14 Things Every Freelancer Should Know About Personal Branding

What should freelancers know about establishing and building personal branding?

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.

1. Define Your Target Audience and Build Your Brand For Them

When building a personal brand, you need to first determine who you’re building it for. Define your target audience so you can establish a personal brand that connects with them. Not everyone will be your ideal client, so don’t create a broad personal brand. Your personal brand needs to be specific and targeted so that it’s especially attractive to your ideal client. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

2. Understand How You Want Your Clients to See You

Freelancers should know that their personality is their brand. From early drafts to final sales, freelancers should let their personality and passion shine through. To polish your brand, write down three adjectives that describe you and how you want your clients to see you. Ask a friend to do the same, and compare to make sure how you’re seeing yourself is how others see you, too. – Shu Saito, Godai Soaps

3. Set Up a Website or Business Page

With the rising number of freelancers, it’s important to establish a unique and powerful reputation — one that speaks of your services and strong work ethics and separates you from your toughest competitors. Set up a business website or a Facebook page. Create content that will create an awareness of your niche. Don’t be afraid to infuse your personality into your brand. – Kyle Goguen, Pawstruck

4. Showcase Your Solutions, Not Just Your Services

You can build a strong personal brand by showcasing the solutions you offer. As a freelancer, you may offer a number of different services to clients, but what solutions do you offer? Freedom? Less stress? Build your brand based around the solutions you offer and your brand will stand out from the rest. – John Turner, SeedProd LLC

5. Invest Your Energy Where You’re Seeing ROI

As a freelancer, you create deliverables to make money, whether that’s code, content or designs. Every hour you spend building a brand on Instagram, Medium or Facebook is a lost billable hour. So be ruthless about where you invest your energy. If a personal branding strategy doesn’t bring in paying clients, don’t waste your time on it. If a platform doesn’t attract clients, focus elsewhere. – Justin Blanchard, ServerMania Inc.

6. Find Your Voice and Apply It Across All Touchpoints

As society continues to move towards the gig economy, freelancers have to find out ways that showcase how their brand is different from the rest of the crowd. Every touchpoint of your branding strategy, your website, and social media pages must be carefully curated to let your offerings shine in a manner that differentiates you from the competition. Find your unique voice and add value to customers. – Rahul Varshneya, Benchpoint

7. Create Thought Leadership Content

Part of building your personal brand is to be visible online and a great way you can do that is by publishing content that presents you as a thought leader in your industry. Create content that’s engaging and helpful, and that shows off your skills and expertise to potential clients. When they search online for your industry or niche, hopefully, you can dominate the search results with your quality content. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

8. Clean Up Your Social Media

At the beginning of their business, freelancers have very little job security. For that reason, I recommend that any burgeoning freelancers go through their old and current social media accounts and remove any incriminating, questionable or offensive content. This will allow you to build a positive personal brand online without any baggage or fear of controversy. – Bryce Welker, Crush The CPA Exam

9. Network As Much As You Can

Relationships are key. You might have heard of it before, but you should network, network and then network some more. After that, offer something in return. Personal branding normally is based on the people you know, so expand that list as much as possible. – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

10. Be Prepared to Put in the Time and Effort

When freelancing, it’s up to you to sell your personal brand and, thus, yourself and the services you provide. To get your name and thought leadership out into the world, you must be prepared to dedicate significant time to personal branding efforts — time that is not spent billing hours to your clients. Understand this in advance of dreaming what your freelancing compensation might be. – Keith Shields, Design

11. Create Case Studies

Case studies are a good way to show how you go above an beyond. For example, if you’re a writer, instead of simply showcasing your articles, push it the extra mile by having case studies that show how your articles helped a client increase SEO traffic by 20 percent. This is a much more powerful value proposition that will entice people to hire you. – Jared Atchison, WPForms

12. Ask Clients to Leave Reviews

Cultivating reviews from your clients is an amazing way to help build your personal brand. I find that reviews are the most persuasive form of social proof and close sales without the need for references. Ask current clients to leave reviews on your personal site, third-party sites like Yelp and Google Business, and any platform you use to find clients. – Brian Greenberg, True Blue Life Insurance

13. Analyze Your Search Results

Almost all clients research prospective freelancers’ reputations and work on Google before working with them. Search your name to see what they see. If unflattering things show up, try to get them removed. If nothing shows up, make a website, social media profile and business page, so people can find out who you are and what you do. Having a strong, positive search presence will build your brand. – Shaun Conrad, My Accounting Course

14. Always Deliver Top-Notch Work 

Freelancers interested in establishing and building their personal brands must not lose sight of the importance of the work they are hired to complete. In the world of freelancing, nothing is more helpful to your brand than doing great work and nothing is more than detrimental than poor performance. At the end of the day, your work product is as important as anything to your personal brand. – Adam Mendler, The Veloz Group

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