Finding A Niche Will Make You Money and Save You Time

(Last Updated On: August 8, 2016)

If you want to make more money as a freelancer, you need to find your niche. In the short-term, taking every paid job you’re offered might seem like the best way to make money. But if you want to make a full-time salary freelancing, you need to find a niche.

Here’s Why You’ll Make More Money When You Have A Niche

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Your job as a freelancer is to solve a problem for your client. If you are an expert in a niche, then you can fix more specialized and complicated problems for your clients. Your expertise is more valuable, so you will make more money.

Becoming an expert takes time. The sooner you can find your niche, the faster you can develop your skills and knowledge in that niche.

It’s taken me years to find my niche as a freelance assessment item writer (I write standardized test questions.) I started my career as a teacher, then I moved into general freelance education writing. Over time I found that the highest paying work in education writing was assessment item writing, so I gravitated towards that. I now have several years of experience with this type of writing, so it’s very easy to sell my skills to potential clients. My expertise in this niche has grown to the point that I now have clients asking me to consult for them.

If you want to grow your business, you need to find a niche. Here's how, plus find out the three fears that hold people back from niching and how to overcome them. Pin now and read later.

Niching Increases Your Productivity

When you find a niche, you will make more money because you will be more efficient with your time. First, you’ll save time by streamlining your pitching process. You won’t have to start from scratch with every pitch because most prospective clients will be looking for the same thing. Second, you will have a better success rate with your pitches because you know what potential clients want.

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For example, in my niche of assessment item writing, I sent out the exact same pitch to six different companies. Four of them hired me. That’s a success rate of 66%. Before I found my niche, my pitching success rate was about 10%.

I saved about three hours by reusing the same pitch six times. I’ve also saved about five hours a week for the next several months because I don’t need to pitch. I have more work than I can handle.

Finding a niche will also help you finish work faster. Good freelancers know that you can get work done faster if you create a repeatable system for yourself. Creating a system is so much easier if you have a niche. All I do is write standardized test questions, and I created a system to do this work in the most efficient way possible. I can get more done in less time, which increases my hourly rate at no extra cost to the client. (Note: I get paid per project or per item, if you get paid hourly, then you can negotiate a higher rate by showing your client how much more work you get done per hour than other people in your field.)

Here’s How to Find Your Niche

Finding your niche takes time. Most freelancers start by trying a variety of work, which is great. Trying out different types of work helps you figure out what you enjoy, what you’re good at, and what pays well. The problem is that most freelancers stop there.

The next step is to finding a niche is determining your freelancing goals. If you want to be fulfilled and you don’t care about money, then your niche is whatever work you enjoy best. If your goal is to make good money, then you need to decide which niche pays well and doesn’t crush your soul. Don’t choose a niche that pays well but makes you miserable. Working in a niche you despise is not sustainable.

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Once you’ve found your happy medium between making money and staying sane, focus on getting more business in this niche so you can grow your expertise and learn relevant skills. Over time you’ll get to know your industry well. Clients will keep coming back to you and paying you well because you will be the best person to do very specialized work for them.

How did you find your niche? If you haven’t found it yet, what’s holding you back?

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  • Thanks for the great tips! This is probably what I struggle with the most and has been keeping me for getting started. I think the fear is that I’ll choose the “wrong” niche or get bored with whatever I’ve chosen and want to change it. This may be true, but I have to start with something, otherwise, I’ll never start!

    • Hey Sally, I tried just about every type of writing under the sun when I started, and I think many freelance writers do as well. As you said, just start with something! You’ll get some momentum and increase your confidence, then you can niche later. I don’t think you need to niche right away, but when you’re ready to earn more money and get more serious with freelancing, it’s a great next step. Have you started freelancing yet? If so, what kind of projects have you tried?

  • Hey Emily, great post! This is something that I’ve been struggling with but I’m leaning towards digital marketing because I enjoy both writing and learning about it.

    The part about increasing productivity particularly resonated with me. I never really thought about it in that way but its’ super eye opening!

    • I think we all struggle with settling into a niche, so you’re not alone! It can be hard to feel like you’re shutting the door on other options, but truly you’re not!

      Also, I only realized the productivity advantage after I niched. It hadn’t crossed my mind before that it could be a benefit!