Find your Freelance Niche with this Simple Strategy

One of the most common questions I get from my students in my Cultivate a Successful Freelance Career course is:

“How do I find my freelance niche, and what skills should I focus on?”

It’s important to know what type of freelancer you are. You don’t necessarily need to identify as just a freelance designer, or just a freelance developer because you may be able to do both! But you need to know what your primary focus is (or “niche” as some may call it).

You should know exactly the types of services you are able to offer, and you should offer only what you are able to deliver at a very high level of proficiency.

Sure, you can be the guy/gal who offers “everything”, but are you actually able to deliver “everything” at high quality and value? If so, call me, I need to hire you for an upcoming project. Otherwise, you’re making a mistake.

In order to help you decide what kind of freelance business you’re going to build, we’re going to adopt a strategy I’ve designed over the years as a freelancer, as a self-employed individual, as an entrepreneur. It’s called…

The Freelancer Focus Pyramid

The focus pyramid is a strategy I developed to help freelancers understand exactly what they should be focusing on in order to build, and grow their freelance business. The focus pyramid forces you to understand:

  • The Primary Focus of your business
    • and the skills you need to master
  • The Secondary Focus of your business
    • and the skills you need to constantly improve
  • The Tertiary Focus of your business
    • and the skills you should understand, but should pay others to do for you

Freelancer Focus Pyramid

[A bare bones example of a Freelancer Focus Pyramid.]

I like this strategy, because it helps you see what you should truly be focusing on in your business, and exactly what skills you need to master.

You may not be a highly skilled designer, developer, or [insert skill here] yet, and that’s okay! You don’t need to be amazing yet. Truth is, I was far from amazing when I made my first $500 (and I still have a long way to go, IMO)! You are going to work on becoming amazing, and I’ll do my best to help you get there in my Cultivate course, but for now we need to get to work on building your Freelancer Focus Pyramid.

Let’s start by figuring out your three levels of focus, and each of the disciplines within them (I’ll show you the exact skills you need in the Cultivate course).

Step 1: Your Primary Focus

You need to decide what your primary focus is. You need to pick one discipline. This may be easy for you, but if you’re having a hard time deciding, ask yourself some questions, like:

What are you most interested in?

Do you have any baseline skills you can improve?

Do you enjoy UI design?

Are you a hacker at heart?

Wanna build software?

Love writing compelling copy?

etc.

Once you’ve decided what your primary focus is, stick to it. You are allowed to change it, but remember, every time you change your focus, you’re essentially starting over. The goal of the Freelancer Focus Pyramid is to choose a primary focus and get seriously good at that discipline.

Step 2: Your Secondary Focus

Pick two disciplines to be your secondary focus. These two disciplines will take a supporting role to the primary focus, but you need to maintain them at a professional level of competence. You need to be able to hold your own in these disciplines should you get a paying gig that require them.

Think of the secondary focus as the backup singers in a popular band — they may not be the lead singer, but you can bet your a** they’re damn good singers, and they’d rock the spotlight if they had the chance!

Step 3: Your Tertiary Focus

Pick three disciplines that will level out the base of your pyramid. You may have an impressive working knowledge of these disciplines, or you may have no desire to be an expert in these disciplines at all, but you must understand how these disciplines work!

Every discipline is made up of a handful of important skills. Aim to have a basic understanding of some of these skills, but do not attempt to take a project on that primarily requires these disciplines — unless you can hire somebody to handle that part of the project.

Here is a basic example of my own personal Freelancer Focus Pyramid:

Brad's Focus Pyramid

[Brad’s Focus Pyramid.]

Now that you understand the structure of the Freelancer Focus Pyramid, I want you to start building your own by following the steps I’ve outlined above. But keep in mind, there is a lot more to the Freelancer Focus Pyramid; you still need to add the exact skills you need to learn / master within each discipline. If you already have a good idea of what skills you should know, awesome! Either way, I’m going to help you find out exactly what you need to learn within each discipline, and I want to give you my free Photoshop template to help you build your Freelancer Focus Pyramid (like the one above).

Download the PSD Template

Simply enter your name & email below and I’ll send you my Free Photoshop Template for designing your own Freelancer Focus Pyramid. Plus you’ll be enrolled in my free email course, Cultivate a Successful Freelancer Career, where you’ll find out the exact skills you need to learn within each discipline, and you’ll get weekly actionable tips to rocket launch your freelance career!

See you there 🙂

 

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  • Andrew

    Brad, quick question..what’s your opinion on the envato market? Where would you spend your freelancing time, creating templates or finding clients? p.s. half way through your B2W udemy course. I’ve worked with Bootstrap for a while; migrating sites to WP is kinda of exciting.. Thanks for the content!!

    • I’d definitely look for clients! You’ll get a much higher return on your effort 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  • Brad’s kicking but. Thanks for great content.

  • Thiago

    Sweet article, buddy.
    It says exactly what need to be said!
    Thanks!

  • Muhammad Talha

    Brad you are my super hero. I have your udemy web designing & development course and seriously i found the best ever career development course. You gave me the light to how to be successful in life.

    Brad I love you Brother 🙂

    • Thanks for your kind words! Glad my work has helped you out 🙂

  • ???? ????????

    Thank you for everything i get from you
    Complete your work
    All the best

    • Thanks for reading!

      • ???? ????????

        welcome bor

  • Niraj

    I think a great blog for any web designer, Front-end developers. You provided a step by step guide of what to learn as a designer or developer in coming days. I personally would love to read a blog on copywriting from you with providing resources.

  • Isuru Nanayakkara

    This is actually one of the most helpful articles I’ve read regarding freelancing. I quit my job last April and started working as a full-time freelancer and I’m doing okay so far. I’m mainly an iOS developer but I consider myself a jack of all trades and a master of none. I love everything related to software/web/mobile development and I love learning so I tend to dabble on everything in my spare time without an actual main goal. This article made me realize that I need to take a step back and plan ahead.

    I made my Focus Pyramid! My primary focus would be on mastering iOS. Secondly I’ll (already am) work on improving my Android and WordPress knowledge. As for the tertiary I’ve put graphic designing, content writing and photography for websites. And I already have friends I can pay to do those!

    This is good. I’m gonna plan my daily schedule to allocate time for everything accordingly. Thanks, a bunch Brad.

    • That’s awesome! It’s really cool to see others put this strategy into action. Happy it’s been helpful 🙂

  • Thanks Brad for all your help

  • I do like this reading this makes me realize I need to go back regroup and rethink my approach to everything. Thanks, Brad reading your content is always inspiring. But also agreeing with Kevin web development would be vague do you go into specific languages and make other languages your secondary?

    • Thanks for reading, Russell! Glad to hear you agree with Kevin. I think I need to give a bit more depth on this subject, and I’d love to do that. Just gotta go back to my cave and drum something up 🙂

      And to give you a quick answer, Web Developers have a ton of technical skills (languages, frameworks, logical thinking, etc.) they need to be really good at, but it’s still important to focus on becoming an expert at a few of those skills. Here’s a general idea for Web Developers:

      Master these…

      • HTML & CSS
      • jQuery & JavaScript
      • PHP
      • WordPress development
      • Responsive development
      • Popular front-end frameworks (Bootstrap, Foundation)

      Have a working knowledge of…

      • MySQL
      • Design software
      • UX design

      The skills required for web developers are going to be different (with some overlap) than the skills required for software developers, web designers, UX designers, copywriters, etc.

      Hope that helps for now 🙂

  • Kevin Know

    It would be helpful to know what the various disciplines are. Also, the skills and skill levels needed in each. And of course, it would be nice if the disciplines could be listed in terms of how much they are needed and potential pay.

    • This is a super great idea, Kevin. Thanks for sharing. I’ve added this to my queue 🙂

  • Wave Gaurav

    Best visualization of practical steps for a freelance career, Thanks for sharing !.

  • Arthur Prather

    Interesting perceptive you got there. Thanks for for sharing.

  • Fabio Çimo

    Interesting Article Brad! Thanks for writing it!

    • Thanks Fabio. Appreciate you taking the time to read.

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Join my free 7 day freelancing course!

START A FREELANCING BUSINESS. GET MORE CLIENTS. BUILD A LIFE ON YOUR OWN TERMS.

  • Daily actionable lessons
  • Define your freelance niche
  • How to start from scratch
  • How to charge higer rates
  • Where to find your first 3 paying clients
  • Tools & resources for freelancers
Want more freelance clients? Enter your name & email below to get started.
I respect your privacy. No spam. No fluff. Just quality content. Unsubscribe anytime.
By providing your email you consent to receive messages and newsletters from Brad Hussey containing news, updates and promotions. You also understand you may also receive messages from Brad containing information on third parties and you can withdraw your consent at any time. Please contact Brad for more details or use the "Unsubscribe" link found within each email message.