Why you need a niche
How does a client get from thinking ‘I need a freelancer’ to ‘I need to hire you’? Maybe you’re relying on your fancy website, logo, headshot or your portfolio to draw in the customers. Unfortunately, so is everyone else. You need to be able to stand out in a competitive market and another way to do that is to have a niche.
You’ll be recognisable and memorable
If you want to write a blog for an accountancy or real estate company, they will be more inclined to hire someone with a relevant background. A blogger with a relevant background will be more familiar with the subject and will be able to understand the needs of the business better. That’s not to say that you absolutely need industry experience but some clients will prefer that.
If you work in a niche that isn’t widely covered, a client will naturally want grab onto you and not let go. They are more likely to hire you again because they know you and what you can do (assuming you did a good job). To these clients, you will become the go-to freelancer for work in this area and they may even refer you to others.
It will be easier to build your brand
Most people start out doing general work. They do stuff but it gets a bit vague and harder to explain. It’s difficult to make a living this way because who would pick them over someone else who is well settled into a niche? You do not want to come across as too vague otherwise people will forget you and what you offer.
Think of yourself as a brand, but first think of yourself as a customer. If you were going to shop for something, how would you do it? Would you just Google ‘clothes’ or walk into a random shop? No, you would be a bit more specific than that. It’s a similar principle when finding a freelancer. Clients will search specifically for a B2B copywriter instead of just a general writer.
You might worry that specialising will cut down your list of potential clients. However, freelancers who specialise tend to earn more than those who don’t. If you specialise you are easier to find by the right types of people, the people who are more likely to hire you.
You will save yourself a lot of time
If you already have experience in a niche, you can drastically cut down the amount of time and energy you put into research. You might have varied interests but trying to keep up to date in the latest news and trends in all of them will be difficult to juggle.
If you are sought after, you will not need to spend as much time looking for work because it will start to come to you instead. You can also save time from writing hundreds of random proposals in the hopes that someone is looking for a general writer/photographer/designer.
How to find your niche
Go with what you know
You should try to find something you’ve had experience in and would be comfortable writing a lot about. Sometimes this is just something that appears later down the line. Clients may keep coming to you because they saw your work elsewhere and wanted something similar and on and on it goes until you’ve found yourself in a niche. This is generally how a lot of freelancers find their niche and some argue that it’s the best way to do so because you already know there’s money in it.
Do your research
Research niches and potential clients. Don’t just pick something you love, pick something that people will pay you to work on. See if there’s a market for your niche before you start to focus solely on that. Also research your competition if only to learn how to go about working in the right way.
What do you enjoy working on, what is your passion?
Write down a list of your interests, hobbies, and your experiences. Then out of that try to come up with possible niches. Write down as many as you can think of and then order according to what is more profitable/enjoyable. Then narrow it down. You need to find a good balance between what you enjoy doing and what people will pay you to do.
Other key points:
- Don’t just pick one. You will want a bit of variety in your work to avoid getting bored. If one niche is particularly quiet, then you have the others to fall back on.
- You can always change your mind.
- Pay attention to your strengths and weaknesses, they will help you choose
Have you been struggling to choose a niche or have you already picked one? What tips would you give others? Share your experiences in the comments below.