If your freelance gigs have been dwindling or ground to a halt in the past few months, you may have found yourself looking to expand your scope.
The good news: There are more niche industries out there than you can imagine, and new ones are popping up every day. And they all need talented, flexible, brilliant freelancers like yourself (naturally) to keep that growth going.
All you need to do is know where to find them and how to translate your skill set so they know you can do the job.
Here are some of 2020's fastest-growing industries, and tips on how to make the most of them.
Target New Opportunities
Markets move fast and trends change constantly. A successful freelancer is one who not only adapts to these trends, but anticipates them. Why? Because whenever there’s growth in a new, underdeveloped industry, there tend to be few experts in the field. Entrepreneurs can build expertise in these areas to quickly take advantage of an opportunity with little competition.
It’s all about staying ahead of the curve. Whereas the past few years saw popularity in trends such as personal coaching, influencer agencies, cryptocurrencies, drones, and artificial intelligence, this year's boom is more esoteric.
According to research by freelance platform 99designs, the fastest-growing freelance industries in 2020 include:
- Astrology. This might come as a surprise, considering how much emphasis Google places on Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness (EAT) signals — and not everyone believes in the planetary effect on human behavior. But there has been a 127% uptick in design and logo contests from companies such as horoscope apps and spiritual consultancies.
- Biohacking. There’s been a 71% increase in creatives who are hired to cover topics related to “biohacking” — such as sleep tracking, intermittent fasting, and IV hydration therapy — for health solutions aimed at enhancing physical and mental performance.
- Cannabidiol (CBD). The marijuana legalization movement has been around for a while now, but its little sister, the CBD industry, is currently booming at an incredible rate, with a growth projection of $16 billion by 2025. CBD, a nonpsychoactive compound in cannabis plants, can now be found in food, beverages, beauty products, and pet supplies with therapeutic claims — providing freelancers with plenty of ways to incorporate the topic within their niche.
These are just a few of the industries that are taking off in 2020; there are plenty more you can (and should) look into. The best way to spot future opportunities where you can provide valuable expertise and happen upon a thriving industry is to use Google Trends; the tool analyzes the popularity of search queries across various regions and languages to help users discover trends in online behavior.
You can use the data to look for freelance jobs within industries related to the top search terms. Or, you can use the trending topics to inform your content ideation, drive effective results, and retain happy clients in your sales pipeline.
Find Your Niche
Be sure to establish your freelance niche, if you haven’t done so already. A lot of freelancers — especially those just starting out — will try to land any job possible. Suddenly, they find themselves covering a huge range of topics that could include anything from premature hair loss to real estate regulations. While you might be excited to have the projects on your calendar, writing about topics you don’t know about or have no interest in often leads to low-quality work.
It’s better to narrow your focus and stick to gigs related to a certain industry or skill set. By creating a freelance niche, you can demonstrate your robust knowledge, credibility, and expertise in a given field. Many times, clients are happy to pay more for the security that comes with your niche experience — but some niche industries are more profitable than others.
Here are the average annual salaries for some of 2020’s highest-paid niches where you can look for lucrative freelance work:
- Digital marketing - $58,000
- Finance - $52,000
- Travel - $52,000
- Holistic health - $52,000
- Education - $48,000
You can also maximize your earning potential by selecting a few related niches and establishing yourself as a leading authority with trustworthy information, setting yourself on the path to grow your clientele to a six-figure income.
Remember to keep up-and-coming industries in mind when you're creating niche content; for example, you could write health blogs for biohacking companies, educational information on the science of astrology, or about the CBD industry’s financial impact on the economy.
Pro Tip: It’s not always all about the money. When choosing a freelance niche, I suggest selecting a few industries you’re both passionate about and well-versed in. Getting to write about what you love is one of the reasons why freelancing is so worthwhile.
Once you build a robust portfolio that showcases your specialized talent, you're ready to grow your business and find work opportunities. You can network remotely and reach out to college friends or former colleagues who work in high-demand industries to see if they know of any opportunities. When applying for jobs, always include a cover letter, and don’t forget about lead generation strategies that can you can use to attract ideal clients when business is slow.
Freelancing can be fun, fulfilling, and a means to financial freedom — but you need to know where to find the best opportunities for work and maintain a steady stream of gigs in order to be successful.