We are all trying to sell something as freelancers. One of the hardest things for us to sell is ourselves—but it’s also the most important in order to stand out from freelance competition.
Whether you are in an interview, asking for a raise, or networking for your business, it’s important to communicate what uniquely sets you apart from your peers. In other words, what is the thing that should make people sit up and take notice of you?
Stand Out with a USP
A USP is a Unique Selling Point (or Unique Selling Perspective, or Proposition). It is similar to an elevator pitch, that 15- to 30-seconds you may have in an elevator to sell someone on your services. It is a short statement, one or two sentences, describing how a product is totally (and persuasively) different from its competition. In short, it answers the question: “Why should I buy this product rather than others?”
As a freelancer, you are the product. Therefore, your USP makes you stand out from the crowd. It sums up the precise reasons you are the best person for the job.
So, what does make you stand out from the crowd? What makes you the best person to hire, or promote, or give a raise to? Being a “good person” or even “good at what you do” is not going to cut it. Lots of your peers are pleasant to work with and skilled at their craft. What makes you unique?
How to Create Your USP
To craft your USP, begin by writing down answers to these prompts. Take some time to really brainstorm the different answers that apply, and different angles that are true. Your most compelling responses may not occur to you right away.
- Why are you great at your job?
- List the skills you have developed that make you uniquely suited to your role.
- What are you passionate about?
- Name the rare skills you have.
- What are your greatest strengths?
- Write out some of your most compelling life lessons.
- How do you uniquely approach your profession?
- What is a unique personality trait that you have?
After you have thoroughly and carefully responded to as many of these questions as you can, it’s time to identify the facts that you find personally important. Underline the aspects that define who you are.
Next, circle the aspects that provide the most benefit to your clients. What qualities or experiences do you have that work really well for them?
Make a note of where your underlines and your circles intersect. (However, your final USP may or may not include these intersections; don’t necessarily disregard the places with little overlap .)
Finally, try to create a single sentence that combines the most important elements into a description of you as a freelancer. Above all, make it persuasive, exciting, and unique.
Example of a Unique Selling Point
While every USP is going to look a little different, here’s an example of what one may look like:
“As a photographer with a background in band management, I am especially skilled at capturing action shots that communicate the emotion behind the subject. I deliver photos that connect with your audience because they’re authentic and relatable.”
If someone were at ask Jonah why they should hire him, or what makes him unique, he has a compelling answer on the tip of his tongue.
So, your turn! What’s your USP? What helps you stand out from freelance competition? Let us know in the comments below!