This post, “Is the Freelancer Market Saturated After the Pandemic?” is brought to you by Anup Sohanta, a business & lifestyle writer available to hire on nDash.
The pandemic has been a major talking point over the past two years. It was devastating for businesses in multiple industries as offices had to close doors due to lockdowns. Sales dropped in the retail sector, and operations came to a grinding halt.
One of the many positive aspects of the pandemic is the shift into a remote and work-from-home (WFH) culture. That allows employees to work from their homes and opens the doors for companies to outsource tasks to freelancers.
In this article, you’ll learn if the freelancer market has now become saturated and, if so, what you can do to give yourself a competitive edge to gain and retain clients.
How Many Are in the Freelancer Market?
In 2020, the US had the most demand for freelancers, with 28% of freelancers now doing it full-time.
Furthermore, The State of Independence by MBO Partners indicates that the number of occasional, part-time, and full-time freelancers in 2020 (38.2 million) increased to 51.1 million in 2021—a 34% increase.
The rise in freelance workers is due to multiple reasons:
- The pandemic: Higher demand for freelancers due to the implementation of remote work with team structures.
- Additional income: 73% of part-time freelancers joined freelancing and the gig economy to supplement their income during and after the pandemic.
- Job security: 68% of freelancers state that independent work provides them more security than a full-time job.
- Balance: During the pandemic, freelancing provided flexibility for people that wanted a work-family balance.
- Platforms and online marketplaces: Online platforms to find freelancing clients have made it easier for freelancers to start their businesses. In 2021, 40%of freelancers stated that they utilize online platforms to secure work, up from 27% in 2020.
Is the Freelancer Market Saturated After the Pandemic?
The increase in freelancers throughout the pandemic has made it easier for companies and individuals to seek professionals within the talent pool. Businesses can now find freelancers with various skills like graphic design, copywriting, content creation, and coding, to name a few.
According to data from Statista, it’s projected that there will be 86.5 million freelancers in the US by 2027, accounting for 50.9% of the total US workforce.
The downside for freelancers is that as the worldwide talent pool grows, the market becomes more saturated with diverse skill sets.
Adapting your approach to how you freelance is more important than ever, helping you to stand out in the crowd and secure clients.
Standing Out in an Overfilling Freelancer Market
As previously mentioned, the exponential rise in freelancers over the past two years has made it more difficult to source new clients. You’ll find plenty of platforms, including nDash, which connect you to prospects, but it’s still up to you to market yourself and secure work.
Here, you’ll find a few different strategies that you can implement to shape your personal brand and engage clients, giving you the best shot at gaining more work.
Firstly, let’s get into your personal brand, what that is and how it looks. Your brand is your reputation—it’s how you display yourself; it shows clients your skills and core values.
When shaping your personal brand, it’s important to consider how you want clients to perceive you and how that’ll impact a client choosing you over another freelancer.
For example, let’s say you’re a copywriter within the tech niche. You must define your niche, including experience and expertise. Ideally, you want your personal brand to display your technical knowledge and ability to adapt your tone of voice to align with the brand and its products or services.
Clients don’t like surprises; personal branding is all about trust and being completely transparent about who you are, your values, and your capabilities.
Clients are more inclined to work with you if you have a professional online presence. As you’re often working in an online arena, there’s no way for you to put on your best suit or dress and shake a client’s hand. So, it’s all about your online presence and how you convey professionalism.
Here are several factors to consider:
- Professional website: Websites are often the primary touchpoint for brands, so it’s essential to have a functioning website that looks and feels good. Feature the clients you’ve worked with and display your portfolio for prospects to peruse through. Not only does a professional website help to build trust, but it allows clients to get a glimpse of your brand.
- Professional email address: A professional email address is essential as it shows that you’re a serious freelancer. If you’re just starting, there’s nothing wrong with using a Gmail address, but try to keep the address as your name.
- Payment: Use professional payment systems to send invoices and collect payments. For example, doing so through PayPal is acceptable, or other alternatives include Stripe or invoicing software.
- Communication: Nobody likes to be left on “read,” so it’s important to respond promptly to your prospects and clients. Keep communication fluid before projects and throughout.
Discover Your Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
Your unique value proposition (UVP) is:
- your skills
- how you can solve your prospect’s pain points
- what distinguishes you from competitors
A UVP can contain your expertise, experience, and what you bring to the table to help a client reach their goals.
When creating your UVP, it’s best to keep it concise. Your positioning statement should be either text or video on your website, social media accounts, and marketing campaigns.
For example, if you’re a tech writer, then your UVP would look similar to this:
“My background spans over five years in the B2B and B2C sphere. I’ve created copy across multiple channels for big-name brands like Sony and Google. I help you directly engage your audience to increase direct sales and achieve more from each marketing campaign.”
Side note: It’s important to take the time to discover what your UVP is. Then, craft it accordingly. As a result, it can help you secure more work with new clients and retain existing customers. Ultimately, you’re telling prospects why they should work with you.
The freelancer market continues to grow, and the talent pool fills post-pandemic. Therefore, it’s important to differentiate yourself to gain a competitive advantage. Build your personal brand and develop your freelance business. Then, deliver professional services to help to give you a leg up on the competition.