Personal branding is a misunderstood concept among freelancer. They consider branding is only for the big brand and companies like Coca-Cola, Google or Apple.
Personal branding or for that matter “branding” is a misunderstood concept among freelancer. They consider branding is only for companies like Coca-Cola, Google or Apple.
It is a myth and Individuals also have a brand.
You may have heard Shah Rukh Khan says he works for the Shah Rukh Khan brand or “Brand SRK”.
Taking the leaf out of him, personal branding also applies to individual freelancers. It is a very important aspect of being a freelancer.
Good branding makes business memorable in the mind of its customer and this is what we individual freelancers should focus on – Be memorable in the mind of our client so we are the first choice for things we do.
Talent is the most important aspect to freelancing. One definitely needs programming as well as the non-technical skills to succeed as a freelancer but personal branding can take things to the next level.
So here are 10 ways to improve your personal branding as a freelancer.
1. Personal Profile Photo
The profile photo is the first thing any potential client will see. Even before the proposal.
The most important aspect of a photograph is the smiling face.
Always have your best smiling picture across all your online profiles like LinkedIn, Upwork or GMail. Smiling face always connects with anybody viewing your profile or reading your email.
2. Create a Brandable Logo
Personal branding isn’t all about having a great logo but it is sum total of your online personality and logo is a part of it.
One doesn’t need anything fancy for a logo and having a good font to write the name can be enough.
They have their name written in an easy to read format as their logo.
3. Consistent Social Media Profile
Have a consistent profile on freelancing sites like Upwork and on social media. A consistent photo doesn’t mean the exact same photo but it means the photograph that looks of the same individual.
You may be confused why anyone will use someone else’s photo. They may not use a photo of a different person but over time people do look different.
A very common practice among developers is – they will use a professional tie and blazer based profile photo on LinkedIn which may be taken a few years back.
I always have the consistent profile photo for my LinkedIn profile and Facebook profile. You are uploading a photo to a professional website but it doesn’t mean you can’t have a casual smiling photo of it too.
4. A Brandable Tag Line
Every business needs a tagline that connects the business to its customer and freelancing is no different. The tagline is an important aspect of building a personal brand.
In an Upwork profile, the Job title acts as a tagline. On a blog, the tagline is more so on the homepage. On a freelancing website, the tagline connects your services with clients’ needs.
I like the Micheal Hyatt’s formula to start writing a good tagline and then revise it further. Here is his formula to start writing a tagline.
I help YOUR IDEAL CUSTOMER to THEIR COMMON PROBLEM.
- I help XenForo webmasters to faster forum development.
- I help clients simplify XenForo custom plugin development.
- I help XenForo webmaster with faster turn around time.
Create a brandable tagline that defines what you do in a very lucid and memorable way.
It may need time but it is worth the pain.
5. Be Likable
Being a likable personality is a powerful weapon of influence. And is an important aspect of building a personal brand.
Everyone likes compliments and so the clients. Never miss out on an opportunity to say a “Thank You” to a client.
Whenever client pays, even after asking for payments for few times, I will always reply back with a “thank you for the payment” email.
On the contrary, often developers become rigid and stringent if they happen to have few tough clients. If bad client experience of the past has made you rigid, its time to loosen up. Otherwise, it will make things even tougher for new clients to work with you.
6. Be An Authority
It’s ok to be a big fish in a small pond than to be a small fish in a big pond. Be an expert and authority in a small niche and slowly expand your niche and expertise.
There are many ways to be an authority and blogging is an easier way out.
6a. Open Source
As a developer, there is a big advantage I see most of the new developers don’t even consider. An open source community which is ready to accept and embrace you with open arms.
Contribution to the open source community helps you learn so much more and establishes your expertise and authority in the subject matter.
There are numerous other ways to contribute than your programming skills to the open source community.
- Wikipedia is one such way. It is open for anybody to edit and contribute.
- Quora and StackExchange are other ways to contribute and build expertise.
Find ways to be of value to others and you will be an authority.
7. Be Genuine
You can fake it for few days to few months but you can’t fake it for the rest of your life.
Personal branding is being the real personality online.
So don’t try to fake it. Be the real you and do what you believe in.
As an example: I never share photographs of my family travels as albums on Facebook (few pics here and there are fine). This is because I think it is much more personal and don’t like to be sharing those. Most of my friends share and I really enjoy them as well. This is who I am and this is how I am. This is my real personality and the personal branding will be the way I am.
8. Meet people in Person
Lot has been said about online profiles but the real personality of an individual doesn’t develop behind a chat window on WhatsApp or Facebook. One needs to be meet new people in person.
“You are the average of the five people you most associate with” – Tim Ferriss.
As you meet new people, your personality grows and it will have better online footprint ultimately resulting in a better personal online brand.
Working from home can make you an introvert, so try to be more open to meeting people in person.
9. Keep the right people around
Start thinking yourself as a brand and the kind of personality you would like your “personal brand” to be associated with.
Choose the right kind of positive minded people around you. It will have a positive impact on your habits and behavior but more importantly, on your personality and ultimately on your personal brand online.
10. Associate with other Brands
You can associate with other brands or freelancers to gain exposure and experience.
As an example, if you are a WordPress developer, participate in meetups of WordPress developers in your locality. It will enhance your development skills but more so open up opportunities for association with others.
At MeetUp.com there 590 meetups happening right at this moment only for WordPress.
Further Reading …