Some freelancers have a field which they pursue for years – often including education and previous “regular” employment in that field. But others just want to be freelancers. They like the advantages and the freedom that type of work offers, they want to build something for themselves and they have the passion to do it. However, that also might mean they don’t have a specific market in mind. So, how can they find a market that fits their skills?
This article is for those freelancers and offers tips on finding a market that not only fits your skills, but is also viable as a career option.
Here’s how you do that in four steps:
1. Expand your skill set on multiple fronts
You don’t know what you market is? You should consider yourself lucky – that means that literally the whole world of freelancing is open to you. Don’t fall into the trap of placing profitability and trends first – the main thing you should be looking for is something you’re passionate about.
How do you find that thing of all those options in front of you? Try stuff. A lot of it. Seriously, just dabble a bit into different fields, visit seminars, speak with people who have been doing that thing for a while (e.g. reach out to experts at our freelancer directory), think about whether or not it fits your personality and skills you might already have.
I can’t stress this enough – the best way to find what works out best for you is to get exposed to as many things as you can.
2. Think long-term
Have you identified some market or niche that might fit you? That’s great! Get prepared for a practical advice – they tend to sting, but are good for your future. Think about how the market or the niche you think is suitable today is going to look like in 5 years. How about 10 years? If you can’t imagine a market going that far, you’re going to have a problem with building a career in it.
This doesn’t have to be an instant deal breaker, but you should think about it and act accordingly if that’s the case. How do you act accordingly? Diversify your skillset, much like investors do with their assets. Don’t put all your eggs into one basket, especially if you can see the basket breaking in a couple of years.
3. Passion or money?
So I see this question asked often in forums where people consider freelancing. That question is ridiculous. There shouldn’t be a contest between those two. And no, I’m not saying you should pick passion because I’m a hopeless romantic who believes everybody should work for pleasure and never concern themselves with what they earn. On the contrary.
Going for passion is the pragmatic choice. You are picking a niche where you’re going to be working for the next five, ten, possible twenty or even more years. You are making a choice that determines your future. Pick something that you don’t find interesting and you’ve reduced your chances of success to almost a zero. Passion equals motivation – you’re going to need a lot of that if you want to be a good freelancer.
Did you already read our article on how to turn your passion into your freelance career?
4. Focus on the niche
After you’ve identified the market that suits your skills and gotten better at them, it’s important to stay on target. A lot of freelancers fail because they spread themselves too thin – they become a jack of all trades, but master of none. If you can do a little bit of everything, that’s likely going to net you a steady stream of relatively stable income, but it’s unlikely to end up being very successful.
Instead, strive to be the best in your market for a certain area or region. Keep your offer specific enough so that you can profit from your expert knowledge, but also be careful to not make it too specific to the point where your skills are needed too rarely.
As always, comments are appreciated and questions will be answered in the comment section below this article.