Working in today’s market is exciting. There are opportunities all around you, especially as a freelancer. As the business world moves progressively into a digital world, freelancers are having more chances for work and with that comes a crowded space of people vying for the same job.
- Having a specialty as a freelancer can help you identify your target market. As you do that, make sure you also know who you’re competing against.
- Sharing your knowledge can improve every team you work with. This will have clients clamoring to hire you again.
- Producing great work on a consistent basis is the fastest way to retain the clients you have and land those dream clients you’re hoping for.
How do you stand out? Here are some tips to help you rise above the crowd:
Develop Your Niche
A general rule is that you produce great work when you have some amount of passion for the subject. Whether you find varieties of mold interesting or you know way too much about antique watches, you have a niche that you can optimize. The first step is being yourself. As you tap into your authentic self, you’ll find it easier to identify the specialties you want to focus on.
As you nurture and grow your brand, you should keep an online portfolio to showcase your work. This makes it easy for potential clients to assess your skills and whether or not you’re a good fit for their project. In that portfolio, you have the opportunity to tell your story and make a personal connection with your clients. Even if you don’t get money for some of your samples, it will pay off when you land your dream client because of your work.
Know Your Competition And Target Market
How can you be expected to compete against people you can’t see and don’t know? To truly be competitive in the freelancing world, you have to do the research to see what others in your space are doing. Know what they are offering and how they are identifying themselves as a good candidate. From there, you can use what makes you authentic to stand alone as the ideal freelancer.
Along with knowing your competition, you have to know the market. Have a clear vision in mind of your ideal client and produce work that they would want to see. As you do this, you not only build your credibility (great for marketing yourself) but you also show those ideal clients that you know what they’re looking for and can speak authoritatively about their particular area of expertise.
Focus On Giving
How likely are you to do a huge favor for someone you don’t know versus a family member or friend? Without cultivating a relationship based on reciprocity, you won’t be likely to get much when you need a break. Start by sharing your knowledge for free. When you join a company’s team as a freelancer, you are still becoming part of their team. Share your working knowledge with other members of that team and clients will be begging to work with you because you make their whole team better.
You may also consider offering discounted prices to long-standing clients. The trick is not underselling yourself. You don’t want to ask too much but you have to know your worth and put value to that. However, a little discount or a little extra work pro bono can go a long way in maintaining a relationship with a client you want to keep.
Communication Is Key
You would think that in this digital age, communication wouldn’t be a problem. But for many new freelancers, communication can be an issue. One of the quickest ways to lose a client is with poor communication. You want to always make it easy to work with you and a huge part of that is having clear, open channels of communication. Along those lines, you may have to consider using other channels of communication, like text, calls, video chat, or team messaging apps.
Part of communicating within a team is collaboration. Rather than simply being a worker, you want to be a collaborator with your client. That will make you incredibly valuable as a freelancer and it’s only possible with great communication. You should also learn how to accept and be open to feedback.
That’s how you’ll know what’s working for you and what you need to work on. As you receive that feedback, your response to it can make or break a relationship with a client. Do the work to learn how to best communicate in a variety of situations and you’ll never be caught off guard.
Produce Great Work
Above all, your work should speak for itself. As a freelancer, you don’t have tenure or a salaried position. All you have is the work you produce. As you produce great work, you’ll get more clients. Focus on quality over quantity. Though it may seem like it’s holding you back from a bigger paycheck, it’ll pay off in the long run with clients that keep coming to you for their projects. Producing great work is showing that you have a good return on investment for the client and that’s what they’re looking for.
In tandem with producing quality work, you have to be consistent. If a doctor performs one perfect surgery and botches 100, suddenly that one perfect surgery doesn’t seem to matter that much. Instead of letting your quality work be watered down with mediocrity, focus on consistency and you’ll find you have consistent work.
Freelancing is one of the most rewarding ways to make a living. It offers you so many freedoms that a traditional employment situation simply can’t. But with more people turning to freelancing, you have to stand out. By focusing on a specialty, you gain credibility. In knowing your competition and your market, you can target your work to the right client.
Share your knowledge and expertise because clients love a freelancer who can make their permanent team better. Never forget to communicate and communicate often. Above all, produce great work consistently and you’ll have consistent work. Who doesn’t want that?