Being vegan in a family of very carnivorous Texans makes for some extremely awkward holiday dinners.
Don’t get me wrong, though.
Most of my family is super supportive, and they respect my choice to avoid eating meat or any animal products.
But sometimes, I still have to hear the occasional uncomfortable comment at the dinner table.
Honestly, these don’t bother me that much. It is what it is, and I’m toooootally down to share stuff like how I get enough protein (maybe it’ll change someone’s mind about their meat consumption)!
But a few years ago, I had an overly pushy family member do something that really bothered me:
“Here, have some of this turkey,” he said, even though he knew I don’t eat meat.
To which I replied something along the lines of “No, thanks.”
But he kept pushing. And pushing. And pushing.
As if asking me one more mother-effing time was going to make me eat the damn turkey.
I kept saying no, and by some miracle, I managed to keep my cool, and he managed to shut the fuck up.
After all of that, do you think I ate the turkey?
The answer is no. I didn’t.
No matter how much this guy tried to weirdly pressure me into it, eating that turkey is not something I EVER would have done.
Because as a vegan, my mind is already 100% made up on how I feel about eating meat.
It’s not for me.
What does this have to do with YOU landing freelance writing clients and picking the right niche?
Quite a bit, actually.
Some of you are out there acting like my family member:
Trying to “force meat on a vegan.”
And it’s killing your business.
Let’s start today’s blog post with the #1 sign you picked the wrong niche and an explanation of what I mean:
7 Telltale Signs You Picked the Wrong Freelance Writing Niche
1. Selling to clients – even those with good-sized budgets – feels like trying to sell meat to a vegan.
Whew. As a vegan, I can tell you that this is NOT a good idea.
Read this and let it sink in, friends:
You cannot force a freelance writing client to value what you do.
And tbh, you don’t want those kinds of clients anyway because it’ll always feel difficult.
When I was doing lots of IT/Tech writing, I noticed that those clients wanted mainly:
- Website copy
- Case studies
…Because in their opinion, those things were going to drive the best business results for them.
Which was a problem for me, who wanted to write blog posts.
Now, could I have sat around and convinced these clients to publish blog posts?
But I didn’t.
Because clients who are a hard sell are not going to be your best clients.
First, you’ve got to convince them to value what you write.
Then, you’ve got to convince them to hire you.
THEN, you’ve got to convince them to pay you well… for something they don’t really even value.
Don’t go for clients who are a hard sell.
Go for clients who already value the specific kind of content you create.
Again, don’t try to “sell meat to a vegan” – only sell meat to someone who eats meat.
2. You notice that most potential clients in your freelance writing niche are broke as shit.
Here’s something that you might not have thought about before:
A niche could be either profitable OR not profitable depending on who you target.
Think about it…
You can write in the finance niche for some shitty blog that pays pennies per word…
And Sally Jo over there can write in the finance niche for a Fortune 500 company and make hundreds of dollars per post.
So before you write your niche off for good, ask yourself:
Is this really a freelance writing niche problem, or is it a target clientele problem?
Long story short:
Go for clients who have money to spend on content marketing, not broke fucks.
3. Your freelance writing niche is far too broad.
Sometimes, writers email me and say stuff like:
“I’ve chosen a niche and I’m marketing myself, but I’m not getting results!”
To which I reply:
“Hmmm! What’s your niche?”
And they say:
“B2B and B2C Content”
…Aaaaaand there’s the problem.
B2B and B2C means you basically write for anyone and everyone. It’s just a fancier way of saying, “I’m a generalist!”
Seriously, it’s kind of like creating a restaurant in the United States and saying “We serve American food and international cuisine.”
Okay sooo… you serve everything to everyone?
I’ve said it a million times, and I’ll say it again:
The best, highest-paying clients want to work with writers who specialize.
So, narrow your niche to a reasonable point (like how I teach in my free class over 6,000 writers have taken).
Don’t just write “copy.”
Write blog posts for real estate agents. Case studies for software businesses.
You get the picture.
4.Potential clients in your niche don’t use the type of content you write best to drive business results.
A while back, I thought it would be cool to write blog posts (my favorite type of content to create) for video game companies.
But after doing some research, I realized:
Video game companies, at least the ones I was researching, weren’t driving business results with blog posts.
They were mostly getting the word out about their new games using Twitch partnerships, commercials, etc.
This goes back to the whole “don’t try to sell meat to a vegan” thing.
You have to figure out HOW your client makes money for their business with content, and give them THAT kind of content.
5. You’re not enjoying any of your projects.
I started my freelance writing career in the IT/Tech writing niche.
And while I was able to make decent money doing it, each project felt about as enjoyable as walking around a theme park in a pair of soaked blue jeans.
It’s not that I was incapable of working on more technical projects like whitepapers – it’s just that I was bored to fucking tears each time I tried.
So I had to ask myself:
What do I actually ENJOY?
What would my ideal niche be, considering my natural abilities?
Just like that, I knew what my new niche was going to be:
Blogging about marketing.
Marketing is something I’m incredibly passionate about and could talk about all damn day, AND blogging lends itself to more creative expression, which is great for someone like me.
Now, don’t get me wrong here.
I’m not saying you necessarily should jump for joy at each freelance writing project you take on.
If you’re hating more projects than you’re enjoying, something is wrong.
6. You’re not using your natural abilities when you write.
Some people are great technical writers AND also enjoy talking with clients.
If that’s you, then guess what?
You’d probably really enjoy writing whitepapers, which are technical-ish documents that often require client interviews and phone calls.
But if you’re like me (you hate phone calls and enjoy more creative writing), whitepapers would drive you fucking mad.
Really be intentional about your freelance writing niche choice, and think about what you’re naturally best at.
Every writer out there has some kind of natural ability they can use to their advantage.
Maybe yours is that you are actually great at interviewing clients.
Or maybe you are great at explaining complex topics in an easy-to-understand way.
Or maybe you’re just really fucking funny and that shines through when you write.
Think about what makes you unique, and ask yourself how you can use that to specialize in a niche you’ll naturally rise to the top of.
7. You’ve tried as hard as you can to make the niche work using a PROVEN strategy, and it’s just not working.
This means you’ve already done things like:
- Set up a pro freelance writer website (this is 100% necessary, so click here and read my tutorial now if you haven’t done it yet!)
- Set up a LinkedIn profile optimized for your freelance writing niche
- Cold emailed and pitched your ass off (meaning you’ve sent about 150+ cold emails to clients in your specific niche and followed up with them too)
And it means you’ve done these things consistently, with a solid niche marketing strategy driving every piece of your plan.
(AKA don’t come to me and say your pitches are not working when you don’t have a portfolio website or your website isn’t properly optimized for your niche!)
Truth is, you might be giving up way too soon on your niche.
I talked to a writer in the real estate niche once who complained that the niche was “not profitable.”
Turns out, they just didn’t have their marketing on point.
…Nothing to do with the niche being “not profitable.”
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