As a freelancer, the lines between your professional and personal identity are transparent. You are the brand, and the way you present yourself to the world sets the tone for your work.
A lot of independent contractors find it challenging to balance their personal and professional selves. Luckily, a clear personal branding strategy can help. By building your values and personality, you can develop a brand that reflects your best characteristics while meeting your goals as a freelancer.
Identify Your Values
Your standards are the most important aspect of a personal brand; they are the foundation for successful relationships with clients and your reputation as a professional.
So, take some time to write down your values. Mine are the following: “Act with integrity, write with empathy and create transparency in my creative partnerships.” By explicitly stating and working by these three principles, I clearly define a brand that resonates with the type of clients I want to attract.
Think About Your Personality
As important as values are, your branding strategy should also incorporate your personality.
For example, Aja Frost incorporates a number of unique traits into her brand. When you visit Frost’s website, you immediately learn that she’s a “content geek” who loves to run and learn about UX design. You witness her awesome writing skills firsthand, and you also get a clear sense of who she is as a person.
With that in mind, consider the different aspects of your personality that make you distinct, and pick a few attributes to tie to your professional life.
Consider Your Goals
The characteristics and values you choose to share with your business community also depend on your goals as a freelancer. For example, freelance accountant Shane Gibson knew he wanted to use cloud-based accounting technology to help growth-stage companies.
This intention served as a guiding light as he talked to people in the community. Because Gibson knew his goals, he could present himself as the ideal person to work with, allowing him to access his ideal clients and capitalize on networking opportunities. Like Gibson, you should leverage your personal brand to move in the direction of your goals.
By clarifying who you are as a freelancer and what you bring to clients, you can identify and build an intentional brand from day one. Many freelancers often overlook this foundation for a personal branding strategy, but it’s the best way to line yourself up for good opportunities.