Is being average enough?
It may be. But the time may come when being average is not enough. Because in times of crisis, only the best survive.
As a mother, I have always tried to be the best – at school, at work. This is a little destructive habit of mine.
But as a copywriter, I do my best to be the best because it is the only way to survive. The Covid pandemic showed how quickly the crisis can strike. There is war in the East of Europe and an economic and energetic crisis. The future is uncertain. The difference between a best and an average business can make one survive and fail.
The market can sustain only a limited number of freelancers. And as the crisis strikes, the number diminishes. So the competition grows, and those ahead get further ahead, while the ones falling behind fall back and stay where they were.
Only the best have time and means to grow. If you are average, then you have enough money to live on and pay your bills and provide for your family. But your future is not certain. You don´t get enough money to pay for your education. You don´t have spare time for your marketing or extra money to pay for your marketing. To provide for the future, you must grow; in the online world, you must be seen.
Imagine you´re a baker. Your cakes are delicious, and you sell them for their deserved price. But you have to constantly improve to come up with new recipes. And for that, you need time. You have to experiment, study, travel, and find inspiration. You have to constantly look for ways to be unique. Thus, you need to charge more for the cakes you already sell because you need money to pay for the time you spend on the new recipes, the travel and courses, and the ingredients.
It works in every industry. You must have time to try new things, develop new ideas, constantly improve, and stay ahead of your competition. If the money you get pays only for your bills and you have nothing extra and no extra time, you will never have time to improve. And you will fall in the gray zone of the average. So our baker has to charge the customers for his cakes, not only what the actual cakes are worth. He has to charge them for the time and ingredients spent on improving the recipes and inventing new ones.
You have to market yourself. They have to see you. They have to know you, like you, and trust you. Then they will be willing to pay you more. That is the idea behind marketing. And to market yourself that means doing a job that nobody pays for.
You must advertise your business on social media and build your brand and voice. You must create a perfect website and indulge in email and content marketing. To write a blog, make a vlog, or produce videos. It may not be the best idea to do it all. Refrain from overreaching yourself. Choose only some channels. Not even the best have more than 24 hours a day.
Of course, you can and should hire a professional to write your blog or advertise on social media. But even when you hire an advertising expert and an expert photographer, you must be on the photos. It has to be you behind the story. You have to meet the guys behind your branding. You have to schedule meetings and tell them about you. There goes your time.
To stay ahead of your competition, you want to know what your clients want before they know it. An excellent professional helps you to ask the right questions and tells you what channels to use. But still, it has to be you who gives the speeches at the conferences, it has to be your face in the video, and when you land a dream job and make a wedding cake for a prominent person, you have to deliver it in person. You see, there is a lot that you have to do for free as a freelancer. And you have to pay other people to do a lot of work for you.
There goes the sad truth. As a freelancer, you have to do a little extra. Some stuff that nobody pays you for. Then you will be seen and have a perfect brand and charge extra for your product and services. You can spend that money to stay ahead – to improve, grow, and grow your brand with better marketing.
So, you must always aim to be the best, never stop learning, and never be satisfied. Improve your products and services so that the little extra you charge is appropriate.
It looks like a vicious cycle; you have to grow if you want to grow. Money breeds money, yeah. But when you get in that vicious cycle, you get dizzy. And that dizziness is intoxicating.
Do not rest until you are the best.