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Freelancers: what to do when it feels like competition is holding you back

Freelancers, it can feel like you have a lot holding you back like a lack of resources or huge staff, so what do you do when your competitor is outpacing you?

competition

The best gift of all for freelancers

Almost all freelancers I’ve met to date complain about competition, and how it is killing their business. That’s a load of crap! Competition is the best thing you could ask for, hands down.
Competition tells you the market needs your services.

Competition pushes you to be your best, think outside the box, and look critically at your value proposition.

Competition can raise your rate – let those other guys take the low-paying gigs.

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Who needs accountability when you have competition sitting there every day working as hard as you are to build a business? If you decide to relax and blow off those great ideas, your competition will be happy to enlighten you of the outcome.

My own experience with a competitor

Just recently, I found out that someone I trusted decided to replicate exactly what I’m doing and has even geared this venture to the same market as mine. Initially I was devastated, this organization is bigger than me, with more influence (at least it feels that way), and they know my strategy.

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Then it dawned on me – if I’m going to be the top dog in this race, I have to step it up. The only other choices were to walk away and count my losses while they are small, attempt to join forces (which still may happen), or continue to move forward at my super slow pace and enjoy a few small wins along the way. I want to play big this time, and this was my wakeup call – my competition is pushing me to be a better freelancer.

How I set out to win

I sat down and made a list of my assets (client list, market reach, personality, community, etc.) and then made a list of the competitor’s assets. The reality was they don’t have nearly as big of a jump on this venture as I originally thought; making my over-the-top initial response pretty silly. I could not only build a great list, but I have assets that would take them years to build. Not to mention I have the first-to-market advantage with tremendous success.

Now, instead of just resting on my laurels of a previous, singular success, I am pushing forward and closing my gaps. I immediately defined the one hurdle that has the potential to stop me in my tracks: making big a reality. So I reached out to a mentor that I have watched think big and then make big happen to help me.

What typically holds us freelancers back

Asking for help has never been my strong point, but I’m doing it regardless of how uncomfortable it is. There are two more areas that will hold back the success of growth if I do not address them: 1 – a team, and 2 – money. Freelancers tend to let money hold them back by thinking there isn’t enough or it is hard to obtain. That is simply not true; all I have to do is start asking. Within 48 hours, the first sponsor was on board and a volunteer team has stepped up to help me get to the top. Onward and upward. Thanks, competitor.

What’s holding you back? It isn’t your competition. Take a harder look, be willing to take on the opportunity, and grow your freelancing business. Believe in yourself and let people help you. Even the competition.

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#Freelancers

Written By

Emily Leach is a pioneer in the world of uniquely-talented people who feel empowered to go beyond conventional jobs and create businesses from unique vantage points and perspectives. She is the founder of the Texas Freelance Association, the first statewide association of freelance workers in the country and The Freelance Conference, the only event of its kind poised to become THE conference for freelancers across the nation. Her belief that those working for themselves deserve the same respect as those working for major corporations drives her tireless fight to ensure this growing population of “genetically unemployable” solo-preneurs are represented and offered some of the same opportunities as those working for large corporations. Because of her knowledge and expertise, Emily has been a leading-edge organizer and speaker for TEDx events throughout the U.S. Southwest. Currently living in Austin, Texas, Emily’s outside interests include rowing, sailing, traveling, scuba diving, snowboarding, whitewater and cycling – basically, having adventures and living life to the fullest.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Dave Osh

    May 21, 2015 at 12:32 am

    Emily is touching one of the most important challenges that derails many freelancers. Competition is just one step prior to collaboration. Unfortunately, the freelancing landscape is shadowed by fear of competition instead of inspiring growth with generous sharing, supporting and mentoring. Collaboration will create a larger cake and Emily paves the way for this transformation.

  2. Job at home

    June 10, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    Too bad some freelancers actually think of their job as some kind of a race or competition. It's one thing when your competitor makes you strive more and generally get more motivated, but it's a completely different and negative thing when it becomes some sort of a rivalry.

  3. Pingback: Could this be the best planner for freelancers in history? - The American Genius

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