I’ve written about why choosing a niche when you’re starting out is not a good idea. Niching down too early limits your client options, hampers your portfolio development, and stunts your career growth.
But the worst part is that you might end up boxing yourself into a niche that you don’t really like, or into an industry that doesn’t have enough work to support you.
As a newer freelancer, we recommend making your portfolio as diverse as possible. Showcase the depth and breadth of your abilities, and prove that you can work with many, varied industries.
The key words here are: “when you’re a newer freelancer.”
Once you have demonstrated, through your portfolio, what you’re capable of as a freelancer, you may want to narrow your focus.
When is the right time to select a freelance niche?
When you have enough experience, you’ll know what kinds of work you enjoy. And you’ll know what types of companies you like working with. Most importantly, you’ll have an understanding of which industries have plenty of opportunities for you, and which ones do not.
In other words, you need to be two or three years into your career, with a broad range of experience, before thinking about choosing a niche to stick with.
At that point you might find that choosing a niche helps you keep growing. You can target your outreach more effectively. You can focus your marketing messages on all of your platforms—blog posts, ads, networking, etc.—so they appeal to your ideal client.
After that, make sure you take the time to thoughtfully determine who your perfect client is so you can appeal directly to those specific opportunities. What industry will you focus on? What size company will you target?
If you choose a freelance niche, don’t forget to update your USP.
When you choose a niche, you’ll need to edit your USP to reflect your new focus. Decide what sets you apart from your peers, and what appeals to your ideal client.
What makes you the perfect person to work within that niche? In what ways are you ideally suited for the type of work or project you’re looking for? What can you accomplish for your clients that is unique?
If you decide to choose a niche, your objective is to become the go-to expert within that niche. Ultimately, you might find a benefit to getting even more specific as you work toward that objective.
As long as there is enough work to support you, it can make sense to niche down and narrow your focus. This strategy allows you to speak directly to your target clients, be present in their networks, grow lots of relationships, and land work like crazy!
Your turn! Are you at the two-to-three year mark yet? Are you considering specializing? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below!