When I first started in online freelancing 12 years ago, there were few people doing what I do. In the years since I started, though, online freelancing has exploded.
I know several freelance writers. I also know freelance graphic designers, web designers, and software engineers. There are a number of professions that can be done remotely.
So, how do you stand out as a freelancer when just about everyone else is doing the same thing? I get asked this question all the time. Here’s what I’ve learned about making it work for the long haul:
Submit High-Quality Work
One of the best ways to stand out as a freelancer is to focus on quality. In a world where it’s possible to find someone willing to work for one-twentieth of what I charge, it’s important to differentiate myself from others.
I recently had an interaction with an article broker who pointed out that even native English speakers charge much less than I do. But, in general, you get what you pay for. If you want to stand out, it helps to have a reputation for decent-quality work and a good knowledge of the subject.
The better you are at what you do, the more likely you are to stand out — and clients will think you’re worth the price.
I admit I’ve struggled with this in the last two years. With all the upheaval and changes in my life, I’ve slacked off. However, I did manage to meet deadlines with machine-like efficiency for 10 years.
Being reliable can help you stand out as a freelancer. When clients know you will turn your work in on time, and they don’t have to chase you down for what is due, it’s far more likely that you will find more clients than those who make life difficult.
The easier you can make life for your clients, from accepting a wide variety of payments to turning your work in on time, the more likely you are to stand out in a good way. I’ve been working on getting back to my deadline-meeting ways, and it’s been a good effort for me — especially since I have some new clients.
I try my best to maintain a certain level of professionalism. Whether I talk on the phone, or send an email, I try to keep communication professional and to the point. While I have developed personal relationships with some of my clients, most of the time I try to keep things as rooted in business as possible. It’s an important part of showing that you can be professional and get the job done.
Carefully consider what’s appropriate when you interact with your clients. From producing professional invoices, to using professional language in your emails, it’s vital that you project an air that lets others know you are a professional who is good at what you do.
As you work to stand out as a freelancer, you can garner more clients and get ahead. Develop a good reputation, and pretty soon you’ll have people coming to you for work, rather than needing to apply for jobs.