It seems like is should be quite simple, but, in truth, it is something that demands a lot of work and perseverance. Knowing how to build a personal brand should be the one thing that every freelancer or consultant should learn before anything else.
While a person who has their own business can do what they want with their time, the truth is that if you want to have the biggest rewards you will have to spend that time wisely to get results. If you think that this independence is there to give yourself more time for play then you should probably just go and get yourself a job now. A freelance or an independent consultant must work much more than any employee... always.
Having said that, let's continue with the 10 tips on how to build a personal brand:
1) Know your strengths and weaknesses
Nobody who has travelled aimlessly, without any clue as to where they are going, has arrived at a good destination. You need to honestly define the three things that you know how to do better than anybody else and write them down; forget about those things in which you are rubbish at. If you learn those things over time, perfect, but until then do not sell them as part of your core business. Your core business is your three main attributes. An example? A designer can not be a 3D modeler, website developer, corporate identity expert, editorial designer, and caricaturist.
2) Define a solid name
In the history of marketing there are dozens of business cases that failed because they failed to create a suitable name. Avoid generic and common names. The best thing is a short name, euphonious and preferably linked to the concept of your core business. Examples in this context include: Duracell, Burger King, and Nescafé. An original and innovative name will also ensure you get the internet domain and social media accounts that you want. Finally, another advantage is that in the medium term, your name will monopolise the 10 main results of Google in a specific search by your name.
3) Define a professional corporate identity
There are many professionals out there who pride themselves on being the best, however sometimes they do not even have a business card or, if they have it, the design is a disaster. Avoid this at all costs. A professional will have a name and a clear core business that can be used in all suitable business applications. An identity must project innovation, superiority, uniqueness and authenticity.
4) Define a target market
Defining a target market should provide you with two benefits: generate a clear position in the market and attract that market. A marketing consultant, specialised in restaurants, will generate more interest in this sector than one that is dedicated to giving generalised advice. This implies, of course, focusing efforts on finding contacts and knocking on doors in a certain sector or approaching a particular size of companies.
5) Have a professional web page
This is linked to point 3. As an example, there are many bloggers out there who call themselves experts in some topic, however when one visits their sites or their blogs, the design is terrible and the functionality is null. If you are a designer create a good webpage. If you don't already, invest a little time and money in a good design. Today there are many professional looking templates at low cost that can give a very professional look to a site or a blog.
6) Have a blog
If you are a professional let the world know. Open a blog where you can write constantly about your activity. Talk about innovations, best practices, give advice, opinions about current events of your topic, show examples. A blog is one of the most powerful tools that exist and in the medium term can become an invaluable piece for future contracts. Just remember two points: First, the blog should be focused on your topic. A blog that talks about video games, business, cooking and marketing will hardly be able to position itself clearly within a market. And second, the more quality content you write and the more constant you are, the better positioned you will be on the web and, eventually, in the market.
7) Set up a profile on Twitter
Twitter is still a growing social network, so you need an account. Once there, you can start creating your own network of contacts; some will be potential clients, other professional friends, and others will help generate word of mouth. Just remember, before diving into Twitter, or any other social network for that matter, learn the expected conduct of each, helping you to make the most of the opportunity available.
8) Set up a page on Facebook
The largest social network with unbelievable future potential... still! Opening a page of your business is paramount. Post blog entries and include other information that may be of interest to those who follow you. Be social, not only on Facebook but on all social social network, answer questions, make comments, raise questions. In other words, create relationships as this is the basis of all business.
9) Set up your profile on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a social business network that allows its users to generate and maintain a list of professional contacts with the purpose, at some point, of doing business. Filling the data here is a delicate task because it is a tool that is increasingly used by headhunters.
10) Give more than what you receive, in everything
It does not matter if you are writing a post on your blog, answering a question or granting a service, giving more than what is expected of you is what will open doors to you as an independent entity. This is what causes recommendations and in the end, it gives you work. Give more than what you receive.
We have touched on only 10 basic points. And, to be honest, each section could have been a full blog post. However, this blog piece is only intended to indicate a set of simple actions that any professional must take into account if they want to work as a freelance or self-employed individual. In these days of immediacy, online marketing, social networks, excess supply in the market, competition and little differentiation, these 10 points should never be overlooked. If you need any help with your strategy or social network accounts, why not check out Osito's service offering or get in touch now.