Tim Aldred - The Frazzled Freelancer

Freelance commercial writer, successfully navigating self-employment one unexpected obstacle at a time. Contact me at twitter.com/tim_aldred

Freelancers: 7 ways you’re great

Winning new business can be tough, especially when you’re not the only option.

Making your product or service the cheapest is easy to do, but it’s not advisable. That only works up until the point where your competition marks their prices down, too. Then it’s just a race to the bottom, and before long no one’s making any money.

So if you’re not willing to say you’re the cheapest, what other strengths might help customers choose you?

Here’s seven things that make freelancers great. Use these to sell yourself and pick up work without selling yourself at bargain basement prices.


1: You’re friendly and approachable

Filling any list of business pet-hates is call centres, automated messages, “Press 5 for…” and anything else that stands between the customer and the person he really wants to talk to.

So you’re up against a huge business and you want the work, let your customers know you’re available.

Tell them they can call  whenever they have queries and concerns, they can speak directly to the person at the top. Big businesses rarely offer that to any but their most high-paying of clients, so that’s advantage freelancer.


2: You’re local

Business goes much smoother, and more gets done in less time when a relationship has been established.

Sure, email correspondence, Skype and the next-big-thing are making the world a smaller place but there are plenty of people out there who still value the good old face-to-face meeting.

Many companies assume that they need to travel to the biggest cities to get the best services. But how often will that city firm be willing to pay them a visit?

Working with a nearby firm means you can hold meetings, get together on a regular basis and develop a solid relationship in which you’re accountable.


3: You’re knowledgeable

If you’ve got a niche, or you’re a specialist on a particular topic, make the most of it.

Anybody can set up a generic service or offer a one-size-fits-all product, but if you know more about a topic – whether it’s cross-stich, tax affairs or dog grooming – use it to win new work. Show off your credentials, show how having an expert on their team will improve results. Stand head and shoulders above anyone else who’s merely willing to look up the topic on Wikipedia.


4: You’re experienced

Been there, done that, screen-printed your own T-shirt?

Here’s another commodity that customers are willing to pay for. Experience means you can bring ideas to the table, and it means you can rule out the ideas that haven’t worked in the past. You’ll work more efficiently, you’ll be valuable in the decision-making process and you won’t be a gamble for anyone justifying their costs.

Sure, the customer can go for someone cheaper. But you have proof that you can do a better job.


5: You’re different

When a service or product becomes popular, it’s easy for imitators to jump on board and offer an identical pitch. Soon, the market is flooded with look-a-likes and it’s hard to tell one from the other.

Sometimes, the popular way doing things may not be the best way. And it’s certainly very rarely the only way. I have a friend who works in accountancy but also studied psychology to degree level and now her personal service is second to none.

Sure, there’s a million accountants out there, but she’s one of the very few that’s known for stellar face-to-face relationships.


6: You’re the best

Once you’ve got a few customers under your belt you’ll be able to pull together a decent portfolio. Add some testimonials in to the mix and it will soon become clear why a customer should hire you ahead of anyone else.

I’m a huge fan of testimonials, my LinkedIn profile is full of them. If anyone wants to know how good I am, and whether I’m worth the money, they can take a look at what everyone else has said about me and be confident that they’re making the right decision.


7: You know people

One of the most common doubts experienced by freelancers, especially when they’re competing against bigger businesses, is that they can’t offer the full service.

I don’t think this is true, especially if you have friends – or at least business contacts – in other industries. Bigger businesses tend to be less flexible, they either have a particular department, or they’d have to recruit one.

As a freelancer, I have an immense talent pool to call upon. Sure, I’m just me, and I work alone, but I can access graphic design, web skills, branded pens and photographers that are some of the best in the industry with just a phone call.

Make the most of the people you know. Don’t let others think that freelancers work alone, we’re actually a network of hugely skilled individuals.



Be Sociable, Share!

Written by Editor on February 28, 2012 and filed in Featured, Frazzled Freelancer, Freelance Jobs, Freelancers, Opinion ,

Get Adobe Flash player
Read previous post:
Wanted: PHP Develper – Chester, Cheshire, North Wales

PHP Developer wanted ... is this you?