Freelancers often make the mistake of trying to be all things to all people in an attempt to get ahead, but in many cases it makes more business sense to find a niche, stick to it and develop a loyal customer base of clients who are willing to recommend you to their ever-widening web of contacts.
But what exactly does â€˜going niche' mean, and how could adopting a more focused approach help you to improve your business? Redshift qualitative market research firm proposes a set of guidelines to improve your business.
Finding the niche that's right for you will of course depend on the skill set you have, but you should also consider what it is you really enjoy doing and what will continue to be a viable (and lucrative) niche in the future. For example, as a web designer it's worthwhile considering focusing solely on creating WordPress designs or learning how to develop cutting-edge Ecommerce sites, whilst a copywriter may want to concentrate on producing copy that sits firmly within a particular vertical depending on their knowledge and experience.
The Benefits of Choosing a Niche
In these tech-savvy times it's essential to do everything you can to attract the right kind of people to your website. According to a recent survey carried out by SEOMoz, 70% of all search engine queries are â€˜long tail'. In other words, rather than someone searching for â€˜copywriter' or â€˜web designer', they are much more likely to search for â€˜blogger in Birmingham' or â€˜Wordpress Web Developer Brighton'. This means that if you are willing to spend some time discovering which market (local or otherwise) is going to respond well to what you have to offer, you've got a better chance of receiving and retaining visitors.
But it's not just your web presence that can be affected by choosing to specialise in a particular niche. Most people look for a specialist contractor when remodelling their kitchen or bathroom, for example, and this same overly selective process is adopted by almost any potential client who is looking for a level of service that's going to meet their needs. Being an expert in your particular field will help put clients at ease because you will be able to prove to them that you've got a great track record when dealing with businesses or individuals in certain industries.
Focusing on a particular aspect of your sector will allow you to build your skills and expertise to an expert level, so you can become the â€˜go to' person within your niche and build a successful portfolio of clients in no time. In addition, repeating similar processes several times will allow you to hone your systems and become the best at what you do.
How to Pick Your Niche
Deciding which niche you want to focus on is not a decision to be taken lightly, so follow these steps to determine which direction will offer the best returns in both a personal and professional capacity.
1. Assess your Business
Take time to assess the successes and failures of your business up until now. Decide what has worked for you in the past, what you find stressful and what caused a lot of problems. Think about the areas of your business that are the most lucrative and which aspects of your business you find most enjoyable.
2. Do What You Love
One road to a happy existence is to fill your days doing something you love. Chances are if you're freelancing within a certain industry it's because you already have a passion or propensity for it so it shouldn't be too difficult to decide what you'd prefer to focus on.
3. Choose An Industry
If you work within lots of different industries or with different types of clients then think about what gives you the most satisfaction. For example, you may not earn the best wage working with smaller companies, but you could find it more fulfilling to provide more of a personalised service to micro-businesses and be a part of their growth.
4. Know Your Market
Before making a decision, make sure you've researched the market to determine the level of competition you're likely to face. If the area you want to specialise in is highly competitive then think about what unique selling points you could offer potential clients. You'll struggle to be successful if you can't think of a USP that will truly set you apart from every other freelancer!