Specialist (Niche) vs Generalist (Meta-Niche)

TL:DR | Choosing a niche is hard for most people, and while you may have to choose in order to get started. It leads into what you can call a "Meta Niche", which is great for generalists and multidisciplinarians!

5 min read
Specialist (Niche) vs Generalist (Meta-Niche)

A niche is a topic or subject you are known for, and people can assume they will continuously get that from you. The benefit and thereby underlying problem, is exactly that: the expectation.

I've seen countless creators across multiple platforms change their niche because they got burned out. Most of the time it comes from a point of expansion, they outgrew their original topic, such as a lot of game streamers who outgrow the game they got famous with.

A niche is powerful to get you to grow quickly, if at all in some cases, but by having one you severely limit yourself to your other opportunities.

Growth with Search Engine Optimization

The main reason why most big creators tell you to niche down, is that is because it is what they did. Not only was it what they did, but also the people that came before them too.

However what most of them aren't seeing is that it is also because the internet was much simpler back in those days. Think early 2000's blogs, early 2010's podcasts, and in between both: early YouTube. Everything was a lot simpler back then, as things were not nearly as saturated.

Nowadays you have to have your own "OmniContent" (my main series consisting of a video, podcast, AND blog post each episode) in order to keep up with any of the other creators.

It is true that if you hyper-specialize, or hyper-niche down, that you can become popular in that topic. In fact it is what I am doing with my Swim Academy for example. I might do the same for the topic of "Content Repurposing" as well.

Mr. Dustin’s Swim Academy
How to Swim: The Philosophy and Hydrodynamics of Swimming. Click to read Mr. Dustin’s Swim Academy, by Dustin Miller - PolyInnovator, a Substack publication. Launched 3 months ago.
My niche newsletter for learning how to swim.

I am niching down into that one topic, so that I can grow a lot faster.

How it Effects Your Mindset

When you niche down it targets your focus, but it also stifles your creativity. You have to start looking at EVERYTHING through the lens of your one topic. Rather than mixing and innovating new ideas with the viewpoint from another niche. I can look at building a computer from the viewpoint of swimming, or vice versa, and give someone else a completely unique perspective.

That power of adaptability, let alone the creativity you can pull from it, it all allows you to create even more unique content in your niche or meta niche.

Being Multidisciplinary

Look if you already started in a niche, then branch out, and take your "niche" and transform it into a "meta-niche". Tell your audience you are changing directions, and while the topic that got them there in the first place isn't going away. It is however going to take a back seat.

Oftentimes you may even relate some random topic from a video or post, and bring it back to your original umbrella topic (as I do with polymathy).

In the end though the majority of your content during that time span will be on your focus of that phase.

Choosing Your Micro or Macro Focuses

Let me tell you something very important: Your Niche, it isn't permanent!

Once again your niche/topic isn't a permanent choice. Just like if you got a job at the career you worked so hard towards getting. Then a year into it you're not feeling like pursuing it anymore (it happens to the best of us). You can make the decision to move on.

What usually happens is actually that the niche you chose brought you the progress, success, or fulfillment you were looking for, but you needed to move on. Finding new ways of challenging yourself. I find that BigE had a similar situation. Now while I prefer his old content, which as about content creation and studio design, and I even like Apex as a game. I am no longer as invested as a subscriber in his new Apex content. However I 100% support his decision to pivot to something else.

It make sense as his macro focus switched into his next phase of his content. He went broad at first, and then niched down to one game. Other people do it the other way around. It all depends on what your macro focus is.

The Focus of a Polymath
Finding your focus, or what you should focus on in life is a hard task. For someone who is multidisciplinary it can feel nearly impossible. Here is how you get started.

How do Your Focuses Play into your Niche(s)?

In my PolyInnovation Operating System for example, it goes Phases into Projects and then into Tasks. Your phase is your main macro focus, which you often only have one (unless you're in transition like me, or are full send on two topics).

You break it up into projects that then in turn transform into tasks or micro things you can do.

Do not confuse the Micro-Focus with tasks, while they do mean that, the Micro-Focus also means other Phases as well.

Mastering Phases

I know that last bit can be a little confusing, as you have your main phase, but if you have been at it for a while then you'd certainly have a previous phase or two. You may not want to let go of that completely, and every so often create content or projects around one of your previous phases.

As well as conversely, there may be a future phase that you want to sow the seeds for (as I did with my swimming sort of, but more so with my music or gaming phases that planned for farther down the line).

10-15% focus on previous phase, 10-15% focus on the future phase, and then 70-80% focus on your main Macro-Focus phase.

The Rise of the Meta-Niche

Above all of my phases however is my topic of polymathy, and I do want to point out that my whole content ecosystem is unique. Mainly because I talk about being multidisciplinary. It is my excuse, my explanation as to why I have so many phases or topics, or specialized niches.

You may not have that, or your umbrella/meta niche may be something akin, but not the same. Who knows at this point, and so I am making this post to help you figure that out.


🎉 You've successfully subscribed to PolyInnovator LLC | Official Website for Dustin Miller!