Photo by Thomas Drouault on Unsplash

Being a new freelancer or start-up owner comes with its own set of trials and tribulations. From reorganizing all your taxation arrangements to having to entirely shift your mindset as a worker. Then comes the cherry on top of endless challenges; dealing with competitors and standing out in a crowded market. While it can be overwhelming, it is certainly not impossible if you make the right choices. Here are five ways to get ahead and stay ahead in these turbulent times:

1. Use A Professional Address (No Need To Pay Rent)

A common struggle for many in their early days of business is finding a base that is affordable or remaining professional while working remotely. Despite living in a digitized world, there is a lot of value in having a fixed address such as mail-handling, professional appearance, and meeting space that is not another overpriced cafe. The problem is the extensive costs and contracts involved with renting or hiring central office space.

Luckily, there is a middle ground gaining popularity. Many companies are opting for a virtual office solution instead of buying or renting a space. A virtual office allows you to secure a prime location for your base without having to sign long-term contracts or manage the facility yourself. This way, you can keep a professional appearance and focus this crucial period on growth!

2. Emphasize Your Point of Difference

It is paramount that you remember your business goal and point of difference. Write in your business plan, write it in your personal diary, write it over your laptop and lock it in your mind. This is where you will turn to if you ever feel concerned about competition. Retaining a sense of authenticity is how you build a brand that inspires loyalty, and customers can believe in.

So don’t focus too much on replicating the marketing tactics of others. Instead, do everything you can to make your business’ unique voice heard and known. This can be through direct communication, email newsletters, creating podcasts, events, or hosting community workshops. For guidance, you can always consult with a digital branding agency to get started.

3. Always Do Your Research

This may seem contrary to the above point of not focusing too much energy on what other businesses in your niche are doing, however, this does not mean being blind to your competitors’ activities. Market research is something you should make time for regularly. Whether this means an in-depth, bi-monthly analysis of the top-performing businesses in your industry or simply following them on social media, you can learn a lot from their successes and errors. Think of all the wasted time you save by avoiding a failed strategy that somebody else with a similar audience demographic has already tried and tested.

4. Clear Communications

When it comes to engaging your loyal and prospective customers, clear and concise communication is key. After writing down your goal, you can always write down various iterations of it to be used in your marketing communications, newsletters, emails, publications, etc. Keep your customer base informed on what you are doing to achieve your goals and improve your business and their experience. When writing, never use convoluted phrases or too much jargon. The aim is that your customers understand your values and believe in your purpose almost as much as you do.

Running your own business is not all roses. Keep all of the above points in mind, and in addition to your hustle, you will have exciting times ahead.