I’ve been reading a lot these days about the idea that freelancers need to choose a niche, so I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about it. The going thought among the community seems to be that to be truly successful and really increase their income, freelancers need to choose a niche and stick to it, rather than being a Jill-of-all-trades. What do I think?
Yes — and no.
I spent the first many years of my freelance career writing anything and everything. I wrote on any subject matter that came my way, any industry that came my way. And let me tell you, I have honed my research skills to a T over the years.
These days, I am a little more specialized, simply because of chance, more than any conscious effort on my part. But this isn’t necessarily specialized in the way you might think. Here are three things that I have learned to consider when it comes to choosing a niche in freelancing…
1. Yes, Choosing a Niche Is a Good Thing
Overall, I agree that choosing a specific niche is a good thing. When you choose a specific niche or industry in which to offer your services, there are a number of benefits, including:
- You earn a reputation and build credibility.
- You can charge more for your services.
- Your experience continues to build.
- You’re more likely to get referrals.
- Your marketing can be more finely targeted.
Right from day one, it’s a good idea to choose a niche. Chances are, you have a pretty good idea of what niche you want to work in. This might have to do with previous education and work experience, a hobby, volunteer work, or a passion you have in a particular niche.
If you aren’t sure what niche you want to work in, then you can perhaps take on some random work in niches you might be interested in until you find a fit. Then you can focus on that.
But there is more to consider…
2. It’s About More than Subject Matter
I am going to use writing as an example here because — well — I’m a writer and it’s what I know. Niche is only one part of the picture. You can specialize in a niche, such as health and fitness, personal finance, B2B (business-to-business) content, online marketing, the tech industry, or the pharmaceutical industry.
But the type of content you write also matters.
Just because you write in the personal finance niche, doesn’t mean you can write press releases as well as you can write blog posts. White papers, content articles, and sales copy are very different forms of writing, and the type of writing you specialize in is just as important as the niche itself.
So, perhaps you can specialize in white paper writing, regardless of industry. Or narrow it down to certain industries. Of course, your research skills will need to be incredible, but once you have written in an industry once, you can promote that in your marketing.
In the past, I wrote white papers in the health care industry, but I recently wrote one for a company in the blockchain space. Now, experience in this space is in high demand. I hadn’t written in that niche previously, yet I nailed the white paper because I know how to research and write a white paper, and how to work with the client as a subject matter expert. The client was thrilled with my work and will be a repeat client. And now, I can market myself as an experienced white paper writer in blockchain.
So, consider specializing in a specific form of content, a concept that I imagine can be transferred to at least some other freelance services, such as graphic design and photography.
3. More than One Niche Can Be a Good Thing
Finally, yes it’s wise to find a niche and build a reputation in that niche. But that doesn’t mean you have to stick within that niche forever! Once you have established yourself, you can begin to look for a second niche, then a third.
Yes, this might mean marketing your services differently for each niche. You might need to alter your proposals or pitches depending on the niche a certain project or client is in. You might need to change your target market based on the niche. But you CAN work in more than one niche.
Now, I’m not suggesting you should be working in any niche that comes along. And I am not suggesting you spread yourself too thin. I am merely suggesting that if you write lead magnet reports, you can do that in both the health and fitness industry AND the online marketing industry. I am suggesting that you can write white papers, press releases, or blog posts in the personal finance industry AND the blockchain industry.
Maybe you’ll ultimately grow to work in three or four or five industries. Maybe you’ll stick with one or two. The point is, choosing a single niche is not carved in stone. You will need to feel it out and decide what’s right for you. Then run with it!
Do you have any thoughts on or experience with working in one or more niches? If so, please share with us in the comments section below!