Freelance Writers: How To Develop A Niche With No Experience And Make It Profitable For Years To Come
One of the things that I have learned in my more than 19 years as a freelance and recruiter in the publishing industry is that freelancers must develop a niche.
“AIM”, you may be wondering, “how do you develop a niche without experience?” It’s actually relatively easy and can be done in three easy steps.
1. Make a list of your experiences, likes, hobbies, etc. Why? Because the first step to developing a niche is to go with your strengths. Even if you don’t have professional experience in an area, if you like it, you will likely be working to master it.
For example, in my professional life, I have been a real estate agent, loan officer, credit counselor, recruiter, and legal text editor (among a few other things, but we’ll stop here). Remember, this is professional only.
My hobbies are running, investing in real estate, reading historical romances, sewing, decorating interiors, and designing ethnic pottery, among a host of other things (I have a very active mind and a hint of ADD!).
Now that you have this list, what do you do with it?
2. Aim for lucrative markets: Not all the interests you have will make a viable market niche. This may be because they are unwilling to pay for your services, they don’t need your services, and / or there aren’t enough of their kind to market.
With your list in hand, choose markets where: a) your services are needed on an ongoing basis; b) the sale price can be met with relative ease; and c) there are sufficient quantities to market.
Also, you may want to consider the competition; as in, how much / little do you have? While there is always room for one more company to offer a product / service, my thought process is why fish in a crowded pond.
Go after a market that not many others are targeting. Sometimes this market will reveal itself on your list of professional experiences and / or hobbies. At other times, you may have to try harder to find it. Just make sure that regardless of how you choose your market, you keep the points mentioned above in mind.
Now that you know who you want to market to, how can you get those first big jobs that lead to samples, referrals, etc.? Simple.
3. Do low-cost / no-cost jobs: Always try to get paid for whatever work you do. You can contact local charities; work for friends with businesses; contact start-up companies, etc. Your mission to start is to get those first 4 or 5 jobs under your belt.
If you are unlucky with a paid job, try this. Head over to a company and get the job done without asking them (for example, rewrite the poorly worded brochure you received in the mail; rework your ineffective web copy; design your logo, etc.). Then contact them with their original version and their NEW and improved version. Not many companies will turn down upgraded jobs that they don’t have to pay for. Thus, a legitimate credit!
Even if a company refuses, you can still use it in your wallet. Simply change the company name to something that obviously reflects that it is a fictitious company except that the name has been changed, but the revisions made were to the original copy.
Now you are on your way!