Finding your freelance niche can be an important step in growing your freelance business.
There’s a reason the phrase “The Riches are in the Niches” has become almost cliché when it comes to modern business (there’s even a book by the same name).
That’s because when you figure out how to find your freelance niche, you tap into something special. It seems counter-intuitive at first: smaller audience should mean less opportunity, right?
But, in many cases, the complete opposite is true.
When you find your freelance niche, you end up positioning yourself as an expert to your target audience. And when you’re an expert, you can charge more because demand for your freelance niche expertise goes up.
I spoke with one writer whose business completely took off after discovering clients were willing to pay 10x his usual rates for highly technical development blogs. He had to hire 50 contractors in 12 months with all the demand he was getting from this new freelance niche.
Finding a freelance niche can mean an explosion in new clients and revenue. But with so many freelance ideas out there, picking just one niche can feel a bit overwhelming.
So today, I’ll walk through some questions you can ask yourself in order to find your freelance niche while still doing work you enjoy and without losing clients in the process.
Here are 5 questions to help you find your freelance niche:
1. What kind of work do I enjoy most?
While this list of questions is not in any particular order, I think it’s critical to address the question of work satisfaction first.
For me, everything hinges on this question. If you choose a freelance niche you don’t enjoy, you’re stuck doing work you hate for the foreseeable future.
In fact, you could even become known as the “go-to” person for work you despise. That would be an utter failure.
So start by asking yourself: what kind of freelance work could I see myself doing for the rest of my career?
Of course, you don’t have to stick to it forever (that’s a long time), but it’s good to start with work in a freelance niche you actually enjoy.
2. What kind of work already pays me well?
Of course, enjoying your work doesn’t pay the bills. And your freelance business is a business after all—not a hobby. So the next question to ask yourself is which freelance niche has the highest revenue potential.
Depending on where you are in your freelance career, you probably already have clients that hire you for a variety of different services.
I know one freelancer who offers video services, social media management, and copywriting—three very different skills.
But as you’re trying to nail down your freelance niche, consider which services you already get paid more for.
This is a question we ask our guests on Freelance to Founder all the time: “which services give you the biggest return for your time investment?”
If it’s also work you enjoy, you’re well on your way to finding the perfect freelance niche.
If not, take a look at the second and third most lucrative services you offer. If there’s still not a match, you’ll have to hatch a game plan to slowly transition your current high-paying services out of your repertoire as your new freelance niche takes priority.
3. What do clients come to me for?
Next it’s important to ask yourself which freelance niche service your clients already come to you for.
If you’re already known in some circles, finding clients becomes much less difficult and word of mouth marketing can become a huge source of new business for you.
Of course, you don’t have to stick with the same niche you’ve already got clients in, but it can definitely be a major advantage if you’re already known as somewhat of an expert in a certain area.
4. Who can I already effectively reach?
Once you’ve identified a few freelance niche ideas that clients already come to you for, it will be helpful to determine a freelance niche in which you have easy access to potential clients.
If you already have a great presence in a certain social media group, consider identifying what that group might hire a freelancer for and explore related freelance niches.
Perhaps you’re talented at public speaking and could offer a free monthly class at your local library or elsewhere in order to build up demand for your freelance services.
Or maybe you already have a list of previous clients you could reach back out to with your new niche offering in order to have them work with you again.
5. Which freelance niches are currently growing?
If you plan to freelance for a long time or ultimately go from freelancer to agency, it’s smart to do some research to find which freelance niches are growing—and which are declining.
Of course, some declining specialties also cause a sort of exodus of freelancers from that particular niche, which could put you in a nice place. But when the overall pie is shrinking each year, even a larger slice of pie eventually has an end.
A few more thoughts on finding your freelance niche
Asking the five questions above will be a GREAT start when trying to figure out how to find your freelance niche.
In addition, I’d like to share a few pieces of advice I’ve gathered after working with freelancers for 10+ years.
Don’t worry about finding a freelance niche too early
You might read all kinds of advice online or in books about niching down and find yourself thinking: “wow, I need to do that NOW.”
In my experience, there’s such a thing as getting into a freelance niche too early.
If you’re still in the very early stages of starting your freelance business, be wary of turning down too much work before you become profitable. This can lead to suffering through the feast/famine cycle and never getting your freelance business off the ground.
You can always change your freelance niche later
Some people find themselves debilitated by the idea of finding a freelance niche.
They ask themselves things like “what if I don’t like my niche in a few years?” or “what if I pick a bad niche?”
While these are valid concerns, it’s important to remember: you can always change your niche as you go.
Of course, it’s better to stay the course as long as possible since your reputation and client list will grow over time in your specific freelance niche. But when you’re running your own business, you’re in charge. You can always pivot.
There’s no such thing as “the wrong freelance niche”
If you find yourself worried you’ll pick the wrong niche, let me help you find some peace about it.
There’s no such thing as “the wrong freelance niche.”
There are freelancers in thousands of niches you’ve probably never even heard of.
Yes, there are some niches that will be a bad fit for you. But if you ask yourself the questions above before finding your freelance niche, then you should be just fine.
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