Going freelance is like putting yourself on the end of a fishing line and casting yourself out into the sea to wait for a client to take a bite. It doesn’t matter if you’re cold-pitching prospects or have repeat customers. Everything you do is under a microscope, and your reputation is what precedes you. That’s where developing your personal brand comes into play.
Personal branding is every aspect of how you’re perceived as a freelancer. That includes your personality and how you communicate with customers. It also includes the messaging that you relay to clients, companies, competitors, and just about everyone else. That’s why it’s super important that you create a personal brand that mirrors your vision. Doing so helps you connect with new clients and help you to retain loyal customers.
I’m a Freelancer Why Do I Need a Personal Brand?
Your brand, your reputation, and how the world perceives you are what make you memorable. No matter what content you create, making a good first impression is going to yield big results for your business.
Freelancing is on the up as companies are learning the tactical advantages of outsourcing their workloads. That means you have to work twice as hard to get yourself noticed amongst other freelancers in your field.
Refine Your Messaging
Understanding the messaging you use when communicating with potential clients will help you develop your personal brand. Brands have to develop a personality, and that’s how they convey their messaging, through a tone of voice that’s relative to them and their target audience. However, when you’re a freelancer, your personality is all you, and you have to define which characteristics you’re comprised of.
A neat trick is to write down words that you associate with your own personality and how they would portray your personal brand. Unfortunately, brands can often see through the bullsh*t, so it’s important to be authentic as possible with the messaging that you’re choosing to align your image with.
Develop a Brand Strategy
It can be tempting to dive right into freelancing without any plan as to why you’re doing it and why clients should hire you over someone else.
Three simple steps to starting your brand strategy:
- Unique Value Proposition: As a freelancer, what value are you bringing to a client that they can’t find elsewhere? Are you offering prospects a better rate, better quality work or in-depth knowledge of an industry? Narrowing that down and tying it into your brand’s messaging will help to portray the value that your personal brand brings to clients.
- Personal name vs company name: There are a number of reasons why a freelance would want to use a company name as opposed to their own name. For example, if you have a common name, you can’t really stand out in a crowd of John Smiths. Secondly, if you envisage expansion for yourself and want to go from solo to a small team, you can’t all be named after one person. For myself, I’ve built an online presence around my own name, and the obscurity of it works completely in my favor. There’s no such thing as bad publicity, right?
- Social proof: If you’re in the B2B sphere, you’ll likely know that a significant amount of leads come from referrals, case studies, and testimonials. The same set of rules applies to your personal brand. Since personal branding is all about reputation, your prospective clients want to know how well you perform from past clients. You can easily advertise social proof on your portfolio, resume or flaunt brand logos on your website.
Develop Your Personal Brand by Aligning Messaging Across Channels
At this point, you know exactly who you are and what you want your personal brand to be about. It’s time to make sure that you’re conveying the exact same messaging across all platforms and channels that you advertise your online presence.
As a freelancer, you’re not always about business when engaging your audience, following, or clients. It’s important to demonstrate that you’re authentic, with a human personality. That means it’s not unprofessional to put pictures of last night’s pizza in your Instagram story because it’s a reflection of your personality.
Making sure messaging is aligned means that for every touchpoint for your potential prospects, you keep true to your core brand values.
Editors Note: This post was written by nDash community member Anup Sohanta. Anup Sohanta is a full-time freelance writer specializing in marketing, health, financial services, and other topics. To learn more about Anup — or to have him write content for your brand — check out his nDash writer profile.