One of my very first clients was a paediatrician; a friend of mine who works in a large regional hospital. She is an extremely busy professional: as well as leading paediatric services at the hospital, she also has set up numerous clinics across my state.
She doesn’t have time to write an email back to me, let alone documents like a prospectus for her business. Now, I had never written for the medical field, not had I written a prospectus. So, I was a little nervous. On the other hand, I had written quite a few reports and research documents in the nonprofit field, so I gave it a go.
What did I learn from this experience?
- Expert Knowledge is Overrated: sure, it would be nice to be an expert in every field of freelance writing, but that’s not going to happen. I’m with Libby Alexander on this, who thinks that you don’t need to have a niche. My friend the paediatrician is an expert in her field, but without me, the document would not have been written.
- Research is Queen: without expert knowledge, I needed to do a bunch of research, which I don’t mind. I’m a Type 5 on the Enneagram, so I love absorbing new knowledge, and my PhD research is giving me new skills.
- Learn from Others: plenty of people have written health-related prospectuses, so I looked up some, mainly related to aged-care, because that is a growth industry in Australia right now.
- Clarity is King: my main strengths as a freelancer are (1) clarity of prose and (2) client communication. Even though I didn’t know much about my friend’s particular field, my research skills combined with clarity of prose resulted in a prospectus that she was very happy with.
The take-home from this? Your skills as a researcher and writer trump expert knowledge, so look for work in a diversity of fields.