Finding My Focus as a New Writer

Dessy John

Each niche has a distinct purpose
independent writerAmelia Bartlett/Unsplash

I’ve dabbled as a writer on and off since 2018. It started as just a hobby and I was doing it for nobody other than myself. After a period of neglecting my writing due to the demands of my 9–5, the itch to document my thoughts came back. It came back in such a pronounced way that I ended up leaving my lucrative job in tech. Since the start of 2022, I have been thinking through the details and process for developing and monetizing my writing efforts as my sole focus of work over the next several months (or even years if it goes well).

As I am still very early into this journey, my main objective for the year is to effectively habituate the practice of writing so I can develop high-quality content in shorter periods of time and drastically improve my output. A full year may seem like a long time to focus on this (as opposed to focusing on content distribution, promotion, syndication, etc.) but I think it is justified. I’m not lost on the importance of the marketing elements behind a writing business, but I also know that success in the new creator economy is highly dependent on consistent output.

To better structure my efforts, I have decided to focus on 3 different niches as a writer. This allows me to shift across topics any time I feel dry of ideas, while also building an audience for multiple domains of interest on multiple platforms. It also spreads my risk so I can evaluate which niche provides me the greatest combination of traction and enjoyment in case I decide to consolidate my efforts down the road. Within each niche, I have a specific and intentional purpose…

Niche 1: Personal Finance (content that is EDUCATIONAL AND USEFUL to readers)

Platform(s): Medium/Newsbreak

Niche 2: Career and Family (content that is RELATABLE for readers)

Platform(s): Medium/Newsbreak and LinkedIn

Niche 3: Fantasy Football (content that I can EFFORTLESSLY TALK ABOUT at length)

Platform(s): Fantasy football sites and Twitter

While disparate topics may prevent me from gaining the fastest possible traction in any one domain, I’m still exploring (and more importantly, enjoying) all 3. I need to go deeper in each before deciding which ones, if any, I decide to up-level into ancillary efforts such as pitching larger publications, developing sellable products/consultations, or more targeted freelance work for other businesses.

A closer look at each niche…

Niche 1: Personal Finance

This is the first topic I started to explore and what most of my content thus far has been about. I inhaled personal finance content for roughly 5 years as I tried to develop a blueprint for my eventual self-employment efforts. The basics of financial hygiene and getting started with investing are lost on many people of all ages, even some in high-income brackets. As this pursuit has helped me buy some of my own time and freedom back, it felt like an ideal opportunity to provide value to other like-minded people striving to do the same.

As I further develop my content library in this space, subsequent stages will likely include pitches to larger publications but may also include product offerings such as guides, courses, or 1 on 1 consultation if I really want to triple down in this space.

Niche 2: Career and Family

As any parent will tell you, becoming a parent is the single hardest thing they’ve ever done. No job comes close to the trials and tribulations of raising a human. Juggling that with a stressful job is even harder. From personal experience, the order of difficulty in life situations from most to least difficult is as follows:

#1: Working parent
#2: Stay-at-home parent
and a distant #3: a highly demanding job but with no kids

It’s not to say that the childless have it easy, but it is a uniquely challenging experience to follow your own ambitions while putting the well-being of another as your highest priority. I’ve found that hearing the stories of others always helped me navigate the chaos, so the opportunity to reciprocate that value for other readers is a way for me to find a greater connection to my work.

I do not expect this niche to be particularly lucrative, but I do expect it to make me a better writer by injecting a dose of empathy into my writing style.

Niche 3: Fantasy Football

Lastly, I needed a fun one — an outlet where I knew I’d never run out of ideas. Content creation at high output is done best when the topic can be spoken about at length with minimal effort. As silly as it may sound, there is no topic I can stand in front of an audience and discuss with no preparation as fluidly as fantasy football. If I want to stack the odds of success in my favor, I need to attach myself to a topic that I know will keep me interested and motivated enough to get 1% better each day.

I’ve begun writing for a few sites, some paid and some for free, just to get acclimated to the space and continue refining my style. It has been through an entirely grassroots effort of Googling relevant sites with cold outreach to their content owners. It’s amazing how just a few quality samples can quickly generate interest from sites willing to pay for your work.

I don’t know where any of this will land, and that’s exactly what keeps me excited. All I know is that I’m going to keep moving, laying down at least one brick each day.

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I am a personal finance writer, covering advice and strategy around building wealth and living a more abundant life. I have 13 years of marketing experience in the tech industry, have built my own wealth, and now aim to do my part in spreading financial literacy to help others.

San Francisco, CA

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