The 3 Criteria for a Perfect Freelance Niche

Now, it’s time to start figuring out what your niche should be. I’m going to break this into two parts. This first part is thinking strategically about your niche and setting yourself up for long-term success. The second part will be the nitty-gritty details.

But, a word of warning…

You might be tempted to skip this part. I strongly advise you not to. This was the single biggest mistake I made early on in my career. As a result of not doing this properly, I bounced from niche to niche for years.

Never really getting anywhere.

Hell, I was in the yoga niche at one point.

I’m 6’3′ 250 pounds and as flexible as a 2×4.

But, there I was trying to act like I was an “authority” in yoga because I read a book or two. More importantly, I had no passion for it. So, when things weren’t working out financially, I bailed in a heartbeat.

In any case, there’s 3 criteria I’ve figured out over the years that your niche MUST meet:

  1. Passion
  2. Talent
  3. Money

Let’s quickly cover each:


Now, I know.. it’s cool in digital marketing circles these days to poo-poo this part. From time to time, I hear experts say that passion or “love” for the topic is overrated. That your #1 focus should how profitable a niche is.

I couldn’t disagree more.

I’ve done it.

And, you might make some money, sure. But, you won’t be happy. Which, if you’re broke like I was, you might think “Who cares”. You will. And, the bigger point is you’ll have a natural ceiling on how far you can go.

Because you’ll be working in a space you really can’t stand.

And the more you work in it, the more you’ll hate it.

I loathed yoga for several years after I tried that niche.

If I had to read about one more “asana”, I was gonna triangle pose someone in the face. 🙂 Point is, sure… you can make some money in a niche you hate. But, you’ll be much happier and have a higher ceiling if you pick something you actually give a s!@# about.

I’ll leave it at that.

You can decide what you do with it.


The whole purpose of picking a smaller niche is so you can be the big fish in a small pond (as opposed to the guppy in a ocean full of sharks). So, what you’re pushing toward is being the absolute best in the world at this very specific thing.

I’ll use myself as an example.

I would make the argument that there’s likely nobody better in the world, even today, at building membership sites with WordPress and WishList Member. I’ve likely done it more than anyone in the world.

I’ve done it for really famous people.

I’ve done it for average Joe’s.

I’ve done it for large, high traffic sites.

I’ve done for small, obscure sites.

I wrote the PHP wrapper for the WishList Member API, so I know it better than even the lead developer of that software. Now, get very far outside of that specific niche and I quickly fall down the list. There’s plenty of developers much better at lots of other things.

But, that ONE thing.

I’d argue I’m the best in the world.

And, that’s why I can get work doing that any time I want.

That’s the idea.

So, when thinking about your niche, you want to think about what are you naturally already really good at OR what’s something you’re so passionate about that you WANT to become the best in the world at it.

That’s your niche.

Talent trumps money every time.

BECAUSE… if you’re super talented at something and there’s even a handful of people willing to pay money for it, you’ll be able to charge almost anything you want. And, I will show you some very specific examples of this in some of the upcoming lessons.


Yes, your niche needs to be profitable. But, honestly, I believe most niches CAN be profitable… you just have to work the business model right and know what segments of your niche to position your services for.

We’ll talk about this more when we get to the examples I’m going to show you…

But, do take some time to think about the kind of people who would be most interested in what you’re offering. Specifically, you’re looking for people that are:

  1. Passionate about the topic
  2. Willing to spend money on it
  3. Able to spend money

To give you a very nuanced example, I see a lot web designers who seek out local businesses who have ugly websites and approach them about their web design services. There’s SOME potential there.

But, their websites are usually “ugly” for a reason.

They don’t care.

Otherwise, they’d have changed it a long time ago.

These people might be ABLE to pay for a re-design, but they’re not willing. What works better, in my experience, is to find local businesses that are “trying”, but just don’t have the skill to make their websites look good.

There’s a subtle difference there.

But, if they’re trying, they already recognize the need. You don’t have to sell them on the initial idea that their website needs to look better. They’re already sold. All YOU have to do is show them you can do a better job.

It’s a much easier sale.

So, there you go.

Passion, talent, money. That’s the strategy. Take some time to think about this and then in the next lesson, I’ll show you how to go online and do the actual research and figure out what your ideal niche is.

Do you want more freelance clients?

I’ll show you what I learned over the last 15 years to grind out (from absolute scratch) a backlog of new clients wanting to hire you. Who your best client prospect are, what services you should be offering them, where to find them and more. Just enter your email address in the box below and let’s get started:

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I’m a 15-year veteran of freelance web development. I’ve worked with bestselling authors and average Joe’s next door. These days, I focus on helping other freelancers build their freelance business and their lifestyles.

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