Thursday, July 24, 2014

10 Ways to Stand Out as A Freelancer (Part 1)

If you don't want to find yourself stuck in a "dry spell" due to a lack of clients assigning projects that pay competitively, you need to work continuously on your marketing strategies.

By consistently tweaking the ways you present yourself, your skills, and your services to your target clientele, you will learn the value of branding and identity.

Immerse yourself in your career with the mindset that you are unique. Although we can learn from each other's example and work ethics, the fact remains that no two freelancers are alike.

If you want freelancing to be fulfilling, be as imaginative as possible in coming up with several ways to give you an edge in this business. Take a cue from any of the following:

(1.) Polish your "elevator pitch," and practice saying it until you're comfortable with it.

Your elevator pitch is your stock reply whenever people ask, "So, what do you do?" Whenever you attend events for the sole purpose of networking, the elevator pitch alone could make or break who you are as a freelancer. 

Elizabeth Ong, a Filipina freelance writer, advises, "[Your pitch] should be short enough to last an elevator ride but long enough for people to get the complete picture."

To illustrate, try this exercise. Listen to yourself as you say the following words out loud:

"I'm a freelance writer."

"I'm an illustrator for children's books."

"I blog for a living."

These statements hardly pack a punch when you offer them to a new acquaintance that may turn into a potential client. Why? Because they sound generic and stale, and they hardly leave a clue about your competence and skills.

Consider the first statement. Everyone knows that plenty of people already make a living from writing. But the question is, do you write novels, screenplays, or poetry?

And what about entrepreneurs who hire copywriters to help them with their print ads? And SEO is now incorporated in blogging for blogs to get more traffic and build readership.

Illustration is a very broad aspect in freelancing, too. Marketable skills in the arts include graphic and multi-media design, painting, and pen and ink drawing, among others.

Now, compare the previous statements to the following:

"I mostly cater to entrepreneurs who put up an online store. I engage potential customers by writing valuable content and encourage interaction through Facebook and Instagram."

"I team up with authors of children's books by providing illustrations rendered in Microsoft Paint." 

"I blog about being a stay-at-home mom, and I often accept guest blogging stints where I get to write about scrapbooking and DIY projects."

Have you noticed the difference in impact? If you're a writer or blogger and you introduce yourself in this brief yet pertinent manner, no one will just assume that you're a novelist or newspaper columnist. And as an artist who utilizes Microsoft Paint, potential clients get to know immediately that Microsoft Paint is your preferred medium in rendering artworks.  

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