Why is it important to find a niche?

Why is it important to find a niche?

It's really hard to make this job work.

Mainly it's to do with clients –– getting them, holding on to them, getting paid by them, and of course doing the job for them.

It's a long process from start, to...start, to start.... to finish –– having to do the whole process again and hopefully again just to keep the work coming in.

It can be a vicious circle.

Case study of an advertising job:

A client wants to option you for a job, but first you need to do a few things.

  • They want you to create a mood-board for them. This will be for free - half a day's work.

  • They like the mood-board, now do a costing for them... this will also be done for free - half a half-day’s work.

  • You do the costing. They want you to cut it back - another half a half-day's work.

  • You cut it back, because you need this job..

You're offered the job, YEY!!!

  • You try to be savvy and negotiate your fee, but they offer you a low amount.

  • You take the low amount, because you don't know when the next job is coming in - or the next client for that matter...

You work five days rather than the three prep days they are paying you for.


  • Because, realistically, this is how long you need to prep well for any normal-sized advertising job.

  • Three days is never enough, but we do it regardless.

  • Add into this the emails back & forth of what you have so far - “photos on a mannequin if you please.” And don’t forget the PPM (Pre Production Meeting) - at least three-quarters or a day to sort and do.

  • You have to go out for another prep trip to the shops, because Susan the assistant Art Director at the PPM suggested perhaps something else a little different - which you did not get because it wasn't on the brief, but 'what a great idea Susan!!' - thanks Susan....

You do the shoot.

  • All goes hunky dory, they LOVE what you have done. You are a star!

  • The shoot's ok, not something you can put in your portfolio, but at least you are getting paid.

You do the returns.

  • You take or send all the returns back to the shops and online stores you have bought the clothes from. You hope to God that you get the money back into your account, because you over-spent on the budget, and used your own cash to pay for the clothes that were lacking. Oh and you paid for them with your Credit Card - Did I say you get paid for this full day of work? No I didn't, because if you are lucky you will get 1/2 a prep-day fee for returns, but more likely not even that.

  • The job takes you the majority of the day to sort and return - one day's work

You now arrange your invoice, expenses & budget cost all the receipts.

  • I know what you are going to ask...! No, you do not get paid for this. Depending on the job it could take a few hours or a whole day - let's split the difference and say half a day's work.


You are paid for three days prep and one day shoot.

So in all, you should by rights only have worked and gotten paid for four day's work.

What you in fact have done, is said yes to a terrible job, for a low fee - then worked 8.5 days in total.

So, Why is it important to find a niche?

Because if you “niche,” you will be one of a FEW stylists doing what you do and not one of many. If you are one of a FEW, you can pretty much charge the right kind of fee for what you do.

If you are one of MANY, the clients can undercut and undercut until they find someone that will inevitably say yes to a very low fee, which will in turn always keep your fees low.

But, I hear you say, they never will raise the number of prep days!!!

You are correct on that one. If it turns out that you are only getting paid for 4 days out of 8.5 - at least you can charge the correct amount for those four days, for a job that you know will take more than eight.

Let's hope you get paid when you are meant to…..

Danielle XX

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