When starting out as a Freelance Virtual Assistant it is both exciting and challenging. Knowing exactly which direction you should go can prove to be a bit daunting, especially when it comes to choosing whether you’ll be a generalist or specialize in a niche. There are positives and negatives for each, so it’s really up to you and what you feel comfortable with when deciding upon which path you’ll take. To make things a bit easier, however, here is a brief guide to generalist vs. niche freelancing.
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The Pros and Cons of Generalist Freelancing. Firstly, let’s begin with the positive aspects of not choosing a niche. Generalist freelancers have the opportunity to work with a wide range of subjects and people, so it keeps you on your toes and allows you to learn about a vast array of topics. Also, if you don’t want work on a particular project that involves a subject you’re not comfortable with, you simply don’t have to. Another great perk is that you get to exercise your creativity, in that every client will want you to use a different style or cater to a different audience.
As for the negatives about choosing to become a generalist freelancer, the first is that it can be a bit more costly. You don’t typically want to have one website that offers all of your services, as you probably won’t get targeted site traffic. For instance, if you are a generalist writer, it wouldn’t be beneficial for your business to have a single website (or resume) that is geared toward each and every person who wants something written up. Instead, you’d have to
design and upkeep a separate one for each of your various skills, in order to reach those who are more likely to hire you in that particular field (such as tech writing or book review articles). Also, you might be a seen as a “jack of all trades but master of none”, which has the potential to cause potential clients to stray away from contracting your services.
The Pros and Cons of Niche Freelancing. Niche freelancing requires you to practically become an expert in your field. The first of its pros is that you can gear your promotion materials, such as site and brochures, to target those in that particular niche. You can also ask for higher pay, as you will be more experienced in dealing with that subject, and you can branch your business out to include speaking at events and writing your own books or e-books about that topic. In addition, you’ll probably be able to get jobs done more quickly, as you already have background knowledge about your niche subject.
However, the cons for niche freelancing include boredom and limiting your potential. If you decide to go outside your niche, it can be hard to find work, as you’ve established yourself in that field. Also, dealing in the same niche can become monotonous, and you may simply get tired of it after awhile. Not to mention, you are vulnerable to the whims of your particular market, and when it shows signs of slowing in popularity or usefulness, so do you.
When it really comes down to it, you should do what you think is best for you and your career. It’s also important to keep in mind what’s best for you in the long term. It may be a great idea to get into a niche that is trendy right now, but will it be in five years? On the other hand, will you lose potential clients down the line if you don’t eventually choose a niche and stick with it to become an expert in that area? Share your thoughts!
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