As you move forward with your career - whatever it may be - I believe it’s important that you begin to carve your own niche. Making the conscious effort to specialize gives you an edge over the average worker in your industry.
Let’s use my writing business as an example. If you think of professional writing as the overall industry, an example of a specialty within my industry would be healthcare writing. Since I don’t have the prerequisite medical knowledge, I’ve never placed a bid for any healthcare writing projects. Other writers in the industry, ones who have broken into the healthcare writing niche, are actually paid quite handsomely. Yet their success started with a conscious choice to pursue that niche as a specialty, because no one can do everything well. You might be a good all-round writer, but why not be great in one area where there is enough demand to support your freelance career?
On the flipside is the peril of becoming too narrow-minded in your specialty. Narrow-mindedness stifles creativity and it can cut off the upward mobility that freelancers need to survive. If the healthcare writer fails to keep their ear to the ground and learn more about trends in the broader writing industry, they won’t be able to work with the same razor sharp exactitude. Open-mindedness is essential to prevent your craft from weakening,, and exposing yourself to other disciplines or methods can free your creative mind.
These two facts are equally true: specialization makes you stand out and gives you deep skills, and dynamism keeps you growing. In my own career, I’ve found balance in a simple concept I call generous intentionality. Everyday, I strive to bring all I’ve heard, read, or experienced to hone my craft and build my niche. It keeps me sharp and my clients satisfied.