Competition with other, more experienced freelancers is hard enough but how do you compete with the ultra-polished agency worker too? They’re usually more established in their field, have more money behind them for marketing purposes and have more clients.
Reasons people go to agencies:
They seem more trustworthy
A lot of people will regard a large, well-established company as more trustworthy than someone they find online who works alone. One is regarded as more successful than the other. Some people still regard freelancers as occasional workers or even just unemployed. While attitudes are improving, there’s still some way to go.
Bad experience with freelancers
Unfortunately there are some freelancers out there who give the rest of us a bad name. Whether they’ve experienced a take the money and run scenario or something like bad quality work, it’s difficult for clients to trust freelancers again.
With an agency, there will be several people capable of doing the same job so if one is ill or unavailable, there might be someone to cover them. With a freelancer, it’s totally left in one person’s hands which might leave people a bit wary. Agencies may also be able to provide more services that clients need or partnerships with other companies.
Reasons they should come to you:
Usually a freelancer who has fewer business costs can charge less than a fully-fledged agency. So businesses and individuals can end up saving money here.
Agency workers usually have rigid working schedules and operate within the 9-5. However, if you work on your own, you’ve got the flexibility to work whenever you want. This is particularly helpful if you have international clients who will want to contact you outside of the 9-5 in your country.
With a freelancer, a client has the undivided attention of the person running the show and doing the work. You probably have fewer clients than an agency which means you can afford to be highly focused on each client.
They get the full package
With an agency worker, they will likely just specialise in the type of work they do. With a freelancer, they get someone who is multi-skilled. Not only do you have to be skilled in doing the work, you are also running a business and are therefore more understanding of your client’s needs as a business owner.
How to compete with agency workers
Reach out personally
While agencies do marketing, it’s a big step away from a personal email to a potential client. As a freelancer, you can reach out personally and chat to a client. Without a brand to stand beside, it can become more of a human conversation than a sales pitch.
Get a website
A decent website will set you aside from a lot of freelancers and will go a long way in installing trust in your client.
So this means that you can’t rely on a free website. You need your own domain and hosting, preferably with a professional email address as well. You will have to invest some money in it but it will help you win clients and eventually pay for itself.
Get a portfolio and testimonials
You need to build trust for your clients. They need to know that you’ll do the job, have done it before and that you produce quality work. A portfolio of your best work and testimonials from previous clients will say all this. If you don’t have them, they could wonder what you’re trying to hide.
Talk like a business not a freelancer
While clients will appreciate the human and personal side to your communications, that doesn’t mean they don’t want professionalism too. This means talking to your clients about value for money, returns on their investments and how you can grow their business with your services. Coming at it from this direction rather than talking about how good you are at your job, will get the client listening. After all, they just want to know what you can do to help them.
How do you set yourself aside from agency workers? What’s the most important thing you can offer that an agency worker can’t? Let us know what you think!