by Lora Doncea
After two decades of computer programming and college teaching, I switched careers to be a freelance book editor. When I did, I was excited to discover all of the opportunities available. I jumped into content editing, copy editing, proofreading, book formatting, graphics, creating websites, and mentoring novice writers. Whew! I had training and experience in all of those areas, I enjoyed them all, but it was obvious I couldn’t juggle everything. I had to focus on my strongest abilities.
Once I found my niche, I worked diligently to develop those skills to a professional level—and my business blossomed.
I still pursue my other passions, and I am able to help authors who have questions in those areas. (Then I direct them to the professionals!) But my primary goal is refining and promoting my most proficient skills.
How can you identify your personal niche? Here are two questions to get started:
1. What skill can you develop to a professional level?
There is only so much time and energy you can invest in developing, maintaining, and using a skill at a competitive level. So focus on your strongest talent. It may not be what you enjoy the most, but to have a successful business, you must have a professional-level skill to promote.
Once you determine that skill, cultivate it daily. Sign up for blogs and join groups of experts to learn from others. Buy books and take as many classes as you can. Research the latest trends and use all of the latest tools. You need to excel in your niche.
2. Do people need what you have to offer?
You may be excellent at something and truly enjoy doing it, but there may be too much competition in that area. To make a profession out of your talents, you need to consider which skills are in demand. Look for gaps that you can fill. Again, sign up for blogs and join groups to see what people are looking for. Search job boards and network with others.
Maybe you have a unique skill set or experience you could capitalize on. Have you lived in a foreign country and know the language and culture? Have you worked in a specialized industry and know the lingo and technical terms? Take advantage of these types of experiences to promote yourself as an expert in a unique area. You can have two areas of expertise as long as you develop your skills to a proficient level in both areas.
Most of all, ask God what His plans are for you. He designed you with one-of-a-kind abilities to help others. If you don’t know where you fit in, He will guide you.
Discovering your specialty may be trial and error for a little while, but don’t give up. Ask God to help you identify your personal niche, develop it to a professional level, get connected in groups, promote yourself, and your hard work will pay off. After all, it says in Proverbs 16:3, when we commit our ways to the Lord, He will establish our plans.
Lora thoroughly enjoys editing fiction and nonfiction books for Christian authors. She views editing as a ministry, partnering with authors to make their writing polished and successful. She also writes a blog of “Savvy Writer Tips” to help writers spot and fix common problems. Read them on her website: EditsbyLora.com or on Facebook: SavvyWriterTips. Lora’s varied life experiences help her when editing. She’s been a recorded Christian musician, a computer and web programmer, a college teacher, and a Bible study leader. She spent years oil painting and loves photography. She recently exchanged life in the big city for a cabin in the mountains where she savors gorgeous scenery, diverse wildlife, and peaceful times with family and friends.