Have you considered asking yourself: What differentiate you from other freelance professionals in your niche? What makes customers decide to get your services instead of your competitors?
Since leaving my comfortable corporate life more than two years ago, I have noticed (in fact, I met some of them and we’re calling on the same clients) that many executives are considering the path I have taken –freelancing. While it is rewarding on its own, the frustration level is higher than when you are in your cozy office with people under your behest, and you are a part of a larger organization whose people works for the profitability of the company or more appropriately, for the business owners and stakeholders. But entirely on your own is radically different.
For example, I am used to having people under me who take orders from me. Now, I could not even afford (almost) two staff to assist me in my projects. Most of the time I have to rely on my own to see things through. My current staff simply assist me on the logistics, clerical works, and office maintenance.
Having said that, how are you going to attain and maintain a posture of competitiveness? In my mind, there at least two ways you can effectively do this: (1) Personal Branding, and (2) Logistic Branding.
Personal Branding entails a very high value on professionalism, business conduct and ethics. Your clients’ first and foremost concern before they invest in your services is about your credibility, and then how much value you can give them. In an economic slowdown, business owners are the first to take cost-cutting initiatives in order to protect their bottom lines. Your service is cost. It is another investment to make. So, how do you convince them to consider your offer instead of your competitors’? You project an impression that you are trustworthy, reliable and that you can provide value through your services and your business ethics. You do not offer what you can’t deliver. Instead, you deliver what is mutually agreed and even beyond the set expectations, in terms of quality, quantity, and timeliness. So that, at the end of your business transaction, you further convince them that you were really the right choice for the job. Besides, satisfied clients are the best source of referrals or leads.
Simple Logistic Branding means that your business cards, brochures, and letterheads are professionally designed and printed. These things, I noticed are more often neglected by salesmen and freelancers. These people don’t realize that these seemingly, non-essential items lend credence to their personal branding. They speak so powerfully for themselves. Hence, I always insist to my small business owner clients and colleagues that they invest on small business printing rather than just being contented with printouts from their desktop printers. Besides, online print shops, like PS Print, can provide cost-effective quality prints of custom business cards, brochures, posters, stickers, letterheads, and more. Professionally designed and printed business paraphernalia like these add value to what you are trying to offer. They are essential part of your brand.
Freelancing can be very rewarding in terms of money, career and personal fulfillment. However, before these rewards can be realized, again, you have to exert extra effort in developing your personal brand so that clients will perceive and remember you as their preferred service provider. Equally important, invest on your logistic brand, for it reinforces your personal branding.