Tips for building your Brand while Freelancing
Written by Tamsin Isaacs, Head of Trends at AndCo
Recent evaluative research conducted by ‘The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed’ (IPSE) has revealed the scale of freelancing in the UK. There are now more than two million people working on a freelance basis, which is up a massive 43% since 2008!
The contribution made by freelancers to the UK economy has been estimated at £119 billion annually, with freelancers now accounting for 6% of the UK’s total workforce.
With the pool of freelance workers undergoing continual growth, the level of choice afforded to prospective employers has improved. This has come at a cost for freelancers, as the increased levels of competition mean that it is becoming progressively more difficult to separate themselves from the crowd. Branding can help to remedy this. Not only will a strong personal brand help to enhance your profile, increasing your memorability and prominence in the marketplace, but it may also give clients a reason to work with you over a competitor – or even catch their eye in the first place.
Finding your brand’s voice
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken”
The first, and potentially most important step in deciding a brand strategy, is the determining of a brand voice. Simply put, this is the process of finding and defining your brand’s unique personality. As a freelancer, you are the single representation of your brand. Correspondingly, the characteristics that define you will be closely intertwined with those of your brand. Your brand should not only be a reflection of your personality, it should also convey positive messages about the services which you provide. For example, if you are set apart by your creativeness, then your brand should both mirror and augment this by being inventive and original!
If you find yourself struggling to ascertain what your brand voice might be, then asking yourself a series of questions may assist. For example; what are my skills and experience and how do they relate to the services I offer? Why should clients choose me over someone else? What do I want to be known for? Ultimately, when it comes to branding yourself, there is no solution which will work for all situations and circumstances, but, your brand should connect with your intended customers, and if it does, you’re on the right path.
Using social media
“To find yourself, think for yourself”
Social media has become one of the most effective tools for self-promotion. When made effective use of, social media will save you from expending time and effort, by allowing potential clients to discover you.
Social media also facilitates direct engagement with customers. When doing this, be sure to instil every form of communication with non-robotic character, as this may just give you the edge over a competitor. It is also a good idea to distribute content relevant to your sector via social media - doing this advertises your expertise on a topic and will increase the likelihood of attracting customers. Sharing relevant articles on Twitter or LinkedIn is an easy way to do this!
Choosing an appropriate name
“Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, add what is specifically your own”
A comparatively small, yet in no way insignificant step in creating your brand will be deciding on a name. Many freelancers simply choose to use their name followed by the service that they provide (i.e. Charlotte Archer Digital). Choosing a name structured in this fashion provides clarity to the customer but be sure to remain wary of potential pitfalls. For example, if you have a common name, you may find it difficult to obtain your desired domain name for your website or social media account. Plus, you may be harder to find amongst search engine results – not to mention on LinkedIn!
Cleaning up your digital footprint
“Don’t be scared to present the real you to the world, authenticity is at the heart of success”
Central to the perception of your brand is your digital footprint. Being the place where many of your clients will likely first encounter you, your digital presence deserves the utmost attention. As a freelancer, it’s worth investing in a professional looking and clear website, that expresses your personality and clearly explains your services.
An in-depth biography will be pivotal to your digital branding. A good biography should cover your prior history, skills and experience. It should also convey what you can offer to clients. When constructing your biography, remain mindful of your overall brand messaging to ensure that your biography remains aligned and try to make it as compelling as possible.
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it”
You are the guardian of your brand. Your reputation will be the most important thing in gaining and retaining business, so you should make sure to protect it by ensuring that your customers receive positive outcomes. Making sure that you are authentic and consistent in all forms of client interaction can help with this. Ultimately, positive branding will help to highlight the value you can bring to a client, and allow for you to build relationships, and for organisations of all kinds, that’s a positive.