So You Want to Become a Freelance Writer? Part 2: Choosing What You will Do

Part 1

You want to become a freelance writer – but what kind? And do you want to limit your freelance business to writing?

You can be a generalist or specialize in a specific kind of writing or niche. You don’t have to limit your specialty or your niche to only one-you may have several specialties.

Some popular freelance writing (and writing-related) specialties include:

Though the above list includes some of the most popular freelance specialties, many more exist. Even if your favorite kind of writing isn’t included, look into the possibilities of making a career of what you like.

Pros and cons of being a generalist:

  • You have more jobs available to you, but you have more competition also.
  • You don’t need any special knowledge or experience beyond good research and writing skills, but you will have to spend time researching and learning about the field for new projects.
  • You will be involved in a variety of projects; whether that is a pro or con depends on your temperament. If you are bored easily, you might like the variety; however, if you are easily distracted, you may find the variety overwhelming.

Pros and cons of being a specialist:

  • You have fewer jobs available to you, but you have less competition.
  • You need to have some knowledge about the specialty or the niche, but if you have experience, you can build on what you already know.
  • You run the risk of becoming bored if you thrive on variety; however, if you like routine, you will probably be comfortable with a specialty or a niche.

The best of both worlds: Choose several specialties or niches. You will reduce the risk of being bored while still enjoying the benefits of being a specialist.

For example, I specialize in working with self-publishing authors with a variety of services: consulting on publishing, helping with research and manuscript development, editing the manuscript, formatting the book for printing, finding a cover designer and printer, creating and maintaining the author’s Web site, editing and posting blog entries, writing news releases and other promotional materials, sending out review copies …

For writers who pursue traditional publishing, I help with query letters and proposals.

I also write, edit, and perform virtual assistant duties for business clients.

Some freelancers like to write for many different clients. I prefer to offer a wide range of services to a few clients. You have to decide how you prefer to work.

Choosing a specialty or niche:

  • Consider the skills and knowledge you have already.
  • Consider skills and knowledge you would like to learn.
  • Consider how interested you are in the kind of the writing or the niche and how long you can maintain that interest.
  • Consider the demand to ensure people want or need the service you plan to offer.

Read more advice from successful freelancers:

How to Choose a Specialty as a Freelance Writer

Recipe for Freelancing

Next, we’ll talk about finding freelance jobs.

Part 3

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