Solopreneurs are frequently encouraged to “find your niche.” I disagree with that advice.
Don’t find your niche. Create your niche.
As an example of what niche creation looks like, consider the story of Bob Chandler, the St. Louis construction worker who became a legendary figure for turning a weekend passion into a multimillion-dollar industry.
As this article in American Profile explains,
In 1974, Chandler purchased a Ford F-250 pickup truck to haul tools and equipment during the week and to take off-road excursions through the Missouri countryside on the weekends. Within a year, his newfound passion for four-wheeling turned into a business and he opened a parts and service shop, the Midwest Four-Wheel Drive Center, in Hazelwood, Missouri.
It turned out that Chandler was his own best customer, as he routinely bent, buckled and broke his truck during his hill-climbing, mudslinging adventures. Each time his truck broke down, he rebuilt it slightly bigger and stronger.
Chandler painted the nickname Bigfoot on his truck, which had grown to monstrous proportions. By 1979, Bigfoot was receiving so much attention from off-road enthusiasts that a promoter asked Chandler to bring his truck to an auto show in Denver, Colorado.
When Chandler began smashing cars as part of Bigfoot’s routine, the monster-truck phenomenon was born. In the early 1980s, a fledgling sports television network in search of programming — ESPN — began broadcasting monster-truck events. Monster-truck competitions quickly grew into a multimillion-dollar industry.
Today, 38 years after purchasing his F-250, Chandler no longer competes, but he remains active in the sport and oversees his 17,000-square-foot Bigfoot facility and four-wheel drive shop in Hazelwood. And Chandler’s legend will live on, as he was inducted into the Monster Truck Hall of Fame’s first class of honorees, in 2011.
Create Your Niche
Think about that. Chandler took a weekend pastime and turned it into a niche business. The business grew into an industry, and the industry became so large that a hall of fame was created for it.
That’s niche creation at its finest.
Create your niche.