For freelancers, one of the biggest challenges is distinguishing ourselves in the marketplace. With so many of us choosing to become entrepreneurs, opting out of more traditional corporate or otherwise structured office positions, the pressure is on us to make the prospect of working with us seem desirable. One essential way we can do this is by incorporating as much creativity as possible.
When we invoke our imagination and our original ideas and incorporate them into our work, we create a unique identity that can’t be easily replicated. It’s important to remember that we each have the capability to do this, and no two people will apply their creativity in just the same way.
Here are a couple of ideas for bringing creativity to the table. Perhaps they will stimulate your imagination to come up with some ideas of your own:
CREATIVITY IN DESIGN
One of the more obvious ways you can incorporate creativity into your work is through your over-all visual design. Regardless of whether or not you hire a graphic designer or other artists to lend their talents to the development of your visual brand, you have the opportunity to make your personal presence felt in every aspect of your public presence. Colors, font choices, images, graphics – all of these can and should reflect some aspect of you. The more original, the better.
CREATIVITY IN WORK STYLE
Every time you execute a project, develop a product or interact with a client, you are expressing your creativity in the way that you work. It’s important to understand this so you can embrace every opportunity to show your creativity in the way that you do things. Sure, there are industry standards and practices that you follow, but even within whatever guidelines you operate, there is room to include your own stamp of individuality.
Here’s a great example. As any of you who have attended techsytalk LIVE know, the Liz King Events team has a certain way of doing things that is very recognizable. They are all pretty easygoing and fun-loving people, prone to wearing bright colors and crazy glasses, and will generally encourage silliness wherever possible.
This leads to some interesting choices, such as at the conference a few years ago, when they featured an auction where prizes could be won by bidding with Monopoly money, which could only be earned by exchanging personal details about the lives of other attendees that they had learned from one another. Really juicy gossip earned a higher premium! As an ice-breaking exercise it was wildly fun and memorable – a creative way to encourage people to get to know one another. (Disclosure – yes, it was me and my colleague Patricia who ran that game, and we shared more laughs with more people that day than I can remember.)
CREATIVITY IN COMMUNICATION
You have the opportunity to express yourself creatively in every phone call, email, social media post, or old-fashioned letter that you send. Perhaps you have a particular kind of signature you like to use. Maybe you include some of your favorite quotes. Maybe you change them on a regular basis. Perhaps you prefer to send handwritten thank you notes. Maybe you like to post certain kinds of recipes or share information about your favorite bands. I have learned a lot about industry colleagues from the personal things they include in blog posts or the things they share on Facebook and Twitter. Sometimes, these things have inspired me to want to engage with them further.
The bottom line is, as you are working to develop your professional relationships, there are many ways to incorporate your own creativity as a way to shine more brightly as the unique individual you are. The more you are willing to do this, the more you will attract the right clients and colleagues to you – the ones who resonate to the things you are sharing and feel an affinity towards you as an individual. This is one of the great foundations for building authentic relationships – one of the building blocks of modern commerce.