With the explosion of the ‘freelancer economy’ never has setting up a freelance or lifestyle business been so attractive… yet, at the same time, never has it been so competitive! Today, it’s now about how good you are – it’s about how good you are at getting noticed, in the sense of being visible to prospective employers that really counts.
The freelance world is a highly saturated and ruthlessly competitive marketplace with strong international competition; meaning people are competing for projects based on the value of their local currency and cost of living. This means that gone are the days when you were just competing with the guy or girl down the road, You’re now competing with a global network of freelancers, some for which can undercut you dramatically.
Then, if you want to get out the bloodbath of the price focused negotiations found on sites like Freelancer, you might feel you need to take out a business loan just to get a few lead generating FacebookAds… and that’s the real challenge, you can have the best skills in the world, but if you aren’t able to market yourself effectively then nobody is going to know who you are… let alone have a compelling reason to do business with you!
Today, it’s your ability to market yourself effectively that is most paramount to your success, even more than your ability to get the task done. This article therefore, presents two fundamental concepts that will set you in good stead without breaking the bank.
1. FOCUS ON A PARTICULAR NICHE
It can be tempting to purport to serve everyone, but this can come across like being a jack of all trades, as most people like to do business with someone they view as an expert within a particular field. Therefore, rather than promote yourself as someone that dabbles or tinkers in their craft, it would be better to position yourself as an expert within a clearly defined niche.
The further benefit to this is that it will significantly reduce your marketing cost if you are focusing your ad campaigns and keywords on more niche focused terms, as for instance, “graphic design” is a lot more competitive than “graphic design for boutique hotels”.
2. WORD OF MOUTH
If you can remember back to the days before Netflix, you would wander down to Blockbuster and pick out a video for the night from a plethora of options. Imagine now, someone you know and trust recommends a film they know you’ll love – the chances are, you’ll check that film out. Similarly, when people we know and trust recommend service providers, such as web designers, we tend to go with their recommendation.
Word of mouth marketing is as effective as ever. The social proof that comes from online reviews, testimonials, and social media ‘likes’ works on this principle, but don’t forget people do business with people – so encourage satisfied customers to spread the word by offering an incentive, such as a future discount to both parties if they recommend a friend.
In summary, it’s your ability to market yourself effectively that is most paramount to your success today, so focus on this above all else until you have clients beating a path to your door and then focus on providing such high value you never need market yourself again!