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You Don’t Need A Niche To Start A Successful Freelance Writing Career

Freelance writers don't always need a niche.,I get a lot of questions from folks about finding the right writing niche. Most of these questions come from people who are just starting their freelance writing career.

In the context of writing a niche might also be defined as a specialty or an area of expertise you write about.

The questions run along the lines of “I don’t know how to find my niche,” or “I don’t  know how to find a profitable writing niche” or “Is (xxx) a good niche to write about?”

The feeling-tone of the questions is usually fairly insecure and wishing there were an easy or guaranteed way to become a successful freelance writer.

The hope, I suspect, is that finding exactly the right niche will act as a magic wand and success will follow automatically.

A niche doesn’t guarantee writing success

A successful writing career just doesn’t work that way. Most writers I know sort of fell into their niche.

In my own case I’ve had several. At one point I was actually a fairly well known writer about running. I ran or jogged and as I acquired some experience, began to write articles and sell them to running magazines.

I also wrote a book that was published about single parenting and also had a newspaper column on the same topic. I was raising my three kids by myself, so it felt like a natural.

I’m also a veteran 12 Stepper and have written books, booklets, and articles about 12 Step recovery. I even have a website about my experience. I still earn royalties from a booklet I wrote for ages ago.

And today I blog about freelance writing – a niche I’ve been writing about for years.

Having a niche does mean you can build authority in that area. It also often means you know what you want to write about.

But if you talk with folks who have a niche you’ll notice that they also write, and write and write.

The secret to writing success is to write

The long and the short of it is if you don’t write, and write a lot, there’s no way to become a successful writer. Seems obvious, but apparently it isn’t always.

If you look at how niches develop for writers, they wrote or are writing first. It almost doesn’t matter what they write about – there’s an audience I think for any idea possible. The key is first, last and always writing.

Let the niche develop as you write rather than trying to figure out your niche is in advance.

Write about what you know or as Paula Hendrickson says, “write what you want to learn about.” But write.

Write articles and send them out on specWrite guest posts,write for businesses. Write and write some more. It’s hard to get worse at something you practice!

If you write and submit over and over again you’re likely to develop a niche, and you’re likely to start getting published and over time making money.

How about you? Do you have a niche? How did you get it? How often do you write? How much? Let’s talk about it in comments.


Image: Attribution Some rights reserved by jurvetson

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{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Hello Anne,

    Long time no see. So, niche…

    It’s where you’re comfortable, even when trying to achieve more.

    Personally: I knew what my general interest was; however, I lacked a somewhat new & interesting angle, plus a plan that would connect the necessary pieces together (and, oh, what Are those pieces, anyway, more study) and give a chance to monetize without (much) underpaid sweat. (And we’ll go from there)

    “It’s hard to get worse at something you practice!” — well said.
    Helene Poulakou recently posted..WordsMy Profile

  • As someone who works primarly in a niche, I totally agree. I don’t think you need to specialize, but there are things we gravitate toward naturally. Those are the threads we can chase when and if we want to.

    I think the only thing a niche does is helps focus one’s marketing. Then again, it can also limit one’s marketing if the writer isn’t looking beyond that specific area.
    Lori recently posted..5 Marketing Myths That Are Killing Your Writing BusinessMy Profile

    • Ultimately it all comes down to finding some balance I suppose.

  • I’ve never been a big fan of niches, because diversifying is what has enabled me to survive downturns in various industries (and the resulting loss of or diminished amount of work from clients in them). But it’s definitely an awful premise from which to *start* a business!
    Jake P recently posted..Friday link roundupMy Profile

    • Jake, you can’t start a writing business without writing… oh, I suppose someone will prove me wrong and tell how he started one by hiring writers from the get-go, but that’s not my audience here.

      • Sure, I’d love to hear that 1-in-a-million story. But even at that rate, I’d have to imagine only a former editor/writer with some talent would even be able to pull it off. Way back when I started freelancing, I almost partnered with some folks on an Aquent-ish type of org. I quickly realized: “Who am I kidding? I got out of the corporate world because I hate managing people.”

        Have a great weekend!
        Jake P recently posted..Friday link roundupMy Profile

        • Yeah, corporate is corporate even sitting at home –

  • To be honest Anne, things have changed a lot in the last 5 years, and many things that worked before is not working now. Competition has increased and sophistication is the name of the game nowadays. And while niche specialization is not required, marketing is one skill you need to have to rake in on big bucks online.
    Ron C. | SEO Copywriting recently posted..Inbound Marketing Vs. Outbound MarketingMy Profile

    • True, but the point is to start writing, then worry about niche and specialties… can’t tell you how many don’t write because they’re hung up on niches. Nothing in this game happens until you write, nothing.

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