Estimated reading time: 7 mins
Are you a freelancer that’s looking to further your career?
Naturally, the world of freelancing is super competitive as there are many different people out there offering the same services as you. So, it becomes a battle between you and everyone else, trying to fight for the most exposure possible. You really have to push yourself as the best of the best, encouraging clients to come to you instead of your rivals. This requires a good deal of marketing, and a key element of all of this is your branding.
Branding for freelancers is a topic that many beginner freelancers don’t know anything about. Typically, branding is associated with businesses, but it’s something you need to associate with yourself when you freelance. Today’s post will be a nice guide to branding for freelancers, helping you understand why it’s important, what it means, and how you can build a brand for yourself.
Keep reading to find the answers to all of these questions, and more:
What is branding?
We’ll kick things off with possibly the hardest question to answer. What exactly is branding? It’s difficult to explain this concept as there are so many different interpretations of it. On a basic level, branding is the act of creating a brand that people can identify with. But, what is a brand?
You might look at a logo and say oh, that’s the brand of this company. However, it runs a lot deeper than this. Yes, the logo is part of the overall brand, but the brand itself refers to more of a perception that people have of a business. It is the way that a company has designed itself to be seen, typically aligning with certain values or ethics that others can look at and identify with.
You’ll notice there’s a lot of talk about businesses and companies here, but the same applies to you, the freelancer. In this scenario, you need to think of yourself as the business. As such, branding is about coming up with an image of yourself and how you want others to perceive and interpret you.
A confusing start to things, yes, but there’s some good news. Branding as a concept becomes easier for you to understand when we talk more about the benefits of branding and how to build your own brand. So, hold onto your hats, it’s about to get real!
Why is branding so beneficial?
What are the benefits of building a personal brand as a freelancer? Why should you think about branding – can’t you just get on with your work and not bother?
Well, it is proven that branding will have a positive impact on your life as a freelance provider of services. Remember, the key purpose of a brand is to help others identify and connect with you. How will this benefit your professional career? Let’s take a look:
- Helps you attract clients/customers – The right brand can help you draw in lots of new customers and clients. People will like your brand, identify with the key messages, and be more inclined to choose your services over others. Therefore, you have a greater chance of succeeding in your life as a freelancer!
- Builds more trust – One of the reasons people are more inclined to choose your brand is that they start to trust you. The way you have created your brand makes people feel you are credible and trustworthy. There are many ways you can do this during the branding process, but the bottom line is that consumers see your brand and trust it. The more established you become, the greater this trust will be.
- Encourages loyalty – A hard part of being a freelancer isn’t just getting customers, it’s keeping them. You could do work for one client and get paid, but what if they never return? Branding helps to establish and encourage loyalty as you create a connection between the client and your brand. They really agree with your brand image and what you stand for as it aligns with their own thoughts – or their company’s brand – making you a great partner. Thus, you don’t just draw in new customers, you keep them!
- Makes it easier to market your services – Marketing yourself as a freelancer can be tricky, but branding makes life easier. Why? Because in creating your brand, you basically create your target audience. The image you cultivate will directly relate to the people you wish to provide services for. You’re building a brand that a certain group of people will relate to, and this is your target demographic. Now, you can make a marketing strategy that’s built on targeting this audience, helping you save money and promote yourself to the people that matter the most.
- Helps you earn more money – We’ve already touched upon the concept of branding bringing in more new and loyal customers. Obviously, this would mean you make more money. Still, it can help you make even more money because a strong brand lets you increase your prices. When you establish yourself as a leading freelancer in your industry, people start trusting and respecting your brand. Consequently, you can afford to charge higher rates because of the brand image you’ve cultivated. People will still pay your rates over others, purely because they trust your brand. It’s one of the fundamental benefits of branding and we see it all the time; big companies often charge way more than smaller ones because people know and respect the brand, meaning they’re willing to pay more.
- Enables more growth as a freelancer – Finally, branding can help you grow and expand your services as a freelancer. Again, it all comes down to this idea of people trusting your brand and identifying with its key principles. Your brand has people hooked, so you can easily introduce new services and offerings to your target audience. They are already invested in you and your brand, so the new offerings can go down a treat and might lead to more recommendations to other possible clients, further expanding your customer base.
After all of those points, you should understand why branding is so important for freelancers. Now, there’s one tiny thing left to consider…
How do you build a brand?
Building your brand is a lot easier than you might think. In fact, it involves a lot of obvious considerations and questions. The first of which is to establish which one of the common brand archetypes you fall into. There are twelve in total and each one relates to certain ambitions and ideas that your brand will have.
An example of one of these archetypes is The Creator, which is a brand that has a vision of how the world should be and is typically very innovative and creative. Apple falls into this category, and it could be one that a lot of freelancers fall into as well. Here, you would need to make everything in your brand about creativity and innovation, inspiring your audience.
Effectively, the main part of building your brand is figuring out what you stand for and the image you want to convey. Once you have done this, everything becomes so much easier. It’s a case of making all other elements of your business align with this particular image. Going back to the previous example, if you want to establish yourself as an innovator within your industry, you need a personal website that reflects this. It should have a unique web design with innovative features as a clear demonstration that you’re all about creativity. Your logo needs to be unique and creative as well, rather than a bog-standard image you found on Google.
A key way to build your brand is by using social media to get yourself out there. Consequently, your social media accounts need to reflect the image you’re building. This means the tone, the language, and the content you use should all align with your personal freelancer branding. There’s a common theme coming through here; consistency. You cannot establish a brand without consistency!
Genuinely, the trickiest part of branding is the first decision in thinking about what type of brand image you want to convey. Here are a few questions that could help you make this decision:
- How can you stand out in your industry?
- How do you want people to perceive your business?
- What ideas and concepts are most important to you?
- What would your target demographic most align with?
Summary: Freelancers need branding
The overall conclusion of this guide is that freelancers need to focus on branding. It’s not something that’s exclusively for businesses – individuals can establish brands as well. As you saw in the middle section, there are so many benefits of having a strong brand. If you truly want to make a career out of freelancing, you are going to need to build a brand that people recognize and trust. This starts by deciding what image you want to convey, and the key is to reflect this in everything you do, ensuring you’re always consistent.