A well-established personal brand is vital to a freelancer. Your brand is how others perceive you and what they think of when they hear your name.
Branding yourself is a form of marketing in which you communicate your value to prospective clients. Below are the steps towards building a personal brand that has the power to convince prospects you are someone who can solve their problem.
- Discover Yourself
To build a personal brand, you must first know who you are. Conduct an honest assessment of yourself and determine the following:
- Your Strengths –talents and skills that can give you an edge over your competitors.
- Your Weaknesses – faults and limitations that may affect your career as a freelancer.
- Your Values – beliefs and principles that govern your career.
- Your Passions – things you like and love doing that can give you an advantage in your career.
- Set Your Mission and Vision
Specify the goals your freelancing career. Your mission and vision should be measurable so you can measure your degree of success in achieving them. Here are examples of each.
- Your Mission – your desired impact as a professional freelancer.
- Your Vision – where you want to be in five years.
- Identify Your Core Services
Determine the services that can utilize your strengths, values, and passions towards achieving your mission and vision and at the same time won’t be significantly affected by your weaknesses. Don’t be a jack of all trades and master of none. Look for one specific job that you can do effectively and efficiently by combining a few of your skills. For example, you can combine your skills in writing, editing, SEO, and WordPress to offer freelance writing services.
- Identify Your Core Customers
Now that you’ve identified your core services, it’s time to determine which consumers are in need of those services. Continuing the previous example, writing is quite a general skill so you’ll need to narrow it down using the two ways below:
- By Type of Writing – choose only one among general article writing, copywriting, content marketing, business writing, and academic writing.
- By Industry – specialize in writing only about food, fashion, gadgets, travel, etc.
- Build Your Brand on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the best place to market your personal brand right now. It has a total member count of over 467 million and an average active user count of over 106 million per month. Almost 95% of recruiters use the platform to search for potential job candidates. Here’s how you can build a strong LinkedIn profile:
- Invest in a professional photo. Most recruiters don’t take a profile seriously unless it has a professional looking photo. You don’t even have to spend on the photo. Just take a photo of yourself using your mobile phone and enhance it using LinkedIn’s own Photo Filters and Editing feature. Keep in mind that you should look confident, likable, and influential on the photo.
- Use keywords. Recruiters use LinkedIn’s powerful integrated search tool to look for qualified candidates. It won’t matter how amazing your profile is if recruiters can’t find it. Make your profile visible by having the right keywords in it. Learn what keywords recruiters use to find professionals that offer similar services to yours. Use those keywords in the headline, summary, and experience sections of your profile. Make sure the use of the keywords is natural and not forced.
- Add relevant skills. You need to add at least five relevant skills on your profile. The skills section is the first section many recruiters go to in assessing whether a profile is worth contacting or not.
- Manage endorsements. LinkedIn users can endorse other users as a form of testimonial. You can add those endorsements to your profile but make sure that each endorsement amplifies your brand. Choose only endorsements that come from users that have the same skills you do or use the services you provide. And make sure you thank everyone that gives you an endorsement whether or not you plan to add the endorsement to your profile. You should also make a habit of giving endorsements to those who deserve it.
- Create the best headline. The headline is one of the first things recruiters look at when evaluating a profile. You only have 120 characters to present your story and state your brand promise while also using relevant keywords so you need to make each character count.
- Make an engaging summary. Draft your summary as if you are talking to your prospective clients face to face. You can use up to 2,000 characters to convince them that you can provide exactly what they are looking for. Talk about the value you can add to their business. Don’t forget to use relevant keywords.
- Engage. Boost your LinkedIn presence by being active on the website. Spend at least 15 minutes each day reading about what your connections are up to. Read articles that interest you and leave a like or comment on them. And avoid short meaningless comments. Leave only concise and insightful comments.
- Invest in Learning
Personal brand building is never over. You should always be seeking to better your brand. Knowledge is essential to a freelancer. Things are always changing and you need to be aware and adaptable to those changes. Add value to yourself so you can give even more value to your clients. Here are a few ways to learn.
- Take up some LinkedIn Learning courses.
- Watch relevant videos on Lynda and other similar sites that offer online courses and classes.
- Download and read relevant ebooks from Amazon and other online marketplaces.
- Download and listen to audiobooks from Audible and other similar websites.
- Find a trusted mentor who has achieved great success in the world of freelancing such as Awesome Marky, a virtual assistant who achieved much renown in blogging, web development, graphic design, and more.
Your personal brand should inspire trust and confidence on your prospective clients. And with a freelance career that is built on trust and confidence, you will never run out of good clients.“ ”