Before we start, let’s define what freelancing is:
Freelancing involves creating value with a creative skill and offering that skill to different companies since you are not obligated to one company and have the freedom to work with others.
More recently the freelance landscape has become crowded, but there’s still a chance to be successful if you know how to stand out from the rest. If you are going to survive as a freelancer in today’s climate, you have to choose a section of the creative process to combine your creative skill with a business skill.
Every creative process can be summarized into 4 parts:
Work with the client to understand their business, goals, and customers, then chart a path forward.
Create assets to be used in a product, or in a marketing campaign, or to enhance sales funnel.
Deploy creative assets based on the strategy and ensure the target audience are being reached.
Review customer feedback or reactions and realign to ensure you’re achieving an adequate return on investment.
Elements of Consulting
On the left-hand side, we have Consulting. Consulting involves the planning and strategy or analysis and reviewing of a company’s performance, followed by recommendations for improvement.
Consultants are often asking the question: “Where is money best spent to achieve your goal?”
Elements of Freelancing
On the right-hand side is where freelancing resides as a mixture of creating and executing company strategy. Freelancing can provide a service that will: a)develop and build creative assets for future the company’s future use of the b) execute on an existing company strategy often tied to a marketing campaign of sorts.
The right-hand side is also the most crowded part of the landscape. The level of skill ranges from beginners to experts as well as established individuals who have been in the space for a long time. You also have companies who have established themselves around this set of skills.
The barrier to entry is not as difficult on the right-hand side. Therefore, the prices of specific services tend to vary. There are people who are familiar with the process of creating and can almost guarantee you a certain result, and are still in transition trying to figure out how to provide a skill.
If you want to differentiate yourself from everyone on the right-hand side, you’ll have to move further toward the left and add an element of consulting.
Elements of an Agency
Agencies live in all four sections of this layout their goal is to walk the client all the way through the beginning, development, execution, and optimization stages. After the project has been completed they’re normally is an element of analyzing the results and using that to inform the overall strategy in trying to continue the cycle for the next project.
In other words, agencies look for recurring work. To the best of their ability they will try to expand a project or look for something that will last on a monthly basis.
Agencies will also have both types of people on their team freelance creatives and consultants.
Standing Out As a Freelancer
We had to take the time to understand the landscape to recognize how to position ourselves. This is important to know because if you are going to get into freelancing, you have to admit where you live in the process.
Are you going to be someone who receives a creative brief for a project and it is your job to develop a tool that will be a part of a sales funnel? Or are you going to be someone who provides value beyond being a creator? It’s more difficult to replace a consultant, but there are plenty of freelancers who can make creative assets on freelancer.com, Upwork, and Fiverr. With the right strategy, you can set yourself apart.
Super Spicy Media
For example, let’s look at Mojca (Mars) Žove of Super Spicy Media, a Facebook Ad Agency. Initially, she has chosen to focus on the execution part of her service business and create Facebook ad campaigns on behalf of her clients.
Her work target’s the client’s potential customer base with the goal of providing leads to businesses. Super Spicy Media may also help the customer write the ad and create some of the visuals, so they also play in the creation and development space, but they’re choosing not to review the entire client’s website and improve the website as the whole.
The reason Mojca’s business has been able to scale and go after higher-value clients is that they are working as an agency. They take the time to determine the client’s most important goals before setting strategy and craft their Facebook campaigns for results, and finally, review the campaigns with them.
Now that we are armed with this information what will we do with it? Feel free to leave a comment below and let me know if you are a freelancer, consultant or agency and where you are looking to shift.