What’s Your USP?

Posted: February 24th, 2009

The attraction to freelancing as a career is pretty obvious. You are the boss and you play by your own rules. For those of us that are freelancers, though, we know that this is indeed true but there is a lot of added responsibility to go along with it. First of all there is the stress of managing our own business and income which can overwhelm us at times. Despite this, what keeps us moving on?

The answer is simple. Its our purpose, or in a term related to our careers, the USP, or unique selling position.

USP is common knowledge among the sales and advertising community. It is a sentence or phrase which summarizes your business. Sometimes it includes a mission statement and other times it includes a catchy slogan. The main point of it though defines your business and purpose for the services you provide.

For freelancers, it works the same. It defines your purpose for the services you provide. I can almost guarantee that any freelancer who does not have a USP has either quit or is on their way to quitting in the near future. The reason is that if you do not have “that” reason to keep you going as a freelancer then there is no reason to continue on, especially when times get rough such as a slow workflow.

It is not uncommon to have the “office” mentality when freelancing. We work during the day, sometimes without thinking about it, and collect a check periodically. Our purpose therefore doesn’t lie in the actual work we do, but instead, the anticipation of getting that check.  The work may or may not be great. We don’t care though. We just want to get paid.

The problem with the office mentality is that it diminishes the quality of our work and murders a freelancer’s  business and career in the process. That is where the USP comes in. When the pupose of your USP becomes more than working for a check, then you will see your career grow and those checks will come automatically anyway.

My personal USP as a web programmer is “Honest, Professional Service With Fast Turnaround or Your Money Back.” It may not sound like anything out of the ordinary and may even be a little cliché. I do, however, pride myself on being upfront, giving my clients my best service and have all work done when I say it will get done. You might be surprised on how many previous freelancers some of my clients have had that didn’t have these values that I do. I am also a successful freelancer because of them, too.

With this in mind, what is your USP? Don’t forget this is the reason why you are freelancing in the first place.

More on the author, Johnny Spence
Johnny is the founder of The Freelance Rant and a freelance web programmer with 8 years in the business. Have a visit at his company Oscarrr!web or see what he's up to on Twitter.

Comments are closed.