First of all, kudos for taking up this most loved, most envied and ahem, the most Instagram-worthy lifestyle. Being on the other side, you know what’s the deal. Most often you’ve been reminded of the perils of being a freelancer with unpredictable cash flow, unprecedented time management and basically your professional checkbox facing the same repercussions as the third gender in this country. You walk the thin line of working for someone and working for yourself – of being employed and of being an employer.
Well, the identity crisis got to be shown the door now.
Freelancers, you don't own a company, you don't work for a company - YOU are a company! Click To Tweet
Now that we have set the tone for your latent power and made up a promising introduction, let’s explore the finer steps of building a personal brand image from scratch – because that’s the need of the hour. Why? Let’s explore everything right below-
1. Identify Your Niche
Master of all and ace of none? The reason why companies and people reach out to freelancers is that of their expertise and niche in one particular subject. Freelancers are perceived as experienced individuals in their fields as opposed to agencies which tend to take bulk work often compromising on the personalized quality aspect. You, as a freelancer, need to identify your niche you’ll be providing services for. You can set aside your interests, your experience and your expertise in and scoop out the common ground point where you excel in.
2. Label Yourself
Once you have defined your niche, it’s time to label yourself. Your label is how you will introduce yourself – be it offline or online. While it may sound daunting to promote yourself under a label, know that shameless self-promotion is the key to building a personal brand for freelancers. You can use this label in your bio, your Linkedin profile, your resume, your guest posts’ About section and similar works.
For example, a freelance designer is too generic to be known as. But when you say you are a graphic designer, UI/UX designer or a web designer, it adds a value to your name giving you something to identify with. Similarly instead of calling yourself a digital marketer, when you say a Social Media strategist or Digital Market Expert, it creates a stronger impact.
3. Go BIG On Social Media
Social media is not just for bloggers to promote themselves and earn money. Lately, it’s become one of the biggest tools for building a personal brand and identify with your audience as well as your prospective clients. People spend most of their time on these social networking websites these days and you’re highly mistaken if you think it’s only limited to leisure and entertainment.
If you build on your credibility, keep sharing your behind-the-scenes and your professional wins, you’ll soon find yourself surrounded with an audience that looks up to you. This, in turn, will bring you clients which would be really excited to work with you considering the audience you’ve built around.
4. Build Linkedin To Your Advantage
Linkedin is one of the biggest tools for a freelancer to dive deeper into building a personal brand image. Make sure your bio is filled in with a detailed description of your work experience along with ensuring that clients drop in recommendations and endorsements for you. Stay active by sharing insightful content, authentic networking and staying connected to people which hover around opportunities.
5. Personalized Visiting Card
A chic, clean professional visiting card is a must if you are out there for building a personal brand as a freelancer. As new-age as we might become, a personalized visiting card will always hold true to create the recall value. Whether you bump people in a professional event or a personal event, leaving them with something to remember that’s you will always be a good idea. Try to make your visiting card as simple as possible with your important credentials.
6. Build a Personal Website
This is something most of the freelancers shy away from simply because they feel there’s no need to build one. But nonetheless, a website spilling beans about who you are, where do you come from along with your client testimonials and portfolio makes for a one-stop impression. As a freelancer, it’s definitely better to have a website that carries your personal credentials over a brand label since it gives you that personal edge over a digital agency.
7. Email Address On Personal Domain
Having an email address on your personal domain is any day a better idea than to use a generic e-mail address domain like Yahoo or Gmail. This gives you credibility and a sense of belonging. People writing to you would definitely consider you a freelancer serious about her work as compared to someone doing freelancing only as a sidekick.
8. Create Content For Yourself
While as a designer or a content creator, you might be spending a lot of time creating content for others, it’s not really a bad idea to do it for yourself too. In fact, it’s a great idea if you’re here building a personal brand. This way you’ll create a community which soon becomes your loyal audience. Start spreading your expertise through
- insightful posts on social media
- fun Q&A on Lives, writing blogs
- contributing to guest blogs
- adding people to your mailing list
- creating communities on Facebook, LinkedIn
9. Put Out Your Face
Carrying forward from the previous point, your investment shows. If you’re invested in your work, you won’t shy away from sharing it or talking about it. A key to being a freelancer is owning your work with immense pride and confidence. Instead of using a faceless logo, try putting out a lot of your pictures. Getting a personal brand photoshoot was never as easy it’s today with an ocean of photographers out there. Just a gentle reminder, photoshoots are not just for bloggers and models. You can showcase your lifestyle in a much richer way on your website and social media handles if you start giving your audience a face to connect with.
Got you hooked in building your own personal brand? I wrote an article about building your first 1000 followers on Instagram a while ago – I’m sure you’ll love it!