Define Your Niche and Find Your Tribe (when you’re not following the crowd)

Do you ever feel like you’re struggling to define your niche and find your tribe in the blogging world? I totally did, until one day I came across a comment online that made me realize I’m not the only one who sometimes feels like a misfit blogger.

It’s the grown-up version of being in high school and desperately trying to fit in with all the cool kids, failing miserably, but realizing in the end that you are uniquely YOU and you shouldn’t change to keep up with anyone else.
Kinda sounds like a sappy after-school special, doesn’t it?

Define your niche and find your tribe - Do you ever feel like you're struggling to define your niche and find your tribe in the blogging world?

I’m in a Facebook group called Blogging over Breakfast, which is a supportive group of ladies who promote each other and share blogging tips.  Meghan posted about struggling to find her niche and trying to figure out where she fits in when it seems all the bigger bloggers subscribe to a decor style that isn’t her cup of tea.  Judging by the commentary, her feelings resonated in our group.

(Which surprised me a little…because you know, you always think you’re the ONLY one who feels awkward)

Our instinct is to seek out other bloggers we click with, people who “get” us. As I look around the blogosphere sometimes it seems that everyone is either a mommy blogger home schooling her kids, or a decor blogger showing off impossibly gorgeous photos of their spacious, shiplapped, suburban farmhouse style homes. And everyone is quoting the bible.

There is NOTHING wrong with any of that…. but none of those popular niches jive with where I am with my life or my current decor style.

Decor is the main focus of this blog, so the glut of farmhouse decor blogs was becoming an issue without me even realizing it. I think farmhouse decor is lovely in other people’s homes, it’s just not my thing – plus it doesn’t feel right in my tiny urban house. There are a few farmhouse details here and there, but I don’t love them….I actually think they have worked their way in because I felt like I “should” be doing that style.

I have shared a lot of individual DIYs on this blog, but I haven’t shared any total room reveals other than my kitchen. Why? Because I’m not happy with the rooms….and I didn’t realize why until last week. I’ve let a style that I don’t love creep in because I was feeling I needed to in order be successful as a blogger. Crazy, right? It wasn’t even a conscious decision. It dawned on me that I’m not in love with my rooms anymore because I have half-hearted, half-assed attempts at a decor style I don’t love in all of them, and not surprisingly – it doesn’t work.

I find myself standing in front of huge piles of mason jars at the thrift store and thinking I should be really excited and scoop them all up, except…
I DON’T LOVE MASON JARS.

There….I’ve said it.

And it feels GOOD.  😀

I still follow a lot of the farmhouse style bloggers because they are talented writers and inspirational in other ways. But – I’ve started looking for bloggers who aren’t subscribing to the huge trendy trends and have found success by doing their own thing in their own way. I realized it’s not that they aren’t out there, they just weren’t hanging out in the places I was looking.

(This post contains affiliate link(s). For my complete disclosure policy, go HERE)

Blogging Inspiration

Looking for some blogging inspiration that isn’t farmhouse style? These are a few my current favorites.

Check out the queen of funky bohemian decor, Justina Blakeney at The Jungalow. 

JustinaForLoloi-Decorist-Giveaway-FolkLore
Source: The Jungalow

Or Aniko at Place of My Taste – her photography is amazing! And I want this couch.

living-room-reveal-1-of-1-3
Source: Place of My Taste

And Julie at Redhead Can Decorate. – I LOVE this bedroom.

Wood-Planked-Ceiling-Master-Bedroom
Source: Redhead Can Decorate

Jenna at Rain on a Tin Roof has an original (and highly entertaining) style and I’ve recently started following Ashley at Bigger than the Three of Us.  I wouldn’t say any of these blogs are close to my style, but I love that their owners are not following the crowd and have built a loyal fan base for their work.

And that makes me feel more confident about creating my own path and not worrying so much about what anyone else is doing. In some ways, it’s easier to articulate what I am not in the blogging world –

Nope…

  • I definitely am not a “mommy blogger”. Diapers, potty training, tantrums, wholesome educational activities….yeah, NO.  My son is long out of the house, so no more kids for me unless some unexpected grand babies appear on the scene.
  • I will never quote the bible or try to out-Jesus anyone. I don’t believe that posting bible verses on Facebook automatically makes you a good person.

My religion is very simple - my religion is kindness

Maybe I should change the name of my blog to “House of Heathens”? 😉

  • I don’t decorate my house for any holiday except Christmas (in a good year) which is sacrilegious for a decor blogger. I probably should care more about red, white and blue decorations in the summertime, but…I really don’t.

<hangs head in shame>

  • I completely don’t get “crafting” for the sake of crafting. If I’m making something, it’s decor for my house or garden that I can’t find in stores or don’t want to spend $$$ on. You will not find anything made of toilet paper tubes or popsicle sticks on this blog.
  • I don’t watch TV….like, ever. When my business went under in 2012 and I was on the extreme poverty austerity tightest of budgets I got rid of cable and replaced it with a Roku box. I don’t miss it at all…I have too many other things I would rather do than park my fat ass on the couch. I do have Netflix and Hulu, but they mostly get used in January and February when it’s gray and freezing and too cold to spray paint anything. So you will never find an in-depth article about some random TV show, it’s characters and possible trajectories of the story lines. You’re welcome.
  • Beauty and fashion? Bwahahahahahahahahaha….that ship has sailed. I totally admire women who are able to pull this off, but a good day for me is when I manage to shower AND put on real pants and a bra. So  – no beauty or fashion tips here….sorry.

So where does that leave me?

I am passionate about decorating and DIY. My style has always been an eclectic mix of vintage and salvaged cottage thrift, and lately I’ve been introducing some quirky bohemian touches. I love monochromatic color schemes. I find them completely relaxing and I prefer lots of texture to lots of colors.  I adore entertaining and whipping up awesome recipes that don’t take much time, and I love it when I trick people into thinking I’m a good cook. I share tips and tricks I’ve picked up from my marketing business and through trial and error as a blogger. Is that a niche? I have no idea…but that’s the best I can do at the moment.

I’m sarcastic, I swear A LOT and I enjoy having a glass of wine or two at the end of the day – or to get me through a tedious DIY project.  I come up with completely bizarro projects that end up being brilliant genius DIY masterpieces or utter flaming-shithouse-going-over-the-falls disasters. I’ll try just about anything in the name of a good DIY, and I’m happy to share all the dirty details on the blog.

My style may not be mainstream, but I am slowly building up a lovely readership that seems to appreciate what I do. I’m becoming friendly with other bloggers and I love that there is a real feeling of wanting each other to succeed. We help by promoting and sharing each other’s posts whenever we can.

The mean girls are nowhere to be found…how nice is that?

Are you struggling to find your people?

Tips for Finding Your Tribe

  • My best source for finding awesome blogs to follow has been Instagram, which I’m REALLY late in the game to getting on board with. Plug in hashtags that fit whatever you’re into and see who pops up. Right now I’m obsessed with all things bohemian, so discovering bloggers like @CarleyPage, @aDesigneratHome, @Sadies_Lovely_Life and @PrimitiveandProper made my whole week. (If you happen to be into boho style, check out their gorgeous drool-worthy feeds).
  • If you find a blogger whose style you love, see who they are hanging out with online. Chances are good you’ll like the people they like.
  • Once you find a few bloggers that you click with, come up with a project or challenge you can all collaborate on. You’ll get to know the other bloggers better, plus your audiences will naturally cross pollinate.
  • Be open to the idea that “your people” might not be share anything in common with you and your niche. There are blogs I follow because I enjoy their writing, photography and/or voice or because they have reached out in a super nice and friendly way. And that’s cool too.

Words of Wisdom From Jenna LaFevor

I was expending a lot of brain power trying to “define my niche” when I started this blog back in January and I got frustrated because I couldn’t come up with a definitive answer. I’m a gal who feels more comfortable with a plan and a roadmap – even though chances are good that I won’t follow it. The experts say you need to define your niche right out of the gate, and I was doing my best but getting nowhere fast.

I picked up Jenna LeFevor’s e-book “Standing Out” (I highly recommend grabbing it if you haven’t already) and something she said jumped out at me:

“My blog was well established before my brand was. That has turned out
just fine and is the main reason I chose to put this part of Standing Out later on in the book. 
If you are like I was and you aren’t really sure about your brand yet,
don’t rush. In my opinion, that’s the worst thing you can do. Just keep
doing your thang (that’s not a typo). One day, I promise, it will all
become crystal clear.” – Jenna LaFevor

Standing Out by Jenna LaFever

 

Moral of the story? It’s okay to not have all answers right away….and I think Jenna is exactly right. The longer I do this, the clearer I am about what I am and more importantly – what I am not.

When I was in high school I wanted more than anything to fit in and be accepted, so I spent 4 years feeling like an awkward dork with nothing in common with my classmates. I only needed 1 class to graduate in my senior year, so I actually finished in night school. It was partially so I could work full time (I moved out on my own at 17) but it had a lot to do with it being such a miserable experience. Like a lot of people, I found out later in life that there was a huge difference between what I thought of me and what “they” thought of me.  In my 20’s I even discovered that my long standing crush on an older neighborhood boy was mutual, but he was “too intimidated” to ask me out. Whaaaaaaaat?

Mind. Blown.

No, it didn’t work out – we went on a couple of dates and the chemistry wasn’t there. But it was a total revelation that maybe my perceptions weren’t completely accurate. – and maybe I shouldn’t have spent so much time and energy worrying about “fitting in”. 

Blogging really is a lot like life…and it’s supposed to be about the journey, right? 🙂

Define Your Niche & Find Your Tribe (when you're not following the crowd)

 

I’m linking this post up at some terrific blog parties – you can find my complete list of places I party HERE.

Julie Briggs signature

 

 

 

 

About Julie

Julie is a serial entrepreneur, marketer, former newspaper columnist, black belt bargain hunter, voracious reader, gardener, music lover, foodie, wino, avid party thrower, hopeless romantic, closet Parrot Head and DIY machine.

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  • misstoni.65

    Love this post Julie, I started blogging seriously in January also and finding my niche and brand is slow to discover. While I love farmhouse and Fixer Upper it’s not a style I find easy to incorporate into my home.

    We’ll just keep doing what we’re doing and it will all come together 🙂

  • Angie @ ambient wares

    Ummmm, I love your writing. I’m new to blogging and find it overwhelming in many ways. I’ve never felt like I had style and my blog is about DIY! I just like being creative. Thanks for this and I look forward to reading more!

    • Thank Angie! I checked out your blog, you’ve got some great projects. Blogging really is a crazy amount of stuff to keep track of, isn’t it? Just keep at it and in a few months you’ll be amazed at everything you’ve mastered.

  • DazzleWhileFrazzled

    Great post! Glad I’m not the only one who is not into mason jars or farmhouse decor. (I actually state that on my About page!!) I’ve only been at this for about 10 months but the quote you included about it eventually becoming crystal clear is spot on. Day after day I keep plugging away at this “adventure” and I feel like I can see slightly beyond the fog! Visiting from Talk of the Town.

    • I was worried that people would come after me with pitchforks when I said that, but it seems I’m not the only one. 🙂

  • Katherine Medlin

    Julie, This was on point. Thank you for sharing! By the way, I am totally bored with farmhouse style too.

  • TakeActionWAHM

    Amen – totally different niche for me, but same story. I teach people to blog, but I’m not a “fempreneur” or “LadyBoss”, and I don’t call my email subscribers “Babes” and I don’t use pink and gold flat lays for my pins. Just not my style. I had a little identity attack a couple of months ago, feeling like my niche had passed me by… but then I smacked myself and remembered that all that stuff is just window dressing! What really matters is the content and connecting with your readers. 😉 Great post! Visiting from the Pretty Pintastic party.

    • Agreed – content totally trumps everything else! And I know what you mean about pink and gold flat lays – it’s getting really hard to tell these bloggers apart because so many have the exact same look.

  • Laura Harrison

    Julie- this is not only all true, but an added bonus is getting to laugh and nod my head YES- ME TOO.

    I have no idea who my tribe is , but there are people in blogging that I enjoy.

    And as far as a niche goes, I am far too rebellious and I have never been a fan of niches in life and or in my home-

    And I too have looked at other people’s ‘outsides’ and compared them to mine (in blogging).

    I am just going to write about what I enjoy.

    Thank you !

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Blogging is tough….it’s REALLY hard not to compare yourself to bloggers with huge page views and 50 thousand Facebook fans.

  • Shirley Wood

    It is ok if we are all different. I’m not totally into the farmhouse style either but love looking at it. I am also not into the all white look I keep seeing. The learning curve is rather large for me with blogging but I love it!
    Thanks for stopping by and sharing with us at Merry Monday. I’m all excited about fall and can’t wait to see all the fall food and projects at the new party starting tonight!

    • Agreed – it would be boring if we were all the same. I guess my point was that you can be influenced without even consciously realizing it.

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  • Great post! I love boho btw. Finding a good tribe that lasts is so helpful. Thanks for sharing at the #InspirationSpotlight Pinned & sharing

  • Mary Kalpos

    Julie, of course you have a niche It’s called DIY. You don’t need to define it any more than that. There are bloggers out there who are farmhouse but are not DIY, are you following me. I love your blog first of all, for your personality and secondly. because you built the most awesome things. I think it is great that you are not like everyone else, that’s what makes you stand out. Be fearless, now that you aren’t in high school any more you can revel in your individuality.

    There are a few bloggers who come to mind which may be in your “niche” One is Funky Junk Interiors and another is Little Braggs. Check them out. Great post, pinning and sharing.

    • I love both of them! I’ve been following Donna at Funky Junk for years – her projects are amazing.

      The response to this post has been very interesting – it even sparked a podcast yesterday: bossgirlcreative.libsyn.com/episode-064- from Taylor at Pink Heels Pink Truck.

  • Lisa Taylor

    I am giving you a standing ovation this morning! Yes to all of this.

    Just so you know, I am over mason jars.

    Have a great weekend!

    • Hahaha – thanks Lisa! One of my non-blogger friends remarked recently, “Can that whole mason jar thing just be over already?”

  • Amen Sistah! Now here’s a gal who speaks my language (the dialect in my head and reserved for those in my private life) because I’ve been spending too much time on the sidelines trying to figure out where I fit in this thing we call the blogosphere. This post was very liberating and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect! From one non-farmhouse, empty-nesting, potty mouth DIYer to another – thank you!!

    • Hahaha…you’re welcome! I was a little nervous about this post, but the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Get off the sidelines – you hereby have permission to do your own thing!!

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