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Freelancing and consulting: Why I don’t give a fig about my competitors

I estimate I have roughly a million competitors in the world. If I worried about what each and every one of them is up to and how I stack up against them and what makes me special, I would be an exhausted mess.

I actually have two occupations. First, I am a freelance writer specializing in the insurance industry (although I also write about asset management, business in general, and any other type of assignment that appeals to me). Second, I write and coach about how to market freelance and consulting services.

Each of those specialties presents me with untold thousands of competitors, but for simplicity’s sake, I’ll confine myself here to insurance copywriting.

The fundamental question is: Who are my competitors and how can I differentiate myself from the competition?

My competitors are any of the people who write for insurance companies, agents, or insurance consumers.

I have credentials in the field of insurance as well as extensive relevant writing experience, as do many of my competitors. I have a firm command of the English language and excellent proofreading capabilities.

So do some of my competitors. But not all.

At any moment in time, perhaps thousands of people around the world are going after insurance copywriting assignments.

Who are my competitors?

Some go after any type of writing work at all that is posted on online freelancing job boards. They believe that a strong writer can research and write about any topic that interests them. Others have written for prestige insurance trade journals for decades.

Some will work really cheap. Others demand top dollar.

Some are highly responsible and conscientious, meeting deadlines with superior work. Others are lazy or became freelancers primarily for the freedom.

Some market their services every day. Others never market and rely on whatever work happens to come their way.

Some insurance copywriters are easy to identify as such through Google or LinkedIn. Others have insurance clients on their roster but are much more difficult to identify.

Some write fluently. Others produce awkward, even incorrect, prose.

Some consider themselves to be brilliant. Others are more modest. Those with the highest self-esteem are not necessarily the best writers.

I have far too many competitors to study each of them and track what they are doing.

When I am in heavy-duty marketing mode, sometimes it seems that everyone I talk to is looking for cheap labor. Other times it seems that every prospect is already working with someone they adore.

However, none of this means much. It is often coincidence and does not explain the whole marketplace.

It’s important to maintain perspective.

I don’t know enough of my competitors or enough potential clients to generalize about what is going on. And I have far too many competitors to differentiate myself in a way that is relevant and reasonable.

I simply represent myself as best I can and pursue the individuals and companies I most want to work with.


Originally posted 2-3-15

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