One of the most important parts of setting yourself up as a freelancer is establishing your offering. Yes, it’s easy to say “I’m a copywriter” or “I’m a website designer”, but I’m sorry, that’s simply not enough. What you need to do is identify first and foremost “the problem” you’re solving and then “why you’re the best person to solve it”.
It’s only by facing this really tough challenge that you have any chance of standing out in the crowded freelance marketplace.
So, what exactly do I mean by “the problem”?
“The problem” is the situation the client is facing that they don’t have the skills, time or expertise to resolve themselves. “The problem” is what is bringing them to the freelance market in the first instance. They need something doing and they don’t have the inclination, time or knowledge to do it themselves.
Think of all the business people you know. Think about the hours they work and the things they keep banging on about not having the time to do. That will give you some insight into “the problem”. It may be that they moan non-stop about burning the midnight oil doing their bookkeeping or that they need articles writing for SEO purposes but they struggle to string a meaningful sentence together. Either way, by getting inside their head you get a great insight into “the problem” and how it affects them. This is key to establishing your offering.
Once you have clearly identified the “problem” that your potential clients are facing, you can start to define “why you’re the best person to solve it”. Only by really understanding what keeps your potential clients awake at night or what really aggravates them during the day will you find the voice you need to speak to them about why you’re the best person to solve their problem.
At the start of any business, the temptation is to be cheap in order to attract clients. If you’re good at what you do, this results in becoming a busy fool, because you’ll get clients but you’ll be working for virtually nothing. If you’re not good at what you do, you’ll just get a load of complaints and disappointments. Cheap rarely means good and that’s well worth bearing in mind.
When it comes to defining exactly why you’re the best person to solve your clients’ problems, you need to focus in on what they need. Their main need might be having someone they can trust; having someone they can be confident will deliver on time; someone who is good at their job but also takes an out of the box view to finding the right solution. The reasons will vary, even from client to client, but you must define exactly what makes you different.
For me (above and beyond qualifications and experience) it’s commitment to delivering top quality copy on time and at a great price as well as tenacity and vision that I sell to my clients. Once I have a client I tend to keep them for a very long time, because they are delighted with my service, my product, my price and overall what I bring to their business. That’s what you need to be aiming for when you define your offering.
Dig deep to identify your clients’ problems; dig even deeper into your make up and your psychometric profile (if you don’t have one, get one) and identify the subtle reasons why you and your potential client will be a marriage made in heaven. This is what I mean by establishing your offering.
All of that said, I know this is one of the hardest bits of what you’re going to do, so if you need help, I’m there for you…firstname.lastname@example.org.