Personal branding holds limitless opportunities for motivated individuals. This is especially important to freelancers who rely on their personal branding as an industry expert to be hired and discovered by new prospects. Although the importance of personal branding for freelancers might seem like a no-brainer, how many people are trying to avoid it. And you do not even need marketing skills to build you own personal brand as a freelancer.
As a Communication Manager at 2hats, an open freelance marketplace platform that connects people with skilled professionals, my role involves maximising opportunities for freelancers to build a personal brand to kick start their side gigs.
Here are five key principles to building your personal brand as a freelancer to generate more leads, build a strong reputation and position yourself as an expert in your field:
Be Your Authentic Self
Be yourself because everyone else is taken. The problem that many people face is defining a personal brand. Instead of trying to be perceived as someone you are not, learn to understand who you are and find your unique style. Learn to be aware of your personal brand and communicate it to others. Exploiting your unique personality to get ahead is perhaps the most effective way to achieve an explosive personal brand. Never forget — people connect with other people. If it appears like you are faking it — how likely do you think people will trust you? Building your personal brand is foremost being your authentic self. Do not be afraid to take you masks off.
Choose Your Niche
There is no point in building your personal brand if you do not know who your audience is. Instead of trying to build a personal brand in a wide industry, focus on a specific niche that you are the most interested in. Not only it gives you an understanding of who you are trying to reach, but it will also be much easier to reach one specific niche rather than a broad market.
Choose your niche according to your biggest strengths and professional interests. Determine which audience your services will most appeal to and research who they are and how to reach them. Having a purpose driven target allows defining your personal brand accordingly. Find a way to connect to your niche and put yourself in front of your target audience. Without a defined target market, your personal brand will not be effective.
Share Your Knowledge
Do not be afraid to give information away. It only showcases your expertise and creates credibility and trust. Writing a professional blog or sharing snackable tips with your audience will help to build your personal brand and connect with your audience. Sharing professional insights does not mean that no one will hire you because you gave away all secret information. It is actually quite the opposite: having free resources available draws attention to you that can be then capitalised on by turning your community into paying customers. Producing content can be challenging for many freelancers, so does it take time and determination to produce value and be consistent. Find ways to bring value to your audience either with created or curated content relevant to your niche.
Your Digital Footprint
If you don’t have a freelancer profile, you are simply not open to offers. In a digital word where everyone would go on google rather than ask friends. Not being digitally present as a freelancer, you are making it harder for yourself. The same goes for social media, which can also boost the amount of leads for your freelancing gig.
To be successful as a freelancer, having an online freelancer profile either on platforms like 2hats or a personal website will ease you the hunt for clients, putting you in front of them organically. Having a strong professional presence across appropriate for your field social media platforms will allow you to reach even more people and boost your organic exposure and lead generation. Today the personal brand universe revolves around your digital presence.
Think as a Brand
Once you understand how you wish to be perceived, it is so much easier to become aware of your personal brand. You can become strategic about it, and incorporate your personal brand in your personal and professional life. Be aware of how you are perceived through your communication and learn what you can improve in the future. It does not mean you can not be human, being authentic is a priority. However, you can realise at some point how many people around you are unaware of your key strengths. Making sure to communicate all aspects of your personality is a key purpose of personal branding. So, thinking and analysing yourself from this perspective can help you to work on yourself and improve.