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Friday, February 3, 2012

Can you Specialize and Diversify at the Same Time? Sure!

I've been sharing the results of the 2012 Freelance Income Survey the last couple of posts (how much money freelancers made and the types of work freelancers are doing), and something occurred to me. Especially in today's changing freelance market, it makes sense to diversify the types of work you're doing. That doesn't mean you can't continue to specialize, though.

Here's what I mean. Very early in my freelance career I realized that most of the writers I knew who making a good living weren't generalists. They chose to specialize, whether it was writing about business and technology; health and parenting; parenting and technology; or health and fitness. When I consciously chose to specialize (in health, fitness, and nutrition), my business took off. Even today, I find it easier to navigate the freelance world as a specialist with a depth of knowledge in several popular subjects.

That doesn't mean, though, that I don't diversify the type of work I do. In the last couple of years, my work has included:

  • Writing original consumer magazine and trade magazine articles
  • Writing original online magazine articles and blog posts
  • Selling reprint rights to previously-published articles to U.S. markets
  • Selling reprint rights to previously-published articles to non-U.S. markets
  • Public speaking at a variety of events and venues
  • Teaching online classes and leading Webinars for pay
  • Collecting royalties from traditionally-published books
  • Collecting royalties from POD and e-books (both fiction and nonfiction)
  • Ghostwriting books and book proposals
  • Editing books 
  • Ghostwriting articles 
  • Consulting with/coaching potential book authors and freelance writers 
While the overwhelming majority of my work falls into the health/wellness/fitness/nutrition area (or my other niche, successful freelancing), you can see that the type of work I do varies. My point? Yes, I suggest you specialize, but that you perform a variety of different kinds of writing about your specialty as well. You'll stay more flexible in a challenging economy, and help boost your overall freelance income.

***Freelancers, what do you think? Two questions--number one, do you agree with my idea of specializing while diversifying? And number two, what topics do you want to know more about? I've been getting hundreds of hits on the blog lately but few comments. If you find this blog valuable, please chime in and tell me so...and what else you want to know about, freelance-wise. Thank you!