One way to fast track your freelance career as a creative professional is to specialize.
There are many reasons to specialize. Among other: Clients trust experts, word of mouth works better, and your own marketing becomes easier.
For your inspiration I will talk to some fellow creative professionals who already have chosen their niche. First out is Nick Holmes – the hunters' graphic designer.
How would you describe your niche?
Web and graphic design for hunters from a hunters' perspective.
Why, and when, did you choose this niche?
I chose the hunting industry mainly because it peaks my interest as both a hunter, wildlife photographer, and someone who enjoys web and graphic design.
I first started designing simple html websites back in 2005 for my cousin's business called CutnDucks and immediately knew afterwards that this is what I wanted to do full-time. Even today I'm still trying to get to that “full-time” status as a designer.
Do you find it easy to find new clients in this niche?
The hunting industry in terms of guides & outfitters, upcoming tv shows, and new product companies continues to grow daily.
This industry has really taken off especially with social media playing an integral key in marketing.
Because of this, there is an always growing client base that really hasn't plateaued for my business.
How do you find new clients in this niche?
For the longest time my client base was purely local in and around Memphis, Tn. from family and friend referrals which is how most people start out.
Social media has really expanded my client base to allow my work carry me into Iowa, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and continue to grow here in Tennessee.
Some of my current clients though have really helped to spread my business such as Sweet Addiction Tv, Straight Down Game Calls, and Deadtek Hunting. It is a great accomplishment for your business when customers care enough to promote you.
How has choosing a niche affected you as a professional?
Choosing a niche allowed me to focus on what I am most interested in.
As someone who enjoys the outdoors, my experiences in the woods is also driven by my business. I always have a constant need for new wildlife images because these help drive my designs and inspiration. It is a benefit to be able to enjoy the outdoors and then turn-around and share those experiences through my designs.
Most hunters all have a memorable moment in the woods whether or not they left with a trophy. When I design a logo or a new website I try to relate those personable experiences into the design which helps reach my audience on a personal level.
What advice would you give to a fellow graphic designer who is about to choose a niche?
I would say to start out with something you are passionate about that you could continue to do for hours on end.
Don't become complacent with your niche. Continue to challenge yourself to push the envelope in your designs. Be prepared to receive criticism everywhere because your designs will not please or appeal to everyone. Try to stay inline with the industry as it grows because you will need to adapt with it. Once you feel you have mastered your niche look elsewhere to expand on your portfolio.
At the end of the day, make sure you are having fun and enjoying the work that you are doing.
More examples of specialized creative professionals: The Niche Notebook: 170+ Real-Life Examples of Creative Niches.