When it comes to freelance writing work where you have to market yourself to clients, I generally suggest not only specializing, but choosing no more than a few specialties. Beyond that, I suggest choosing specialties with similar markets so your promotional work goes farther.
But I have an exception to that rule -- when I develop my own sites.
I'm not only a freelance writer. I'm a Web publisher in my own right, with about two dozen active sites and more always in production. Some are tied to the client side of my business -- like this blog. But others aren't. They're sites developed because the income potential helps support ones like these (which I prefer not to have many, if any, ads on).
Many of those sites stem from hobbies or other interests of mine. For example, here are a few topics I cover in what I generally call "quiet sites" (income-earners that I don't heavily advertise or necessarily even tie my name to).
- Genealogy -- something I've been heavily involved with since I was 16
- DIY projects -- because I love taking the DIY route around the home
- Gardening -- another interest that I've only recently had the space to pursue
Two of those are actually still in development, but the first has been live for a while. The way I see it is this: if I'm going to spend time doing these things anyway, why not earn income from them? By simply documenting my thoughts, experiences, photos, etc. I can work these hobbies into the Web development and blogging side of my business. I'm doing that work anyway, so why not tie it into my "play" time? The income from the sites gives you more money to pursue those hobbies in return. Plus, some of your related expenses then become business expenses.
So far so good. I'm documenting my DIY projects so I'll have a few ready to go when I launch the site. That's the one I'm most excited about.
Beyond your client writing specialty, do you run blogs or websites in other niches? Or have you turned those hobbies and interests into your freelance specialties? If you haven't done either yet, why not? Tell us about it in the comments.
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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She began writing for clients in 1999 and started her first blog in 2004.
She owns 3 Beat Media -- a publishing and client services company which operates All Indie Writers as well as several other websites and blogs including The Busy Author's Guide and BizAmmo. Jenn comes from a background in online PR and social media consulting, having owned a small PR firm for several years before choosing to pursue a full-time writing and publishing career.
Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names in the areas of children's fiction, mysteries, and horror fiction. Jenn is an active member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and currently serves as the organization's Assistant Coordinator of Promotions and Social Media.
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