What Is Your Unique Selling Proposition

It’s a great time to be a freelancer and an entrepreneur. There are more opportunities than ever for people who want to build their future on the strength of their ideas and hard work. At the same time, an overwhelmingly large percentage of freelancers and aspiring entrepreneurs stumble because they’re unable to answer one crucial question.

What is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?

What value do you bring to the table?

Why should someone choose you over your competition?

Most freelancers mutter something incoherent about ROI, traffic, awareness or some other buzzword.

Listen, let’s be honest – you aren’t exactly sure what those buzzwords mean, and neither do the clients you are talking to.

Unless you’re extremely, laser-specific about the kind of value you bring to the people you work with, it’s going to be tough for you to make it as an entrepreneur. Your job, as a business owner or freelancer, is to convince companies that they need to spend money to acquire your services. And the way to get this money is by throwing the marketing-speak jargon out.

Saying to someone that you’re like “Amazon for organic food” or “Google for roofing contractors” says absolutely nothing. It conveys no information about what your product or service is, or why anyone should pay attention to it. It gives your clients no reason to spend money on it. 

You have to find a way to communicate the specific benefits that your clients will gain by working with you. Maybe you’ve created a better way for people to buy organic food online. Maybe you’ve created a directory service that is faster, more user-friendly and reliable than the options currently available for roofing contractors. Both of these are specific propositions and are infinitely better than the mumbling pitches you’re probably sending in right now.

Here’s the simple concept you need to keep in mind – above all, you are a problem solver. You are a person who finds an opportunity or a need (e.g. Clients want to get more profits) and then creates a very specific solution to solve that problem. That’s it. That’s the entire scope and purpose of your value as a freelancer. If you can’t provide specific solutions, there’s no reason for anyone to work with you.

Twitter finds itself in a very similar situation right now. As you know, Twitter is rapidly losing followers and its stock value is plummeting as a result. How is it that a network with millions of users is struggling?

The reason is simple – there’s no clear way to understand what value Twitter provides to its users. Everyone agrees that it is a valuable service, but we don’t quite know how to quantify it. Take this message to heart.

When you begin your journey as a freelancer or an entrepreneur, it can be tempting to just work at or build something that seems cool. While this is alright, to a point, you’ll soon run into problems if you can’t pinpoint your USP. I’m sure Google didn’t start out by clearly outlining all of the different paths it has gone down today, but there was always a core reason for its existence. 

As a freelancer and entrepreneur, you have to be conscious about your personal brand. In fact, before you do something else, I suggest you sit down and chalk out what it is you are offering to your market. Be as specific as possible. This value proposition will inform all of the business decisions you make in the future. It will govern the people that you work with, and the opportunities that you choose to go after. It will also serve as a foundation that you can revisit if you’re ever confused about where to go next. In addition, how can you ever hope to improve if you aren’t aware of your current situation?

Let’s think about a few specific examples. Say you’re a writer, and you’re dabbling in a bunch of different markets right now. Let’s try to narrow it down to a few specific niches. For the sake of this example, let us consider that you are adept at creating content in the health and fitness niche. But we don’t stop here. We drill it down further to examine what kind of effect your writing has for your clients. Your writing may perform one or all of these tasks

Bring in more traffic.

Improve conversions.

Drive newsletter signups.

Boost search engine rankings.

Now, you can already see how saying something like “I’m an expert health and fitness writer who can improve your conversion rates and boost traffic” is more valuable to a client than saying “I’ll increase your brand awareness”.

For your own line of work, go through the following questions.

What is the problem I am solving?

Why does this problem need solving? What benefits are to be gained by solving this problem?

Why would other people care about solving this problem? Why are your services important at this point?

Go through this exercise for whatever line of work you’re currently in. Drill down until you’ve found an actionable USP. In an age of shortening attention spans and increasing competition, you have to get to the point quick. Just by being specific, you’re already going to be ahead of the majority of your competition. Use this simple tip and watch the clients roll in.