Exploring all your interests will give you unexpected answers
I suffer from having too many interests.
When I graduated from my nursing, I couldn’t pick a “specialty.” So I became a float nurse in a hospital that I worked in. I got deployed in different hospital areas, and I got exposed to all kinds of nursing.
I did that for almost a year, but I still couldn’t pick a home. I liked being a float nurse. I got to see everything and felt that I was picking many important skills in nursing. I floated everywhere except in the Emergency department.
One day, I decided to float there to see what it was like. It was chaotic, noisy and everything was happening all the time.
And I knew I found my home.
The Emergency Department is a specialty on its own. I get to see all kinds of patients — from children, mental health patients, critically ill, pregnant women and the elderly. You had to have diverse skillsets. You had to be good at everything but not the best at anything.
And I’m absolutely okay with that.
When I dove into the online world, I kept being told that you had to “niche down” or pick a “specialty.” I knew that wasn’t going to work for me.
So, that’s when I decided to create a whole new category of being a Multipassionate Creator. Niche down when you’ve built an audience and want to monetize but don’t if you’re new to the online world.
Here what you can do today if you’re struggling to niche down.
1. Adapt a Dora The Explorer Mindset
Let go of the “have to pick a niche” in the first six months.
Imagine yourself being a kindergarten introduced in a new classroom. The room has many different interesting areas. There’s a section for math, science, reading, puzzles, etc.
When I worked as an early childhood assistant, we let the kids explore by themselves. We didn’t put them in one area and told them that they could no longer explore other ones throughout the day. It s a very similar concept in the creator economy.
The online world has too many options. Let yourself explore, whether it’s with different topics or different formats. Figure out what lights you up. You can only learn what you love with exposure.
I didn’t know I would like writing ten months ago. I was convinced I was meant to have a YouTube channel. I tried vlogging multiple times, but it wasn’t working for me. I was open-minded enough to try the world of blogging, and so far, it’s been working.
Let yourself become an explorer if you’re feeling lost. This way, you don’t feel “trapped” in choosing one thing. You can allow yourself to focus on honing your creative skills rather than being trapped with the advice of “niching down.”
When you create content from a place of joy, it becomes more fun, and you also have more inner peace.
2. Become a Content Data-Scientist
When you shift to creation mode, keep track of your topics.
I shared a video and the free template of how to do this. But basically, you track your posts and the topics you are posting. If you’re starting from scratch, I would keep track of your posts and the followers you have at each time.
This was a mind trick. I had to see that the more I post, the more followers I got. So I kept publishing. It’s not to chase the vanity metric, but it’s just a motivation metric I used at the beginning of my writing journey.
After your first 5- 10 published posts, start keeping track of how many views or another metric you want to know.
When you keep track of your data, you can get a sense of how many people are interested in the topic you’re talking about.
You can also analyze whether your headline is doing well based on the number of views. I use comments/shares to get a sense if people care about this topic I’m talking about.
I used to get discouraged by the vanity metrics since I thought that my content wasn’t good enough or people didn’t like my stuff. But I realized that no one is keeping tabs on my posts but myself.
I had to develop a healthier way to look at these data and use them to my advantage as a creator.
3. Explore the Middle of Your Venn Diagram
Over time, you’ll realize that you’ll find the topics you love talking about.
You’ll also know what others love hearing from you. This happens when you’re unintentional or intentional with the content you produce.
When I went back on my posts, I realized that I liked talking about mindset. I wrote topics on changing your mind about your career and being confused as a millennial.
A lot of people have DM’d me thanking me for writing my topics. That was an indication that mindset was going to be in the middle of my Venn diagram.
These days, I talk a lot about my observations and experience as an online creator, and people engage with it.
In the beginning, you might not know what you want to talk about. And that’s okay. It’s more important to talk about whatever you want, and over time, realize that there will be an intersection.
I found that even though I’m interested and good at finance, I can’t bring myself to type about this. But at least I’ll know.
Talk about everything, and start eliminating the things you don’t love talking about.
And who knows, maybe you’ll explore them later.
4. Design Your Own Niche
Niche is not the topic you want to talk about.
I think of niche as a combination of my unique life experiences, interests, and what people need help with. When successful creators tell you that you have to niche down, it won’t work as a content creator. Niching down only works when you’re selling something.
For example, you might be selling an online program that helps busy millennial women lose weight using 30-min home workouts. That makes sense. But, your overall niche or content strategy would include topics on mindset (as it relates to fitness), nutrition, workouts, etc.
If you’re in the beginning stages of your journey, don’t worry about niching down. If you don’t know what to help others with (i.e. you’re not selling something), it would be useless to ‘niche down.’ It’s more important to figure out what you love talking about what others like hearing from you.
And you’ll be able to design your niche.
I wish I’d figured this out way before I spent $3000+ on online courses.
I’ve seen way too many people struggling with this topic. I hope that this post becomes a reminder that you shouldn’t let others tell you what to do, including me. This is the way that it’s been working for me.
It’s slow growth, but the people I have interacted with definitely have a similar mindset. And that’s what you want. You don’t want fake engagement nor fake friendships to get money online.
Because it may seem hard, but it’s not. It’s much harder to find things you love doing, so it’s better to focus on that in your early creator stage.
This post first appeared on Start Up.