I’ve been freelance writing for almost a year now, and one thing I’ve struggled with is niching down.
Because I love variety! One of my favorite things about freelance writing is that I get to write about almost anything I want, and sometimes learn about new subjects. And I’ll be honest with you — despite what all the freelance writing experts say, I’ve done pretty okay freelance writing without narrowing down my niche too much.
But, just okay. I’m now bringing in a respectible amount close to $4,000 a month. And that’s fine for me. For the area I live, that’s considered a pretty good income, and cost of living is low. But I gotta tell you — I did expect to be a little further along by now.
So, long story short — I decided to take the advice of the most successful freelance writers I know and niche down...way down. But I’m taking a slightly different approach than what I’ve seen other freelancers do, for a couple of reasons.
A) I want to test out my niche to see if it’s profitable for me.
B) I still want to leave opportunities open to write for other niches.
The Argument for the Niche
First of all, the reason to pick a specialty really boils down to establishing yourself as an freelance writer expert so you can command more money. It also means you will bring in more clients.
I know it kinda seems couterintuitive that picking one niche instead of 7 will give you more opportunities, but I’ve seen the evidence. Think about it like this: if you have a serious plumbing problem, are you going to call Handyman Larry, who does a little of everything to come fix it, or are you going to call Plumber Dan who only fixes plumbing day in and day out.
If you’re smart, you’ll probably call Dan. I mean, he’s seen it all. He knows plumbing like the back of his hand. He studied it, probably worked under another skilled plumber for a while, and has practiced it for years. The guy knows what he’s doing. Or at least, that’s what you’ve heard and that’s how he portrays himself.
It’s the same with a niche in the freelance writing business. If you have a website that displays your freelance writing specialty in a particular market, people in that market will come to you before hiring a general writer without the industry knowledge you have.
It does to me, and that’s why I decided to go ahead and try it. Like I said, it did take me a while to settle on one, but I used a specific process and it’s already proven successful!
My Niching Down Process
The first thing I did when I decided to niche down is scour the Internet looking for the most profitable freelance writing niches. Because I know there are quite a few, I was confident I could find one I was qualified to write in. To save you some time, here are the most profitable writing niches I found:
- baby products
- real estate
- construction and diy
- alternative health
- autism and special needs
This is by no means an all-inclusive list, but it does give you a starting point.
After I found a few profitable niches, I picked 3 that I knew I could write intelligently about. I chose finance, real estate and education. I then did a little bit of research on each one to see what popped up.
Researching Your Freelance Writing Niche
First, I Googled each niche to see what came up. So, for example, I searched for “finance writing,”.
This just means there’s a lot of interest in finance writing. What a lot of people mistakenly think when they see this is that there’s too much competition to be able to stand out, but don’t let competition scare you. Anywhere there’s competition means there’s money. And, believe me, there’s plenty of work to go around for good writers!
Once I did this for all 3 niches just to see if there was content activity, I then started looking for jobs in each market. I looked at Problogger and a few other job boards.
You can also Google “finance writing jobs” and look on Craigslist. You don’t have to look at every city in Craigslist though. You can use this handy little trick I learned from my friend Brent Jones:
Type in your search bar: “site:craigslist.org “finance writer,” or whatever niche you are looking for.
Tie Each Niche with Your Expertise and Passion
To be honest, the finance niche was the one that I was most qualified to write for. I have a business administration/accounting degree, and it’s not hard to position myself in that market. The trouble is I really don’t love talking about finance. Budgeting for mamas…yes, but CDs and interest rates…not so much.
So, I took myself out of that niche fairly quickly.
The trick is to find a niche that not only are you interested in writing in and is profitable, but one that you actually enjoy reading and researching about. If not, you can find yourself burned out on writing before you know it!
Education is the other one I could position myself in well because of my years in university advising, but again…this just isn’t a passion of mine anymore.
Real estate, on the other hand, has always fascinated me. I love the real estate market and once held a real estate license. It’s something that I can write about intelligently, but also changes enough to keep me interested. That’s why I chose it. But what happened next?
Positioning Yourself in Your Niche
The next step is to let people know your niche. I quickly set up a website positioning myself as a real estate writer, changed my LinkedIn profile and set up a new Twitter account.
Now, here’s where I did things differently than most. I have always used my CheriRead.com as my portfolio base (currently under construction), and most writers will transform their websites to match their niche. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I have other plans for that site. So, instead of changing everything to reflect that, I kind of started over.
I personally can do that because my website has not been my main source of incoming work. Some writers have an extensive client base that found them through their websites, so starting over might be too risky.
Personally, I have a lot of clients in the photography and marketing niche and I still want to expand my writing topics, but I knew to make really good money, I also needed a niche website targeting specific clients.
That’s where my real estate website came in. But enough of how to do it. You’re probably wondering how it’s turning out, right?
My Results from Niching Down
Within 8 hours of throwing up my website and changing my information, I got a $2,000 gig from a LinkedIn connection! And this is a job I can feesibly complete next week.
I don’t know about you, but that was enough evidence for me that picking a niche works! Since that was just a couple of days ago, it’s all the activity I’ve had, but I’ll be sure to keep you posted.
How About You?
Are you struggling with whether to pick a niche or not, or which one to pick? Drop me a line below and let’s talk about it!
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