Creating a unique identity to set yourself apart from millions of other freelancers is an important part of finding your success.
The first step to creating your unique identity is to create a personal brand.
A personal brand is not just something you create to promote a business, it needs to be who you are. Because you’re promoting yourself as the business.
In this article, I’ll explain why personal branding is important for freelancers and share a few tips on how to improve your online presence to showcase yourself as a professional.
What Is Personal Branding?
Personal branding is the process of creating an identity around yourself.
Normally, this includes creating branding elements such as business cards, portfolios, invoices, and documents with your own unique designs. However, it’s a bit different for freelancers who work online.
When it comes to personal branding for freelancers, you need to think about your online presence and how to leverage it to promote yourself and your services.
Why Personal Branding Is Important
Imagine this: You’re a freelance designer and one day a client finds one of your designs on a website and looks for a way to contact you to hire you for a job.
They find your Twitter and visits your account only to find a profile full of offensive memes, without a proper profile picture, or even a good bio description.
Do you think the client will hire you for the job? Of course not!
This is why personal branding is important for freelancers.
As a freelancer, you are constantly promoting yourself on social media, freelance marketplaces, and job boards to find work. So you need to establish your online presence as a professional.
Here’s what you should do to get started.
1. Refresh Your Social Media Presence
Clients usually do a Google search for freelancers before they hire someone for a job.
When they do, your social media accounts will be the first links to appear on the Google search results page.
That’s why you need to make sure your social accounts live up to your client’s expectations.
Here’s how you can improve your social profiles:
- Add a good profile picture to your account (a photo where you smile is better)
- Write a great bio explaining your work and experience
- Make sure to have a complete LinkedIn profile with work history
- Use custom graphics as your headers and cover photos
- Showcase your best interests and skills in a way that promotes your services
- Include links to your portfolio website in social profiles
2. Mind What You Share
While we’re on the subject of social media, I also wanted to emphasize the importance of maintaining professionalism through your accounts.
What I mean by this is to be mindful of what you share on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn accounts.
Your clients will often judge you and your personality through the content you share. So you should avoid sharing posts related to controversial topics and offensive content.
This is especially important if your clients are following you on social media.
I’m not telling you to stop being yourself. The point of having a social media channel is to share your opinion on things.
But, try to maintain your professionalism while you share your opinion. Or, at least avoid sharing them in Public.
Most social networking platforms allow you to control your privacy to show content only to your friends. Use it to share your personal content.
3. Leave Your Mark
One of the best ways to create and promote your personal branding is by adding your own personal touch to your work.
Like creating your own unique writing style for blog articles, using a specific design style for graphic designs, or even working on a specific type of content will leave your mark in your industry.
For example, popular designer POPeArt is well-known for his Xbox-inspired designs. He promoted himself by sharing his designs on social media. Now some of the biggest brands and game development companies hire him to design Xbox-themed designs.
When you read an article written by someone like Neil Patel or Seth Godin, you don’t need to find the author section to know who wrote it. You can tell by just reading a few paragraphs.
That’s what you should aim to create with your own personal branding.
4. Have A Professional Portfolio Website
I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a portfolio website to showcase your work.
And I’m not even talking about the websites you create like a CV. I’m talking about a website where you can actually show off your skills.
For example, I’ve been using Freelancing Hacks as my portfolio for a while. And I’ve received countless offers from clients after they discover my work through the website.
You should also create a website to promote your work. If you’re a writer, create a blog. If you’re a web designer, create a website offering free templates. Just find your own way to promote your skills.
Sometimes you’ll have to pay for web hosting to make websites. Don’t cheap out and look for free hosting. Think of it as an investment in your future.
5. Create An Email Signature
You can also promote your branding through your emails as well. So that whenever a client receives one of your emails, they know who they’re talking to.
Apps like Gmail and Outlook allow you to customize the design of your emails.
You can change the colors, fonts, and font sizes. Use them carefully. Don’t get carried away and add a bunch of colors to your emails.
Keep a simple and minimal email design.
But, remember to add an email signature to your emails. This signature should include your profession, a photo if necessary, and links to your website and social channels.
You can use a tool like this one to generate an email signature for free.
6. Stick To Your Path
As a professional, you should try to specialize in at least one skill. You’ll be known for this skill.
If you try to be an expert at multiple skills, you’ll have a hard time creating a personal brand around yourself.
It’s perfectly fine to learn a few additional skills to complement your main skill. Like learning UX design for web designers or learning basic graphic design for copywriters.
When you create a service around your main skill, use it as a path to build your personal brand.
For example, Unmesh Dinda of PixImperfect channel is well-known for his Photoshop skills. Nothing else. Even Adobe hires him to host events and courses. In an interview, he shared that he sticked to a rigorous schedule updating a video every day. And it took years before he found success on YouTube.
7. Keep Improving Your Skills
Maintaining your quality of work is also important for building a strong personal brand that lasts.
The key to achieving this is to constantly try to better yourself and your skills.
When you continue to deliver great work better than the last, you will eventually be known as one of the best freelancers in your industry.
So keep reading books, keep joining new online courses, keep practicing and experimenting with new ideas to progress and grow as a great freelancer.
Bill Gates, one of the richest people in the world, still reads more than 50 books per year. He certainly doesn’t have to read to earn money. But he still does it to improve his knowledge.
So what’s stopping you from improving your skills?
I should also add that creating a personal brand is not something you can do in a day or two. It takes time, especially when you’re trying to establish yourself as a professional.
So take things slow and build your brand one step at a time. For starters, go and improve your LinkedIn profile right now. It won’t take too much time. Get to the other steps later.
Images via Freepik.com