Freelancing is easier said than done. It’s no longer just enough to do great work and wait for the call. The name of the game today is self-branding.
“For the longest time, I didn’t understand what I was doing wrong. People much less talented than me were getting better projects, paid much more and becoming more well-known. Then I realised I wasn’t putting myself ‘out there.’ So no one knew I had much more to offer than the others. I started doing that and now, I’m a name in my own right. Moral of the story? You have to make noise if you want to get noticed,” says Radhika Iyer, a freelance fashion writer from Mumbai.
Freelancing is the mood of the moment. Youngsters now would rather create their own legacy than follow in the footsteps of others. The trend is popular in creative fields like writing, photography, designing, music and others. But creating a niche for yourself is easier said than done. Especially since there are more people in the market today doing the same thing than ever before. So how do you stand out?
Nishant Ratnakar, a freelance photographer from Bengaluru says, “It’s true that the barriers to photography have been broken, with almost everyone owning a camera today. But to stand out in the crowd, you have to play on your USP, position yourself right and create your own brand. For instance, I don’t project myself just as a photographer, I’m a visual storyteller. With my years of experience in the media industry, I bring my domain knowledge, depth and focus to any subject, which sets me apart and which is what draws clients to me.” He further adds, “It’s not easy. You have to constantly reach out, connect, engage with people and showcase your work. In fact that’s a big part of what’ll bring you business.”
A PR executive by profession and a wedding photographer by passion, Elvin Jacob thinks it’s best to let your work do the talking. “When you work for a well-known company, you can associate yourself with it and borrow from the brand. But as a freelancer, you have nothing to fall back on, it’s all about you. So undeniably, as a freelancer you have to market yourself well. But there’s no use overselling yourself without the talent to back it up. Ultimately, your brand is built with not what you say about yourself as much as what your work says about you. So I’d rather let my work do the talking for me.”
So, there you have it. It seems that the trick is to find a fine balance. All talk and no show will get you nowhere in the long run. At the same time, it doesn’t matter if you having buckets of talent, if you don’t market yourself well. Either which way, today, the onus is all on you.