This is the 2nd in the 5-part series of How to Find (and Get) Good Paying Clients. To read the first in the series click here.
When you set the right foundations first, it would make your search for better paying clients easier and more focused.
That’s why we started with writing your business plan (a.k.a. setting your goals) last week. This week, we’ll determine your target clients.
This step is actually a 2-part process wherein the first is all about you and your preferences and the second is going into more details on how to pick your target clients. But both steps will lead you to the best paying markets for what you have to offer.
That said, let’s dive in.
Determine your niche
Before we go deep in choosing your writing niche, let me just state one of the advice I’ve often heard Carol Tice of The Freelance Writer’s Den say, “Don’t get stuck in this process.”
Because, yes, this step is crucial to finding lucrative markets but it shouldn’t hold you back from taking any action.
If you can’t determine your niche the first time you try it, you can always do it another time. And until you can do it, just write in any topic you want to write about or that comes your way.
In short, it’s okay to start with a lot of niches until eventually you determine which one you enjoy the most and pays better at the same time.
Now onto the steps…
If you remember we slightly tackled this in the first post on this series. But let’s go deeper here.
When thinking about your niche or what you like to write about, also ask yourself – what topics wherein when you’re researching, reading, and learning about it makes you feel like you’re just playing and not working at all? Or that time just flies by so fast because you’re so engrossed with that topic you didn’t mind reading or writing about it for hours?
List as many as you can think of.
Next, go back to your work experiences and if you’re interested in writing about the skills and knowledge you got from your previous jobs then add those to your list.
Don’t hold back on any information because this is for your eyes only.
And you never know if your 2-month stint as a McDonald’s kitchen crew for example could turn into a $100 blog post for a similar fast food chain. 🙂
Then classify your topics into categories or industries. To help you find relevant industries for your topics you can check tradepub.com or one of Inc.com’s lists. The most common are health, business, marketing, technology, finance, food and beverage.
You might also want to focus based on location or gender i.e. do you want to work with US based businesses or women entrepreneurs only?
Determine your profitable target market
After evaluating what you can and would like to write about and also for whom, you can now determine if the niches you’ve chosen are actually profitable. In short, do these markets have the budget to pay you?
Note: My favorite mentors Carol Tice and Celine Roque always remind freelancers to research their target market for profitability first.
So here’s a list of questions you can ask to figure this out:
- Are there other freelancers writing for that industry? To find out, you can do a Google or LinkedIn search for freelance writer + the niche. For example, your search term could be freelance health writer. Then see if writer websites or profiles show in the search result. You can limit your search to the first 3 pages only so it won’t eat up a lot of your time.
- Do the businesses in this industry have budgets for advertising? For this, you can use either a general search term like investments or insurance or a specific one like stock investing or life insurance. If any Google ads show on the results pages, then that’s an indication that the businesses in that industry often has a good marketing budget.
- How many businesses are in this industry? If you can count them with your fingers and toes, then consider choosing another one.
In doing all the steps above, I’ve personally come up with my preferred target markets:
- Australian businesses with 3 or more employees and natural health or wellness products/services
- Medium to big-sized companies offering digital marketing services like content marketing
- and US based companies providing personal finance products like health and life insurance
Some freelance writers resist this process because:
- It looks like a lot of work.
And I won’t sugarcoat it but it is. Freelance writing and finding good-paying clients does take a lot of work. But when you get the rewards like higher rates, your ideal clients, and clients who trust and believe in your value, it will all be worth it.
- They think specializing and focusing on a target market seems like you’re limiting your options as opposed to being a generalist.
I believe otherwise. For me, it has more benefits in the long run and the best benefit is being able to cut-back on your writing time which is a common problem among freelance writers. Think about it, if doctors or lawyers specialize why not freelance writers?
Also, there are countless companies all over the world, and one freelance writer can only handle so much in a day or even a month. So I believe there won’t be a shortage of opportunities for all of us. We just need to be active in seeking these opportunities.
What do you think? Is this process doable or not? Let’s talk in the comments.