Get Your First Freelance Writing Jobs
By: Carol Tice and Mandy Ellis
Beyond Niche: Discovering
Your Clients
Get Your First Freelance Writing Jobs
By: Carol Tice and Mandy Ellis
Welcome! As you learned in class, creating a focus for your business is important
because it:
Tells you where to look for clients
Makes it easier to market your business
Helps clients find you through online search
Let’s begin the process of finding how you’ll position your business with the checklist
worksheet below:
1- Assess Your Interests & Experience
1. Create a low-hanging fruit list of your work and life experiences, and your personal
interests. Then, we’ll boil it down to a few main passions to pursue for paid writing.
Places I’ve Worked:
Specific Knowledge (types of writing, programs, what’s
in your knowledge/experience arsenal):
Life Experiences:
Personal Passions:
Get Your First Freelance Writing Jobs
By: Carol Tice and Mandy Ellis
2 Follow the Money
Now that you have your list of interests and experiences, research which niches have
the most earning potential, to narrow your list to 2-3 most lucrative opportunities.
Quick note: Niches are NOT broad like ‘business’ or communications.They’re specific
types of businesses or publications, like health SaaS, hospitality tech, food and
restaurants, human resources, or dev ops.
Use resources such as Crunchbase, TechCrunch, LinkedIn, Owler, Manta and the
Writers’ Market and your city’s Book of Lists to research industries and particular
magazines or companies.
Remember that there are a few big niches that are reliably good sources of money for freelance
1. Healthcare
2. Technology/software
3. Financial services
4. Education / online learning
These aren’t the only good niches, though. Any industry where what’s being sold is
complicated or expensive can be terrific. Examples of other lucrative niches include:
Marina management
Metalsmithing/jewelry making
Commercial real estate (shopping centers, condo complexes)
High-end hobbies including yachting, horseback riding, fishing
Companies working government contracts
Legal cannabis
Human Resources
Workforce management and training
Any competitive, emerging sector such as 3-D printing, where the item being
sold is expensive and complex.
Get Your First Freelance Writing Jobs
By: Carol Tice and Mandy Ellis
Does your target client base need content for their business? Do a little
research look at websites and marketing materials to see if they favor
written marketing. Agriculture, for instance, is a niche with plenty of
money, but much of the marketing is word-of-mouth in many areas of
this niche, they don’t seem to have much call for writers. If you’re having
trouble seeing opportunity, try crossing your niche idea with technology
agtech has some opportunity within agriculture, for instance. Restaurants
and retail are notoriously not great for us, but restaurant or retail
software? Tons of action.
Check around, and make sure your niche uses written marketing.
Market Research Notes:
Get Your First Freelance Writing Jobs
By: Carol Tice and Mandy Ellis
3 Boil It Down to Your Best
Now that you’ve brainstormed a list of choices and researched their
potential, think about the top industry niches you’d choose to pursue.
Remember that having 2-3 niches is usually better than just one, as it
keeps you diversified and a bit flexible to change with market dynamics.
My Best-Paying Opportunities:
4 – Identify Your Ideal Clients
Remember that just choosing an industry doesn’t always get you ‘ready to pitch,
especially in large niches with many possible client segments. To focus your business
and allow you to start marketing to target clients, you’ll need to know exactly who those
customers are.
For instance, in healthcare you could target:
Biotech startups
Medical schools
Medical-device companies
Rehab clinics
Physical therapy facilities
Pharmaceutical firms
Natural-health practitioners (naturopaths, massage therapists, Reiki healers,
Get Your First Freelance Writing Jobs
By: Carol Tice and Mandy Ellis
Thinktanks and advocacy groups on healthcare issues/topics
…to name a few
In technology, your choices could create tech solutions within a specific industry, such as
restaurant or real-estate tech. But some of the main categories are:
Software companies
Hardware companies
‘Software as a Service’ (SAAS)
Hospitality Tech
Restaurant software
In financial services:
Credit unions
Online payment solutions
Lending firms
Payday lenders
Investment advisory firms
Employee benefit companies
Cryptocurrency/blockchain startups
Accounts Payable companies
On the editorial side you could look at print or digital publications aimed at
consumers or industry insiders (trade publications) that cover your chosen niches.
Now that you have a sense of how to focus within your niche to find your exact
customers, brainstorm about what sorts of companies or publications you’d want to
target for finding your first clients:
Get Your First Freelance Writing Jobs
By: Carol Tice and Mandy Ellis
Best first client types within your niches:
Get Your First Freelance Writing Jobs
By: Carol Tice and Mandy Ellis
Next: Get Your Foot in the Door
Identify likely first clients that relate to your niches, that you could easily pitch.
Example 1: You decide healthcare is one of your topics. You might start with your local
doctor’s office that has three doctors working out of it. You’re going to research online
and think about who you patronize look for the break-in markets within your chosen
industries that would be natural segues for you, where you could chat up the owner.
Example 2: There’s some little magazine or newspaper in your town, where editors are
easily accessible. You come up with story ideas and pitch them.
Below are a few types on easy first markets to pitch, and types of writing projects that
are a good fit for newbies.
8 Great Types of First Markets
Which types of writing might be good break-in assignments for me? If you’re brand new,
you’ll want to start small, and if possible local, where you may have an edge. Here’s our
list of easy places to get started in paid writing:
1. Small businesses I frequent:
2. Up-and-coming businesses in my area:
3. Local start-ups who just received funding:
4. Organizations I am active in:
5. My local newspapers:
6. Local alternative papers:
7. Niche blogs and digital publications:
8. Family & friends who own businesses:
Get Your First Freelance Writing Jobs
By: Carol Tice and Mandy Ellis
There you have it! A breakdown of your best niches, customer types, and starter clients
to consider pitching. You’re ready to learn more about attracting clients with your
online presence, which we’ll cover in the next session.