The 7 key benefits of being a niche developer and freelancer are Less Competition, Increased Expertise, Higher Rates, Client Relationship, Word of Mouth, Lesser Risk, Technology Focus
There are numerous advantages of being a niche developer and freelancer. So here are 7 main benefits of being a niche freelancer.
1. Less Competition
The first and the most important advantage of being a niche freelancer is lowering the competition. As one narrow down the niche, the competition reduces significantly.
The selection of niche is based on the modern definition of mini-skirt:
It should be short enough to be interesting and long enough to hide the interest.
Taking the analogy – the niche should be small enough to keep the competition away and big enough to provide you with enough opportunity to keep growing.
The best approach for a developer freelancer is to test the water and see how much is the competition. If it is too much of a competition, start narrowing the niche.
2. Increase in Expertise
As one narrow down the area of focus, over time, the developer will gain more experience and expertise in the niche technology which makes it easier for the developer to be an expert in the niche.
I remember when I started vBulletin, I wasn’t able to locate the HTML content to make minor changes. Had used the replacement variable feature to get it done. Over time I have gained so much experience and expertise that I can tell the root cause of the issue just by reading about the issue.
3. Better Rates
The best part of being a niche developer is, you can demand better rates from clients for your experience and expertise and avoid the competition from college programmers doing freelancing.
I am of the view that freelancer should always work in a comparative smaller niche. Even as a SaaS company, it is better to work in a niche technology than going for a competitive market.
For those who aren’t a freelancer yet, let me explain how niche freelancer can earn better rates in terms of job opening and salary.
Some expertise will have better pay over others and the main reason for such difference in pay is because of fewer developers available for a particular technology. A C++ programmer, a PHP Programmer and an SAP programmer with same years of experience may not be paid the same salary because there will be lot more demand for an SAP guy compared to others.
The same applies to freelancing but here we don’t compare the different technologies (SAP, C++, PHP) but an expertise in a subset of the same technology (PHP > PHP Frameworks > Laravel).
4. Better Client Relationship
If there are a limited number of freelancers available, chances are clients will remember your services. As a developer, you can develop an everlasting business relationship with your clients.
I had worked for a client long time back, more than a couple of years ago. Recently I got a message from the same client asking if I can still do willing to work for him.
5. Word of Mouth / Referral
When you focus a niche and have satisfied clients, you tend to get a lot of word of mouth and referral customers. See the recent interaction of one of my clients on his Facebook.
We don’t expect such discussions for WordPress on FaceBook because you can find WordPress developers everywhere. vBulletin isn’t an ideal technology for new developers to enter now for sure.
6. Lesser Risk
When you focus on a niche, the risk of not getting clients may be out of the picture.
Of course, it may add other kinds of risks related to a niche which is the disruption of technology.
But that is true also for a highly competitive market as well.
A counter argument can be, as a developer working in a niche or technology, will be the first to know when it can go down the drain. This is when one has to make a move to the new and upcoming niche.
7. Laser Focus
The best and the most effective mantra for success is to have the right kind of focus.
A niche freelancer has a higher chance of being successful because his attention is on growth with eyes and ears open to technology disruption.
As a developer, finding the right niche is the most important aspect of being successful. They can understand the freelancing market well enough to position their services to the selected set of a client.