The gig economy is alive and well. According to Forbes, the gig economy grew 33% in 2020, with 1.1 billion gig workers around the world.
And as it continues to grow in 2022 and beyond, freelancers will want to be on the cutting edge by staying competitive in their fields. So how does one do that?
Let’s talk about 6 ways that you can make sure you’re doing what you can to stay relevant.
1.Become an Expert in Your Niche
You can spend all day looking for clients…but what’s even better? Have the clients come to you. Many freelancers make the mistake of spreading themselves too thin by trying to become a jack of all trades. But you can build an impressive reputation if you choose to specialize in a specific niche and steadily build up your client list. When you pick a specific industry, you’ll be able to master the ins and outs of everything there is to know about your client’s field of work.
This makes it easier for clients to recommend you to their friends because they’ve seen first-hand what you’ve been able to do for them and, most likely, what you can do for their colleagues. Pretty soon, you’ll have clients flocking to you instead of the other way around.
2.Brush Up on Your Skills
Careers will need to change and adapt to new technologies as they arise, which means that we should never stop learning over the course of our careers (even if we feel like we’ve mastered our niche). Make it part of your routine to check in on the latest news regarding your industry. Do you need to reinvest in some additional skills that are becoming trendy?
By keeping your skills fresh with the latest tools and techniques, you can ensure that you’ll be at the forefront of helping your clients. It’s also much easier to learn a little bit of new information over time than to avoid upskilling for years until you’re forced to adapt. Avoid the last-minute scrambles and stress.
3.Learn How to Market Yourself
Even if your chosen field has nothing to do with marketing, you should probably learn how to market yourself. There’s something unique about all of us. How you were raised. How you view the world. How you process information. How you approach and solve problems. What makes you different? What about your upbringing might have prepared you for this line of work? Whether you realize it, your history is of great interest to your clients and can help differentiate you from the competitors in your field.
Many gig websites like Upwork make it a necessity to fill out your bio with your education and work history. This is a great place to talk a bit about what makes you the right person for the gig.
The more you can nail down what makes you unique and why that should matter to your client, the easier it will be to find work.
4.Research Your Clients
Even though it’s called the gig economy, you should treat each opportunity like it’s a full-time job, not just a one-off assignment. You’ll be more likely to put your best foot forward on each project, ensuring that you’re building a great reputation with your clients. This also makes it much more likely that you’ll be rehired on future projects that a client might need you for. Repeat business is always good!
5.Maximize Your Productivity
When you’re gigging for jobs, you’ll want to maximize the way you do work. As the famous saying goes, “time is money.” You can either spend more time making less money or less time making more money.
Fortunately, there are a lot of tools out there to help freelancers automate the tedious busy work that comes with freelancing. Things like pitching business proposals and sending invoices to clients can eat into your work day. And if you don’t have a strong solution to stay on top of tasks, you might wonder where all that time in the day is going.
You can maximize your productivity through a project management platform that helps you better manage your freelance business, saving you time and money. The more efficient you become, the more competitive you can make yourself.
6.Build Up Your Defenses
This final tip for staying competitive is a bit of emotional advice. Freelancing can come with a lot of rejections. Just like sending your resume off to different job applications, you won’t land every client you pursue. But at the end of the day, that doesn’t matter. There are a lot of companies out there who need freelancers, and just because you might not be a fit for one client’s needs doesn’t mean that you won’t fit lots of others.
Just know that even though it might feel like it at the moment, it’s not a personal thing. And the faster you can brush it off and keep moving forward, the more successful you will be.
As the gig economy continues to grow, more people will be dipping their toes in the pool to see what it’s all about. You can use these tips above to dive in and carve a path for yourself. And as long as you continue adapting, upskilling, and aligning with your clients continually changing needs, you’ll be unstoppable in the gig economy. Now, go get ‘em!