Are the riches in the niches?
Finding your niche, they say, is the key to freelance consulting success. Pick an industry or type of project that you can specialise in, practice giving tremendous value to those specific clients, become an expert, and reap the rewards of focused work at high rates.
That’s all true, but I would argue there’s a better kind of niche to be found.
I don’t pigeonhole myself into too narrow a type of project. I do a lot of responsive web app design and complex UX/UI work for startups and tech businesses, but I also do minimal portfolio sites for boutique architecture practices. I like working on big, meaningful ecommerce projects with socially-conscious companies, but I also do branding and design for charitable or cultural organisations.
Of course there are types of businesses and design challenges that I’m more interested and passionate about being involved with, however the niche is rarely my primary concern when choosing new projects.
My niche is simple: good clients
I doesn’t matter too much what their industry, product, or service is. What matters is how much they value my experience, how prepared and easy they are to work with, and how invested I can get into the success of their business.
Professional freelancers don’t do “gigs”
Are you expendable, temporary help, or a valuable long-term business partner?
The way I see it, there are two types of clients:
Cost-clients care first and foremost about price. They always want quality and speed too, but the primary drive for deciding who to hire for their project is who can do it the cheapest.
Cost-clients ask right up front what your rate is, because that concern is more important than figuring out if you’re actually the best-fit for the task. Or they propose how much they can spend…