Is it just me or is everyone a creative these days? Maybe it’s just because I swim in those circles and like attracts like and all that but oftentimes many of us feel pressure to really stand out from the crowd. There’s a lot of creative competition out there and getting the work requires…well, work! Let’s unpack how best to stand out from the crowd as a modern day creative.
Be Yourself – the biggest cliché of all
You may cringe at the phrase ‘be yourself’ but in this case it honestly couldn’t ring truer. The beauty of being a creative is individuality and knowing how best to sell what it is that makes your brand unique will promise that no one else can deliver what you can deliver – making your services literally irreplaceable.
As a music artist whose fully independent, self-funded and her own manager, I don’t have the privilege of being Rock n Roll. I meet all my deadlines, I turn up to every interview on time, organise every shoot to a tea in advance and more. I hear from other producers, colleagues and press that not all artists are like this and it can often be disappointing working with creatives who are super talented but take months to respond to an email or invoice. But you can use that to your advantage. Get a reputation for being 100% reliable, and you can win work purely on that basis alone. This requires organisation and commitment, but ultimately, it’s very simple to do.
What exactly do I mean by this? Make sure that new people can discover who you are via multiple avenues on a regular basis. Your work should be popping up on TikTok’s For You Page and your portfolio showcased on The Dots while it also graces the Instagram Explore Page. Work on your social media profiles clearly and concisely, and you’ll be much easier to contact than many creative freelancers working today. Be easy to find for potential clients.
Honesty is the best policy
Clients have feelings too and one of the things people value most highly is honesty. And yet, as freelancers, we’re not always as honest as we’d be in everyday life.
We might exaggerate our skills or experience, hoping to hoodwink a client into taking us on… only to repent later when we find ourselves out of our depth. To win a dream contract, we might overpromise what we’re able to offer rather than setting reasonable expectations. And when we make a mistake, we might desperately try to cover it up, rather than being open about our error and offering a practical solution to fixing it.
This temptation towards dishonesty is magnified in today’s digitised world, where we may never have to meet our clients face-to-face, so we feel less guilty about it. But ultimately, what keeps us at work is our reputation. And so overall, dishonesty is a very bad idea in the long run.