This is a guest post from Mark Rodgers on a handful of freelance niches you just might not know about (or maybe you do!), that could be the source of your next rent check! Just sayin’.
Freelancing can be a difficult career choice. Sure, skilled individuals can make a modest living if they are willing to put in the work that it takes to seek clients.
There are so many bloggers, designers and photographers that lucrative work in these fields is difficult to find.
Top pros make good money, but entry level and mid-level positions, which are the easiest for experienced or inexperienced freelancers to get, don’t pay as much as most people would like. This means that freelancers have to lower their fees and raise the amount of work that they do, usually sacrificing quality for higher quantity.
Whether you are a graphic designer, an accountant, a programmer or a writer, there are plenty of opportunities to earn more by providing services that are focused on a specific niche that is under-served by the freelance community.
Business and Technical Writing
Business and technical writing are two very lucrative but under-served areas of the freelance writing industry. Sure, the work can be pretty dry and boring and your by-line will not be attached to your work, but business writing is not the technical, “experts only” writing that most people think it is.
While understanding an industry is a major plus, it is not necessary to be an expert if you want to do business writing. Much of the work involves writing instructions (manuals, operations rules and procedures) that are succinct and can be understood by lay people.
The info that you need to include will be provided by the company, you just need to make it sound good. The same goes for annual business reports, company newsletters and product directions.
Sure, there are thousands of freelancers who can edit images on Photoshop. Competition for contracts brings prices down for image editing or graphic design projects. However, people who know design programs can supplement their income by creating tutorials or teaching others how to use the program.
This can be a great way to earn extra income, especially for creative pros. Most programs have some sort of certification that people can get in order to improve their chances of getting jobs and attracting clients.
Coders and programmers can take a similar approach although more popular, widely used programs like Photoshop, Dreamweaver, etc attract more users (which means more potential clients for instructors). Providing instruction and tutorials for accounting software like Quickbooks is another possibility.
Small businesses use such programs, as do other freelancers. They would gladly spend a few hundred dollars to have someone teach them to use the program rather than paying a few thousand to have an accountant do it for them.
Grant writing is another niche, related to business writing, that can be potentially profitable. Of course, you won’t make too much if you can’t master the art of convincing people to fund the business or organization that you are writing for.
However, those with the skills to continually produce fund-able grants and convincing proposals can make a huge income. Success will lead to a higher hourly rate or a percentage of the funding that the grant receives. You may only get 2% or 3%, but that can add up quickly if you are consistently successful and are getting $500,000 or million dollar grants for your clients.
As more and more businesses try to go global and expand to other countries, there is a huge need for translators who can translate documents, information and instructions from one language to another. There are various certifications available for translators, although any bilingual person who can read and write their languages fluently could qualify.
In some cases, anyone with a dictionary and a basic knowledge of a language would suffice (though pay for this basic type of translation is generally low). There is no need to be an accredited interpreter to cash in on your language skills.
As you can see, these niches are worth looking into if you are frustrated by the low rates you are currently getting for your freelance work.
Hear! Hear! I second that! I’d like to get into grant writing myself, looks like I need to do some digging! 😉 I hope you found this post useful, feel free to drop questions and comments below!