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How to invest in your brand as a freelancer

As a freelancer, you need to constantly find ways to attract new clients to grow and develop your business. It’s one of the challenges that you encounter when entering the freelance field, but it’s one that you can overcome. Attracting new clients is all about marketing yourself, and to market yourself successfully, you need to have a brand.

You see more than just the “swish” logo when you think of famous companies like Nike. You probably have images of the products they make or some commercials that you’ve seen.  Suddenly, your mind gets bombarded with images of superstar athletes wearing athletic wear with a voiceover reading some motivational messages.

That’s how successful branding works. Good branding is like subliminal messaging–it buries ideas in your head about the company and its products/services. That’s how to build a personal brand: you create a story about your brand that inspires confidence in your business and what you do. Good branding tells potential clients everything they need to know about what you have to offer.

We’re going to discuss ways that you can establish and build a personal brand that helps you market your business. These are tips to help give your business the exposure it needs to grow. We will help you answer what’s a personal brand and show how you can do it. With all that said, let’s get started.

Freelance Brand Building 101

Get published in top websites in your niche

Finding your niche is like finding your comfort zone. It’s where you operate best, and it’s where you want your clients to see you. You can accomplish this by writing material associated with your trade/business and publishing it. It’s akin to blogging in that you get the opportunity to show off your expertise, but you get so much more exposure.

If done well, your expertise and personality will pop off the page and right into the minds of prospective clients. Moreover, being published in these respected sites adds a semblance of authority and credibility to your voice and business. People will be more likely to check out what you have to offer and listen to what you say.

Finally, these sites can introduce your business to so many potential clients. Sites like these often generate so much traffic that they dwarf the number of visitors you would likely see on your business blog or portfolio. That’s why getting on one of these sites is so impactful. Just make sure that you are ready for the uptick in interest.

Collect testimonials from your clients

Testimonials are a great tool to use when building a brand. Instead of clients hearing just your voice, they get to listen to what former customers have to say about you and the work you did for them. Testimonials add more weight to what you have to say because they serve as supporting evidence. It lends credence to whatever story you’re trying to tell.

When searching out a new product or service, most people try to see if they can find customer reviews about the business offering them. You’ve probably done it yourself, typing in “pros and cons of X” into a search engine to see if something is worth checking out. It’s the same principle. When you have your customers speak for you, it makes everything much easier when you’re marketing your brand.

Of course, all this depends on whether or not you ask your customers for testimonials. While this can feel a bit stressful, don’t worry because there are plenty of approaches that you can take. The key takeaway is that these testimonials are a great resource that you can use to enhance your brand and your business further.

Connect with influencers

Connecting with industry influencers has many of the same effects as being published on a unique website in your field. Working with influencers introduces you and your work to a greater audience and adds credibility to whatever work you do.

However, working with influencers has another benefit that can help you. It opens up opportunities for you to network with competent and influential people in your field. Communicating with them, getting the chance to collaborate, and picking their brains are invaluable opportunities that you should take to improve what you do. This is a great chance to expand your professional network, so make sure you make the best of it.

So, working with influencers allows you to “cross-pollinate” your audiences. It introduces you and your work to a new and possibly larger audience. It also lets you do a bit of networking, an invaluable resource for opening new doors and expanding your professional skills. That’s why you should look to connect with influencers in your field.

Use social media wisely

Social media can be a double-edged sword with unique challenges, but that shouldn’t dissuade you from using it to promote your brand. Advertising on social media is a must in the current business landscape, so that entails knowing how to define your brand in these spaces. It requires a bit of strategy to use the platforms to their most total capabilities.

For example, you should consider what you’re posting and decide which platform best meets your needs. If you want to show off some pictures of a project, perhaps you should use Instagram. If you’re going to post a short blurb that connects to a blog post, consider posting on either Twitter or Facebook. On the other hand, you can use LinkedIn to connect with professionals in your niche and promote your services. Consider the type of your content and the platform your target audience is most likely to use before going on social media.

Social media is also a great tool to use when interacting with your current and potential clients. We’ve all seen some examples of witty tweets from different businesses and solopreneurs and the subsequent buzz it generates. Social media allows you to interact with people in a unique space. Just be sure that your communications are witty, on-brand, and appropriate. The last thing you want to do is become a meme for all the wrong reasons.

Complete a certificate program or attend workshops

Few things say “I’m good at what I do” than a certificate. Potential clients want to know that they can trust that your work is up to snuff, and that’s what certificates do. When marketing yourself, you sprinkle in all of your possible qualifications, such as certifications and education, to ensure customers understand they’re getting the real McCoy.

Certificates and qualifications inspire confidence that you’re competent at your job. It’s an excellent way to demonstrate that you can provide quality services. Just make sure that your certifications come from valid sources that can be verified. You don’t want to come off as insincere.

While it’s essential to be certified in your field, you should also aim to keep your skill-base relevant. Depending on your particular area, the industry and the techniques necessary to do your job might change rapidly. So while plumbing doesn’t necessarily change drastically from year to year, something like web design or coding might need constant fine-tuning to stay up to date. Workshops, therefore, are crucial to making sure that you develop professional skills and keep up with the changing demands of the market.

Go above and beyond your client’s expectations

The best way to promote your business is to be good at it. You’ll find it easier to promote your brand when your work is worth promoting. When working with clients, do whatever you can to ensure their satisfaction and to exceed expectations. This does well to boost your reputation, but it also helps make sure that clients become returning customers.

Satisfied clients are usually more than happy to suggest you to their friends who might be looking for similar services. In this way, your work promotes itself; customers recommend you because of your stellar track record. Providing excellent work is more than just a professional courtesy. It’s a great way to promote your brand.

Don’t forget to get testimonials from your customers. There will be customers that are more than willing to give you a word of support in supporting your business. Testimonials, referrals, and a glowing reputation are what you gain when working hard on your business.

The takeaway

We understand that it can feel overwhelming when you’re starting to develop your brand. But, you must find a way to promote yourself to guarantee the success of your freelance business. While these tips are a great way to start, don’t be afraid to scout out personal brand examples from other successful freelancers. Find the best methods for you and use what we’ve discussed to start developing a personal brand.

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Leon Cordier
An American writer curious for work trends and freelancing ecosystem.

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