Opportunities – They’re All Around You

It was a dark and stormy night … no, really, it was! There was a break in the storm, so I rushed out the door to walk the dog. Suddenly I heard a rustling in the bushes. My dog (all five pounds of him) jumped back, and I did, too.

Then, I saw it …

Bob Sands here with you for the final day of this week’s The Writer’s Life. Thanks for joining me.

“It” was not what I expected. What startled both of us came out from the darkness. A kitten – and a little one at that.

He appeared both cold and wet. I kept walking with the dog, but the little kitten followed me all the way back to the house.

When my wife saw him, he immediately jumped on her lap. We were the proud owners of a new kitten!

The funny thing is we weren’t looking to add a cat to our family. He found us, and we were glad he did. By the way, we named him “Maverick.”

That’s just one example of how taking an advantage of an opportunity when it crosses your path, can really fulfill a need.

Let me explain.

When it comes to the writer’s life, experts will tell you …

“Find your niche … it will make you rich.”

“Specializing is the key to maximizing your profits.”

I don’t know about you, but when I first started my career, I wasn’t sure what my niche was. Furthermore, along the way, I stumbled upon new niches that I never thought I would like, much less be successful in.

As I look back on that stumbling/discovery process, I realized there is a common denominator that made it happen.

New niches … like that kitten who found a new home with us … often found me.

And that process was rather simple. Whenever a new opportunity presented itself, I would give it a try.

You see, there are a lot of companies out there who have experienced horrible ROI (returns on investment) when it comes to marketing. For many, it’s an ongoing challenge.

That’s where you come in. When their problem intersects with your copywriting skills and marketing knowledge, new opportunities are often created.

I took this “give it a try” mindset when I first started out, and I still do it today.

Here are a few ideas to help you tap into this approach …

First, be open. If you’re starting out or starting again, don’t limit yourself by taking on only “certain projects.” Don’t do it. Ever. You may be passing up a good opportunity to find a new niche or missing an opening to gain a new client that will allow you to eventually write for your “sweet spot.” By the way, if you’ve been at this for a while, stay open, too … you never know what new frontiers you’ll discover.

Second, be honest. If you have an opportunity to write “outside your comfort zone,” be honest with the client about it. This happened to me last year. I was asked to try something outside of my wheelhouse. I did. I liked doing it, they liked what I gave them, and it resulted in expanding my business into an area I would never have thought about getting into.

Third, be aware. Learn to listen at networking events, to current clients, and everywhere your potential prospects hang out. Hear what they talk about that’s problematic for them. Tune into what they say they need. Once you determine their needs, it’s time to pitch them on how you can help give them the relief they’re looking for. Opportunities are all around … all you need to do is tune in.

Do you have a niche or are you still looking for one? How will you look for that itch today? Please let me know in the comments.

That’s all for this week’s The Writer’s Life. Thanks for hanging out with me.

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Published: January 16, 2015

12 Responses to “Opportunities – They’re All Around You”

  1. Bob, thanks for a highly informative week. and much to consider. I am passionate about veganism and compassionate living. And it's a fast-growing business. Still, I feared that it might turn away some excellent potential clients if I completely focused on vegan businesses. So, I am focused on "a healthy and humane world", including the environment, nutrition, organics, sustainability, animal rights, and more. I'm close to closing a great client in a facet of that market. Very excited!

    Guest (Colette)January 16, 2015 at 12:52 pm

  2. Thanks for sharing with us this week, Bob. Today's was especially encouraging for me. I understand all the experts' teaching on finding a niche, but honestly, for me just starting out it's been too much pressure. What you say here helps take that pressure off to give me/us time to get some experience, get used to working with clients and, yes, maybe discover an affinity or liking for something we didn't know was there.

    Sharon BrodinJanuary 16, 2015 at 1:49 pm

  3. Thanks Bob! Great article, great connections and great advice! It spoke to exactly where I am with my business right now. Specifically I was wondering about taking opportunities outside of my new "niche" and you answered that one for me. I am just starting back up again on a new and more focused way. You are right...you never know what will come of it and, as a newbie, I don't have the luxury of turning down work. Admittedly, I can't wait until I DO have that luxury though LOL . Thanks again!

    AsYourWordNikkiJanuary 16, 2015 at 2:11 pm

  4. Hi Bob I found a niche for now.
    I want to be a travel writer because I travel a lot . Also while travelling , I like to take thousands of photos , so l like to sell my photos and turn them into cash.
    you have any advice?
    Thank you, Jennie

    jennieJanuary 16, 2015 at 2:42 pm

  5. Bob;

    Great advice. I am definitely a newbie, like one day old! I have always loved writing and have been told that I have great clarity and a way with words so let's hope it will make me a living? I have two niche's in mind but I have always had opportunities that came to me out of nowhere and they were some of the best jobs, experiences ever! I will remain open minded and hope that my "niche" finds me...

    CissyJanuary 16, 2015 at 8:04 pm

  6. Hello Bob-After sifting through the layers of my life, and finding out that at least I had a choice that included painting, singing and writing in my corner,I wonder how I would include them together to create a niche? Since I can narrow it down a little further, the healing arts seem to be the place for me. It's a therapeutic environment that has a place for all three yet together.

    Guest (Julie D)January 17, 2015 at 2:37 am

  7. I am right at the beginning of all this and hope to have a clearer idea about a niche when I have progressed in my courses. I say "neesh" as I am from England, so for me unfortunately it doesn't rhyme with "itch"! I think maybe restaurants, cafes and bakeries in Europe (because of my location) - they are always popluar and I love doing the research in person! Also beach bars, pubs and ice-cream parlours ... Good luck to everyone starting out!

    Bernadette January 17, 2015 at 10:31 am

  8. Thanks for this article. I was approached by a potential client, but I wasn't prepared for his questions, and we wound up not doing business. The project was outside my comfort zone and I think my honesty came across as self-doubt. I'll be better prepared next time.

    Guest (Craig)January 17, 2015 at 1:26 pm

  9. Always love reading your bits of wisdom. As a short-toothed yet graying hair writer running another business, it's taken me a while to settle on a niche and get cranking in this field. I'd just ordered an exercise bike and noticed their autoresponder had missed marketing opportunities, font artifacts galore, and missing out on customer assurance they made the right decision (setting up future purchases). I sent off an offer to them... we will see if they are my kitten in the bushes.

    Brad DunseJanuary 18, 2015 at 10:58 am

  10. Is newsletter writing considered a niche? Copy-editing? Very appreciative of this article and those to come in this subject. Thank you!

    mnauhaApril 23, 2015 at 9:53 pm

  11. Bob, have you been spying on me? For the past 18 months I've tested out different niches... self-help (too small a market here in Australia)... banking (too small a market again)... then I realised more than half my income over the past year had come from the franchise industry.

    With a bit of research, I discovered there's more than 1000 franchises in Australia. Now my career focuses as a lead generation specialist for the franchise industry.

    Daniel G TaylorMay 7, 2015 at 4:03 am

  12. As a retired English Literature and Drama teacher I have seen and commented on much student writing on a variety of topics. At the risk of naivety how does one get started writing for specific clients/topics? Specifically how do I get connected with a possible client/employer with an offer to receive my work on a topic of interest to him/her?

    Guest (Don)August 15, 2015 at 4:28 pm


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