TSS #028: Don’t Pick a Niche. Embrace an Obsession.Jul 16, 2022
Read time: 3 minutes
Today, I’m going to talk about obsession vs. niche in the context of building a one-person business.
If you can understand the subtle difference between the two, you’ll build a better business, a more scalable business, and a business you actually enjoy running.
Unfortunately, most people are taking a far less enjoyable approach to an online game that requires 100% commitment.
Choosing a niche makes you a commodity. Choosing an obsession makes you the only.
I’ve watched hundreds (or maybe thousands) of people choose to become business advisors, executive coaches, social media consultants, etc.
The biggest challenges they face are:
- Staying motivated
- Differentiating themselves
- Being trapped by commodity pricing
- Struggling to stand out in a crowded space
They end up looking like, sounding like, and acting like all of their competition. The internet is full of copycats and duplicates.
Then, it’s a race to the bottom on price. That sucks.
Here's a better way:
Embrace Your Obsession
When people pick a niche, they generally lean on something they’ve learned in the professional world. Their skills from a current or previous 9 to 5.
The problem is that most people aren’t truly obsessed with the skills they've professionalized, so external motivation is required: forcing yourself to do research, slogging through boring client calls, or another cup of coffee to create more content.
It feels like a drag. Not too dissimilar from working a 9 to 5.
Obsession is the opposite.
Find something you want to do really badly, and you won’t need any goals, habits, systems, discipline, rewards, or any other mental hacks. When the motivation is intrinsic, those things happen on their own.— Daniel Vassallo (@dvassallo) July 13, 2022
When you start by embracing your obsessions, you rarely need any other external motivation.
You wake up each day with an intense desire to become the best in your specific obsession. That’s when your work ethic, desire, and discoveries become un-copyable. This is your moat.
So ask yourself this: “What am I absolutely obsessed with? What could I research, break down, and share with the world daily, that would feel like play instead of work?”
Develop Unique Knowledge
Unique knowledge is the knowledge that you have acquired on your unique journey, that other people want, but can’t figure out.
The best way to develop this unique knowledge is by putting maximum effort into exploring your obsession.
You get rewarded for unique knowledge, not for effort.— Naval (@naval) November 8, 2020
Effort is required to create unique knowledge.
For example, there are a million “productivity experts” and books on building better habits.
But James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits, stands head and shoulders above the rest.
Because his obsession with habits led him on a unique journey all his own. And out of that journey came unique knowledge like Habit Stacking, Plateau of Latent Potential, The 3 layers of Behavioral Change, and more.
Nobody can compete with James, because in a world of boring academic and scientific studies, James translated his obsession into unique knowledge that only he has.
Build Distribution By Studying People
Being obsessed and acquiring specific knowledge is only half of the game.
To build a business, people must know you exist.
And if you have specific knowledge, you owe it to the world to get it into their heads and hands.
This is where distribution comes in. The problem is that most people are bad at distribution because they copy what they see popular accounts doing online, but without the benefit of years of work and brand recognition.
So don’t do that.
Instead, study human psychology, marketing, and persuasion. Don’t copy your competition.
Once you understand how to generate attention, set up a simple customer journey that increases awareness, trust, and relationships.
The more you create, the more powerful you become.— James Clear (@JamesClear) July 15, 2021
The more you consume, the more powerful others become.
Scale Using Compounding, Daily Media
The internet has unlocked massive scale, unlike anything we’ve ever seen.
Yet, less than 1% of people take advantage of this absolutely incredible tool by producing daily media or content.
With your newfound understanding of psychology, marketing, and persuasion, it’s time to scale up a content strategy.
Take 15-30 minutes at the end of each day to observe what you accomplished or learned that day. What can you share with your audience that's a uniquely specific learning to you?
Tell stories, use metaphors, show real word examples, share behind the scenes, challenge conventional thinking, etc.
Every piece of content works on your behalf for hours and sometimes even days. Classic pieces of content have lasted years or even decades. That's the power of media.
For example, 5 days ago I released a Twitter thread that’s been seen over 5M times and counting.
It took me about 30 minutes to write and is bringing thousands of new web visitors and hundreds of customers to my website every single day.
It’s just one of 10 Tweets and 10 LinkedIn posts currently working on my behalf, while I write this newsletter issue.
No inbound marketing. No ads. No demand gen. No salespeople. No demos.
Just scale using media.
Well, that’s it for today.
I hope you enjoyed it.
See you again next week.
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