Happy New Year to one and all!

We hope that 2015 is the year that defines you. We've taken stock, looked at the data and predicted what freelancers can expect in 2015. Here's our finding...

There are more freelancers registered in the UK now then there has been in a long time due to fewer jobs, expensive educational costs and a recession, more and more people are taking their career into their own hands. This means competition is high and freelancers need to take every advantage they can to get ahead. 

To combat this rise, we're seeing more freelancers find a niche for their business and focus on one specific area to create a clear USP (unique selling point). One Freelancer Club Member (a makeup artist), who is doing very well, runs a service exclusively for ladies over 50+. She helps mature women find their confidence by advising them on how to look and feel great. Another Freelancer Club Member, once a property photographer, has chosen to shoot vintage style weddings exclusively and his particular look, feel and brand presence is making him the main man in that sector. It may seem counter intuitive to limit your audience but when you're known in that specific area as the specialist, it's a very powerful position to be in. 

Freelancer's rates are dropping due to an influx of under qualified competition in the market. More people are entering the industry with less knowledge and accepting jobs at deflated rates. It's true that if you pay peanuts you get monkeys but in a recession businesses (or private clients) often look at the cheapest option not the best option. It's only when they get the results back that they realise their mistake at which point it's too late. 

Should you find yourself getting knock backs because your price is to high, it's important to look at your service and make sure that you are charging what you are worth (easier said than done, true) but if you're losing work because others are heavily under-cutting you, it's a slippery slope to follow them down. Freelancers who drop their prices or work for free often harm the their own brand and the industry as a whole. 

Adapt or die. Brutally harsh words but poignant none the less. Many of our Freelancer Club Members work in a visual sector creating content for retail, advertising, fashion or offering their services to private clients. The reality is that technology has enabled the common man or women to produce a version of what most freelancers do professionally and created the perception that the answer is often a key stroke away. A few examples. Let's look at video. A few years ago, you would have needed a pro camera, lighting set up, audio and a studio to produce useable footage but today the results one can get from an iPhone and a quiet room are incredible. Everyone with a smartphone has become an amateur photographer and makeup tutorials on YouTube are encouraging many to try it themselves before hiring a professional freelancer.   

The result? A drop in quality. Fewer people using freelancers to do jobs they feel they can do themselves and a new attitude that if it can be done at a half decent level for free over a high level for a cost, people (in a recession) choose the former. We must move with the times and accept that technology has given us all the ability to produce at a higher level so professional freelancers must adapt and be better - much better. That means staying ahead of your industry and producing work that your prospective clients can't. When you show your work to them they have to justify paying your day rate for your service.