Jacks of all trades

February 22, 2009

Freelancers: Focused niche or jack of all trades - which is better?

Freelancers: Focused niche or jack of all trades - which is better?

Despite the niche-driven business environment, more and more people are becoming jacks of all trades. At home with their computers, people have become writers, graphic designers, publishers, filmmakers, editors, the media — so many things. We're seeing that people have diverse interests, not just as a group, but as individuals. Freelancers are no different. More and more of our clients ask us to do more things. Graphic designers and writers are expected to know basic HTML. Software developers are expected to know basic design. Both are expected to know a little bit about search engine optimization. Meanwhile, marketers are expected to know a little about all of these things. Cornering a niche can be empowering, but it can also be limiting, especially for freelancers new to the scene. The trick is to balance the power that comes with a niche (loving your job, the ability to charge higher fees, ease of work, etc.) with the endless revenue stream that comes with diversification (upsells, repeat business, etc.). If you put all your eggs in one basket, you're in for a precarious ride; if you spread yourself too thin, you won't be able to maximize your potential. The key to success is to do both: focus on a niche and diversify. Take on anything you can do during your climb to niche domination, and offer your other services to your niche customers. If you specialize in corporate identity packages but can also design a website, make sure your customers know it. Weigh in on this: Are you a niche freelancer or a jack of all trades? Which is better?

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About Brian Morris

Brian Morris serves in various capacities as a freelance writer, content developer and public relations specialist for growing small businesses. When he’s not writing, he can be found on the racquetball court - usually getting his tail kicked by guys 20 years older.

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