Find Your Niche – Good Advice?
Is the idea that you must find your niche or “niche” down making you feel all quivery and stressed? Are you worried you have one shot to get your freelance niche right, and if you pick the wrong niche, you’re screwed?
In this post I’m going to give you my (sometimes unpopular) opinion on why you don’t HAVE to find your niche niche as a freelancer. Let’s jump in!
Choosing a Niche Used to Freak Me Out
When you get into freelancing, this is a promise: you’re going to hear the phrase “find your niche”.
You’ll see this advice OVER and OVER.
Let me tell you, this advice? It really freaked me the hell out.
You see, I’d just jumped ship from the prison cell of corporate life. I was ready to spread my wings and do what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it.
So it’s no surprise that I resisted the advice to choose a specific industry or type of work. I wanted to be free to try things. I wanted to have the option to work on a financial blog post one day and an athleisure email campaign the next day (which I did, by the way).
What’s the Deal with the “Find Your Niche” Advice?
Why is this find your niche concept so prevalent? Well because there is merit behind the idea. It is very powerful to be a specialist.
If your heat goes out over Christmas break, you’re going to call a heating specialist – not a general handyman.
Specialized expertise is incredibly valuable and marketing gold. This is why much of the entrepreneurial advice advocates for niching down, finding a specialty, and becoming the Navy SEAL of your industry.
Finding Your Niche isn’t the ONLY Way to Succeed
But for many of us, the idea of picking a specialty is paralyzing – especially when you’re starting out.
The idea that if you don’t choose a niche you will fail is doing more harm than good. I see consistent panic from freelancers about it.
What if I pick the wrong niche?
What if my niche is too crowded?
What if my niche doesn’t have demand?
This anxiety creates paralysis. Paralysis is WAY worse than not choosing a specialty.
A big part of my freelance coaching is to help people get out of their own way by realizing all “advice” is mostly BS.
The only guidance you should follow is the guidance that makes you feel empowered, inspired, and energized. If it makes you feel scared and paralyzed, then it’s just not for you.
I’m here to liberate you from all the “best practices” and “shoulds” that have made you feel trapped in the first place.
If Finding a Niche Scares You, Here’s What to Do
If you’re like me and felt really panicked at the idea of drilling down on an industry or specialty in your freelancing career, I have some advice straight from the trenches.
Hack the Niche with Specific Landing Pages
This might seem really obvious but you can create niche pages on your website. And voila! You look like a bonafide specialist to a new web visitor.
Here’s how it looks. You’re hanging out on LinkedIn or Facebook. You see someone post about waiting an expert who knows how to write Shopify product descriptions.
You know that it’s something you’ve done in the past. You’re confident it’s in your wheelhouse.
Go to your site and create a Shopify Services page. Outline all the Shopify related activity you can do. Publish the page with the URL http://www.yoursite.com/shopify-services
Then send that actual link to the person who needs Shopify help.
Boom, they open up a beautifully-specific page all about the things they need.
Be Intentional About Niche Research
Here’s something that may surprise you: I DO think finding your niche is a GOOD thing.
…When you’re ready.
….After you’ve done soul-searching and exploration.
When I started full-time freelancing, I didn’t know what I actually LIKED to work on. I spent so much time as a numb overachiever that I just did the things that I was good at.
I ran toward anything that would get me praise and recognition professionally (don’t do that guys, you’ll burn out).
For the first year of freelancing, I gave myself permission to take on different projects. I worked on a web design for a hypnotherapist, I created strategies Silicon Valley startups, I even wrote about Bitcoin and blockchain.
While it may have seemed really scattered to some people, for me, it was intentional. I was using each (very different) project as personal research.
What projects did I like?
Which types of professionals do I resonate with?
What work feels like a total drag?
So follow my lead and give yourself permission to work on different projects in different industries. Continually self-assess. It’s usually helpful to set up a timeframe too. I gave myself a year. You may only need three months.
Eventually, you WILL find your niche. (Or niches).
When do you Know You’re Ready to Choose a Niche?
Finally, after I felt like I started to gravitate toward the same types of projects, I knew I was ready to get more focused.
It was exciting! Niching finally felt possible, and even fun.
At that point, I had enough experience and revenue generated to create a new website, that was more focused and niched-out.
Hi, I’m Brynn
I write about how to build a FREE lifestyle with freelancing.
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