It’s true what they told us in elementary school: we’re all truly special and there’s no one exactly like you. That’s a fact among freelancers too: each one has unique qualities that set us each apart from our competitors.
We might all know that but until future clients get to know you, you just look like one of many nameless, faceless freelancers. How can a freelancer stand out in that ever-growing crowd?
It all comes down to building a personal brand in the same way business owners brand their companies. Compare Ben and Jerry’s to Magnum for example – both create specialty ice cream products but the “feel” and atmosphere each one creates in your mind is entirely different. That’s branding, and it can work the same way for your freelance business.
How to Build a Personal Brand as a Freelancer
Freelancing is an odd duck: you’re essentially a business but that business is one person. To market yourself well, establishing a strong personal brand is step one. Use these tips to master that art and build your own unique calling card.
Find That Magical Brand
Usually, “branding” refers to publicizing the brand and developing a name among potential customers. Before that, though, you need to define your personal brand.
That brand should encompass your work and personality at the same time. In essence, it should summarize who you are, what you do, and how you want clients to feel when they think of you. For instance, one web developer might brand themself as a bright, youthful professional who creates trendy sites while another might brand themself with a more corporate, traditional image.
Whatever type of brand speaks to you best, summarize it all with personal brand statements that captivate the atmosphere you’ve chosen.
Brand Your Site
With that brand in hand, it’s time to start making it known. The perfect place to begin is with your digital home: your freelance business’s website. After all, when a person wants to know about a business, that business’s site is the first place we go.
Your website should embody that detailed personal brand, using visual elements and language to create the overarching feel that matches. This might be easy for someone who happens to be a freelance web designer, but even novices can create great sites with today’s tools.
Create Professional Social Media Profiles
Social media is an indispensable way for any companies to make a name for themselves, and that includes freelance businesses. Create social media profiles that are exclusively for your freelance business, separate from any personal profiles. Flesh them out with pictures and start posting on those accounts on a regular basis with on-brand content that builds your following.
Post Around the Web
As great as social media is, content on other areas of the web will help develop your brand as well. It’s great to post insightful content like blog posts on your own site but expand beyond the and write blogs for other sites too. These are called guest blogs: they have your byline on them and often a bio and potentially a link to your site, but they appear on other websites (ideally reputable sites with large audiences).
Those blogs do wonders for anyone’s personal brand. Not only do they offer more visibility in front of new audiences to build your online presence, but they position you as an expert as well. Guest blogs send the message, “This professional is knowledgeable enough that another site is giving them a platform to educate their audience.”
Share Your Knowledge
Not all branding has to happen online. Speaking engagements can go a long way toward showing the world your expertise and connecting your brand to your freelance business. Look for opportunities to spread all those valuable insights, like conferences, guest lecture sessions, webinars, and more.
Particularly, try finding opportunities to speak to your business’s target audience, like a conference for small business owners or organizations related to your specialty or niche. In those cases, the speech serves as a way to market directly to a potential client base, but any speaking engagement will help to build that all-important brand.
Don’t forget to make the most out of each speaking opportunity by spreading the word. Talk about each appearance on your social media pages, website, and more.
Share Your Work
There are freelancers in just about every profession imaginable, but freelancing is especially popular among creative professionals. One of the best ways for creatives to make themselves known is by posting their work. For a graphic designer, for example, try posting some fun on-brand designs you’ve been working on.
Sharing client work showcases your professional skills, but depending on each contract’s details, it might not be an option. In those cases, opt for sharing your personal passion projects instead.
Establishing a Personal Brand as a Freelancer
Building a freelance career is a unique challenge because it’s not just developing a personal career, it’s building a business too. Personal branding can help any freelancer establish themselves and stand out from the pack so clients can truly see how special and skilled you are.