We already unraveled the mystery of freelancing and even looked deeper at why many freelancers go nuts over this kind of profession. Based on several surveys and statistics, the number of freelancers all over the world had grown enormously. Obviously, the competition keeps on getting tougher. So, how can you get an edge over your freelancing competitors? Brace yourself because in this post, we will be spilling the beans!
As a freelancer myself, I know how it feels to be surrounded by top-notch freelancers. I say they are top-notchers because one, they have been in the industry for quite a long time and two, they’ve done lots of projects shown in their portfolio. I’ve only known this career for almost four years and my portfolio contains a little more than 10. I normally have the feeling of backing out from numerous online job applications and if ever I got short-listed— I still feel intimidated. Lots of questions still linger in my mind as the game begins. What if I didn’t pass the trial phase? What if the client didn’t like my work? What if I failed to meet his expectations? And so on.
But those were the days. Yes, I’ve been there. And I am proud to say that I was able to pass through that phase. I now have clients one after another. I get referred to by people I know and sometimes even those that I didn’t. I already gained more than enough confidence to apply and accept online jobs, even if it’s beyond my comfort zone. I have been living my freelance career right on track. How did I do that?
I made myself stand out from the rest and give each of my clients a working experience they would always remember! I encourage you to try the following:
1. Step up and show that you have more value than your competitors.
Remember those cover/application letters? Before you send one, read closely what the client is looking for to know if you are really fit for the job. Avoid the generic response. Show a personal approach on the client. On my experience, I initially look for the client’s first name and address him/her with that. Aside from letting him/her know that I got the skills needed for the job, I also make it a point that I can do more aside from what he/she is looking for. Example, the client needs a content curator for his website, tell him that you are also into Social Media or Graphics Design. This is a sure win-win! Why hire an individual freelancer when he can have a 3-in-1 in your persona?
2. Deliver more than what is asked from you.
This should be a natural thing on your part as a freelancer. Now is the time to be a “show off” in a positive way, of course. Go beyond the expected 500 word article or make two samples of graphics design that your client can choose from. Be a day ahead of the deadline. Most importantly, give and take suggestions from your client. Show your client that you give value to your working relationship.
3. Keep in touch.
I learned this from my husband who is into Sales. After he closed the deal, his relationship to his client doesn’t end there. He will make calls or follow up via SMS asking how their product was. Are they happy with the installations? Are there any other things he could be of help? He even greets his clients during special occasions like Christmas, New Year, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day etc. What’s the result of doing such? He gets more returning clients and referrals! They remember him as the consistent sales agent and comes back to their company looking for him!
You know what, I applied the same technique to my freelancing career. I asked feedback from my clients after the project. By doing so, I’ll know where I need to improve or what I should keep on doing for my next projects. I also stayed in touch with them. Once in a while, when I see them online on Skype, I dropped a ‘hi and hello’. After a couple of months, I sent them emails asking how their business is and that in case they’ll be needing my service again, I am just an email away.
Freelancing— it’s a jungle out there. But if you know how to play your game and you can easily point out your strengths and weaknesses as a freelancer, getting the edge over your competitors will surely come in handy.
Do you have more returning clients over the new ones? What do you think made these clients come back to you? Do you have other techniques in getting over the edge of competition? Share your stories!