90% of freelancers specialize to get more clients

Jul 25, 2014

As a creative, entrepreneurial sort of person, you probably have more skills than you market.

And this is good. While marketing yourself as a jack or jill-of-all-trades broadens the number of potential clients you could work with, it can also make your marketing scattered, your value propositions hazy, and may give the impression that you’re a master of none.

A recent study by Career Advisory Board and MBO Partners revealed that 90% of freelancers felt that having relevant technical skills and a specialty within their field made them more successful.

When respondents were asked what advice they would offer to non-contract workers, “make sure you have the skills and expertise in your field” was the top response and “relevant technical/IT skills” also ranked high.

Here are just a few reasons freelancers specialize:

1. Clients want experts. Let’s say you want a Wordpress blog and you have two applications or queries in your inbox: one from a Wordpress developer, and one from a “web developer”. Which would you pick? Exactly.

2. Clients trust experts. Clients trust experts to direct projects and provide valued advice. When a client trusts you, your relationship is much smoother, the client doesn’t try to micromanage or direct you, and the end result is often much better.

3. Your work will (probably) be a higher quality. Mastery takes time and practice. As you freelance in one specialty, you will be developing mastery of a specific set of skills that you use over and over again. The quality of your work may improve faster than a generalist.

4. Experts are more memorable. After your project is finished, if your client ever has a similar project, you’ll be the first person they think of. You’ll also be top-of-mind when that client is talking to another person looking for someone like you. When your client is at a networking event speaking to someone looking for iOS UX design, do you think they’ll recommend the iOS/mobile UX designer or the UX designer?

(Read more about why freelancers should specialize.)

Do you specialize?