Do you actually need to choose a freelance writing niche? This is a hot topic in the freelance writing world. People often frame picking a niche as the ONLY way to stand out as a professional and be attractive to clients but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Choosing a niche is actually a bad idea for new freelance writers. Here’s what you need to know about niches (+ what actions you should take as a new writer.)
What Is a Freelance Writing Niche?
First, let’s take a step back and talk about what a niche is. A freelance writing niche is a specialization. You can choose to specialize in an industry, a type of writing, or both. Here are some examples:
- Technology writer (niche by industry)
- Long-form blog post writer (niche by type of writing)
- Long-form blog post writer for technology companies (niche by industry and type of writing)
Why Do New Freelance Writers Choose a Niche?
Many new freelance writers choose a writing niche because a lot of the advice online says that you have to. That somehow, it’s a requirement to be a freelance writer. This creates a lot of stress for people trying to break into the business.
The good news is, it isn’t a requirement. You can be a successful freelance writer without specializing. I know, because I did it myself.
My Journey With Niches and Full-Time Freelance Writing
If I chose a niche when I first started my freelance writing business, it wouldn’t look the same or be nearly as successful today. To be honest, when I launched my business, I didn’t really know that choosing a niche was something you were “supposed” to do because I hadn’t seen the advice circulating online yet.
However, as I started growing my business, I did come across that information and felt a lot of pressure to choose a niche. Everyone said it was the right thing to do. It didn’t feel right to me, though. I was still figuring out who I liked working with and what I enjoyed writing about the most.
Eventually, that did lead me to my niche as a freelance writer. I love what I do now, but I would have NEVER chosen my current niche if I convinced myself I needed to pick one from the get-go. Today, I write about software and IT. I didn’t have ANY experience with those things when I started my freelance writing career.
3 Reasons Why Shouldn’t Choose a Niche
If you are brand new to freelance writing, choosing a niche early can actually put you at a disadvantage. These are the reasons that new freelance writers shouldn’t choose a niche.
1. Letting Others Decide Your Fate
Don’t let the internet tell you what your niche should be. If you haven’t written for a single client before, please do me (and yourself) a favor. Don’t choose a niche yet.
Create your portfolio and start pitching, ASAP. Spend some time working with clients so that YOU can validate what the right choice is for yourself.
2. Failing to Focus on What Matters
Many new freelance writers fall into the trap of going all-in on their chosen niche and failing to spend time on other skills like improving your craft, marketing and communicating with clients.
These skills are a lot more important than picking a niche, especially when you’re starting out.
3. Limited Flexibility
Once you begin marketing yourself as a certain type of writer, that’s what you become known for. Yes, you can always change your niche. However, if you spent a bunch of time creating a freelance writer website for one specific audience, you’ll waste a lot of time re-doing it if you decide to change things up.
Time is your biggest asset as a new business owner. Don’t risk wasting it.
By choosing a niche early, you’re closing the door on so many potential opportunities you could have. There is a time in your freelance career to choose a niche, but it is NOT when you’re just getting started.
When Should You Choose a Freelance Writing Niche?
The answer to this question will be a little bit different for everyone, but the way I approach this was inspired by David Epstein’s book, Range. Epstein advises people to “first act, then think.”
Most people approach this the opposite way. They come up with what they believe is the perfect plan and sink time and money into the idea of who they should be as a freelancer. I encourage you to reject that idea and spend time learning who you want to be for yourself by taking action.
You should choose a freelance writing niche once you have some experience getting paid to write. Research potential clients, understand what they’re looking for and what the pay is like.
Don’t rely on other people’s experiences. Use your own experiences to inform your decision about what you want to specialize in.
Do You Need a Freelance Writing Niche to Land High-Paying Clients?
The short answer to this question is no. You don’t need a freelance writing niche to land high-paying clients. Having a niche is just one way to show clients that you’re the right fit for them. It’s far from the only way.
Having great samples, writing persuasive pitches, and knowing how to market your skills is a powerful combination. If you can master those things, you can land thousands of dollars worth of freelance writing work.
No, You Don’t Need a Niche
The bottom line is that you don’t have to put pressure on yourself to find a freelance writing niche. A niche just adds complexity that new writers don’t need. Ditch the niche talk until you have a better understanding of what direction will be best for you.
Want to Make Money as a Freelance Writer Without Choosing a Niche?
In my new course, I’ll show you my Primary Portfolio Method which breaks down EXACTLY what you need to do if you want to create samples that will make clients want to work with you without specializing. Sign up now and be the first to know when the course is available.