We all have a clear image in our heads of what our freelance business is about – like what we stand for, the type of work we enjoy doing most, and what we’re striving to be well-known for.
But is this image clear for everyone else?
For many freelancers, a brand = having a logo. But that’s far from what’s actually needed.
Your brand isn’t your logo. As a self-employed freelancer, you are your brand.
The embodiment of your personal brand comes down to everything you do. It’s who you are as a person and what you choose to share with the world.
Here are several reasons why you might want to consider refining your freelance personal brand:
- You’re starting out and concerned people don’t know you or what you do.
- You’re looking to grow your influence and build an audience for what you’re passionate about.
- You’re refocusing what you specialize in.
Your freelance personal branding is crucial and vital to your success, so it’s worth your time to consider refining and refocus how you’re being perceived by the world.
The effects of having a personal brand
Like every major brand you’ve learned to love, you too have characteristics that define who you are and what you do.
What makes an effective personal brand is telling your story through your work and content marketing; such as blog posts, videos, conversations with your clients, and everything else. You also do this by sharing the results of the client projects you complete – in your case studies and portfolio.
The effect of telling your story and building your personal brand is you’ll begin to be seen by the right people – the people you should want to work with. Everyone else that doesn’t see eye to eye with what you’re all about is pushed away. These are the people that aren’t for you. That’s right – not everyone is for you.
You might think in order to be seen as a professional, you have to put up a facade—Start using “we” when your business is really just you, post rigid tweets, and website copy. But that’s the opposite of what makes an effective personal brand.
In order to attract the right type of clients and to build a trustworthy brand, you must be personable. Don’t be afraid to have a voice, and to act like a real person.
How to enhance your personal brand by focusing inward
As a freelancer, you’re going to feel like you’re competing in a saturated market. And in ways you are. There are countless other freelance designers, programmers, and writers out there.
It’s easy to feel self-doubt when there are so many other better, more successful freelancers doing exactly what you would like to do.
But what they don’t have is you and your life experiences. Everyone’s story is different, and this isn’t something that can be mimicked.
Rather than dwell on those better than you (because there will always be someone better than you), focus on yourself instead.
What makes your work different is you. Cheesy, but it’s the honest truth.
Your skills and experience aren’t what shapes you – it’s your personality and the unique touch you give to the work you do that makes you stand out from the rest.
The sooner you embrace this mindset, the sooner you’ll start to find your unique style and brand.
The biggest obstacle in building a successful brand is going to be you. You are the one who will decide if your brand is going to make it or not, through determination, hard work, and perseverance. Remove the fences from around your mind and allow yourself to dream bigger.
– Cory Miller via his free guide, “9 Key Questions for Building a Successful Brand Foundation”
How to define your personal brand and express it
Building your own effective personal brand means sharing what makes you unique.
Show why you’re different from the other freelancers, why your skills are the best, and how you’ll be irreplaceable once clients hire you.
To help you define your story, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- How do my life experiences and education relate to the work I do?
- Why do clients hire me? Why should they hire me over another freelancer?
- What do my clients enjoy most about working with me specifically?
- What do I want to be known for in this crowded world of freelancing?
Being a freelancer isn’t about being the cheapest, fastest solution, or even about being the most talented. It’s about being a real person that’s there to help others improve their businesses.
Be your own leader, be unique, and solve real problems. Then inject all of this into your freelance brand.
Ready for a challenge?
I want you to evaluate your current branding: pull up your website and take a look at the first thing being presented to you. Is there anything that expresses who you are and what you do specifically?
How about your about page? I don’t want to know what I already learned from your homepage. I want to know the person behind the work.
Are you showing that you’re a real person? How can I relate to you? Make me want to invest in you as a solution for my business.
Here’s your next challenge: try to find yourself on Google without using your name.
Type 3–5 words that sum up what you do. Imagine you’re a client looking to hire someone for exactly what you want to be known for.
If you’re already defeated, you now know what words you need to start injecting into your website and entire online presence.
Use these keywords everywhere, and most importantly, start creating content around what you want to be known for. Google will start to fall in love with your website, and in turn, you’ll start attracting the clients you want.
If you do this with a bit of consistency, you’ll begin to yield some amazing results. And only those that take action on this advice will reap the benefits. Will you be one of those people?