“I prefer to shoot the arrow, then paint the target around it. You make the niches in which you finally reside.”
— Brian Eno, Father of Ambient Music
Sometimes innovation and creativity come from tragedy.
Imagine the pain of your lungs collapsing. Then not too long after… you slip on the wet road and get hit by a car!
Talk about bad luck.
Well, this was Brian Eno’s reality in 1975.
But something unexpected happened as he lay bedridden.
On one fateful day, a friend came over to visit him.
She offered to play a music record for him as he lay resting, and he agreed.
She chose some 18th-century harp music.
Brian Eno’s guest left, but kept the music playing…
To his dismay, the volume was too low for his liking. And he couldn’t reach to change the volume.
Initially, he was frustrated with the inconvenience…
But as he lay there, he noticed the sound of rain pouring down outside.
And he could hear the harp music just loud enough above the sound of the rain.
At that moment… he was inspired by the sound that emerged between the harp music and the rain outside.
And this is the origin of Ambient Music, which is now a very popular genre!
Ambient music focuses on tone and atmosphere. It’s a good choice when you’re trying to enhance the “vibe” or ambiance in the environment. And it’s frequently used as background music for studying or relaxing.
Brian Eno successfully discovered this niche.
And he’s made other noteworthy contributions to the music industry since, such as being one of the producers for Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida” album. And much more.
“Plant Seeds” To Discover Your Niche
Here’s the good news: you don’t have to be bedridden to discover your niche!
I’m going to repeat his quote from above: “I prefer to shoot the arrow, then paint the target around it. You make the niches in which you finally reside.”
To understand this quote, it’s important to look at his philosophy as an artist.
In an interview, Brian Eno mentions that artists are “much more like gardeners. We’re planting seeds, and how they come up is different every time. It’s constantly surprising.”
His style of creativity is all about “planting the seed” and seeing what grows from it.
In other words, he doesn’t wait to gather the “perfect” amount of data or information before taking action.
He takes action, plants some seeds & watches for feedback.
How To Gain Clarity On Your Niche
I want to lay out a basic process when discovering your niche, inspired by Brian Eno.
Step 1: Take Action And Plant Seeds
In the spirit of Brian Eno, start planting seeds.
Begin taking action. Build your audience. Test your content ideas.
See what works.
Shoot the arrow. Then paint the target around it.
The deeper and deeper you explore your niche, the more clear you’ll become.
Step 2: Gather Feedback
As you plant the seeds, notice how they grow.
Do they grow at all?
This will give you more clarity on your niche over time.
Perhaps you begin noticing patterns about your audience.
Maybe they’re all experiencing similar challenges.
These are amazing insights for serving your audience and dialing in your niche.
But don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you need to do more research to discover these insights.
Clarity comes from both discovery AND development. Knowledge AND experience.
Join My Newsletter
Receive one powerful marketing insight a week.