In the last post, I illustrated a method for How to Find Your Freelance Writing Niche. But do you really need a niche from the get-go? Or even at all?
I struggled with this question, because I couldn’t make up my mind about a niche. The subjects and topics I have the largest and deepest knowledge and background in through my studies and work experiences, are also part of the reason why I want to change my current job. They’re just not what I want to be working with for the rest of my life. They’re also subjects that will easily and quickly have me sliding into the role of a business consultant, which I’m definitely not aiming for in my freelance writing endeavor. So the topics I have the most experience and knowledge in are also the ones I really don’t want to focus my writing on. They’re out of the running as a long-term niche.
But that means I need a different field of expertise, and there the possibilities are so wide open, it’s difficult for me to narrow them down. With the technique I described in the last post, I managed it, and I’m happy with my decision to try to build my niche around erythrophobia. It’s a topic close to my heart, one I can’t see myself getting tired of in the near future. So yay!
It’s also a very specific and tiny niche. The smaller a niche, the less people are interested in it. The more specific a niche, the more particular you audience. Getting paid to write in a small, specific niche can be difficult, especially in the beginning.
So for now, I decided to not focus solely on this one small, specific niche. I figured that the most important matter of business is to build a portfolio, starting out. The more pieces you are able to showcase, the more attention you will garner from possible clients. And if you keep your horizon wide and open, you might even get paid for those first pieces.
Your niche may also develop organically, through the projects you take on. You may find yourself interested in a topic you never thought of before, or find clients coming to you about a piece on a subject you wrote for someone else.
To sum up my answer to the question of whether you need to determine a niche for your freelance writing business: yes and no.
No, I don’t think you absolutely have to have a niche to make at least some money when you’re just dipping your toes in the freelance writing pool.
Yes, I believe it will make you more money in the long-term to have a niche that you can grow into and that will grow with you.
To sum up: if you start out with a niche in mind – awesome! Go for it. But if you don’t – don’t panic! You may grow into it automatically, or find it along the way through “random” projects you take on. If your goal isn’t to make oodles of money, you may even stay niche-less and just roll with the projects that come in, while still adding a substantial amount to your income.
Seeing as I’m not very far into this gig myself, I’m curious about your opinion or experiences. Do you agree with my assessment or not? Do you have tips on the necessity of a niche for newbies?