4 Ways Freelancers Can Stand Out From the Crowd
May 20, 2019 Emily Brungard
More than 56.7 million Americans freelanced in 2018, and the number continues to grow. It’s estimated that more than 50% of the US workforce could be freelancing by 2027.
It’s clear that the competition is fierce, and it’s growing every day. So in a sea of millions upon millions of freelancers, how can you stand out?
Communicate like it’s your job
…because it is your job, right? You wouldn’t want to be ghosted, and your clients don’t want to be either. Replying to emails within 24 hours of receiving them is one way to keep clients calm in an always-on, always-available world. Ask questions, put things in writing, and don’t be afraid to jump on a phone call when you need extra clarity.
Within Torchlite specifically, clear and quick communication is a must. We always recommend that experts respond to project requests as quickly as possible, because it’s our goal to help our customers find the help they need, right when they need it. We communicate with our community of experts via email and Slack, so when opportunities come up that match your skill set, it’s important to respond in a timely fashion. If we don’t hear back from you (within 24 hours, usually) we reach out to alternative experts. It’s important that experts stay engaged within the Torchlite community via Slack. We’re more confident resourcing a project with an expert that we know is actively engaged, ready for work, and won’t go radio silent.
Of course, it’s also important to make your clients (and Torchlite’s resourcing team) aware of your capacity. Did you just bring on a new client that requires 100 hours per month? Let us know so we’ll only reach out to you with clients with smaller hour requirements.
Communication is key in successful freelance relationships, as well as in most other areas of life. The best freelancers know how to communicate effectively and efficiently, and their clients notice.
Don’t claim to be a freelance unicorn
We’ve written about this many times before. You can’t possibly know it all, and your freelance presence should reflect that, whether you’re on a freelance platform like Torchlite, or on your own portfolio website. In a marketer’s perfect world, someone could come in, wear every single hat, and get everything done — but that just doesn’t happen.
The best freelancers know what their top skills are. For example, Chris is an inbound expert who you might tap for content marketing or SEO help. You probably wouldn’t ask Jairo, one of Torchlite’s skilled multimedia experts, for help implementing Salesforce. Their profiles reflect their top skills, so marketers who need an extra set of hands can rest assured that the profiles they’re reviewing belong to true pros.
Never stop learning
All those certifications, badges, and awards are more than just LinkedIn candy — they’re tools you can use to attract new customers. Never stop picking up new skills and earning those important certifications. By staying on top of the new skills and product features taught in many online courses, you can make yourself more competitive in the freelance marketplace.
Continuing your education is easier than ever, too. Check out resources like:
- Online degree and certificate programs for marketers
- Industry-specific courses like HubSpot Academy or Salesforce Trailhead
- Podcasts that focus on your areas of interest
- YouTube tutorials and Udemy, Lynda, or Skillshare classes
Have a complete Torchlite profile
When Torchlite customers are searching for an expert, they want to feel certain that they’re working with the best. Our customers know that we accept only the top 4% of applicants, but when they see complete, detailed expert profiles, they get a better picture of what a working relationship could look like. A complete profile only improves your chance of being selected for a project.
The Torchlite expert profile can be broken down into a few parts:
Tell us more about you, your philosophy, and why you’re the best. This is your personal statement — the more thorough, the better! Plus, add a professional photo to your profile so that potential customers can put a face with your name.
Think of the Accomplishments section as your resume. What experience do you have that will impress a potential customer? Certifications and work history should go in this section. If you have writing samples, designs or other documents to share, this is the place to upload them.
Your portfolio is your chance to show, not just tell, the quality of your work and the value of your expertise. Even if your skills aren’t particularly visual it’s important to include detailed descriptions that explain the thought process behind your work. Quotes, statistics, and reviews from your past clients also add promise to your profile.
Share your success stories! We want to know when a client is happy with your work (and we’re always excited to introduce you to more clients). Don’t hesitate to share any positive feedback from successful campaigns.
We limit this section to five skills. After all, there’s no such thing as a marketing unicorn.
Are you a graphic designer? This is where you’d list the programs you use every day, like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. Marketing automation expert? Share which platforms you’ve mastered, like Salesforce or Pardot.
Which industries have you served? From accounting and automotive to technology and venture capital, our experts have touched nearly every industry.
Companies everywhere are looking for talent. The expert freelancers who have the talents and skills that are in high demand can exert control over most of their work life: where and how they work, compensation, and many other specifications around how they do their work. By holding yourself to high standards of communication, accountability, and expertise, you can stand out in an ever-growing crowd of freelancers.
Join Torchlite’s network of freelancers today.