This post will help you with Phase 2 of the BlackFreelance Strategy Workbook…if you haven’t started yours yet, download it now!
Narrowing down your niche is one of the hardest things you’ll do as a freelancer. It’s also one of the most important.
If you take the time to choose, test, and refine your specialization (or specializations) you’ll be on the road to lower-friction freelancing, easier marketing, and an overall clearer path in your freelance business.
But how do you figure that out?
The process is personal, and that’s why I love it when people ask me questions. I actually just got one this week from Siona on Twitter.
Siona wanted to know what she could do with her experience as a storyteller and how that could translate into local and remote work.
I love how she framed this! Looking at your assets when searching for a niche is a great way to make sure you start with some real inertia. She also included a goal, which points to her freelance Why. That’s the foundation of your freelance career and should be a guide as you’re building your freelance strategy.
Work and employment experience is one of the strongest clues to niche viability, so my first question was about what existing experience she had.
It turns out Siona has experience working with social justice advocacy organizations and creating narratives that help those organizations expand their messaging outside of people who already get what’s going on in that world.
…and there’s the answer.
I suggested that she start with the idea of messaging and branding for non-profits, possibly in the same sub-niche where she has employment experience in (depending on the rates she sees). I also suggested trying to put together her own portfolio based on her prior work and checking out formal branding and messaging packages (through a search engine) as a starting place to cementing what services she can offer.
Branding and messaging are important efforts for any organization, but for nonprofits that depend on donation and continual relation of stories that strike the right emotional chord with potential donors, it’s critical. It’s also a pretty well-established service. Even HubSpot’s dedicated some time to it.
With some solid marketing and leveraging of her existing network, she’ll get a good look at how viable it is and where she might need to do some refining.
I think this is a really good start for a niche. The non-profit sector is a multi-trillion dollar industry globally, and third largest segment of the U.S. workforce, only behind retail and manufacturing. That said, the money tends to be heavily concentrated in a tiny percentage of organizations at the top. This means that freelancers who want to maximize their earning will likely want to dedicate a significant portion of their work to more established orgs or those that focus on larger donors.
Next Steps for You:
Learn more about the path I took to choose and refine my niche.
Work through the niche resources to figure out your own.
Sign up for the Start Strong newsletter to get your copy of the Niche Asset Assessment — a short document that will help you review your current strengths and reveal your starter niche.
Jamaal Williams says
Very good information.