When building your freelance brand, you will often hear that it’s best to bring the “authentic” you to the table. But what does this actually mean?And how do you build your personal brand from scratch? Here - we are sharing some of our top tips to help you break all of this down.
𝗦𝗧𝗘𝗣 𝟭: 𝗜𝗧’𝗦 𝗜𝗠𝗣𝗢𝗥𝗧𝗔𝗡𝗧 𝗧𝗢 𝗧𝗔𝗞𝗘 𝗔 𝗖𝗟𝗢𝗦𝗘𝗥 𝗟𝗢𝗢𝗞 𝗔𝗧 𝗬𝗢𝗨𝗥 𝗢𝗪𝗡 𝗦𝗘𝗟𝗙
What is your ‘freelancer identity’? And what do you envision for your freelancer reputation?
Grab a notepad and write down three words that describe you and your personality.
Example: DETAILED; UNIQUE; and CONFIDENT.
Now ask a like-minded peer to describe you: ______ ; ______; and ______
“𝘽𝙚 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙧𝙨𝙚𝙡𝙛; 𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙮𝙤𝙣𝙚 𝙚𝙡𝙨𝙚 𝙞𝙨 𝙖𝙡𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙙𝙮 𝙩𝙖𝙠𝙚𝙣.”- Oscar Wilde
Comparing the two responses is a good way to see how you may internally perceive your character to what may actually come out. And you can use those to lay the foundation of your freelancer values/identities etc. It takes bravery to ask feedback from others, but it’s what gives room for professional growth.
Next, think of your reputation. What is it now, and what do you want it to be?
𝗗𝗘𝗙𝗜𝗡𝗘 𝗬𝗢𝗨𝗥 𝗣𝗘𝗥𝗦𝗢𝗡𝗔𝗟 𝗕𝗥𝗔𝗡𝗗
Gandhi once said, “Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.”
Here’s a brand definition checklist to help you get started:
Identify your values: What do you stand for in life? Loyalty? Tolerance? Social equality? Family? Integrity? Write them down.
Prioritise your values: Ask yourself daily whether you lived by those values. If you’re not doing so, make room for them.
Align your values with your strengths: How do you match your values with your creative profession? What are you good at? Are you doing what makes you happy? These are the things to reconsider, especially if you’re stuck in a rut.
Be vulnerable and tell the truth about your weaknesses: Facing your faults is a healthy exercise. It’s an opportunity to be more in touch with your authentic self and also consider your values.
Be self-compassionate: If we cannot feel good about who we are and our behaviour, how can we motivate and inspire others? Love yourself.
𝗖𝗢𝗡𝗦𝗜𝗗𝗘𝗥 𝗪𝗛𝗔𝗧 𝗬𝗢𝗨𝗥 𝗧𝗔𝗥𝗚𝗘𝗧 𝗔𝗨𝗗𝗜𝗘𝗡𝗖𝗘 𝗖𝗔𝗥𝗘𝗦 𝗔𝗕𝗢𝗨𝗧
What about the people you want to connect with? Clients who might want to hire you for your illustration or photography services? Is there something they believe in that you also share?
First, you should consider what is unique and real about what you’re trying to sell. Do you love what you’re doing? Do you care about it? You have to have passion and belief in your services before you do anything else.
Describe or reposition your perfect client. By understanding what your freelance brand is, what it stands for, and who is that ideal client you want to work with, you are unwittingly building a personal brand that will resonate across everything you do.
𝗖𝗥𝗘𝗔𝗧𝗘 𝗔 𝗗𝗜𝗚𝗜𝗧𝗔𝗟 𝗦𝗧𝗥𝗔𝗧𝗘𝗚𝗬 𝗧𝗢 𝗥𝗘𝗙𝗟𝗘𝗖𝗧 𝗔𝗡𝗗 𝗕𝗨𝗜𝗟𝗗 𝗬𝗢𝗨𝗥 𝗣𝗘𝗥𝗦𝗢𝗡𝗔𝗟 𝗕𝗥𝗔𝗡𝗗
There are four key steps to creating a strategy that builds your online presence and personal brand.
- Define what it is that you want to achieve
Do you want more followers on socials? Or more people booking one of your services? Really think about your ultimate goals.
- Define your target audience
Who are they? What do they care about? Where are they most present – Instagram? Twitter? LinkedIn? Marketplace?
- Build a content strategy around your target market’s needs
How will you create content for those channels? And, more importantly, how you can add value to your audience? For example, can you provide tips that relate to a service they might need? Could you start a podcast that supports them and your industry? Keep your brand personable and remember the authentic “you”. But tread carefully, only 20% of what you put out there should directly promote your products or services.
- Create a ‘content calendar’
What content will you create regularly? Organise it into a calendar to save you time and money, and keep you track. Think about seasonal opportunities and special events that you can tap into, like World Kindness Day.