Let’s face it.
Acquiring new clients can be frightening for the beginning freelancer.
In fact, you may even begin to sweat at the thought of simply pitching a potential client.
Besides, there are many agencies that offer the exact same services that you do.
Can you even compete? Is there enough work for freelancers?
These questions go through your mind, sparking doubts about your entrepreneurial move.
Did you make the right choice? Can you really do this?
These agencies seem like oiled machines that work tirelessly. They have big teams, but you? You manage everything yourself.
But, listen up…
There are a good number of strong reasons — enough to give you an unfair advantage — why clients prefer freelancers over agencies.
And I’m going to share them right here, right now.
As a matter of fact, we are steadily moving toward an economy in which we’ll see an increasing amount of freelancers. According to Brian Rashid, 50 percent of the US workforce will be freelancing by 2020.
So let’s get down to it and explore these reasons in detail, so you can be confident in the knowledge that you add remarkable value to the market as a freelancer.
I had to get this out of the way: as a starting freelancer, you are most likely a lot cheaper than most agencies. You have fewer overhead costs like employees and office rent and you’re a lot more agile, which all position you to offer better prices.
Telling you to compete solely on prices would be bad advice. You should always look for clients who value your work. But when compared to an agency, it’s an advantage you shouldn’t overlook.
You certainly aren’t cheap, but you can deliver the same kind of service for a lower price. That puts you in a preferable position, doesn’t it?
Brent knows this, as he displays this copy on his business website:
It’s bold copy and there’s no way around it: businesses can save money by hiring Brent instead of their agency.
In fact, he found out that he charges $299 per month for the same thing that agencies would often charge $1,500 or more for.
There’s a mind-blowing amount of businesses who are fed up with the high monthly costs of agencies, which barely give them a reasonable return on their investment.
That’s exactly where you come in and show them that there’s a different way.
Keep in mind that it’s not always the owner of the company who’s shopping for your services.
Employees always have this question in the back of their mind:
“What will my boss think about this?”
Because we often show risk avoidance behavior, the employee will likely prefer your services because there’s no long-term commitment when working with a freelancer like you.
And that brings me to the second reason why clients prefer freelancers over agencies…
2. Direct Communication
Bad communication is one of the most common reasons clients leave agencies.
Clients prefer the convenience of having a direct chain of communication.Clients prefer the convenience of having a direct chain of communication.Click To Tweet
Working with an agency often feels like working with a company. Working with a freelancer feels like working with a person. As a client, you don’t want to be treated as one out of a dozen. Therefore, clients with smaller budgets are often better off with a freelancer.
You do not treat clients with small budgets as “second class” and give them the required personal attention. These are the kind of clients that agencies tend to not value as much as their bigger, higher paying clients.
You take clients with small budgets more seriously and are directly available to them if they need you.
Agencies are often very streamlined. This may seem like a good thing, but this also makes them less flexible. The bigger the agency, the less flexible they get.
Freelancers often work irregular and more hours than the typical agency, which gives you the advantage of being able to offer a lot more flexibility.
How much you make yourself available to your clients is up to you. But if you’re serious about freelancing, I recommend that you get back to your clients quickly, even if you can’t solve their problem right away.Get back to your clients quickly, even if you can't solve their problem right away.Click To Tweet
If you’re maintaining a full-time job, this means you’ll have to spend a lot of your free time on your freelance business. But that’s totally worth it, knowing this means you’ll be pulling in more clients and, therefore, will be able to quit your 9-5 sooner.
Flexibility also means being able to meet the specific demands of your clients. If you can create customized services for your clients, you can add remarkable value.
4. Freelancers Are Efficient
Depending on the work you do on a freelance basis, you’ll often be able to do it a lot faster than the typical agency can.
As an example…
The process of letting an agency build a customized website for you can take months whereas the typical freelancers can deliver you something amazing in a matter of weeks.
The extra time the client spends without a good website is costing the client money. Especially if the site isn’t optimized for mobile, the difference could be thousands of dollars. This is the gap you’ll be able to fill in.
Obviously, the direct communication between you and your clients also helps in keeping things quick and snappy. You avoid miscommunication, and any questions can be addressed quickly. If either you or the client prefers it, you can also ask the client for quick feedback as you go.
And because you’ll be motivated to finish a project so you can move on to the next one, you’ll get the job done as efficiently as possible.
5. On-Demand Work Force
Want to know something?
Agencies hire freelancers, too.
In fact, there are many reasons for an agency to temporarily hire a freelancer.
Imagine this scenario:
An employee is on maternity leave for three months. At this point, they may decide to hire a freelancer to help out. This way, they can focus on their own work without having to hire a full-time employee.
Online marketing agencies often work with freelance designers to provide them with things like display banners and Facebook graphics when they need them.
Another important reason is fast scalability. If a company needs to finish a big project but doesn’t have a large enough in-house workforce to do it, hiring one or multiple freelancers is an excellent choice.
6. Niche Expertise
Freelancers tend to build up quite some experience. Most passionate freelancers will do pro bono work to be able to show a solid portfolio to potential clients, but also to get more exposure.
Sure, you won’t get the broader experience of multiple people at an agency, but you will get niche expertise.
If you need a logo, you could look for a design agency that also creates logos. But it makes more sense to look for an experienced freelancer that specializes in logo design, doesn’t it?
Your logo will most likely be more reasonably priced, delivered faster and just as good if not better than the logo an agency can provide.
When hiring a freelance writer, some clients look for a freelance writer with a specific tone of voice that they resonate with, or one that matches their company. There’s not a replacement for this freelancer, because the truth is, nobody can write exactly like them.
When we hire designers, social media managers, and many other types of freelancers, we can feel confident knowing that we hired an expert and authority in their field.
7. Small Jobs
Nope, there’s nothing sexy about this one. Sometimes a client just has a small request. In a lot of cases, agencies aren’t interested in small jobs like these because they don’t pay enough to cover their high overhead costs.
However, as a freelancer, these kind of jobs are perfect. You’ll be able to massively help a client out and win them over by doing something an agency wouldn’t do. And let’s not forget, a lot of small jobs compound and can create an excellent income.
These kinds of jobs can include, but are certainly not limited to:
- Setting up Google Analytics
- Doing the setup of a self-hosted WordPress site
- Making a couple of small website copy changes
- Helping a client format and publish his or her blog posts
If you can think of a couple of valuable but small jobs that you can execute for your clients, you are creating a win-win situation. These are the kind of tasks that can save your client a lot of time while you can execute them almost blindly.
Freelancers are some of the most passionate professionals you’ll ever meet.
They most likely became a freelancer to start doing more of what they love.Freelancers get to do more of what they love.Click To Tweet
There are a lot of potential clients that look for this trait in a freelancer. They know that if a freelancer is passionate, it shows in their work.
Agencies have a hard time trying to convey their passion. The bigger they get, the tougher it is. You, on the other hand, know exactly why you chose to do what you do. This is more than just making a living for you, isn’t it?
So take this advantage and show that passion to the world. Clients will pick up on it.
Henneke Duistermaat wrote an outstanding article on how to write with passion, which is a recommend read if you want to see examples of how to show passion in your own blog posts or website copy.
You know that repeat business is key to a thriving freelance business. If you churn through clients each month, you’ll have to put more energy into finding new clients.
We are the face of the work we do, nobody else. Freelancers are aware that your success is crucial for their success.
They’ll want you to be satisfied with their service to the point that you’ll not only hire them again but refer them to other great clients, too. This is why we are motivated to bring every job to a good end.
Putting It to Action
Make no mistake about it, agencies do have their advantages. But you’re fishing in a different sea.
You now have a vast amount of knowledge, having internalized some of the most important advantages you bring to your clients.
Target the clients who need what you offer and are most likely to benefit from your services. Don’t be afraid to point them to these advantages in a conversation… even more powerful, quote a client!
“My client recently told me that… [benefit statement].”
“One of the things my clients prefer about working with me is that… [benefit statement].”
Now go out there and put some of this information into action.
Ask yourself questions like:
- Can you offer a couple of small services that agencies wouldn’t?
- Is there any way you can make changes to your web copy so that they reflect these advantages?
- Can you reframe your pricing so that it looks a lot more reasonable when compared to an agency?
I’d love to hear from you…
Did you learn something new from this post? I’d love to hear about it.
Or perhaps you can think of other important reasons why clients hire you? If so, please share with the rest of us!
I look forward to connecting with you in the comment section.
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- 9 Important Reasons Clients Choose Freelancers Over Agencies - April 21, 2016