Freelance Writing: Should I Be an Expert or a Jack of All Trades?
One of the major questions that comes up immediately when you begin freelance writing, or even before you make that jump, is what strategy should you take in what type of writing you do? Should you go for a versatile, "jack-of-all-trades" mentality where you're willing to adjust and learn new styles, or should you become a niche expert, someone who takes the time to build an absolute "expert" status so your name becomes synonymous with a certain type of writing?
This is a difficult question, and it's one where there's not necessarily a right or wrong answer. There are also many individual factors that can affect your decision on this. How good are you at multi-tasking? Do you already have a specialty? Are you capable of all writing styles (example: great copywriting is highly profitable, but only a select few excel at this style of writing)? All these should be taken into consideration.
The good news is that both directions can be correct. I did very well as a "jack of all trades" before landing a full time writing job (courtesy of some freelance gigs that led to this job), and others have done far better than me going that route. Meanwhile, other writers absolutely thrive off being known for one topic or one type of writing.
While I pride myself on being a jack of all trades type of writer, early on I did have an advantage because I was also an amateur poker player. The poker craze hit full force around 2003-2004, and so my position as a professional writer and poker player definitely gave me an edge in landing a lot of poker writing jobs, and having an "expert" status did allow me to generally charge more per article than with other assignments.
Another consideration can be your background. Did you do business writing while you were in the corporate world? This could give you a natural lead in to the type of freelance writing that could be profitable. Press releases earn a good amount of money per release, and as the Internet continues to grow, there is always demand for more content on about everything you can imagine.
In the end, you're the only one who can make a decision about going the expert route, the jack of all trades route, or somewhere in the middle. Both can lead to very profitable, and more importantly, very fulfilling, writing careers. Figure out which direction suits you the best, and go for it!