A Freelancer’s Life – Who Are You?

For many, working for yourself is a dream come true:Freelancing dreams

  • No more annoying bosses calling the shots
  • You can work the hours that suit you
  • You only work for the people you want to work with

Within reason, you can do what you want, when you want.

Of course, there is always a flip side in that you also have to be Jack of all trades – Managing Director, Finance Director, Operations Director, Customer Service, Sales Director etc.

But all that aside, there is one very important thing you have to do when starting out as a freelancer, and that’s deciding who you are.

Finding your niche

When you start your business, it’s vital you understand what you are and what you offer.

It’s very tempting to say…

 “I am a copywriter. Design? Sure, I can put something together for you. Run your social media accounts? Sure, no problem”

…because you don’t want to appear inflexible, but that could be your downfall.

Defining yourself and what you offer will help you focus your marketing activities to make sure you get in front of the right clients.

 Think marketing

Even though you’d probably love to be able to say ‘yes, I can do that’ to any job that comes along, just think for a moment about how you would marketing yourself.

If your materials and website listed umpteen different skills you could be watering down the effectiveness of your sales campaigns.

When I started out in 2007, I decided I would market myself as a copywriter. To some, even that was too wide and I was advised to specialise in a particular industry.

But I knew that wasn’t for me.


Well, the main skills of a copywriter are to put yourself in the shoes of your client’s customers to discover what it is they need to know to make them buy. Then you have to learn enough about the business to be able to sell its products or services. And you have to adapt your writing style to fit in with their existing brand and tone of voice.

To me, they aren’t industry specific skills.

And it worked. I knew who I was, how I was going to position myself in the market, and, 5 years down the line, business is great.

Where to start

So, if you’re about to head out into the world of freelance, here are a few things to think about:

  • What are your main strengths?
  • Are your skills niche?
  • Who would be your ideal client?
  • What will be your primary service?

Did you notice I mentioned primary service there?

Once you’ve established yourself and have been in business a while, there’s nothing from stopping you realigning your skills to your market. Perhaps it will become apparent that your clients also need another skill you offer (perhaps PR)? In which case, there’s nothing stopping you from adding that to your services list and marketing it to your new and existing clients.

What it all boils down to is that you must work out what you are – once you know that, shout about it.

Over to you

If you’re already freelancing, what was your experience when starting out?

If you’re just thinking about it, what are your plans?

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1 comment so far ↓

#1 Rob Biesenbach on 06.08.12 at 3:31 pm

I agree about specialization. I write about any subject, any industry. Writing is writing, and clients’ businesses and problems aren’t nearly as unique or complex as they think they are.

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