The niche you choose will make or break your freelance career…but it’s also something you shouldn’t overthink.
Getting out to test the waters is the most important step you can take as a freelancer…and when it comes to choosing your niche, an educated first step is all you need.
But it always helps to have some suggestions, right?
That’s why we’re going to walk though a few industries Black freelancers like you should consider as a starter niche.
Where you have experience
Let’s just get this out of the way.
Don’t waste your career inertia. If you’ve got experience in an industry, look for ways to translate that into freelance work. Getting your freelance business going is a lot easier if you’re not trying to learn a new market AND how to run a one-person business at the same time.
And if you’re like me and dealing with burnout and need space? Try remixing with another dimension to freshen things up and give yourself some distance (while still putting your knowledge and experience to work).
With the rise of remote learning, education’s been turned on its head…this means lots of startups and companies looking to approach education in new ways. The sector is expected to grow 0.8% in 2023.
On top of that, Black people (US) already have a strong presence in K-12 and viable networks that have a wealth of understanding and industry knowledge. So if you’re a teacher, support, or in admin, consider instructional design, ed tech, or even education for working adults as potential niches. Look for companies selling into schools and colleges and what ervices and products they need support with. Trade publications can help with that.
With the strong presence of foreign born, and especially Haitian nurses in the U.S., healthcare should be high on the list of niches for freelancers. The same goes for Black representation in billing and coding and even doctors looking for a career shift.
Healthcare companies across the board need marketers, writers, designers, and all sorts of other positions that are experienced in the industry. I was able to get off to a relatively quick start in my niche (healthcare tech) because people didn’t just need a writer…they needed someone who understood the way healthcare worked from the inside.
The bonus here is that it tends to be (somewhat) recession proof, meaning you can build stability into your business early. So if you’ve got a background in healthcare, don’t write it off too quickly.
Government and Military
Government jobs have been a foundational building block for Black families in the US, so if your background or network touches on that space, don’t sleep on it.
That’s because while freelancing for the government is its own beast, plenty of businesses sell into military and government as a market and need people who understand who they’re trying to reach…kind of like this.
Same thing goes for this field as healthcare in terms of economic safety. If you want predictability into your lifestyle design and freelance cash flows, this could be a good choice.
As retail continues to evolve, we’re seeing more interesting companies expanding in terms of software, physical goods, and beyond. If you worked a job in retail, especially if you had experience using software, don’t discount what you learned about platforms, customer needs, and the employee experience. Retail’s a big world though, so jump into a few trade publications to build some context around your work experience.
Now that you have an industry, remember that you’re going to use trial and error to figure out where it fits in your freelance strategy. But know that trial doesn’t mean starting from scratch. It’s usually a good idea to “niche down” using different freelance dimensions instead of reinventing the wheel every few months. Keep in mind though, there’s no substitute for real world insights and community knowledge…make sure you’re listening to the experience of employed people in these fields even while you’re talking with other freelancers as you build out your freelance strategy.