Listen To My Latest Podcast Episode:

#680: Experiencing Content Creation Burnout? 5 Powerful Strategies I Swear By

Listen To My Latest Podcast Episode:#680: Experiencing Content Creation Burnout? 5 Powerful Strategies I Swear By

AMY PORTERFIELD: “Let's say that you're still in your nine-to-five job, but you're starting to build out a platform. Maybe you're even podcasting in a specific niche that you really feel passionate about, and you're just not getting any traction. Or maybe you've already left a nine to five. You're on your own. You are building your business, but things just aren't clicking. You're in that season of frustration and struggle. And you've chosen this niche based on your expertise and your knowledge and the results maybe you've gotten for yourself that you want to teach other people how to get, but it's just not working. You're not making the kind of money you need to make. You're not building your audience, at least not at the pace that you were hoping to build. And you're thinking, ‘Did I choose the wrong niche?’ So let's talk about that. Again, maybe you're not selling a whole lot. You're not feeling like you're progressing. Whatever it is, you know something is off, and you're unsure of whether you should cut bait—like, ‘I'm moving to another niche,’—or ‘I need to stick this out.’”  

INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-seven-figure business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, the budget, and the time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and a life you love, you're in the right place, friend. Let's get started. 

AMY: Well, hey, there, friend. Welcome back to Online Marketing Made Easy 

I wanted to check in with you. How are you feeling? How are things going? I’d just like to remind you that no matter if things are going great, which I hope they are, but they might not be going so great. You might be struggling with some things. It might be a challenging time for you. I just want to remind you, you are in a season, and just like seasons of fall and summer and spring, seasons change. You will not stay here. Even if it's really good right now, it's going to get hard at some point. That's life, right? But I'm really speaking to those of you who are struggling right now; things aren't clicking the way you want them to. You will not always be here. You will absolutely move out of the season, and you will move into a season where you are thriving, things start clicking, things start working better. That's how life works. So if it's hard right now, hold on. Keep showing up. A new season will come for you. That's just how it works in business. So hold on, my friend.  

Okay. So this is my six hundredth episode. Six hundredth episode. Now, if you would have told me back in 2013, when I started this podcast, that I would hit six hundred episodes, I would have laughed in your face. I was basically doing one episode a month, had no plan, really didn't even know how I was going to keep this going. And so I'm so grateful for people like you that keep showing up and you're listening and you're sharing the podcast and you're leaving reviews. It literally has allowed me to create something I absolutely love and a way for me to give consistent value. So if you have been a listener, you’re a new listener or an O.G., thank you so much for being here. 

Today's topic is all about your niche. Now, this is a word that gets thrown around a lot and for good reason. One, no one knows how to say it. Niche, niche, whatever. And also, the reason this topic comes up a lot is that when you are clear on your niche, everything becomes so much easier. When you're creating content, when you're selling, when you're serving, when you know your niche and you're very clear, all of that is easier. There's no doubt about it.  

Now, when I say niche, I'm talking about the thing that you're known for—like, how you serve in terms of the topic and what you're teaching on and where you add value—and also, the specific audience that you serve. And so it's either you're doing that now or you're working toward, “Amy, I want to be known for this, and this is the audience I serve. I'm not there yet, but that's what I'm focused on.” And I'm taking a different approach here because I want to talk about what to do when your niche doesn't seem to be working for you.  

So let's say that you're still in your nine-to-five job, but you're starting to build out a platform. Maybe you're even podcasting in a specific niche that you really feel passionate about, and you're just not getting any traction. Or maybe you've already left a nine to five. You're on your own. You are building your business, but things just aren't clicking. You're in that season of frustration and struggle. And you've chosen this niche based on your expertise and your knowledge and the results maybe you've gotten for yourself that you want to teach other people how to get, but it's just not working. You're not making the kind of money you need to make. You're not building your audience, at least not at the pace that you were hoping to build. And you're thinking, “Did I choose the wrong niche?” So let's talk about that. Again, maybe you're not selling a whole lot. You're not feeling like you're progressing. Whatever it is, you know something is off, and you're unsure of whether you should cut bait—like, “I'm moving to another niche,”—or “I need to stick this out.” That’s what we're going to talk about today in this Shorty episode.  

Now, if you've been with me for a while, you might already know that I changed my niche early on in my business. In fact, for the first two years—my O.G.s know this—I did social media for small businesses. I was not only creating posts for my clients on all different platforms and scheduling all their social media, but I was also doing audits for different businesses, like looking into their social media, giving them a report of what's working and not working. So I was deep into social media and doing it for other businesses.  

And then, after doing that for a bit, I realized that I wanted to do something different. I did not love working one on one with clients, so I knew that I had to change my business model—not necessarily my niche yet. Social media was my niche, and helping small businesses was my audience—I didn't want to move away from that, but I wanted to do a different business model because I didn't like one on one, personally. That's just my personal opinion. And I also knew—and this is not a personal opinion. I think this is a fact—you can only make so much as a solopreneur doing one-on-one work. There's only one of you, right? So there's only so many hours in a day to serve the clients that you're serving and make the kind of money you want to make.  

So I thought, “Okay. I got to change my business model.” And that's when I decided to start creating digital courses. And specifically, because I was in the social-media realm, I created a program around Facebook marketing. This is after my first big failed digital-course launch. We won't even go into that. Most of you already know. But my first successful course was around Facebook marketing. And this digital course absolutely put me on the map. It was called FB Influence. I created it with my friend Lewis Howes, and it was insanely popular. And we marketed it for a few years, and I did hundreds and hundreds of webinars. Speaking of, Lewis Howes helped me figure out my first webinar and taught me how to get started. So it was really cool, and I feel indebted to him for that. And so I started to create these digital courses and sell them with webinars.  

Now, that's the interesting thing about digital courses. When done right, when you go all in and when you continue to launch the same course over and over again, you become known for that subject matter. When you do it right—and when I say go all in, you're using social media, you're using email marketing, you're using a webinar to sell, and you're doing this frequently—you become known for it.  

Now, what I don't teach now but what I did back then was I had this one digital course. It was ninety-seven dollars. We even had a twelve pay for a ninety-seven-dollar offer. It is true. I would not do that again, nor do I suggest it.  

Listen, this was, like, thirteen, maybe twelve, thirteen years ago. It was a long time ago, and it was a different world at the time. And so at that time, I would do tons of webinars. We would contact an affiliate. We'd say, “Hey, do you want me to do a webinar for your audience?” And I would do one or two webinars for someone’s specific audience. They brought their audience to the webinar. And then the next day, I would do it for another affiliate. They were these one-off webinars, and I was doing probably five to six a week, I would guess. And one, that's how I became so good at webinars. Repetition is the mother of skill, right? And also, it was really cool to see, like, me getting to work with all these different affiliates. And at the time, Lewis had a lot of those connections—I didn't—so I was really grateful for that, and that's why it worked. 

Now, fast forward to today, and I don't want you doing five or six webinars a week for months and months and months, so I'm more inclined to teach you how to launch a few times a year, and you bring multiple affiliates to the same webinar, making it easier. So it's just a different kind of launch style today that we see working versus back then. And back then, I believe that was a lot harder, but we didn't know any better. Like, that's what was working.  

But whether you do it the way I used to do it or the way I teach it now, doing it consistently, that's what puts you on the map. That's how you get known for something. That's why I love digital courses so much, because so many of you right now are getting lost in the online noise. So many of you are working your butt off. You are doing so many of the right things. However, it's not consistent, or it's not just a few focused things you do right, so you're spread too thin, and you are getting lost in the sea of noise online. But the way to cut through the noise is when you absolutely are known for something because you keep showing up for that thing.  

So I transitioned from a service-based business, doing social media for all platforms, to teaching how to do Facebook marketing. And that's where the niche changed. Remember earlier I said I was known for doing social media—I wasn't really known for it—but I was doing social media, and I was doing social media for small businesses. And when I started to create a digital course, I did that as well.  

But where the niche change came in—and this is what I wanted to really point out—is that I made a course on Facebook. And so my niche did shift in the sense that it wasn't all social-media platforms; now it was one. And so now I was known for Facebook marketing—still in the social-media realm—Facebook marketing for small businesses.  

And then, I honed in on that even more. And because the first time I launched that Facebook course, it was for anyone who wanted to market online. But then, I realized, “Wait. If you have a physical product and you want to market online, I'm not your girl. I've never done that before. But if you have an info product—a course, a membership, a mastermind, some kind of information product—you're selling online and you want to sell it with Facebook, I'm your girl.”  

So now over time, it was a very subtle shift. I went from all social media to just Facebook. I went to all small businesses to just those who want to market an information-type product online.  

Now, I'm telling you this story to kind of show you how things transitioned over time for me, because there might be some nuggets in here that you can hold on to and say, “Wait. This applies to what I'm doing as well.”  

So I went from all social-media platforms, all audiences and small businesses to Facebook with info products. And then, I started to launch a different digital course still in Facebook. It was Facebook ads. So I did that for a while.  

And then what happened is that people started to say, “Amy, how are you launching these digital courses with so much success?” The question kind of started to change from “How do I do Facebook marketing?” to “How do I create a course and launch it?” And you have to listen and pay attention, because if I wasn't paying attention, I might have missed those questions. But they started coming up enough that it's, like, I couldn't miss them.  

Now, I could just say, “You know, that's not something I teach, nor do I want to teach it.” That's not an interest I had. But I love teaching, and I'm an entrepreneur. I like to mix things up. I don't want to flip flop from one thing to another. But if I've been doing it for a while, and I see a progression, and I'm gravitating toward it, like, “I like that,” and I know there's money to be made there, there's a desire for people to learn in that area, then I'm going to pay attention.  

So when that question continued to pop up over and over again, two things came up for me. Number one, I had to ask myself, “Is this something I'm really interested in and want to do? Not just, like, one time, but in a bigger way.” I think that's the mistake I see so many of my students do. People start asking them about something related to what they're already doing, and they're like, “Wait a second. I can do that.” So they go to teach it, and they don't really think it out. They teach it one time, and then they're like, “Never mind.” And then they go back to what they were doing, or they flip to something else.  

I've actually seen it with digital courses. And this is not to put anybody down, but it's very near and dear to my heart, where I've seen some of my students do really well with their digital courses. And let's say they teach nutrition, and they do really well with their digital courses. People start to say, like, “Oh, can you teach me how to create a course?” or “Who did you learn from?” or whatever. And they think, “Well, people are asking me about my amazing digital course. I should teach it.” So they literally create an entire course on how to do courses, and they launch it one time, and then I never see them launch it again. And it's likely because they jumped to where the money was, but their heart wasn't into it.  

And this is a common mistake I think we've all been guilty of one way or another. “There's a demand. There's money to be made. I've seen it proven by other people. I'm going to jump in because people are asking me how I did it,” where if your heart's not into it or you're not planning to do it long term and stick it out even when it gets hard, even when it's not working, and you're not willing to literally change your entire business model to something else, then become an affiliate. I mean, not just of Digital Course Academy. You can become an affiliate of someone else's program if you want, but you don't have to go all in and create that thing just because people are asking you for it. You could literally promote it and make a lot of money by being an affiliate.  

And that's what I do. Like, people ask me all the time, “How do you create a membership site?” I have a multi-million-dollar membership site. I do really well with that in my business. And people ask me all the time, “How do you get a membership site started? How do you add content? How do you make sure you don't feel like you're on a hamster wheel with a membership site?” And I have no desire to create a program on membership sites, but I have a very good friend who's the leading expert, and you can bet I'm an affiliate for him, which is The Membership Experience, Stu McLaren. So that way, I could stay in my lane, I could stay focused on what I do best, but I could also contribute, add value, and make revenue in another area where I don't have to do all the heavy lifting. Just something to think about.  

So again, when people start asking you, “How are you doing that? How are you doing that?” you ask yourself, number one, “Is this something I'm really interested in and want to teach not just one time, but in a bigger way?” And if your answer is yes, you have to say, “Okay. What do I need to stop doing in order to make this work? And is this a huge shift from what I am doing? Am I willing to change my business to go all in in this area?” And so you have to make sure these questions are yes. And for me, when I asked myself, you know, “Do you want to teach digital courses?” I absolutely did. I love teaching other people how to create courses. I was really excited. I knew I was good at it, but not just courses, but webinars. So I thought, “I could put together an entire system.” And I had been teaching Facebook for many, many years, and I was tired of it because Facebook changed so rapidly that I literally couldn't keep a course current for more than, like, a month or two. and it was driving me crazy. So I knew that I was ready to make a shift.  

And then, one other question is, “Is there a need for this? Is there a demand? Can I make money from this? Can I add immense value if I lean into this niche?” Now, likely the answer is going to be yes if you're excited about it, but not always. So again, here's another question you have to ask, “Is there a demand? Is there an audience for this that I can access? Can a lot of money be made in this?” We're not doing it for a hobby, right? “And am I willing to make a huge shift if that's what's needed?”  

Like, for me, it wasn't a huge shift. Yes, I started to move away from Facebook, but in Digital Course Academy, which is my signature program, I teach social media in terms of how to grow a list and sell a digital course. It was still in my world. It wasn't like, “Whoa. Amy’s doing something dramatically different.” Most people didn't even realize the shift until it happened. So something to think about.  

So those are the questions I would ask in the beginning. And they helped me determine whether or not I was going to change my niche and go in a different direction.  

Now, I think it's important to say that I didn't know that this would be so successful. I wasn't like, “Oh, I'm going to create digital courses and teach other people how to do so, and I'm going to make millions of dollars.” It was more like, “I've been teaching Facebook marketing for many, many years. I am frustrated because Facebook changes so rapidly, and I don't want to continue to have to update my courses every month. And also, my students have a desire to learn how to create digital courses. And I could use my social-media knowledge to teach them how to market those courses, so this is aligned. And I'm ready for my next chapter.”  

I also—this is important—I had a 10 percent edge. I had the results under my belt. I had been doing it for years. That's another thing. Sometimes my students will do something, whatever it is, one time, and they do a really good job. Like, they create a challenge, and the challenge is wildly successful. So the next thing they do is they create a digital course on how to create challenges, but they've only done it one time. They don't have a lot of history; a lot of good, bad, and ugly to pull from so that they can teach all the edges of something new, like, all the details. So I had been doing it for a while. I had a lot of results, years of creating my own courses and launching them. And so I felt ready to teach other people.  

Now, don't let that scare you, because the 10 percent edge means that you've gotten results for yourself or for somebody else, and you are willing to teach the step by step on how to get it. But I do believe that if you've just done it one time, you want to make sure that you can replicate it. So whatever you did that one time to get results, can you do it again or can you do it with somebody else even if you took a pro-bono client? I think it would be important. It's just going to give you more confidence.  

So I had the 10 percent edge. I'd been doing it for a while. That was enough for me. And you don't have to do it for years and years and years to be ready to create a digital course around it. You just need to be really confident in your ability to get results. And usually, usually, that takes more than one time to do so.  

So all of these years later, I'm very happy I did this, because I do have a business that I love, and I do believe I found where I’m meant to be. Is this my purpose in life? I don't know. But I do really think I'm good at it, and I love it, and I've been able to get a lot of people results. So this feels good to me.  

So that was my experience. But let's talk about you. I talked about a lot about me in this episode, which I try not to do. Let's talk about you and how you can make the decision to keep pouring into your niche or switch directions.  

So for starters, if you're considering a different direction, you've got to ask yourself, “Did I give this enough time? Did I really exhaust all of my options here? Did I launch several times? And most importantly, do I have an audience?” If you don't have an audience or if you don't have an email list and you say, “But Amy, I've tried to launch, and I've posted on social, but no one's buying,” it’s not because you're in the wrong niche. It's not because you have the wrong product. It's because you don't have an audience. So before you jump niches, make sure that you've grown that email list to at least five hundred people before you launch anything, and make sure you've built up that social. There's no magic bullet around building an audience. You have to do the work. So if you are in a niche that's not working, and you look at your email list and it's less than five hundred, and you look at your social and there's no engagement, it's likely you have no idea if it's your product, it's likely the fact that you just don't have enough people paying attention. I wouldn't jump ship just yet. Because you might be sitting on a gold mine, but you just don't have an audience that knows about it yet. I'd be so sad to see you leave that behind without really realizing what it could do.  

So I'll say it again because it's that important. You've got to prioritize building your audience. So if audience building is not something that you're investing your time and energy into with your current niche, then that's where you need to start.  

Another thing to ask yourself before changing your niche is, “Do I have more expertise in this area or equal expertise to other people who are successful in it? Do I have results under my belt? Can I be a go-to source for this?” Now, we've already gone over the 10 percent edge, the fact that you get results for yourself or others. If you haven't gotten results in this area or you just feel like, “I've only been doing it for six months. I just did it one time, and I was successful. I probably need a little bit more expertise or time under my belt,” then continue to build up your knowledge, your expertise, and your results in that area before you make the switch, because it just gets really hard. But again, we're looking for that 10 percent edge, and I just want you to feel confident that, yes, I can teach this.  

Now, if your new niche is completely different from your current one—let's say you are a graphic designer, and you want to move into helping people sleep train their toddlers. Very different—then you should definitely consider building a new audience and a social-media following. And that's going to take time. You're not going to make money right away. Maybe you start building this new audience, but on the side you continue to do the graphic design to bring in some money. And when you've built an audience over in this other area, you can let go of the graphic design. You might need to have your feet in both areas for a little while. But if your new niche is similar to your current one, like my situation, then you can keep your same audience and build upon the momentum that you currently have. That's the optimal situation.  

Remember, I went from doing social media to creating a course about Facebook, which is one specific social-media platform. And then I went into taking your expertise and turning it into a digital course and using social media to help people launch their course. So social media was a throughline through all of that, and small-business owners, although I got more specific, throughline, so it was easier for me to make that transition.  

But if it is a big switch, you've got to think pretty seriously about whether you're willing to invest time and effort into rebranding, rebuilding your audience from the ground up, and becoming known in that area. It's not impossible, my friend, but it does take a lot of work. So be mindful before you make the big switch. And if you're open to making the switch, be patient. These things take time.  

Okay. We've reached the end of this episode, and you know what that means: next steps and a little recap. Pull out your journal or open up a Google Doc and answer these questions if you want more clarity on whether or not you should change up your niche.  

Number one, ask yourself, “Is this new niche something I'm really interested in and want to do?” Jot down your answer. Number two, ask yourself, “Is there a demand for this niche? Can I make money with it? Can I add value to people? Do I have the 10 percent edge?” You likely have the 10 percent edge. So typically, when I ask this question, you don't need years and years and years of experience. You don't need to have been doing it for a long time and special certifications. You just need to have gotten results for yourself, hopefully more than once, or you've gotten results for somebody else as well, so now you feel proficient in teaching how you do it.  

And those of you who join me in Digital Course Academy, I just want to put it out there that I really spend a lot of time in that program teaching people how to teach. Just because you know your content doesn't mean you've ever taught it to somebody else. So if you've ever, like, thought, “I just don't know how I would teach it. I've never done that. I've only gotten results for myself,” I absolutely teach people how to teach inside of a digital course. I think it's something overlooked but very, very important. 

And then, another question you want to ask is, “Is this new niche related enough to your current one that you could bring in your audience with you on this new journey? Or do you need to build a new audience?” There's no right or wrong answer here, but you do need to be honest with yourself. “Do I need a new audience here, or can I use the audience I already have?” And if you are a graphic designer and you want to go into toddler sleep training, that is a new audience. You're not just going to say, “Hey, graphic-design audience. If you have a toddler, this is for you.” There's more work you're going to need to do than just that. You could do that, but that's, like, a tiny piece of building a bigger audience.  

And also, another question is, “Do I have more expertise in this area or equal expertise to people who are successful in it?” That's a dangerous question because I don't want you to compare yourself. But I guess where I'm going with that question is, “Am I proficient in this? Could I teach this? Have I gotten the results in a way that I feel confident to teach it? Or do I need to spend a little bit more time getting myself up to speed, a little bit more experience?” Just continue to think of that 10 percent edge.  

So spend some time with this, be honest with yourself, journal about it because this is a big decision, but I'm so glad I made those small tweaks along the way. And for me, because it wasn't a huge shift, I didn't have to make a big announcement that I was changing things up. It looked more like just a normal journey I was on versus something very jarring. So the ideal situation is it's not going to have to be super jarring. Maybe it will, but ideal situation is you can ease into this.  

All right, my friend. I hope you loved this Shorty episode and found value in it. Thank you so much for hanging out with me. If you know somebody who's kind of struggling with figuring out their niche, figuring out where they belong, and just kind of making it all come together, maybe this is the episode they need to listen to. So grab the link, and I'd be so grateful if you shared it with a friend.  

All right. I'll see you on Thursday for more entrepreneurial goodness, same time, same place. Bye for now.