When a freelancer changes the game
Often, businesses hire freelancers (writers, photographers, process consultants, trainers) to solve a specific problem for the lowest possible cost. And a good freelancer at the right price is often the right approach.
Sometimes, though, you spend more and get something great. You seek out and find a linchpin who combines inspiration and professionalism and initiative and pushes back on your quest for average. When you interact with someone like that, you might pay more but you get far more than you paid.
I recently did a photo shoot with my friend Brian, and from the moment I walked into the studio, I discovered that he and his lighting guru were relentlessly pushing to change my perception of what was possible at the same time they were focused on overdelivering on the project. They had little interest in settling on merely doing a good job.
There's a lot of pressure for freelancers to fit in, conform and comply. It seems easier to generate new business that way. That's not really true. It's easier to become an easily-described commodity that way, but the person who's willing to push themselves out to an edge that matters is on the only path that actually leads to success.
And then it's up to the client to care enough about the project and in making a difference to have the guts to hire you.