Choosing Your Freelancing Niche
Some freelancers are like brick and mortar business owners. They enter the freelancing world with a business plan, contacts, health insurance, retirement plans, and clients.
Others. Not so much.
If you began freelancing without much of a plan, you may have started accepting work without having a freelancing niche. Before you spend any more time beating your head against the wall, trying to increase your income, let’s discuss the importance of finding focus in your work. And how you go about doing that.
The Importance of Finding Your Niche.
You could work for years accepting work from any client who offers a tidbit of money. The freelancing sites will keep you busy with that kind of work. With the right work ethic and perfect customer reviews, you could probably even find work that will keep you busy seven days a week, twelve hours a day.
Working that much can be problematic. You began freelancing because you wanted a flexible schedule. You wanted to work from home so you could spend more time with your family. You wanted flexibility so you could travel more. Perhaps you needed to help an aging family member, so a 9 to 5 job wouldn’t work for your lifestyle anymore.
Instead of working longer hours, your next goal should be finding higher-paying projects that will allow you to work fewer hours during the week. Or, you need to find projects that don’t take as long, so you can complete more of them per day to earn more income.
The answer to both scenarios is for you to become an expert on something or, in other words, to develop a niche.
Can you pick a niche from your previous experiences?
Some would say that to develop a niche you need to think about your previous work experiences. Perhaps you worked in a restaurant, and you formed a sophisticated palette from your experience as a server. Maybe you could write content for restaurant websites or design menus.
Maybe you were a teacher, and you spent a lot of time developing lesson plans and creating units. Perhaps you could draw from this previous experience to ghostwrite blogs for administrators or work for test prep websites.
If that previous history brings high-paying clients to you, congratulations. You have made it as a freelancer.
But what happens when your previous work doesn’t develop into a niche? For example, the last two industries, restaurants, and education are full of people who will write about those subject matters for free. Teachers and administrators blog and share ideas. Every suburban neighborhood has two or three wanna-be chefs who write each night about what they made for dinner.
You may not be able to make an income writing or designing about things you love or experience.
Instead, you may need to pick a subject for your niche strategically.
How to pick a niche?
Peruse the freelancing job boards. Perhaps you see a lot of high-paying work from lawyers who are seeking someone to write blogs who have experience with the bankruptcy, lemon laws, or real estate laws.
Maybe you find high-paying work for designers and home builders, who want people to write about house trends or create a website to showcase their model homes.
Even if you know little about those subjects, you can learn. Start reading the best design blogs in your free time. Learn about the basics of bankruptcy law. Take low-paying jobs with those subject matters and start building a portfolio.
Maybe you have created a niche on accident. Look through the work you have completed so far. Have you written a ton of resumes for computer programmers? Then maybe that is your new niche.
Have you written hundreds of Amazon listings for someone with a plumbing supply company? There is a ton of work for people with knowledge of blue-collar trades.
You could have a niche and not even know it.
Once you have decided to focus on a particular industry, either by choice or by fate, seek out higher-paying clients. Plumbers will pay more for content written by someone who obviously knows what they are talking about. Physical therapists will pay more for people who can write a persuasive essay on how seeing a PT will reduce the chance of patients needing surgery.
Plumbers, lawyers, and physical therapists want to spend their day working on their trade. They don’t want to write blogs or design websites. Many times these well-compensated professionals will pay for someone to complete those pesky online tasks that they don’t enjoy and can’t do on their own. Be ready for those jobs.
Good luck with developing your niche. Who knows what industry you will be an expert in six months from now?
This article was originally posted at Freelancing buzz!