Selecting a target market is one of the most important things you’ll do as a freelance writer. But where do you even start?
Many novice freelance writers try to start this process by researching the hottest markets and then try to shoehorn themselves into those markets.
But that approach is backwards.
Instead, I recommend that you start with a self-inventory … and then move on to evaluate industries and markets that might be aligned with your background, experiences, skills and strengths.
Take a Self-Inventory
Start by evaluating your experience, background and skills. See what you already have.
After all, there’s no point in targeting, say, the construction industry if you have zero experience and contacts in that industry.
That doesn’t mean you have to be a “master” of your chosen area, but you do need to have knowledge that can’t be acquired overnight.
This knowledge doesn’t have to derive exclusively from your professional work either. Having a deep personal interest in an industry or subject can also count.
For example, I’ve had a couple of coaching clients who market their writing services to the cannabis industry. When they started, they had little or no professional experience in that industry, but they had a deep personal interest.
One of these coaching clients is a military veteran who’s convinced of the medical benefits of cannabis. He’s involved in the movement to make this a viable treatment option for other military veterans.
That kind of personal knowledge and interest is entirely valid!
Evaluate the Industry
Once you’ve completed your self-inventory, look for markets that fall within your realm of experience, background and skills.
Specifically, look for markets that sell products and services that need to be explained.
What kinds of products/services need to be explained? Typically, ones that are new, expensive and/or complex.
Also, keep in mind that your target market doesn’t need to be an industry. It can also be a collection of common attributes.
For example, one of my coaching clients has chosen millennials as her target market. She has experience writing for this market, and she understands its nuances.
Added bonus: She’s a millennial herself!
Choose a Target Market and Then Test
You may feel a lot of pressure to get your target market right—which can stop you from making a decision at all.
But remind yourself that you can always change direction later if you need to. The most important thing is to make a decision and try it out.
As you test your target market, you’ll learn a lot more about it. As a result, you may need to refine your approach or you may find new opportunities. Whatever happens, you’ll be getting closer to where you want to be.
I like to illustrate this point by using Chipotle Mexican Grill as an example. Chipotle founder Steve Ells never set out to create a successful chain of casual dining restaurants. In fact, when he opened the first Chipotle location in 1993, he didn’t mean to operate it for very long.
Instead, he intended to use the restaurant as a way to raise capital for his dream: a full-scale fine dining restaurant in San Francisco. But instead, Chipotle became a huge success.
By 2017, Chipotle had nearly 2,300 locations! And Ells’ net worth was over $200 million.
The moral of the story: Leave yourself open to unexpected opportunities.
Start With YOU!
If you start your search for a target market by looking at “hot” industries, you’ll quickly go down a rabbit hole.
You’ll also struggle to link your experience to that industry or market.
It’s way more efficient to start with YOU—your experience, background and skills—and work from there.
By the way … whenever you’re ready, here are 4 ways I can help you grow your freelance business:
1. Grab a free copy of my training class for writers who are new to freelancing.
It’s called “The 3 Magic Levers: How to Get Your Writing Business Off the Ground and Land Your First Paying Client.” — Click Here
2. Download a free copy of my book for ESTABLISHED writers/copywriters.
You’ll discover how to quickly and predictably reawaken dead leads, generate new client opportunities and convert not-yet-ready prospects into freelance writing clients. — Click Here
3. Join our “Get Better Clients Academy”
You’ll get a personalized action plan based on where you are today in your business. Plus all the tools, scripts, checklists, cheat sheets and templates you’ll need to escape feast-or-famine … grow your income … and land clients who love and respect you. — Click Here
4. Get your website DONE!
If you’ve been struggling to get your website done … or if you’re not happy with what you’ve got today… let my team and me build you a beautiful website for your writing business. We’ll do all the hard work! Email me at [email protected] … put “WEBSITE” in the subject line … and I’ll reply with the details.