Ep 101

How to niche down as a motion designer

with Giuseppe Forestieri

About this episode

Should you niche down as a designer? We’ve all heard this advice! So, does niching down help you to win more clients or empower you to be seen as an expert? In this podcast, Hayley speaks with one of our Accelerator students, Giuseppe about how he niched down his animation studio Motion Aptitude to work on projects he loves

About Giuseppe Forestieri

Giuseppe Forestieri is the Animation Director of his own studio, Motion Aptitude and has a background in visual communication, specialising in animation and Illustration.

Motion Aptitude is the fusion of two of Giuseppe’s biggest passions in life: creativity, and the great outdoors. In this episode, he explains how he found his niche and hopes he can inspire other designers to pursue the work they love. 

Deciding on a niche

For Giuseppe, niching down wasn’t something that happened overnight, it was a decision he made after years of working on general animations within other studios. While he was happy with his work, he felt something was missing and wanted to find a way to align his work with his own personal interests.

To make this transition, Giuseppe started to look inwardly, thinking about his childhood and his passions and starting to consider a way he could give meaning to what he was doing as an animator. 

He knew he wanted to combine his love of the great outdoors, with his love for animation, and wanted to find a way to create work that would meaningfully support organisations and universities in promoting their environmental research in an engaging way.  

Focus on solving a problem

Giuseppe feels that in order to properly serve a niche you need to go beyond just creating content. He recommends that designers spend time digging into that niche, figuring out where they have communities, where they talk about issues and engage with them. This can be both on and offline, through networking in person and on social media. 

Doing this will allow you to know what problems organisations within that niche are facing, and in turn, help you to find a way to solve those problems. 

Giuseppe also believes that it’s important to offer value to your niche, without expecting something in return. If you’re genuinely trying to support your target niche, eventually, you will be noticed and it can lead to more work or, a valuable network.

Don’t rush to niche down

While working in a niche has been very rewarding for Giuseppe, he advises others to take time before niching down. You need to step back and take some time to figure out what your niche is. Don’t rush into making a decision.

He even volunteered his skills on a voluntary basis for a charity that was in his desired niche. This over the years lead to paid work with the same orgnisation.

If you want to build a portfolio with work from your dieal niche, it’s worth taking on some unpaid work if it’ll allow you to do that.

Should you niche down as soon as you start freelancing?

Giuseppe reccomends thta when you’ew new to design, working for an agency can be hugely beneficiial because you learn so many skills that will be useful in your career, beyond just design skills.

It took him two-tree years to figure out what his desire niche was. If you know straight away what you’d like to work in, then there’s no reason why you can’t niche down straight away. However if you’re unsure because there are so many opportunities, that’s also okay. Sometimes having too many options can feel equally overwhelming.

Unless you are uncomfortable you’re not going to grow as a person or as a business. You will grow, little by little, day by day. If you are dedicated to a niche and you believe in yourself, you will understand that it takes time. 

Is having a niche more profitable?

Giuseppe makes the same amount of money at the moment working within a niche than he did before he niched down. However money is not his main priority – he is much happier and more fulfilled in his work and he can live his life in the way he wants. 

He also understands that it takes time for a business to grow and as time goes on, it’s likely his income will continue to grow.

The biggest success Giuseppe has had since he niched down is the way he positions himself and markets himself to his ideal clients. He’s seen great successes by putting targeted work out there that has made potential clients come to him.

Direct clients want to see work that you have done that reflects what they want to hire you for.

Consider what problems your ideal clients are trying to solve

Giuseppe likes to look at his ideal clients and see what they are doing. If they have recently delivered a report he suggests that they could turn this piece of content into an engaging explainer video.

Once you also know what kinds of problems your ideal clients are facing, you can start to address these problems through your own content, such as social media posts.

When niching down, passion is key

Giuseppe says that when it comes to niching down, passion is key. He doesn’t mind working early in the morning or late at night because he loves what he does.

If you are interested in niching down, read books about the topic. Reach out to key people in the industry via LinkedIn. Don’t be too salesy, focus on forming genuine connections and say you are passionate about what you do.

Transcript

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About your host

I’ve spent the last 15 years working in the motion design industry. For the past 5 years I’ve been teaching and coaching freelance motion designers and small studios on how to start, run and grow their businesses. I started Motion Hatch in 2017 after being frustrated by the lack of information out there about building a successful motion design business.

Since then I’ve seen the most common challenges that hold many motion designers back. This has given me insight into what works to build a business that’s in your control and gives you the freedom choose how you spend your time.

From coaching and teaching motion designers and studio owners to build the business that excites them, I’ve distilled the best strategies I know down to create this program and help you to build a motion design business that experiences sustainable growth and feels authentic to you.