Identify your niche early, and refine it often.

When we become micro business owners, it is often because we have realized that we possess some skill or talent that most others do not, and we have figured out a way to monetize that skill. Simply put, we have figured out how to get paid for doing what we love.

At odds with this mindset, however, is the entrepreneurial spirit within us, which wants to remain flexible and not commit too deeply to our niche, for fear that it will keep us locked in to a particular area of work while making us irrelevant and undesirable to countless prospective customers. There, cold and alone, we will surely face certain death as our remaining customers abandon us for those whose businesses serve a broader purpose.

Here we must face the timeless question: to remain a generalist, or to become a specialist. To be, or not to be. There are by definition two schools of thought on this – be one, or be the other. If the former, we remain poised to help anyone with any issue at any time. The entire world can be our customer – we have 7.9 billion potential clients. As a micro business, we need all the customers we can get. Why would we possibly want to rule anyone out?

If you’ve ever tried gas station sushi, you understand the issue. Businesses are rarely really good at more than one thing – or at best, no more than one category of thing. To extend the example, a gas station might also also run a thriving maintenance garage and towing company, as all of these all obviously fall under the umbrella of the automotive industry. Too much integration, however, quickly becomes a bad thing.

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