Targeting Niches is Critical for Success

You can’t do everything. Many freelancers start out thinking that the free in freelance means that they can try whatever they like. But that’s not true. Successful freelancers focus on specific niches that deliver the best bang for buck.
Selecting your target niches is a matter of finding the intersection between your strengths, interests and the market’s needs. A post at Good Business Consulting discussed the importance of identifying niches and the benefits it can deliver.
When I started freelancing I knew that my strengths were in writing about technology, having the knack of being able to take complex topics and make them clear and engaging and solid technical and business experience. I was interested in mobility and gadgets. At the time – this was before the iPhone era – Personal Digital Assistants like the Palm Pilot were all the rage so I specialised in writing about those devices.
So, my niche was personal digital devices and how they fitted the needs of consumers and business people.
What are your strengths? What are your interests? Make a list of your strengths and interests and then look at where they intersect with the market. That will provide you with a short list of potential niches you can work in.
Next, look at the market and realistically appraise whether there’s a real opportunity for those niches to be profitable. Don’t just jump into the first thing that you find interesting. You might spend a lot of time and effort on a niche isn’t going to keep you fed.
The other benefit of this is that it helps highlight your most important skill. Your most important skill may not be your strongest one. For me, I thought writing would be my most important attribute but it turns out that business experience is my key attribute. I can apply it in each of my niches and it sets me aside from many of my competitors.
Finding what makes you different from your competitors can be the difference between making ends meet and profligate success.
Over time, markets change and your own interests can shift. As a freelancer you can change tack from time to time. In my case, I started as a journalist but now do media training and corporate presentations on the use of technology.
Be prepared to re-evaluate your strengths and interests from time to time as you might find new opportunities that build on the skills you have developed.

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