You Are a Special Snowflake (But Do They Know?)

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I was tagged at a lengthy discussion on the Freelance Writers’ Guild of the Philippines page – apparently, a freelancing website (a competitor, not Freelancer.com) organized a press conference to reveal the “state of the freelancing market”(based solely on their company’s data, I must add.) 

This post is partly about that, and mostly the conversation that came after. 

According to the report published by ABS-CBN News, the competitor’s top-earning freelancer made US$36,612 
through their platform. (Notably, the report said that the unidentified Filipina made the most money among all freelancers in 2012 – an unfair generalization considering that one, the study didn’t include other outsourcing and crowdsourcing platforms present in the Philippines – or at least the large ones; and two, and this I say with the possibility that I might be wrong – the report failed to include freelancers who opted to stay away from online freelancing jobs.)

The forum was abuzz and questions/comments were fired from left to right: Celine Roque, one of the group’s more vocal members (a top-earning freelancer herself, which gives her all the right) said, “Pero general complaint ko naman yan sa mga news items covering online freelancing, usually walang context or they treat making money online as if it were something magical, when really wala naman pinagkaiba ito sa making money offline.” 

Which makes perfect sense to me. To be frank, whether online or offline, talent, effort, and guts can make or break a person’s career. Talent, while the most necessary, is not the only thing that propels people to success: how far will you take that with your drive to reach your goal? While we may hate the fact that confidence is key, seeing how many underperforming people earn their success with a lot of confidence should mean a lot for talented people continuously riddled with self-doubt.

At the end of the day, it’s not just talent that matters. You should be able to position yourself properly as an expert in what you do. I don’t care if your business is towing trucks, but if you position yourself as the fastest tower in town, that sure would mean a lot to people stranded in highways at 3 in the morning. 

(I know you’re saying, “That’s common sense!”, but note that we often take for granted the obvious – fair reminder!) 

But more importantly, after setting yourself uniquely apart from the maddened throng, the next thing is to deliver your promise. Mitchell Harper, BigCommerce CEO,  said it best: “The one thing you have to remember is to always (always) deliver on your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). You want to become well known for your USP and if you do anything and everything you can to make sure you and your staff members deliver on it, you’ll be amazed at the amount of referral business that will come your way.” 

Bottomline: we’re all special snowflakes – we just need to tell everyone what makes us so special. 

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