Branding is what sets a business apart. Your business name, logo, colors, website design, packaging—all these and more make up your business brand. However, as a freelancer, you are the business, so you need to go beyond business branding and work on your personal brand as well.
The catch: you already have a personal brand. Whether it was intentional or not, your colleagues and past or current clients already have a mental image of you when they think about you. Depending on the work you’ve delivered and the reputation you have, this image can be either positive or negative.
Now, that doesn’t excuse you from building that personal brand. In today’s highly-competitive gig economy, freelancers need a calculated but authentic professional image to win and keep clients.
Here are the steps you can take to build your personal brand as a freelancer.
It all starts with asking yourself important questions about yourself and your freelance business. These will help you figure out what kind of things you want to be included in your personal brand. Grab your notebook and a pen and start answering the questions below:
The answers to these questions should be able to help you have a better sense of purpose in your work and move on to the next steps.
People connect better with stories, so telling a good story can definitely help you establish a positive connection with clients.
Your story can be your journey towards where you are now, the why and how you started your business, and why you love what you do. You might feel that others won’t find that as interesting as you do, but be confident in the fact that you most likely have a great story to tell about what motivates you to work every day.
Of course, writing your story is not going to be easy. You may not be particularly fond of writing to begin with. In fact, even freelance writers can have a hard time at this—you’ve been writing for others for so long that it can be difficult to find your own voice. Ultimately what you want to avoid is sounding formal, because people will not be able to connect with that voice.
You may want to consider telling your story out loud, recording it, and then transcribing it (or use voice typing on Google Docs or other writing software). You will then see what your conversational voice looks like written out, then just make the necessary edits.
Now that you have your story, which is the foundation of your personal brand, try to keep the momentum by documenting your journey. If you haven’t already, start a blog (or a vlog) or even just little posts on your personal or business Facebook account that will feature your macro and micro-stories.
You will, of course, want to highlight what you do well, your strengths, and your expertise on your posts. Write articles you are an expert on, give valuable advice to whom you’d describe as your ideal client, do case studies on some projects you’ve completed.
At the same time, your clients don’t expect you to be perfect. They understand that you are human, and showing your weaknesses here and there and how you are working to overcome them will actually make you a more relatable as a professional and as an individual.
For more articles about how to advance your freelance career, visit the Crafters.