Nomatter whether you're a graphic designer, copywriter or consultant, you're in acrowded market as a freelancer. Not to mention the fact that there are plentyof people out there who would be happy to undercut you on price. Standing outdue to low prices is no way to build a sustainable business, instead, you needto stand out for other reasons.
Hereare the steps you need to go through to ensure you stand out as a freelancer ina crowded market.
Youmight think that generalizing your business opens you up to a much largermarket of customers when in reality, you're never actually attracting anyone atall. If you can find a niche, you're going to be able to better target yourmarketing efforts. For example, if you're a copywriter, you might focus on oneindustry. Or if you're a graphic designer, you might focus on logo design forsports teams and nothing else.
Thegoal here is to become known as the go-to person for whatever it is you offer,and that's really hard to do if you generalize.
Onceyou have your niche, start to think about who you serve. Who are they and, mostimportantly, what's their pain point?
It'simportant to know this because if you know what your target market isstruggling with, you can make it your mission to help them solve that problem.By using the same language they use to define their problem, you can reach themin a more meaningful way.
Evenif you're targeting the right market and they're listening to what you'restaying, you still need to have an impressive portfolio. Keep it updated anduser-friendly so potential clients don't have to work too hard to see what youcan do.
Evenas a freelancer, you're still running a business, so you need to think like onetoo. That means charging appropriately and not working for free. It's also goodif you can be strict with yourself and hold proper office hours - at least inyour client's eyes - meaning you won't be replying to emails at 9pm at night.
Don'tjust rely on bidding sites and enquiry emails to get you work. Make it easy forpeople to connect with you on a more direct level. Building relationships inthis way increases customer value over time and makes it more likely thatthey'll recommend you to others.
Whileyou shouldn't let clients take advantage of you, it's always nice if you canadd that little extra touch. Introducing clients that might work well together,sending a holiday card or just giving a little bit more value with the work youdeliver is a surefire way to get clients to remember you.
Ifyou always do what everyone else is doing, you'll never stand out. Whenplanning your marketing activities, let yourself think outside of the box. Someof the ideas might be nonsense but occasionally you will come up with a gem.
Investingin the right training and tools will encourage growth in your business. Don'tassume that just because you're a freelancer you must stay on the same ratewith the same processes for the whole of your career. It's possible to scale afreelance business just as you would any other, but you need to be willing toinvest in yourself.
Standingout as a freelancer might take a couple of attempts before you find the formatand niche that suits you best but stick at it as this is the best way to startcharging more for your work while bringing in an endless stream of clients.