“When you try to talk to everyone, you’re reaching no one.”
The goal of any for-profit business or individual is essentially to make a profit successfully. As such, many freelancers doubtlessly think that a wider niche equates to being able to earn a higher profit. When I started as a freelancer, I made the same mistake. Although this line of thought isn’t wrong per se, attempting to cater to everyone isn’t as effective as creating content that attracts your ideal clientele.
Moreover, by specializing in a particular niche, you’re more likely to stand out from the sea of other talented and experienced freelancers. Think of it like this. You’re the owner of a reputable law firm looking for a writer who can curate in-depth blog posts for your website. Which writer would you contact?
A. “I’m a freelancer who specializes in writing for businesses that helps attract profit.”
B. “I’m a freelance writer who specializes in writing blog posts for law firms to attract customers and site traffic.”
Not only does writer B specialize in the precise type of content that you need, but they can also help you achieve the results you want.
So, how do you pick a niche that you’ll thrive in? Let’s consider the following three points.
1. Your passions
In the beginning, my goal was to write about as many things for as many clients as possible. However, when I was forced to write three 2,000-word articles on gardening (I don’t know the first thing about gardening), I was forced to reconsider why I entered into freelance writing in the first place.
If you haven’t done so already, write a list of 10 topics and interests you’re passionate about. Freelancing certainly isn’t easy and at times, will be extremely testing. If you pick a niche solely based on how profitable you perceive it to be, your odds of giving up will doubtlessly increase.
2. Your experience
Narrow down your list of passions by identifying issues that your clients may experience and consider whether you can solve them. Use tools like Google Trends and AdWords or forums like Reddit to help you uncover the problems that people search for.
Your experience will determine whether you can resolve these issues. Have you previously faced similar problems? Have you received training on the topic? Or maybe you’re well-versed on the subject. My topics were business, law, and psychology. I settled on business (marketing in particular) as I already had hands-on experience in the field. Additionally, conducting business in such a volatile market environment entails that there is always an abundance of problems that need solving.
When you’ve narrowed down your list (hopefully to 3 or 4 things), you want to make sure your niche is profitable. A simple way to determine profitability is to conduct a Google search and see whether any brands or companies are currently advertising for your keywords. If companies are spending on AdWords to promote your keywords, you’ve likely found a winner!
Now all you’ve got left to do is test out your selected niche. Keep in mind there is no one perfect method to find a niche — you’ll want to do your research, but don’t get stuck on this step otherwise you’ll never get started. I kept tossing up between my three topics trying to determine the perfect one. However, in the back of my mind, I knew business was my ideal niche. It was merely the concept of limiting myself to one niche that scared me.
If you believe you’ve found your perfect niche, just take the plunge. The growth and knowledge you can gain from trial-and-error is an invaluable experience on your freelancing journey. Since establishing myself in the industry as a business writer, I was able to branch out into other niches that I’m passionate about, including law and psychology. Don’t think of the process as “restricting” yourself, but rather, as a strategic foundation upon which you’ll build your future success.