You've heard it before. When you're starting a career, you have to find your niche. It's one of the first pieces of advice usually given to those who have yet to choose their profession or those who are trying to carve out a path in the working world. Finding your own niche is certainly useful. You don't want to become a "jack-of-all-trades, master of none" and it's good to specialize at something and become an expert on it in the long run.
This does not mean that there is no merit to venturing outside of your chosen niche. There are times when you may find yourself wanting to go beyond the path you've taken. It may actually even prove beneficial to your career in the long run. Here are the reasons why this is something to consider.
You have more than one passion or skill. If you're lucky enough to have multiple passions or skills, then by all means, you should make the most out of them. The world is full of multitasking multi-hyphenates now, and you could be one of them. If you're a writer who has a knack for taking good photographs, you might want to pursue both at the same time. You can do brochure or magazine work and get paid for the content and the pictures. If you're a developer who can also do graphics, creating websites may be up your alley. You can channel multiple skills into one project and be able to charge more by doing so. Wearing a lot of hats doesn't mean you can't do one thing right – it just means you're a person with multiple talents.
You're feeling burned out or bored in your current niche. If you've been doing something for a long time, you may eventually feel like you're reaching the end of the rope. It's either you're running out of ideas, or simply tired of doing the same thing over and over. Don't be afraid to make a change. It's perfectly fine to shift gears and do something different. Look around for other options, and go for the ones that excite you. After all, you can always go back to what you were doing before.
You need more projects. It's an unfortunate fact that sometimes, certain fields can run out of jobs due to various reasons. There may be a surplus of talent with too many people looking for the same jobs, or the particular industry may be slowing down so jobs are getting scarce. If you're getting fewer and fewer projects, or you want more and can't find any in your niche, think of other things you can do. It might help you to try your luck elsewhere.
You want to test the waters. If you're thinking of shifting careers, going out of your comfort zone is a good way to check if you are really up to it. Try a project or two in the field you're considering and see if you like it. If things don't work out, at least you have your original niche to fall back on.
Your interests have changed. Change happens everyday, and your interests years ago may have evolved or disappeared over time. You may have started out doing cartoon art, but eventually discovered how to make 3D animation. There is no reason not to pursue another area of interest just because you began your career doing something else.
Don't be scared – it's perfectly fine to explore things that are not in your comfort zone. You can learn and build up experience in one niche, but you can either expand it or go over it. It all depends on you and where you want to take your career. Want to find a new niche to pursue? Check out Freelancer's list of jobs and see which one calls out to you.