How to stand out in a sea of freelancers

Sep 01, 2021

Freelancers in a creative industry or niche have the luxury of using their creative chops and artistic freedom to stand out in a sea of peers. For instance, if you’re a graphic designer, you can showcase your uniqueness not just with what’s in your portfolio but how you put it together.

But the future of freelance work indicates a massive shift into industries that aren’t necessarily deemed creative, which influences how you can differentiate yourself from other freelancers. For example, a jazzed-up portfolio may not be the best way to separate yourself if you’re a freelance IT specialist, but a list of notable software certifications may be.

Even if you’ve joined the many freelancers infiltrating industries outside of creative ones, you still must be proactive about setting yourself apart from the freelance competition if you want to be successful. Luckily, this article can help. Here are five tips for standing out as a freelancer, no matter the industry or niche you’re in.

Create an Outstanding Resume

Regardless of the industry you’re in, paying special attention to your resume can give you a leg up as a freelancer. Unfortunately, many freelancers neglect their resumes and rely heavily on their portfolios to attract clients. However, most clients will ask for a resume, and you want to be prepared with one that’s polished, detailed, and accurate.

Take the time to create an outstanding resume. Even if you don’t have a lot of professional experience as a freelancer yet, you can still highlight hard, soft, and transferable skills that demonstrate how you can help a potential client solve their most pressing problems.

Take Cover Letters Seriously

A cover letter is an additional opportunity to impress potential clients with your qualifications and explain why you’re a good fit for their needs.

Unfortunately, many freelancers use a generic cover letter, if they submit one at all. By taking the time to write a solid cover letter, you show potential clients that you aren’t anything like the freelancers who ignore the cover letter requirement. Instead, you’re a part of the elite group of freelancers who take the cover letter seriously.

You can use a template when writing any cover letter to ensure it’s structured appropriately, but the information within it should be personalized to each role and client.

Grow Your Skillset

Continually developing in-demand skills takes an incredible amount of effort. Because most of their energy goes into running a freelance business, many freelancers don’t even bother developing their skills until much later because they don’t have the extra effort to give.

At the same time, those who do prioritize strengthening their skillsets certainly stand out amongst the crowd. Whether it’s keeping up with current events, learning a second language, or advancing tech or social media-related skills to stay relevant in our increasingly digital world, ensure you’re taking advantage of upskilling opportunities.

Hopefully, growing your skillset will prompt a budding freelance career that produces quality work samples, testimonials praising your talent, and a growing knowledge base. You can and should showcase all three in a robust digital presence.

Build Your Brand in the Digital World

The digital world is crowded. But if you don’t grow your presence in it as a freelancer, potential clients will have a hard time finding you, let alone pick you out of the crowd of freelancers in your industry.

Contrary to popular thought, many freelancers haven’t thought about building their freelancer brand or digital presence. So, start establishing yourself as a top freelancer in your industry with a professional website that has your portfolio of work on it, shares who you are as a person and freelancer, and details the services you offer. Then, you can take your website a step further with a blog to advance your reputation as an expert in your industry.

Continue to build your digital platform by sharing your freelance journey and networking with other freelancers in your industry on social media.

Lastly, you should explore how you can grow your freelancer brand in the physical world as well.

Consider Relocating to Where Your Ideal Clients Are

As a freelancer, much of your work will be done remotely, and you may never meet some of your clients in person. Although many of your clients will be okay with the distance, others may prefer to see you in person as often as they can.

If your ideal clients are people who prefer in-person interactions, think about relocating to where they reside. Even if they’re working with a freelancer far away from them right now, they’re still likely on the hunt for one that’s local. You have a chance to set yourself apart by being that one.

Before relocating, consider the following:

● How much it will cost you

● What you’ll need to do to keep business smooth during the move

● How you’re going to notify current clients

● What you’ll need to do to prepare for the move

● Creating a moving budget

● How you’re going to pack your belongings

● How you’re going to keep your freelance business materials safe

Ultimately, relocating to where your ideal clients are, allows you to work with them in person when your competition can’t.

Conclusion

Standing out as a freelancer in a sea of peers requires consistency and a touch of creativity in your approach.

No matter the industry or niche you’re in, create an outstanding resume. Take cover letters seriously when reaching out to potential clients.

Intentionally grow your skillset, so you have more to offer. Develop a website to showcase your work and expertise as a freelancer, and prioritize building your freelancer brand on social media.

Finally, consider relocating to where your ideal clients are to take your efforts to stand out to the next level.

This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send us your blog post.

Noah Rue

Noah Rue is a journalist and a digital nomad fascinated with the intersection between global health and modern technology.