The Easy Way to Get Bigger, Better Clients: Your Specialty
Here’s how you can get the clients you deserve.
Specializing is the fastest, easiest way to get bigger, better clients in good times and in bad. If you have an in-demand specialty, you’ll stand out in a sea of freelancers. Specializing also helps you get the clients you deserve with less work and in less time.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
If you have a bad leak and water is pouring onto your floor, you’re going to call a plumber, not a handyman. The plumber is an expert in solving your problem, because plumbing is his/her specialty. The handyman isn’t.
When clients hire a freelancer, they want an expert too. And they’re willing to pay well for a freelancer with the right speciality.
Get the Clients You Deserve
That’s why specializing is the fastest, easiest way to get bigger, better clients in good times and in bad. Freelancers with in-demand specialties will stand out in a sea of freelancers.
Specializing also helps you get the clients you deserve with less work and in less time. By specializing, you’ll learn more about your clients (your target markets). You’ll know who your prospective clients (prospects) are, where to find them, what they need, and how you can meet those needs. You’ll be able to show clients that you understand their needs and have the expertise to help them.
Choose the Right Specialty(ies)
Choosing a specialty, or niche, and moving toward it takes time for most freelancers. Your specialty(ies) can—and usually should—change as you get more experience and learn more about the market for your services. Start more broadly and narrow down your specialty over time.
You can start with two or three specialties, and may even keep two or three specialties throughout your freelance career. In bad times, it’s great to have two or three specialties. If one of your specialties takes a nosedive, you still have other clients and freelance work in other specialties.
A moneymaking specialty offers lots of opportunities for freelancers like you, even in bad times, and makes it easy for you to find and reach prospective clients.
Finding your moneymaking specialty(ies) does take time and effort, but the work you put in now will help you get great clients throughout your freelance career.
Decide How to Specialize
The most common ways to specialize are by industry, by project, or by a combination of industry and project. For most freelancers, industry specialization is best, especially if you’re fairly new to freelancing or have been freelancing for a while but aren’t as successful as you’d like to be. Industry specialization is a broader way to specialize. And it lets you choose industries with lots of opportunities and high-paying clients, even when times are bad. You can do work outside your specialty(ies) too.
Industry specialization means focusing on an industry, part of an industry, and/or target markets within an industry.
Example based on my specialty:
- Industry specialty: Medical/healthcare
- Parts of the industry where I focus: Healthcare services and consumer/patient education
- Target markets: Hospitals/health systems, large medical practices, disease-focused health organizations, healthcare communications agencies, and patient education organizations.
Project specialization is based on services. Examples are writing white papers and case studies, editing books, or web design. Project specialization is very broad, so it’s harder to figure out what type of clients to target. For most freelancers, project specialization isn’t a good choice.
Combined Industry and Project Specialization
The narrowest specialization combines industry and project specialization. Examples are editing for authors of books and web design for the financial services industry.
Combined industry and project specialization let you focus on specific types of clients and services. There’s less competition because your specialization is so narrow. This type of specialty generally works best if you’re an experienced freelancer and you know your target markets really well.
But unless you’re already working in a strong industry(ies) and providing services that are still in high demand, this narrow focus will limit your opportunities.
Watch the video here or on The Mighty Marketer You Tube Channel.
Choose a Money-Making Specialty
Whatever type of specialty(ies) you choose, go for the money. Focus on industries, target markets, specific clients, and projects (services) that offer high pay and lots of opportunities—in good times and in bad.
The best clients are usually large businesses, especially businesses that sell products or services to other businesses (B2B) rather than to consumers (B2C). There are other types of high- paying clients too.
Do web research to identify growth industries and to learn about specific industry(ies) that you’re working in or want to work in. Here are some useful links:
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, including:
Indeed.com, 12 Fastest-Growing Industries in the U.S.
Networking with other freelancers is the best way to assess industries and target markets and learn which services clients need most. Meet other freelancers in professional associations, on LinkedIn, and online forums for freelancers, like:
- Online forums of professional associations
- Freelance Success, an online community of professional, nonfiction writers.
You can find other freelancers at meetings and conferences of professional associations and through membership directories or member lists of online communities and professional associations. Ask them about their experiences with the target markets you’re working in or considering.
Professional associations are vital to a successful freelance business for many reasons. In choosing your specialty(ies), professional associations help you learn about target markets and stay updated on what’s happening, and find clients to market to through their member directories.
Along with choosing industries or target markets with high demand, focus on core services that clients always need and are willing to pay for. Content marketing, for example, continues to boom, while writing (or editing) for magazines and newspapers continues to plummet.
Other core services include other types of web-based content and any service that helps clients sell their core products and services. Many clients are eliminating or doing fewer print projects now. Printing and mailing a newsletter, for example, costs a lot more than doing e-newsletters. So e-newsletters and web content are core services.
Even clients who are cutting costs still need to market their core services and products. Figure out the core services within specific industries or target markets, and even for individual clients. Then focus on services you already provide or could provide that match client needs.
Learn More About How to be a Fearless Freelancer
Stories about freelancers who are thriving
Other Fearless Freelancer posts
Videos about fearless freelancing
Watch all videos on The Mighty Marketer You Tube Channel.