Whether you’ve been freelancing for a while or are just starting out, you might be feeling the pressure to find your niche. It seems like all the freelance-related content out there, blogs, podcasts, youtube videos, et cetera, is claiming that finding your niche is the way to build a successful freelance business. The warnings are there: without a niche, you’ll be left in the dust as business passes you by!
Having a niche means using specific techniques to cater to a particular type of client. This can set you apart from generalists and help you gain a good reputation in your field, which helps your business become more successful. It is what makes your services unique and helps you stand out from the ever-increasing crowd of competitors. You can aim to build recognition in a single industry or your niche can be defined by the type of work you do rather than the industries you work with.
Here are 3 questions to ask yourself when trying to find your niche:
What problem can I solve for people?
Be as specific as possible about what you do. Think of your work as problem-solving based rather than service-based - is there a common problem that businesses have that you can solve? Think about the benefits your work can provide and the problems you can solve rather than focusing on the type labour you do. Solving a particular problem for a variety of clients could be the way you build your business and find your niche. Once you build a customer base, try and solve the problem in a variety of ways to keep them coming back. Not sure what problem you can solve? Ask yourself this: What problems have you solved for clients so far? Can these problems be narrowed down into a few core challenges? If you can find a pattern of problems that you are able to solve, put your focus there and build your niche. Or you could choose one job you’ve done for a client in the past and use it as a case study of problem-solving to suss out your area of expertise. If you’re still unsure of what problems you can solve, you could try to solve a problem of your own and share your knowledge with others or teach others to do something that you can already do. For example, if you don’t know how to increase traffic to your website, you could thoroughly research how and then use your knowledge to teach others how to increase traffic to their websites.
What areas am I already knowledgeable about?
What industry or industries do you have experience in? If you already have experience in a particular industry, you might be able to focus your freelance skills on serving that industry. For example, a graphic designer who has experience in the retail sector could focus on using their skills and knowledge to design attractive signage for shops. Finding a way to incorporate your educational or experiential background into your service area will combine two or more of your particular skill sets and thereby making you a unique talent whose services will be in demand. Another approach based on your past experience might be to look at your past positions and see if there are any patterns or areas which you have worked on the most, or parts of your job that you were really good at, and see if that can be applied to your freelancing business. Perhaps you were always the most organized person in the office, you could become an expert at workplace organization and help others to be more organized.
What do you really love to work on?
Finding the sweet spot combining ability and interest can be the most motivating way to find your niche. It’s as easy as this: what you can do + what you like to do = niche. For example, if you’re a writer you already know that you can write, but ask yourself this: is there a topic you love researching or reading about? If so, build your niche around that. Figure out which jobs you’ve loved doing the most in your freelancing (or pre-freelancing) career and see if they have any common elements that you could focus on in your business. If there are no particular patterns noticeable so far, you can try several things and choose one that pays well and that you enjoy as your niche. Another approach could be to apply your skill-set to one of your hobbies or interests to see if potential clients can use your services in that area. For example: a social media manager who loves to golf could focus solely on working with clients within the golfing sphere.
If you’re still drawing a blank on finding a niche after asking yourself these 3 questions, but are interested in becoming a solopreneur, here’s one last thing you could try: make a list of all the things you’re good at and find out which services people will pay for and which one will people pay the most for and make that your new business!
When you’re just starting out as a freelancer, the prospect of narrowing down your services might scare you, don’t worry - you don’t have to pick just one niche right away. You can start with a few and see which ones work best for you. Many people are attracted to freelance work because they like the variety and flexibility and don’t want to be stuck doing the same thing every day; for these people focusing on a few particular services instead of one might be the way to go. If you’re just starting out, try a few things and decide what subject matter and client type you enjoy working with the most and that can point you in the direction of your niche.
No matter what niche you settle on, always be sure that you can provide quality services to your clients. Providing good work in a timely manner is one of the most important things freelancers can do to be successful. If you can do that in a specific niche, then you can build your reputation and watch your business take-off. The most important thing is to find the niche where you can shine and provide great work to clients who need it. Already providing great work and need to find more clients? Make a profile with SageGroupy and show us what you can do.