How Choosing A Lane Can Create A Better Product

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What does every artist, producer, manager, photographer, entrepreneur have in common? Trying to be too many things to too many people. Yikes. That one stung, right?

It is impossible to survive any industry with only passion or validation. Ryan Holiday, author of Perennial Seller, says that, “creative people naturally produce false positives,” meaning something you may think is really good… simply isn’t. Litmus tests - or creating a product - must be done to know if your product is going to succeed in the marketplace, so you can find out if you even have an audience to sell to. What is a product? Well, if you are a producer or musician… music. If you are a manager… the artist. If you are a photographer… you get it. Assumingely, you already have a product, which is why you are here.

The second step is discovering who you are attracting with your product. Many businesses fail because they want to offer something for everyone, and end up being for no one, because they cannot clearly define who their product is for. Your product and expertise is designed for a certain niche - use that to your advantage.

If you haven’t thought about who you are trying to reach then what have you thought about?
— - Ryan Holiday

Picking a lane is so empowering, and leads to you becoming an expert in your specific field. For example, I have been a photographer for over twelve years, but I do not shoot weddings. This is not where I have built my portfolio or my network. Have I shot weddings in the past and can I in the future? Absolutely. However, weddings are not in line with how I established my brand, brides are not the demographic I want to attract, nor would I use their photographs in my portfolio - so the return on investment for my business would be low.

I will say, musicians and artists have a little more wiggle room here, as art has no limitations. It is a delicate balance between not forcing yourself into a box, but also clearly defining your product so that you will be able to more profoundly market and cater to your specific audience. Defining your audience will allow you to focus your energy in making the right product for the right people. You will be able to empathize and speak to your audience. With any project you must know who you are creating for, and who you are not creating for.