One of the most common questions beginning freelancers ask themselves is, “should I be really good at one thing or pretty good at many things?” The answer is — you guessed it — it depends. There are advantages and disadvantages to both specializing in one area and having more general knowledge in several areas. Here are the main pro/con arguments.
Advantages of Specialization
Disadvantages of Specialization
Advantages of Generalization
Disadvantages of Generalization
My Personal Experience Being Generalized
I have personally acquired a more general knowledge base and skill set. This strategy has worked great for me (so far). I enjoy doing a variety of work; I rarely get bored of a particular task, so that is a huge advantage for me. I enjoy working with other small businesses; I am often a very valuable asset to them in terms of developing technological solutions for business operations and in terms of their company’s presence on the web and their internet marketing strategy.
If I find myself in a situation where I don’t know something (i.e. an area where I’m not specialized enough), I do research and find the answer or learn how to do something (simply Googling often does the job). If there’s a lot involved or there’s a big learning curve, I will hire someone else to perform a particular task (i.e. I subcontract / outsource the job) to save myself time and frustration.
Do What Makes Sense to You
Deciding whether to be specialized or generalized is often a personal preference. You should do what makes sense to you based on the pros and cons that most matter to you.
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