Choose a Freelancing Niche
It might seem like a good idea to become the Amazon of freelancers. But “I can do anything for everyone” is a really difficult pitch to sell. Plus, constantly switching gears is a guaranteed fast-track to burnout. On top of that, it’ll be impossible to create a website for yourself that generates leads and clients since it’ll be too broad and generic sounding.
This is why it’s critical to choose a freelancing niche. As a specialist, everything will be easier. You also stand to make better money, too.
What's Covered in This Post
How to Choose the Right Freelancing Niche
The ideal niche will sit somewhere at the intersection of:
- What makes you happy
- Your skillset
- Market demand
- Earning potential
Let’s quickly explore why each of these factors increase the likelihood of success in your freelancing specialty.
No one sets out to take a job or invest in a career that will make them miserable. For those of you who have been in that unfortunate position before, you know what comes next.
You grow disillusioned and angry.
You lose focus and your productivity drops.
Your bad mood rubs off on everyone around you.
Your health — physical, mental, and emotional — deteriorates.
You start looking for an escape route — any escape route.
Now imagine that happening as a freelancer. It takes a lot of work to become established in a field. If you lose interest and decide to try another specialty altogether, it’s like starting from scratch.
When you choose a freelancing niche that you’re passionate about, you’ll feel more invested. No matter how hard things get, that attachment to your work will keep you going.
Freelancing is not the kind of thing where you can learn on the job. Maybe to acquire additional skills later, but not starting out.
Unless you are well-known already, getting in the door with new clients is going to be your biggest hurdle in the beginning. Without a well-defined set of skills and documented experience, it’s going to be difficult convincing anyone to pay you for your work.
Rather than spend the early days of your freelancing career trying to hone your skillset, build your business around an existing skillset. Then, you can devote the early part of your freelancing career on building a website and portfolio that demonstrate and represent your capabilities well.
It’s common to choose a niche based on the type of service you perform as well as the industry you offer it to.
For instance, I am a content writer for the web design industry. There was surprisingly a ton of demand for this type of freelancing. That’s because it requires someone with hands-on experience in web design who can also write instructional and authoritative content. Many designers have the experience, but not the ability to put it into words. And many writers can regurgitate (i.e. rewrite) what others have written on the subject, but never be able to write something that sounds authentic or be helpful. That’s how I discovered my unique value proposition (UVP).
So, it’s important that you find a niche that has sufficient demand now and the future. And one that you can make a uniquely valuable contribution to.
Money is a bit of a subjective matter when it comes to your freelancing niche. While we all need to earn enough to pay for our professional and personal expenses, some people might not need to earn as much as others. Or want to.
There are a number of contributing factors that may affect this, like geography, family, and lifestyle. Before you go setting your prices, you’ll have to figure out how much money you need to make in order to live comfortably. You’ll also need to consider how much clients would be willing to pay you for your services.
For instance, web designers can charge anywhere from a few hundred dollars for turnkey websites to tens of thousands (sometimes more) for enterprise sites. The value of the service you provide will dictate how much you can charge. So you may need to tweak your niche even further so that you’re specifically targeting clients who can afford your services.
It might take some time to find the right niche, but that’s okay. You may even need to make adjustments to it as you get into the swing of things. And that’s okay, too.
Nevertheless, choosing a freelance niche — however rough or imperfect it may be today — is an important first step. Picking a niche that serves both you and your clients well is going to be a huge advantage as a you launch your freelancing business.