When you enter the world of freelancing, it can seem as if every blogger, guru and influencer is telling you that you need to specialise and ‘find your niche’ in order to succeed.
After five years of freelancing, working predominantly with small businesses and startups, I’ve come to realise that the opposite rings true.
If I’m honest, the main reason I don’t specialise is that I love doing all the things I do equally and I just can’t choose between them. I love writing code. I love typography. I love designing logos and icons. How would I know which one to give up – and why should I?
But this indecisiveness has delivered benefits for my clients, who regularly ask me to blur the lines. A website client will ask me to redesign their logo. A brochure design client asks me to write the content for them. The client I’m writing a blog for will ask me to design an infographic to go alongside it. In every case, it just makes sense.
Most new clients come to me because they need more than one thing. They’re just getting setup and they need a logo, website, branding and so on.
They could liaise with four different specialists and try to juggle four disparate projects while remembering who is doing what and who is who. Alternatively, they could go to an agency, and, well, pay agency prices. Again, they’ll have to deal with a team of people or an account manager who has to pass on every piece of feedback to the people who doing the actual grunt work.
Then there’s the third way: an experienced freelancer who has experience across a range of areas.
This person might not be an ‘expert’ – I don’t claim to be that! – but there’s a lot to be said for having a broad range of experience. For instance, sometimes it’s really useful to have someone with an understanding of website UX designing your brochure, because they understand information hierarchy, or someone with knowledge of branding design a website for you.
If there’s something I don’t know, there’s always the bottomless resource that is Google. And if I’m really stumped, I know a tonne of great people who are specialists that I can turn to for help.
So as you can see, specialising isn’t everything.
Is it worth thinking about how your business could blur the lines to provide a better, more rounded service to your customers?