Business Education

How To Find Your Own Niche | Lacey Hunter-Felton

May 22, 2024

Co-Founder of Hunter Collective, shares the importance of owning, honing and believing in your niche for building a thriving freelance business.

Working independently as a freelance or self-employed stylist often means that you don’t have the structure of an established salon brand when defining your niche. With this in mind, it’s important you answer these questions for yourself: What is your aesthetic? What does your workspace say about you? Who are your clients? Why do they come to you?

Believe in your brand
Believing in the things that inspire you will inspire your clients – everything from the work you create and the products you use, to the coffee that you serve and how you market your business. Believing in your niche is all about confidence. It’s about identifying the elements that you love about your business (and what your current and future clients will love) and seeing the value in that. When you feel passionately about something, it will come through in what you do. With Hunter Collective, I’m very passionate about creating a clean, clutter-free environment, lots of natural light and candles scenting the spaces to ensure our members feel relaxed. When you walk into Hunter Collective, there are visual and sensorial elements that reflect our brand everywhere, and it is this niche environment that inspires and informs my community.

Identify your aesthetic
I get asked a lot about the Hunter Collective aesthetic and how I decided what the space should look like. When you’re looking for potential locations, it’s so important that you really believe in those areas and spaces. So, with Hunter Collective, we always look for a really strong sense of natural light and a strong bond to the local area, including a variety of shops and cafes that add to the community vibe. The specific elements that are crucial to our spaces might go unnoticed by other people, but they’re incredibly important in helping shape our niche.

When you’re choosing your location, consider what you’re trying to create and achieve. Perhaps you’re building a studio at the bottom of your garden next to a beautiful apple tree or converting your garage that’s got accessible parking for your clients. Whatever the location, find a space that sparks something in you.

Be prepared to make sacrifices
Carving out a niche literally means that you won’t appeal to everybody. Not everyone will like what you’re doing. You might think something is fantastic and that your clients are going to love it, but sometimes they won’t. You must be prepared to make decisions on how to handle this feedback. You can say ‘OK, you’ve got a point, I need to improve on this and grow from it’ and make small, manageable changes to improve your business, or you might say ‘OK, that client wasn’t right for my niche, they don’t see what I’m trying to create. They don’t bring anything to my business that’s of value to me and so I’m going to let that go.’

When you’re working with that niche mindset, you need the confidence to believe that if you lose certain clients, you’ll gain others who do understand your business and what you are trying to achieve. Believing in what you’re doing is key – if you don’t believe in it, no one else will.

Be flexible
An important point to make is that your business might require different things at different times. You could start out with one style of business model and then transition to another after a period of time. We all need to be able to grow, flex and stretch, and your clients need that as well. What’s lovely about creating a niche and following your passion is that it changes and evolves, allowing you to learn from your experience and move forward. It shows resilience and adaptability, and that’s one of the most important traits of any freelance business.

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