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Create Your Own Niche

eric face 3 red

Dear friend,

A piece of entrepreneurial advice: create your own niche.

Create success for yourself

San Diego hall man suit

Which means,

Let’s say you have a passion for something. Do you want to make a living out of it? You can. But how?

Create the niche, by popularizing the concept, becoming the nexus (center) for that niche, and becoming the expert in that niche you cultivate.


The benefit of being naive

Street photography flash eye eric kim

For example when I started this blog in 2010, street photography was a much smaller niche. Nobody (at least I know of) was making a full-time living from street photography. My passion was street photography, and I desired to make a living from it.

Yet everyone else told me,

“Eric, you’re crazy. There’s no way to make a living or monetize street photography. Don’t be foolish.”

People were misguided when they told me this. Their logic was,

If something doesn’t exist, it means it isn’t possible.

Yet, my thinking is this:

If your niche doesn’t exist yet, it’s because you haven’t attempted it yet.


You’ll never know what you’re capable of if you never try.

Istanbul eye contact street photography eric kim

Now to be clear, just because you attempt something doesn’t mean you will be successful. However, you never know whether it will be possible or not unless you try it out for yourself.

Too often than not, nay-sayers will discourage you from attempting. Why? They might be scared for you, or they might be envious that you have the boldness to take an uncommon risk in life, and they secretly want to see you fail (or not succeed).

No matter if others hate on you, let them hate. Just ignore your haters and the nay sayers. Rather, focus on your own audacious goals in life.


What is your passion?

Red Tucson Street Photograph

I don’t know what your passion is, but if a market doesn’t exist for it yet, don’t let that discourage you.

For example, let’s say your passion is stamp collecting. Doesn’t sound very lucrative, right? But what if you started to make luxury stamps, like the Louis Vuitton or Gucci of stamps. It might work!

eric kim melbourne benjamin thompson
ERIC KIM x LEICA MP + 35mm Summicron ASPH + SF 20 flash + HENRI NECK STRAP

In the past, cameras were only seen as tools. Now, you can buy a digital Leica for $7,000 USD+. How and why? Leica has been smart in positioning themselves as a luxury brand. Leica is now both a camera and a piece of jewelry you can wear. But instead of wearing a Rolex watch that (only) shows time, you can have a nicely engineered camera that looks sexy and (also) takes photos.


How I was able to succeed in the niche of street photography

Eric Rivera smoke street portrait

My passion was street photography, and I’ve been able to make it a successful business from 2010-2018. It took a lot of work, 8 years, countless hours of research in my field (studying the masters and making street photography 101, and hundreds of videos on YouTube. I was able to successfully monetize it via workshops and selling products in my shop and on Amazon.

I was able to make a living from my niche passion of street photography, because of several factors:

  1. Support from more influential brands and people starting off: Early on, Leica (thank you Christian and JJ) helped me a lot with brand support. Also, Darren Rowse from Digital Photography School promoting my guest posts. Todd Hatakeyama with in person entrepreneurial support. And of course, the hundreds of my friends and people from the community. I couldn’t have started off by myself alone.
  2. Luck with timing: In 2010, there were very few if any websites and blogs dedicated on how to shoot street photography. I started this blog with lucky timing: there was a gap, a vacuum for street photography education.
  3. Hustle: Of course I worked hard. I was able to popularize street photography through blogging about it, featuring people in the community, making free ebooks and presets. All of this helped popularize the genre of street photography.

What happens when a niche goes mainstream?

Hanoi Street photography eric kim

Now I’m very happy! Street photography is quite mainstream, with lots of talented street photographers teaching their own workshops and courses, with lots of contests on street photography, street photography specific cameras, and lots of great educational resources and platforms on it. I’ve personally benefitted, as well as countless other individuals whose passion is street photography (or discovered street photography to be a passion).

But what’s lacking now? Ideas on photography business and entrepreneurship. This is the new gap I’m trying to fill.


How do you know if it’s a niche or not?

Hanoi Street photography

1. Help yourself

Treat yourself like your first client, customer, or user. If you have a “pain point”— something you want to learn about, ask yourself:

“Is there already a good resource, platform, or business which addresses this need?”

If not, it’s a niche you should get into for yourself!

2. Google it

Another idea: just Google for it online, and see if you find satisfactory information about it online. But also realize that just because others are doing it, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it too. It’s not too late for you, and you don’t know what you’re capable of until you try it out for yourself!

If others have already been doing your niche, how can you “meaningfully differentiate” yourself? What can be your unique angle, perspective, spin on it? What strength or part of your personality can you inject into your niche? You can discover your unique skill set by “cross pollinating” your talents, interests, and skills. Then just put yourself out there!


Start Building!

Tree Hanoi

Start building your own empire today, brick by brick. Rome started off as a little mound of dirt on a hill. Don’t let your own humble beginnings get in the way.

BE BOLD,
ERIC


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Table of Contents

Learn how to make a living from your passion:


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Photography Blogging

How to Teach Photography

Social Media

How to Save Money

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By ERIC KIM

Artist-Philosopher