Building your personal brand doesn’t have to be a daunting task. In our field we are consistently under tight deadlines, so our mind is programmed to think that a project has to go from start to finish NOW. This is the worst thing you can do when trying to build a personal brand for yourself. Building a personal brand takes time, patience and maintenance. It is also becoming an increasingly important element in SEO practices. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out SEO tips for 2013.
Here are some tips you should constantly keep in mind when trying to brand yourself.
Begin with the end in mind.
This is one of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It’s a vital first step. People value you more if you have a strong sense of purpose. Another famous quote that can help you get your head in the right place for this:
“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there” – Lewis Carroll
Include some personality. Be true to yourself.
You don’t have to be strictly professional. You might want to try to add some humor to your portfolio, or pitch in your opinion to something in the news. You don’t have to hide behind boring standard posts because you don’t want to offend anyone. You’re human, you’re allowed to have an opinion. Express yourself.
Identify your ideal audience.
As a freelancer, it’s easy to get caught up in the thought that you can provide your services to anybody. Anybody can be your client, anytime! You’ll never turn down anyone’s business. Sound familiar? The truth is, your target audience is not just everyone. If you want to maximize your profits, you have to identify not only what your clients need and want, but also what you want with your clients. Clients will hire you because you can complete some want or need that they have. Find out what those needs are and fill them better than anyone else, and you can dramatically increase your client base and therefore the size of your bank account.
To learn more about how to identify your ideal customer, I recommend reading “The Answer” by John Assaraf and Murray Smith.
Stay visible and Contribute.
One of the most common mistakes freelance designers make is starting a blog they cannot commit to updating regularly. And by regularly, I mean at least 3 posts a week. Stay regularly active on your chosen social networks. A common trick some designers use is re-posting links to older portfolio projects. Also, contributing to Q&A forums is a great way to show off your expertise to clients who are researching you to see if you actually know your stuff. You can also learn a lot by being an active member in a forum or Q&A board.
Building a personal brand is not easy. Keep your profiles up-to-date, stay in touch with your contacts, build and maintain your network, and nurture your branding regularly. Now, what are you waiting for? Start the quest to improve your online presence right now.
Can you think of any other tips to share with the YWB community? Be sure to share in the comments below.