But all those freelancing perks can distract you from one vital business truth. That truth is this: If you are to succeed as a freelancer, your freelancing business must meet a need. Or at the very least, someone has to want what you have to offer.
Too many times, I read about freelancers who want to work only on a very specific type of project, but have no real clue as to whether that type of specialized work is actually needed (or wanted).
In this post, I’ll explain why it’s important for your freelancing business to meet a need or demand. I’ll also list some ways for you to find out whether there is a need or demand for your specialized services.
Freelancing Is Your Dream Job–Maybe
So, you want to write only about robots. Or draw images of clouds. Or focus on web designs that integrate music. But no company seems to want to hire you to do those types of projects. It’s time to become a freelancer, right?
Wrong–maybe. As freelancers, we talk a lot about having the ability to choose our own projects and it’s true, to an extent. Freelancing could be your dream job. But just because you want to do something, doesn’t automatically mean that you can earn a living as a freelancer doing it.
Not only must someone want what you are offering they must be willing to pay for it. If no one is willing to pay for the products or services that you are offering, your freelancing business won’t last very long. And for many freelancers, this is the missing link to success. They forget to take market demand into consideration when planning their business.
How can you find out whether anyone is willing to pay for the type of work you want to do?
How to Tell Whether There Is a Need or Demand
Determining whether there’s a need or demand for what you want to do might seem like a difficult task, but there are some steps you can take as a freelancer.
First of all, when considering whether to offer a freelance product or service ask yourself the following questions:
- Is anyone else doing it? Use the search engines to find the websites of other freelancers who offer products or services similar to what you are planning to offer. If you find that there are freelancers already offering products or services in your chosen specialty, chances are that someone is hiring them. Be careful though, if there are too many competitors in your field already, it may be oversaturated.
- Is anyone searching for it online? You can use the search engine to find out whether people are looking for products or services that you are thinking about offering. Google Trends is a great tool for this. For example, when I typed the words “content curation” into the tool I saw that there has been a growing interest in content curation, starting in 2010.
If you have a little more money, you could also conduct a survey or hire a focus group to determine whether there is interest in your products and service and even determine how much potential clients would be willing to pay.
Both approaches require that you reach a sample of your intended market with key questions. For most freelancers, a survey would be the least expensive option although a focus group may offer the most detailed information.
There are a number of online survey tools available for little to no cost. Be sure that your survey includes the questions about the following crucial points:
- General information about who is taking the survey
- Their level of interest in the products or services you wish to offer
- How important they think it is that those products are available
- The amount of money they would be willing to pay for the products or services
Once you have created a survey, it’s important to get a sizeable sample of your potential clients. You could use social media to promote your survey, or even take out ads on websites that potential clients are likely to read.
Have you specialized your freelancing business? How did you find out whether there was a need or demand for your services?
Share your experiences in the comments.
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