Quit Obsessing Over Your Freelance Writing Niche. Do This, Instead.

Right this minute, someone out there is wondering, “how can I find my perfect freelance writing niche?”

(Maybe even you.)

I receive heart-wrenching letters every week from writers trying to find their true path. These folks have heard they need to “find a niche” — and that’s where they get stuck.

Because people aren’t focused on finding a niche. They want to find THE niche. The one thing they should do that will be fun and satisfying and most lucrative and feel almost effortless.

And, let’s face it, there are a lot of people selling their “best writing niche” ideas. You can buy training courses on how to write for small business owners, how to write B2B copy and how to write white papers that sell for 10K a pop.

There are books and blogs and webinars, all screaming the same tune. THIS IS THE FUTURE! LEARN THIS NOW! YOU’LL MAKE SO MUCH MONEY!

It gets confusing.

So, people go from blog post to blog post, and purchase training course after training course, trying to find that one thing.

That one copywriting niche that makes their life complete.

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In the meantime, they don’t write. They don’t start anything. They’re…stuck.

(Feel familiar?)

If this sounds like you, I want you to stop and take a deep breath.

It’s OK you haven’t found THE copywriting niche for you.

Why?

Because there’s more than just one niche for you out there. Good, profitable, fun niches.

Your job isn’t to pick THE niche. Just A niche.

Let’s talk about how to do that.

It all starts with high school…

Remember taking career aptitude tests way back in high school? They were a way to supposedly tell us what we should be when we grew up.

There was all this emphasis on “what are you doing after high school” and “what will you major in?” At the tender age of 18, we were supposed to have our lives figured out for us. Many of us dutifully went to college, chose a major and made a future career choice. Mine was “psychologist.”

Did I know anything about my career choice, other than I would have to go to graduate school? Not really. But, I had to choose something…right?

Let’s face it: most of us had no idea what we were doing back then. The only exception I know is my high school boyfriend. He wanted to be an accountant like his dad, and he worked his way up to a Big Six accounting firm. He’s done well.

The rest of us, well, we’ve bumbled around some. I’ve owned a video store and art house theater, worked as a secretary, worked as a recruiter, dabbled in marketing for a plate freezer company and even tried my hand at accounting. I discovered the world of writing and SEO in my 30’s.

Chances are, you’ve lived a similar job trajectory. You’ve tried different things and stayed with some more than others. Maybe you’ve been in the same profession for awhile, but, there was a time when your career choices were more flexible.

News flash: Finding our copywriting niche takes a lot of fumbling around. It’s learning what you like, what you don’t, and how you best work.

You may be one of those rare folks who know exactly who you want to work with, and what you want to offer (if so, I envy you!). But, most folks need to circle around and get cozy before committing.

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What’s more, you have the aptitude for multiple niches inside of you! I’m not talking so-so niches, either, I mean good, meaty, fun and profitable niches.

Just like we can look back at our high school selves and say, “How can anyone be expected to choose a career at 18 years old?” we should give our current selves the same compassion.

How can anyone be expected to choose the one true freelance writing niche for them when they are first starting out?

But wait…don’t you have to start somewhere?

Yes. Here’s how

I got this idea from reading Designing Your Life. The authors, both Stanford professors, discuss how there’s not one true “perfect job.” Instead of focusing on finding THE job, the authors recommend prototyping out three job alternatives and choosing the best one.

That way, you get to design the job (and life) that works for you today — and you know how to focus your efforts.

(I highly recommend reading the book if you’re stuck and need direction. The book goes in-depth about how to prototype your career choices, the importance of a workview, and more.)

Think about the author’s advice in terms of choosing a niche. There’s a remarkable amount of freedom in knowing there’s not ONE niche for you. Your career (and interests) will naturally flow from one thing to another. Opportunities will pop up. Clients will come and go.

Your “job,” right now, is to think about three possible niches that sound fun. To you. Not what makes a “10 best freelance writing niches” list. Or, what your favorite mentor copywriter is pushing.

Just pick three writing niches you would enjoy. No pressure. No judgment. It’s all up to you.

Research your niches for three months or so. Check out the freelance copywriting competition. Look for possible clients. Break down the pros and cons. For instance, small business owners may be your passion — but they typically don’t have much money to spend. You may be fine taking on more clients so you can help small business owners. Or, you may want to work less and make more.

Pretend you’ve made a choice and live one day as an “industrial B2B copywriter,” or a “health and wellness freelance writer.” Or, you can choose to be the “newsletter maven,” and market your business to all businesses, big and small. How does it feel?

You’ll often learn everything you need to know just by noticing how you feel.

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The important thing is to take action every day — however small — towards researching your freelance writing niche. You may not feel that “checking out blog posts” is helping you accomplish your goals. However, even the smallest action steps put you that much closer to making a decision.

Once you’ve made a decision, commit to it for at least six months. You may have regrets and doubts and want to second-guess yourself. That’s normal. Know that you’ve done the research and you’ve evaluated the options. Worst-case scenario — you dump choice A for choice B after six months and go for a different target audience.

It’s OK. This is your life and your business. Many business owners (and companies) reinvent themselves and pivot in a slightly different direction. You can, too.

So, quit worrying about THE perfect freelance writing niche for you. You have many perfect niches inside you.

Just. Start. Your. Business. Already.

It’s time.

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5 replies
  1. Stephen Wertzbaugher
    Stephen Wertzbaugher says:

    Hey Heather, great article about selecting your niche and moving forward. I am intimately acquainted with obsessing. According to the personality test Joshua Boswell offers through his various AWAI programs I’m a Melancholy, so obsessing is my natural tendency as is ad nauseam research and analysis. Fortunately, with some help, I’ve learned to overcome those natural tendencies and not only select a niche for my freelance copywriting business, but reach the point where I’ll officially launch my copywriting business in less than two weeks!

    Reply
    • Heather Lloyd-Martin
      Heather Lloyd-Martin says:

      Stephen, that is FANTASTIC news! Congratulations on overcoming your natural analysis paralysis, finding a niche and launching your business! Please keep me posted on your progress! 😉

      Reply
  2. Melinda
    Melinda says:

    Just jump in and do your best – eventually, you’ll find a niche you excel at. In the meantime, you’ll be getting paid to figure this stuff out. Vacillating from one possibility to another without committing yourself … doesn’t.

    Reply
  3. Laura
    Laura says:

    Hi Heather, Your post really resonated with me, but I have a question. How important is it to set up a website in the beginning before choosing, and allowing myself to feel, a niche? I have many interests and skills, yet, I cannot choose or focus on one niche. I would like to try a few different areas. Thanks for giving me permission to explore more possibilities with your blog . Just not sure if not having a website to point prospective clients will hinder the process of growing my business.

    Reply
    • Heather Lloyd-Martin
      Heather Lloyd-Martin says:

      Hi, Laura!

      A website is certainly helpful as an easy way to showcase your clips. BUT, I wouldn’t let a website hold you back from hustling for work. If nothing else, you can build a very general site now…and then, dial it in when you figure out what you want to be when you grow up. 🙂

      Does this help?

      Reply

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