June 23, 2017, by Jackie Thompson
Finding Your Niche as a Freelancer
If you’ve decided to go freelance, no doubt you’ve been searching the internet for tips and tricks on where to start, how to find clients and the best ways to grow a business. You may have come across this piece of common advice: pick a niche. Most successful freelancers will advise you to specialise and grow your business around a particular opportunity or market area.
Why pick a niche?
Picking a niche allows you to focus on either providing one type of service or providing it for a particular industry or client. So, if you’re a freelance writer you might specialise in advertising copy or writing about finance. Picking a niche is beneficial as it will allow you to:
1. Focus your hunt for work
Picking a niche gives you a clearer idea of what kinds of work will help grow your business, which in turn means you can narrow down a list of potential websites and clients to approach.
2. Establish yourself as a specialist
Clients are much more likely to search for, and choose, someone who specialises in exactly what they need, than someone who has only a little bit of experience in multiple things.
3. Boost your online visibility
Knowing what services you want to sell, and the market you plan to sell to, will help you identify keywords which can be reflected in your business name, domain name, and website copy. This in turn will move your website up the search engine rankings.
How to find your niche
You might be wondering where to start and how to find the right niche. Chances are you’ve already got a few ideas, or have a particular image in your head when you think of yourself as a freelancer.
The key to finding your niche is to look at your past experience, interests and skills and match them with a market need.
1. Exploit your experience
Choosing a niche linked to your existing experience will give you a head start. That doesn’t mean to say you need 10 years’ marketing industry experience to write marketing blog posts for businesses, but any experience helps. See if you can angle past work experience to be relevant to your freelance services.
2. Pursue your interests
The best part of being freelance is having the freedom to choose your own work, so think about what kind of work you’d enjoy doing. If you’ve picked a niche because you’ve got experience in it, but hate it, you’ll struggle to motivate yourself every day. Of course you’ll still need to pay the bills and might end up doing work you don’t love, but as your business grows you’ll have more freedom to pick the jobs you enjoy.
3. Build your skills
You don’t have to start off as an expert but you do have to be willing to expand your skills. The more skilled you become, the more you can charge and the faster your business will grow. This is why it’s a good idea to learn skills and discover what you’re best at by working for other people before jumping into your own business.
4. Identify a market need
It’s all very well picking something that you like doing but if there isn’t a market need for that service, you’ll struggle to find clients. So, do some research into both your potential clients and your competition. This will give you some indication of market need, how many people are working in your potential niche, and what they’re charging.
Struggling to find your niche?
Picking a niche can be one of the most difficult parts of getting started as a freelancer so don’t worry if you can’t pick a niche on day one. Some people don’t pick a niche until they’ve experimented and worked as a generalist, which gives them time to learn more about the business world, client needs and assess their personal strengths. You might even find that your niche changes a little over time, as the industry changes.
If you’re thinking of working for yourself, take a look at our advice on self-employment, and make an appointment to discuss your plans with a careers adviser.
This blog is written by Kara Copple, a freelance blogger and online content writer with Pandle Cloud Accounting Software.
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