Hi there, gang, long time no see…
It’s been quite hectic on the homefront as I work to juggle my full-time Freelance writing career and the absolutely wonderful adventure of motherhood!
Man is 2020 starting off as quite the… uh… shitstorm, eh? Like, this fucking sucks, my dudes.
It’s unbelievable that just a few weeks ago Jake and I were out bopping around the mall, flexing my mommy-muscles… and now I’m reluctant to go to the grocery store.
… not that there’s anything LEFT in the fucking grocery store.
I’m not going to get into that… but you know who you are.
Alright, as the title describes, I promised you tips on how to pick a writing niche, and that is exactly what we’re going to do. Considering most of us are self-quarantining, this is the perfect time for all of you aspiring writers to buckle down and do this thing called picking a niche.
Now, some of you may recall that in past posts that I have mentioned that I was initially reluctant to find a niche because I liked writing about different topics.
This is still true, but I have also come to see that you can pick a niche without having to select a specific industry (at least, I believe so).
If you’ve visited my website, you may notice I refer to myself as a SaaS Copywriter, and currently that is the major field I enjoy working within.
SaaS stands for “Software as a Service”. SaaS refers to stuff like Freshbooks and Quickbooks- you know, software that provides a service!
However, I work with many different clients and many different industries, and the past 6 months of my adventure as a freelancer has helped me discover the types of projects I like working on, the ones I don’t, and the ones I really want to take a crack at.
Soon (when I find the time) I will be remodeling my website to reflect this growth.
Now, while the industry I like to write in most is SaaS, my REAL niche is in the SERVICES that I choose to provide. My website will be reflecting that soon, too.
You see, you CAN select a niche that doesn’t involve picking a specific industry! Your niche could be email sequences, or website copy, landing pages, social media- etc!
Regardless of what type of niche decisions you end up making, I wanted to give you a step-by-step guide as to how to decide how to pick a niche. So, let’s get started!
How To Pick Your Perfect Freelance Writing Niche!
Step One: Sit Down and Focus
Yeah, treat finding a niche as you would a project for a client. Give it the care and attention that it needs in order for you to execute this project correctly.
Limit your distractions, grab a notebook and a pencil, and keep a snack handy so you’re not tempted to wander off. You’ve been putting this off for a while, don’t give yourself any excuse to get side-tracked.
Step Two: Ignore The Imposter Syndrome
I would say the BIGGEST hindrance in your career will be yourself. And I’m not talking about your abilities, because you’re a good writer. Even if you’re just starting out with little to no experience. If writing is something that you’re passionate about enough to want to make it a business, then you’re passionate enough to work through any silly hurdles in your technical writing that might make you feel insecure.
You MUST beat that imposter syndrome voice into a bloody pulp and kick it out of your head. This isn’t easy, that knot in your chest that arises as you start writing for a new client- or you get some feedback from a client that isn’t as positive as you’d hoped- is enough to make you want to crawl in a hole.
Believe me… I get it SO MUCH that I’m going through it RIGHT NOW.
However, I understand that the only way I will be successful is to ignore my insecurities and keep working.
You must do that, too. If you spend too much avoiding picking your niche because you don’t believe in yourself… it’s only going to build upon itself and damage your success.
Step Three: Think Of Your Interests
The first step in deciding on a niche is paying attention to your passions and hobbies. Think of the things you enjoy doing or reading about during your free time. Think of the blogs you enjoy reading about, even. The worst thing you can do is try and purely pick a niche based on its profitability.
If you have no passion for what you’re writing about, it will become MISERABLE, and your love for writing might get nicked because of it.
Step Four: Research Highly Profitable Niches
Now, I did just say not to pick a niche solely on its profitability. However, it should be something you consider. Do a little research and find out if some of the profitable writing niches happen to coincide with one of your listed interests/passions.
Step Five: Think About Topics & Industries You’ve Written About
It could be client work, or topics from your personal blog, or assignments from school! If you have ZERO writing history… this isn’t really a bad thing, this gives you a lot of flexibility to experiment, so don’t think for one second that you’re at a disadvantage.
Start your own blog, publish posts, and that is a great way for potential clients to get a look at your work while you build experience and niche preferences.
Step Six: Create And Compare Lists
Okay, so sit down and make three lists.
- One with all of your interests
- One with profitable niches
- One with your previous writing experience(if you have some)
Take a look at each of these lists, and start trying to notice if any of them start to interlace. See if your passion intersects with any of the profitable niches you’ve researched. As an example: if you like fitness and nutrition, then you have expertise in niches that are very popular and profitable.
Don’t be discouraged if there aren’t any intersections- yet– start just eliminating the niches and interests that you are LEAST interested in to start narrowing the field.
Alternative Step Six: Choose a Specific SERVICE
So, if you’re having trouble picking an industry to write in, start thinking about the TYPE of writing you’d like to do. Blogging, emails, landing pages, so on and so forth.
Just as above, do some research on different copywriting specializations and see if any appeal to you, or are things you might have some experience in.
Personally, I LOVE blog writing(if you couldn’t tell), and website copywriting- and there are a few other avenues I would like to try my hand at.
Again, don’t sweat it if you haven’t written in any of them before, you can create copy spec to build a portfolio and practice your skills. As long as you’re up-front and honest with your client about your experience, there’s nothing to worry about. There are plenty of great clients who don’t mind hiring green writers because it gives them an opportunity to mold that writer to their brand voice.
Step Seven: Nothing Is Set In Stone
The worst thing you can do is waste time trying to pick the “perfect” something. Try to find something cool, but don’t dawdle. Get your ass in gear, and start making moves.
Build your website, start working on copy spec, start pitching.
Don’t worry if what you choose initially ends up not being for you in a month or two from now, you can ALWAYS change and evolve your niche as you grow in experience. You’ll be surprised at what type of experience you glean throughout your career.
For example, I would have NEVER expected that I would end up building a lot of experience in website copywriting or writing for the construction industry… but it just so happened that a lot of clients I worked with early on happened to be in those industries or in need of those skills.
Step Eight: Remember This Is YOUR Business
Okay, another reason to keep step seven in mind is that YOU need to make sure you work on the projects- and with clients- that you WANT to work with.
You are not anyone’s employee. You are a BUSINESS owner, and you HAVE to put your business first.
You will take on projects that don’t fit your style, and you’ll encounter clients that don’t jive with you, either. That’s okay. It’s going to happen, and it doesn’t mean that you’re a bad writer or that you had a bad client (but you WILL encounter bad clients, too).
As another example from my own experiences: I’ve had to terminate clients (after completing their projects, of course- never leave anything half-finished unless you have a very good reason) because I was ALLOWING them to devalue my service. Again, key phrase being “I ALLOWED them”.
A huge part of growing as a writer is learning that you can say no, you can say stop- you can say I’m not doing this anymore… and it be the right decision. If a relationship with a client sets off alarm bells, listen to them. If a client relationship ends up not being as positive as you hoped, see if you can resolve it, otherwise finish the project (if that is reasonable), and politely thank the client for their business and end your relationship.
You became a freelancer because you didn’t want to be anyone’s employee anymore. Your biggest hurdle will be your mindset. So invest much of your time in changing it… and start learning to trust your instincts… even if it means that you turn down working with a client.
You have to remember: if you can get one client, you can get three more. Now, I’m not saying your clients aren’t amazing and valuable. You absolutely should treat your clients with the same respect and appreciation that you would like reciprocated… but what I AM saying is that you don’t have to stay in a business relationship that makes you sick thinking about it.
Step Nine: Experiment
If one industry or copywriting field doesn’t bring you joy… then just change it. You have the entire internet at your disposal- you can learn ANYTHING and EVERYTHING about a topic with a little effort.
Don’t stick with the first thing you pick if it doesn’t bring you joy. The more you experiment, the better chance you WILL find your “perfect niche” and, in turn, your perfect client that wants to pay you GOOD MONEY to work with them.
Step Ten: Stop Reading This Blog
You heard me. Stop putting it off. Click subscribe(shameless) and then get your ass in gear. Take the next hour or two and start researching niche ideas.
Every day you waste feeling insecure in your skills is one day further away from success. Becoming a freelance writer is not an easy feat. You’ll work harder than you ever have at your 9-5 in the beginning… but it will be the most satisfying work you will ever do.
If you haul ass in the beginning, then you’ll have a career that IS fulfilling and freeing sooner than you think.
It was certainly the case for me, and I’m an idiot.
I believe in you SO MUCH, and I would LOVE to hear about the niche you end up choosing, so PLEASE keep me posted in the comments and share your social media, I’d love to show you some love!