Our job title hides a hundred skills we have. We use it as a short-hand label – it’s so much simpler to explain who we are by the label of our job title and our sector – but in reality, it acts as a mask to cover up who we are and what we do.
It’s even more pertinent now with many traditionally buoyant sectors stopped in their tracks, leaving many freelancers and employees alike pondering what’s next.
We all underplay and undersell the soft skills we deploy when we do our work. Quite often we don’t even recognise or value these skills.
So, what happens when you stop using the label and remove the mask? You are free to delve deep into all the skills that you use to do the work that you do and ask yourself the question, “Why me?”
It’s a question I ask of freelancers regularly and rarely do I meet many that are clear from the outset what their secret sauce is, and why they add value to clients. When I do it is an absolute delight and I know these freelancers will flourish in their chosen careers.
These freelancers have two things in common:
- they know the value that they can add in the marketplace and,
- they have identified which potential clients will most value them
Armed with this knowledge they seek out these clients in a single-minded fashion that is reminiscent of an animal stalking its prey.
The value a freelancer can add in the marketplace starts with the skills and experience they have, their ‘toolbox’ if you like, stocked full of an array of tools they can deploy to service clients’ needs. Added to that are that the values that they present to the world as part of their freelance brand. However, this is like eating chips without ketchup. It’s missing the sauce. In this case an individual’s secret sauce – that lens through which they see the world.
It’s that part of you which you take for granted in yourself that others value most in YOU.
When you look inside yourself and can identify this, you can unlock your own personal secret sauce and the value you add for your clients, that only you can add.
Once you own your secret sauce it becomes far easier to identify which clients will value you. There’s probably far fewer of them, which on the surface sounds like a negative, but if they are the ones that you truly match with I’d say that’s a positive. You can focus your efforts with confidence. You’ll have more time to spend working out your strategy and pitch to stalk this particular prey. So you’ll do a better job and you’re already starting from a strong position.
Whether you are looking to find new client work in a sector you know, or pivot into a new sector, if you can explain “Why me?” and how you can add value to that particular client you can begin to unlock opportunities that you may have never imagined existed.
Alison Grade is the author of The Freelance Bible which is published by Penguin. She is a career freelancer and serial entrepreneur. “Why Alison?” She transforms creative ideas into a business reality.