If you’re a freelance writer, I’m willing to bet that you’ve been told you have to find a niche to be successful. If you’ve heard this and you’re struggling with fitting yourself in a box, I’m here to tell you to relax – the niche isn’t necessary.
It’s true. I recently came across a post in a Facebook group that said: Do you really need a niche as a freelance Writer? I find myself struggling to figure out what that niche is. Help! This poor young writer was freaking out because she didn’t have a niche and didn’t know where to start.
The next day another writer posted a similar concern.
The day after that, another post.
My dear writing friends, I’m here to remove you from the box of thinking you need to write for one specific niche to make money or make your mark as a writer. You know how I know this is possible? I DON’T HAVE ONE SPECIFIC NICHE AND I YIELD $3000 A MONTH.
How Can I Write Without a Niche?
I’ve noticed that a lot of newbie writers think that they won’t get hired if they don’t specialize in something. And so they skip over opportunities that could bring potential cash in while they build a very narrow portfolio.
If you go to my website, it says I specialize in B2B content writing. And I certainly do. But here are the different niches I write for right now:
- Leadership and Business Management
- Professional Resume Service
- Property Management / Rental Advice
- Women’s Health
- Entrepreneurship and Business Coaching
- Marketing and Branding
- Educational Information for Budding Actors
- Million Dollar Home Reviews
- Wedding Advice
Every single one of these freelance writing jobs is different. If I were to narrow these areas, I might say these are my niches:
- Property Management and Rental Information
- Job Seekers
- Business and Entrepreneurship
- Women’s Health and Wellness
Not once has a potential client ever been confused by my work. Never have they said I wasn’t qualified because I write for more than one niche. This is because when I respond to an inquiry, I provide the necessary writing samples that match what they’re looking for.
Sometimes they ask for a CV, sometimes they don’t.
They all have access to my website.
They see my portfolio and my website and they say, “Yes, we’d love to have you.” A single niche is the last thing on their minds.
How Do You End Up With More Than One Niche?
When I started freelance writing, I relied on content mills for work, so the work varied.
Aside from this, I was (and still am) writing for a series of magazines in my region. Those magazines are owned by one newspaper and are: a business magazine, a wedding magazine, a premiere homes magazine, a golf magazine, and a special women’s health insert for the business magazine that I tackle on my own every year.
Between the magazines and the various posts I’ve written, I now have a very diverse portfolio.
Now, when I look for freelance writing jobs online, I have a wider range to choose from because of that diverse portfolio.
This isn’t wrong.
As a matter of fact, it only makes my job more exciting. It’s never the same.
How Do You Find Work?
If you’re looking for freelance writing jobs for beginners, or even if you’re fairly seasoned and you need more work, don’t wait for it to come to you. Go and get it.
I belong to a writer’s group where one writer (who writes for content mills) always comments that she has no choice but to write for mere pennies in order to eat.
I could make that choice, too. But I don’t.
I could tell that same story too. But I don’t.
Choose to find work and go through the motions every day, and YOU WILL FIND THE WORK. I promise you.
You may have heard about cold emailing; a phenomenon where you find your target market via LinkedIn and email them cold with a subject line like: “Jennifer, Your Content Writer and Social Media Blog Post Specialist is Here.”
I don’t cold email.
I know lots of writers who do and that’s great, but I don’t. I go the job board route and it works for me. Even when I have enough work on my plate, I still check job boards every day and apply for those that resonate with me. And because I have such a diverse portfolio, I have lots to choose from.
HERE’S MY PROCESS:
You’ve probably heard of this board. The site owner, Darren Rowse, has a job board on the site where business owners of all shapes and sizes post, looking for writers. (His content is amazing, too. Very helpful for writers!) You can check the board every morning, OR, you can do what I do – have jobs emailed to you via If This Than That. IFTTT is a nifty little tool where you can have any information you want sent to you the second it publishes.
I have IFTTT set up so that I receive an email alert every time a new job is posted. If I think it’s something I would enjoy writing, then I sit down and take the 5 to 10 minutes to apply to it. If I don’t hear something after a week or so, you know what I do?
I follow up. 🙂
Don’t cringe yet. If you do this right, you can pull out some gems from here. Now I fully admit that there are a lot of posts from people who think they’ll find someone to write their book or content for free. DON’T APPLY FOR THESE JOBS.
You are worth more. Simply apply to those that seem interesting and offer DECENT PAY. I automatically look to the right of the screen and if it says “no pay,” I laugh a little and move on. Or if it says, “$1 for 1000 words,” I laugh a little more and move on.
Outside of these crazy posts, there are plenty of people who post looking for quality work. I use a tool called SearchTempest to look at all of the writing jobs in the U.S. in one shot. I apply to between 1 and 3 jobs that appeal to me. This takes all of five minutes. I check Craigslist three to five times a week.
Again, I always follow up.
This is a great little website that also offers a job board. If you look to the left on the website, you’ll see a widget where you can enter your email address to receive emails of writing jobs. Go ahead and enter your email address. Once a week you’ll receive an email called ‘Morning Coffee.’ The author of this site is kind enough to pull together some good gigs to share with her audience.
I’ve gotten some really lucrative gigs from this. I’m super grateful that she takes the time to do this for other writers. The site is also an amazing resource for writers.
In a Word…
Outside of my own personal marketing, these are my three primary resources for work.
Over the winter, the well seemed to suddenly run dry and I was freaking out a bit. I looked on all three of these sites daily and answered all of the jobs that appealed to me.
Within 4 weeks, I found work that had me bringing in $3000 a month, no BS.
If you can’t find work, it’s because you’re not hitting the pavement hard enough. Yell it me if you want, but it’s true. You may answer one ad a day and think that’s enough, but you need to do more than that. Niche or no niche, you need to answer as many ads as you can and FOLLOW UP. If you do this, there is no way you’ll go without.
Did I mention that two of the jobs I picked up, I asked for more money right away and they gave it to me?
Never give up. Let your drive get you what you want. Making money as a writer is possible. My goal is to make $5k a month. (Hell, I’m more than halfway there.) What’s yours?
Joleene Moody is a former television reporter and anchor turned freelance writer, blogger, and speaker, based in Central New York.
(No, not New York City. Not even close. 🙂 )
Learn more at www.joleenemoody.com