How Niching Down Can Help You Get More Clients

An interview with Jess Peterson

As freelance designers, many of us remain generalists, afraid we’ll lose project opportunities and income if we specialize too much. Unfortunately, that also means we’re competing against the countless other general designers out there, not sure how to set ourselves apart. Jess Peterson has found a different way to do things.

Jess is the Founder, CEO and Creative Producer at Mighty Oak, a boutique animation studio specializing in handmade animation. They’ve worked with clients like Netflix, HBO, Nick Jr., Airbnb, NBC, Conde Nast, Giphy, and The New York Times, all with the creative goal to bring the human touch to media.

Today we talk about the power of niching yourself down to strengthen your unique selling point, different ways to find clients, including social media like Instagram, and the importance of recognizing your own natural talents. We also discuss the power of collaboration, with partners but also with agencies.

Are you a generalist or do you niche down to a specialty? How have you collaborated with peers to focus on your unique strengths? We’d love to hear from you. Let us know in the comments!

In this episode

  • The 3 different approaches you can take with branding
  • How Mighty Oak has used word of mouth and their specific approach to social media to get clients
  • The benefits of working with business partners rather than trying to do all the things
  • Balancing client work and original work and how Mighty Oak makes that happen
  • How they approach clients to invest in stop-motion animation

Related links


“There’s plenty of negative stories out there in media, so we try to bring a positive voice and bright colors into every project.” 5:01

“It’s very hard to grow and do all the things at once. You can’t be good at all the things at once and your brain can’t possibly tackle all that information” 20:36

“It’s a real reminder to be good and fair to all your clients because you never know where people end up.” 25:54

“I’ve always been really creative, and I thought in order to be creative I also had to make all the things. I realized that’s not true. By surrounding myself with talented makers, we were able to make better work in general, but I was also able to be a better creative.” 40:01

“Sometimes we forget because we spend so much time trying to improve things that what we’re not good at. We go “Oh that thing that I do easily is because it’s easy, everyone does it that well.” But that’s not true, it’s because you’re actually good at it.” 45:59

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