Discovering Your Niche – a Freelancers Journey

By Tori Schaulis

Growing up I always knew I wanted to be a writer. While other girls my age were playing with dolls or putting on make-up, I was busy creating my own newspaper publication and writing stories to share with my family and friends. Years later I’m still writing, but I had no idea something I enjoyed so much would lead me on a great journey of self discovery, eventually opening a door to a professional career.

Soon after I graduated college I found myself mopping floors and rolling waffle cones at a local ice cream shop, wondering if my “real” job search would ever end. I was discouraged, to say the least, after spending hours applying to jobs, writing cover letters and tweaking my resume. The ending came six months later when I landed a job in Waco, TX (of all places) working for a little construction and design firm, called Magnolia. Chip and Joanna’s Fixer Upper phenomenon began as a small dream – a dream that needed a voice and language that would resonate with its growing following.

As I learned about the vision behind this couple and their business, I started writing, both for Joanna and her brand, Magnolia. I loved the challenge of getting in her head, putting words to her style and preferences and creating language that best represented her vision; it was thrilling to me. I started to come alive as I realized that something I enjoyed so much could be developed as a skill to help someone else and become a profitable business. It wasn’t until a co-worker suggested ghost writing could be my niche that I thought about pursuing the interest further.

With a year or two of experience ghosting writing for Joanna under my belt, I launched my own freelance writing business. Although it sounded daunting at first, I started slowly and let go of any expectations that I had to reach a certain point within a certain timeframe in order to be successful. For all you creatives out there – decide early on that your success as a creative professional is not dependent on how many clients you have or how many visitors you attract to your website. Starting a business is a process; you’re not going to build a client base overnight.  

At the beginning I spent a lot of my time building relationships with other creatives and entrepreneurs in my city. I also enlisted the help of some talented friends who offered to create graphics, take photos and help me build a website. Start networking with people now – you never know what kind of connections you will need in the future! The relationships I built early on became invaluable resources to me and eventually led to landing my first few clients.  

If there’s one encouragement I can leave you with, it’s to commit to the discovery process of learning about yourself – your strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, stressors and refreshers.

Start making space for things you enjoy and feel refreshed by. Don’t be afraid to try something new and start connecting with other local professionals in your field. I feel as though I’ve discovered more of what I was made to do and be through this journey of discovery and I’ve never regretted the choice to risk. It was in the intersection of my strengths, things I enjoy and skills I could use to help others that I found my niche as a freelance writer.

My hope is that you commit to the process, take risks and eventually find your niche too.

And above all else, take courage, be brave, dear friend – you were made to come alive. 

Tori is a freelance writer who considers herself a creative entrepreneur and modern day pioneer. She loves telling stories, reading books that make her think and discussing the latest tips and trends. She believes words are powerful, and if used for good, are one of the most beautiful ways humans can express themselves. Beginnings are her favorite and she loves helping others communicate their vision and values by putting words on paper and into practice. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram or on her website.

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