./ Be consistent with the way you put your work on the media, so you can be identified.

– No temas al prueba y error, si algo no sale, a lo siguiente./ Don’t be afraid of trial and error, if something goes wrong, move to the next option.

– Especializarte, pero no encasillarte, todo está en el balance. Tampoco hay que olvidar que es importante trabajar en proyectos personales que ayuden a reforzar ese argumento, no todo tiene que dar dinero y los proyectos personales son cruciales para reinventarse./ Specialize, but not typecast, balance is the key. Nor should we forget that it is important to work on personal projects that help reinforce that niche argument, not everything has to give money and personal projects are crucial to reinvent themselves.

– No poner todo en tu portafolio, esto lo aprendí a la mala. Solamente hay que incluir aquello que refuerce tu argumento de nicho. Además la gente odia ver portfolios muy extensos. PS: Si no tienes suficientes trabajos, inventa propuestas, no pasa nada./ Don’t put everything in your portfolio, I learned this the hard way. You only have to include what reinforces your niche argument. Also, people hate seeing very large portfolios. PS: If you don’t have enough jobs, invent proposals, that’s OK.

– Y por último, no tienes que romperte la cabeza, piensa en lo que eres bueno y ofrécelo. Muchas veces el nicho se genera solo, los detalles se podrán pulir después./ And finally, you don’t have to break your head, think about what you are good at and offer it. Many times the niche is generated alone, the details can be fixed later.

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  • Great post and well said. These times are trying to sure. People are all up in arms about %20 unemployment, well a decade from now which is nothing they say forty percent of jobs is going to be lost world wide due to AI. Some jobs will be created but only off set this by 5-7 percent. Too much is changing to quickly for the market to adjust, it is not going to be good. So if can work for yourself this is good, but not everyone can.

    Funny in our industry (graphics) you use to be able to specialize in one area but no more. And they don’t want a jack of all trades. They want a master of all trades…

    Ah very inspiring and helpful, thanks for posting 🙂

    Allie of
    http://www.allienyc.com

    • Yes, difficult times are coming and we must search for ways to diversify our incomes and take care of our savings (in case we have them). I also agree that it is difficult to work by yourself, but I’ve seen many persons in Spain adapting their businesses to survive and some of the initiatives are pretty interestings.

      And yes! Back in the day people wanted specialized people and now if you’re applying for a job at a company, they ask you to be a good graphic designer + illustrator + motion graphic designer + almost accountant haha

      Best!

  • Hey Fungi!

    Choosing a niche is definitely something important to think about when starting a blog or a youtube channel. It helps lead you to what you’re truly passionate about and fills you up with ideas. I right away new my niche was going to be around fashion. And from there I took it one step at a time.

    Thanks for your continues support. Always great to hear from you. Have a good day!

    http://www.fashionradi.com

    • Hey Radi!

      I totally agree with you, this is so important is you want to start a blog or a youtube channel. I’d say it is better to keep specific even in this area 🙂

      Keep safe dear!

  • Hey Pablo, how you doin?
    I’ve heard the there in Spain things seems slowly going better, hope you’re ok and that all this cazyness will end soon.
    Here in Italy the lock down is slightly loosing, so seems that since next Monday we’ll can go out again and some shops are gonna opening, but anyway gathering keep on being prohibited and you have to wear a facemask. Really can’t wait to take a stroll again!!!

    Anyway, about the topic: as usual you came out with something very interesting and controverisal.
    I mean, I totally agree with you with the fact that finding a nice is the best way to set your place on the web, still I think that this can’t last for much time…
    In fact after some time every kind of argumet tends to run out, or people get tired of some kind of style or, again, it pass. So I think that this is probably the best way to make yourself known (even pretty quickly, if you are lucky and smart) but then you have to reinvent yourself along the way, and this can be even harder than to start….
    Even to me often happens to have a thing for an argument or a style for a moment and after some time step further.
    Your tips and sugestions are very clever anyway, and I totally agree with you: find a niche but don’t stay too much close to it. You have to stay close enough so that people can affectionate to youand became recognizable but not so much to cut your wings for other activities. it’s a diffucult balance but really the only way to survive on web in long term.

    Sending lots of good vibes, Pablo!
    XO
    S
    https://s-fashion-avenue.blogspot.com

    • Hey Silvia, as usual thanks for your nice feedback 🙂 I hope you’re doing good with the situation in Italy, at least there is a bit of sun at the end of the tunnel, right? 🙁

      And of course, a niche is important but we must keep aware of the upcoming tasks and the trends that can go too soon. You know what they said, it is easy to arrive but the most difficult part is to remain.

      Im glad that this was useful for yoU 🙂

  • I do agree with you. Finding a niche helps. I think that with work we have to opt for specialization sooner or later. Even with hobbies, you have to pick what you want. For me personally, it is hard to focus on what I want because I’m interested in everything but sometimes you just have to make your choices. I remember being at a lecture of one famous Croatian scientist Pavuna (he is also a motivational speaker). He said that we can all be great at something if we invest the needed amount of works. It takes 10 000 hours to become master at something. He talked about how when he was a student he had many hobbies, music, physics and etc. He had to make a choice. Either to leave his band or become a physicist or to have a band and abandon science. He choose physics. It is that way in life, we cannot have everything, we need to specialize.

    My motto is that we shouldn’t specialize as human beings (we should be versatile, able to be comfort others and ourselves, build relationships etc ) but when it comes to jobs and skills, specialization is the only way to become masters of something.

    Creating an unique style is a fantastic tip to set ourselves apart in any creative job. It is not easy to stand out these days and even when we do, we can be copied….but that’s a risk every creative has to take- as you said, it can also be an indication that we’re doing something right.

    I hope you’re doing well. Have a great day!

    • Hey dear Ivana, thanks for your comments ❤️ They always give a me a different perspective of the topic so thank you so much for that 🙂

      Thanks also for sharing the experience of Pavuna, this is inspirational 🙂

  • I totally agree with you on this post! I love how you lay out the pros and cons. Finding our niche is not as easy as it sounds but this time around, it will be best to reassess our social media / blog and really think through about our audience. I love the graphics too

    I hope you have a great weekend!
    Hope you stay healthy and safe
    xoxo
    style frontier

  • Such an interesting topic, as always! I do think the debate is really interesting and I’m not sure where I stand. I mean, in some aspects it’s great with a nice as, which you write, you often gets a higher level of knowledge. At the same time, companies that are more open have a tendency to be more flexible. I think it’s important however to find your own voice and be easy to identify. So perhaps I do think that you should have a main area where you pay most attention to, but be open to expand the business to include relating subjects too. For instance, if you do illustrations it can be nice to produce illustrations for mugs, pillows and clothes too etc. I mean, why not?! Xx

    http://www.thefashionfolks.com

    • I totally agree with you Mia!

      The part of searching new ways to diversify this nice could sound contradictory, but the example you mentioned for an illustrator to put the work in things like homeware is brilliant 😉

  • Oh I didn’t know about this term. This was really interesting.
    And I love the way you put the pros and cons. Your article are always so well constructed with amazing arguments and thoughts.
    And I love the illustration you always add.
    I’ll keep theses tips in mind.
    I think like you said it’s good to keep the work on something specific but giving some variations to avoid the boredom and always try to improve ourselves.
    xx
    Margot

    https://troughthepasturesofthesky.com

  • Hey Fungi!

    What a great article!!
    I have been thinking about the niche for a long time, so you gave me advices.

    The last paragraph is clear and true, and the second paragraph from the bottom is so important for me.
    I wanted to select only niche images on my instagram, so I made another account for Japanese art.
    Thank you always for your comments on it 🙂
    Sometimes, I am tired to have two accounts, but your blog encouraged me!

    akiko

    • Hey Akiko! I’m glad to hear that this blog post was useful for you 🙂

      The thing you mentioned about your fan for Japanese art is a great example of this topic 😀

  • ¡Eres el ilustrador más molón del mundo entero! En serio. Tus composiciones siempre son súper guays 🙂

    A mí lo de la creatividad me viene desde pequeña gracias a Art Attack jajajajaja. Siempre quería hacer todo lo que salía en los programas pero le daba mi toque personal, igual que ahora con todo. Eso sí, tengo que estar inspirada, si no, me sale un churro y me decepciono un montón…

    Lo del nicho me parece muy importante porque es una forma de destacar tu talento de los demás, estoy a favor de especializarse porque acabará siendo algo muy tuyo y se convertirá en tu sello de identidad. Y si uno cae en el aburrimiento, está a tiempo siempre de reinventarse y crear cosas mejores con una vuelta de tuerca.

    ¡Te has marcado un gran artículo, sí señor! 🙂

    Un besito, Pablo ❤
    Melania | mimalditadulzura.com

    • Ay Melania, muchas gracias por este comentario, me ha puesto una sonrisa en el rostro 🙂

      Lo de Art Attack estoy de acuerdo jaja, suena a tontería pero este tipo de programas si que funcionaron para hacer despegar nuestra creatividad siendo niños 🙂

      Te mando un abrazo ❤️

  • This is truly an interesting topic. I think in general, if you work in a creative field, sometimes it might seem hard to select your niche but then when you do – it makes it easier for you to approach both your work and customers. When you are bombarded with everything at once, you can get lost. Finding your authentic style is key. You know, that moment when your work is visually recognized by others without them seeing your name, this is when you have achieved something big. By the way, I love that animated gif you have created and your photo collages are actually fab! xx

    Naya
    http://www.nayatilly.com

    • I totally agree with you! The most complicated part is that the beginning, that’s why it is so important to try different things during the process 🙂

      Oooh thanks for your compliments about the collage, Naya