Why Do I Need a Niche?
I've spoken in the past about how diverse gig sites are. The top ones for people in the UK – Fiverr, UpWork and People Per Hour – allow you to trade almost any skill for a price that you set. When I say “almost any”, I mean that you can go from getting a logo designed to improve your chances of winning the lottery. Too many choices = indecision. Let's bring some focus to the table.
Finding a niche makes it much easier for you to actually find work. People navigate to these sites to find people that can fulfil tasks for them. They'll type something in to point her in the right direction, and they'll make the closest gig work for them. If your listing is vague, it may be skipped for an alternative.
Once you know what service you want to offer, list it in multiple ways – issuing different keywords in the title – to target different potential users. (I would advise that you use the Keywords Everywhere Chrome extension to give you some direction on the best ones).
But what are you actually going to offer? Here are the steps you need to take to identify where you're best suited:
Explore the Website
This is the most fundamental part of it. No matter which of the gig sites you use – or if you want to cross-list on multiple – you need to have an understanding of what people tend to buy there. Type a few things in, see how many listings come up and see how many reviews the top results have.
Each of the sites I mentioned earlier – Fiverr, Upwork and People Per Hour – have unique client bases that are prepared to spend different sized budgets for tasks. Get a feel for each of them, and you will soon work out what they're about and which one(s) is best for you.
Identify What You're Good At
I would say that this is secondary to understanding the site, as the first step will likely give you some inspiration about what you're good at. You may just think that you're decent at bringing a logo design brief to life, but a little time on-site may convince you to offer a comprehensive gig.
Make a brainstorm of what you can do and keep expanding on it. Maybe start with your qualifications and work experience and expand from there. Think about how you help your friends and relatives too. Almost anything that can bring value to someone can be sold as a gig on these sites. You could help someone with their homework, get someone a date or kickstart a business idea on these sites, so there's no need to restrict yourself.
Identify Your Competition
Now you know what you think you're going to sell, it's about time you honed in on the ones doing something similar.
The more experienced sellers that do a task you intended to do, the more difficult it can be to get work. Assuming you're all priced the same, people would usually prefer to go with someone that already has social proof with reviews. But there's one powerful way to get around this.
Remember what I said earlier about using lots of keywords? This is when it comes in handy. If you find that the only thing you're good at is making cute animal logos, find a way to target keywords that others might have missed out. You can sell gigs for drawing animals, cute characters, cartoon animal avatars, as well as cute animal logos. Suddenly you have four more ways to target potential clients.
The key to finding your niche is to work out what you're good at, where there's actual demand, and putting a unique spin on it to get people to choose your listings.
Now get to action.
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