When I look back on some of the mistakes I have made as a freelance writer, I'd say one of the biggest could be marketing my services as a generalist. In the beginning when people found out I was a freelance writer, they'd ask me to write all kinds of stuff: business plans, resumes, grant proposals, school charters, constitutions for non-profit organizations – you name it.
Now I don't mean to toot my own horn, but I'm a decent writer, so I was able to do a pretty good job for some of these clients. For other projects I was completely out of my league. I jumped into my business so quickly that I didn't have a well formulated plan for figuring out which writing services I would offer. I'm in the process of correcting that now.
A lot of writers talk about niche writing and having a specialty. I thumbed my nose at it at first thinking I'd make much more money doing it all. But now I think they were on to something all along, and I've arrived a little late to the party.
Becoming a specialist in one or two areas of writing can position you as an expert in that area. Whether it's press releases, sales letters, SEO copywriting or direct mail material, there are clients looking to give expert writers a lot of business – and they pay well too.
As I said, I'm still figuring it all out, but I am finding some success in targeting certain niches. I'll keep you updated on how things turn out…