Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.
Freelancing is a greatly liberating career. It offers the convenient prospect of working from home, a great sense of flexibility, and the opportunity to pursue a line of work that truly interests you. A freelance niche means you get to specialise in a subject you love AND up your earning potential. However, there are upsides and downsides to narrowing your freelance field.
But how do you find your freelance niche? Fear not – we’ve put together this guide to help you make a decision on whether you should niche, and if so, which one is right for you.
Especially if you are new to the world of freelance work, you may be wondering if carving out a niche immediately is the best choice. It’s not always a clear-cut decision! Sometimes, it can be better to cast a wide net first in order to find your true niche.
You should also consider what you enjoy doing. Some niches may not mean you can earn more cash than being a broad-scope freelancer, but if you enjoy the subject matter it’s a worthy work-life balance to think about taking on.
Firstly, marketing your niche is very cost-effective. Because you’re providing a specific service, it’s easier to target your marketing towards prospective clients, and you’ll reach a larger percentage of people who are likely to require your services. This means that your marketing budget will go a lot further!
Once you find your freelance niche, there will also be less competition, as you’ll be operating in a smaller market.
You’ll also likely be able to charge more for your services. Freelance marketers, for example, can charge twice as much if they specialise in SEO or Pay Per Click advertising, as these are particularly skilled areas of digital marketing. Also, the longer you spend in your niche, the more specialist skills and knowledge you’ll develop, meaning you’ll be able to raise your prices over time.
However, committing to a niche is not always easy.
You may find yourself entering into a competitive, saturated market, which may be difficult to break into and you’ll need to go above and beyond to stand out from the crowd. If you don’t already have expertise in your niche, this may be a challenge you face.
Additionally, if you specialise too intensively in a single niche, there is a risk that your work dries up if demand for your service goes down.
For many, especially those who are just starting out, there is a sensible middle ground.
You may also begin to see patterns in the demographic of your clientele, which will be crucial in deciding on your niche. Similarities between your existing clients can offer a great insight into specialist areas where you can shine!
If you’ve decided you want to specialise, you’ll need to commit to a specific niche in your chosen industry. This can seem like a daunting prospect, but it’s a simple decision if you break it down. Deciding on your niche can be seen as a balancing act between the following three key factors.
While this point may seem obvious, it’s arguably the most important thing to get right! It’s crucial that you have a genuine passion for your niche: working on projects will be more enjoyable, and this is guaranteed to have a positive effect on the work that you do.
Have a think about your biggest hobbies and interests, and then try and incorporate these into your niche. Perhaps you’re interested in fashion – you can use this as a source of inspiration! Try channelling your energy into logo design, fashion journalism, or be a consultant for a clothing retailer. It’ll make freelancing that much more fulfilling!
Conveniently, this tends to go hand-in-hand with step 1. If you are particularly knowledgeable about your niche, and have developed skills that the average person doesn’t have, it’ll make you a much more attractive candidate for potential clients.
Expertise in your chosen niche will be particularly important in creating a unique selling proposition (USP), which will critically help you stand out against the competition.
Your specialist knowledge will also allow you to charge more for your services. This is why a handyman typically earns £20-30 per hour, whereas a plumber earns £40-60. Emphasise what makes you unique: you’ll earn more, and outshine your competitors!
Finally, it’s vitally important that your niche is a profitable one. A great way to understand more about which niches are in-demand is to assess your chosen industry on popular freelancing platforms such as Fiverr and Upwork. Even if you don’t intend to sell your services on these platforms, they’re really useful to get an idea of the wide range of niches you could enter into, and how popular and profitable those services are. Generally, the more results you get when you search for a certain niche, the more viable it is.
It’s also a good idea to look at the typical income for different niches. For example, if you’re looking to become a freelance writer, it’s worth knowing that the most profitable sectors include finance, travel and long-form content. At the end of the day, the niche that you choose needs to pay the bills!
Finding your freelance niche is just one step to making a full-time freelance career work for you. Whether you’re just starting out or want advice on the next steps in your freelance career, try these articles next!