With the slow saturation of freelance platforms such as Upwork, 99designs, and Fivver, freelancers have begun building their own independent brands. Whether you have experience as a writer or a blogger or simply want to start a freelance career from scratch, creating your own brand isn’t as easy as it seems.
However, starting from the beginning doesn’t have to be difficult – quite the contrary. Let’s take a look at several steps, tips, and guidelines which will help you in creating your own freelance brand in order to get your career started on the right note.
1. Choose your Freelance Niches
The first thing you should do in regards to your freelance brand is to choose what you will do going forward. Freelancing is a vast industry with seemingly limitless options and development paths. Some of the available niches for your freelance brand include:
- Content Creation and Blogging
- Graphic and Web Design
- Translation and Localization
- Data Management and Analysis
- Programming and Coding
- Virtual Assistance and Customer Support
These are only some of the choices available to you and your freelance brand. Remember that choosing as few niches as possible will allow you to specialize in those areas with more possibilities for further development. Once you have an idea of what your freelance brand will encompass, you can move on to the branding process itself.
2. Start with a Brand Name
Freelancers typically choose their first and last name as the freelance brand title they will work under. This makes sense if you don’t have aspirations to start your own company or a startup down the line.
If you want to get creative and differentiate from your peers, you can create a different brand name for your freelance brand. Anything that can be associated with your freelance brand niches, the area of expertise or inside industry catchphrase can be your brand name.
Make sure to fit your freelance brand name with a logo or visual style guide which will differentiate your work from other freelancers on the web. Personal branding is just as important as the work you will do down the line, so take your time and explore the possibilities of your freelance brand identity.
3. Create a Dedicated Website
Any freelancer who decides to work independently of any freelance platform should invest time and resources into building a personal website. Your freelance brand can easily be integrated into a website dedicated to your services, client testimonials, and project portfolio.
For starters, you should consider using WordPress as your CMS of choice due to its ease of use and versatility in terms of plugins and widgets. Whether you work as a writer or a graphic designer, WordPress will allow you to retrofit your homepage and theme into anything you deem appropriate.
This will allow you to connect with potential clients, followers interested in your portfolio or anyone who might want to reach out to you for collaboration or advertisement purposes. Use your freelance brand name as you’ve defined it previously and your online persona will quickly start to grow.
3. List your Services
While you may have defined what niche you will work on in regards to your freelance brand, you still need to expand your service portfolio. After all, potential clients might not know what “editing” or “copywriting” means in terms of their needs.
In that respect, you should list as many different sub-categories of activities and services you can offer to your clients. Let’s take a look at what a content writer might be able to offer to would-be clients:
- Article Writing
- Content Editing and Proofreading
- Content Marketing and Advertising
- Ongoing Blogging and Content Optimization
- Promotional Content Writing
- Product Description Writing
These services offer a sample of what a content writer might add to their website’s service portfolio. Break down your professional title into as many different services as possible to allow clients to assess your place in their company. That way, you will spend less time looking for work and more time responding to cold emails and messages about potential projects.
4. Provide Up-to-Date Contact Info
A dedicated contact page should be present on your freelance brand website no matter how “easy” you may think it is to contact you. Contact information such as email, social media handles, and phone number should be a prominent element on your website.
While your freelance brand might bring people to you and get them interested in your skills, you still need to provide clients with a platform to contact you through. Make sure that you always provide up-to-date contact information and be available to provide timely responses.
While you shouldn’t work 24/7, you shouldn’t keep your clients waiting too long for a response. Take advantage of the fact that you have a well-built freelance brand present and respond to client correspondence respectfully and professionally.
6. Put Time into Blogging
Blogging may not be the first idea to cross your mind when it comes to freelance brand self-promotion but it can add a lot of credibility and trust to your online persona. No matter what freelance brand niche you choose to devote your career to, you should still consider blogging about your professional experiences.
Blogging is a great way to express your thoughts and opinions on industry trends, tech breakthroughs or simply to spark discussion. Your blog can also add a lot to the SEO ranking of your freelance brand by presenting potential clients with your website during search engine use.
Start small and offer some rudimentary blog content to get a feel for your audience and which topics suit your writing style the most. Once you get into the rhythm of following prominent news websites and writing blog posts about your stance on industry happenings, blogging will become second nature for your freelance brand going forward.
7. Optimize for SEO
Lastly, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will make or break your freelance brand in the long run if you allow it. No amount of copywriting or high-quality visual content will help your freelance brand if your SEO game is lacking.
As we’ve mentioned previously, blogging will raise your freelance brand in the eyes of Google and contemporary search engines on the web. In order to make the most of your website, however, you will have to conduct regular content optimization and keyword targeting.
Tools such as Keyword Planner and SEMRush are perfectly adequate for the purpose of helping you discover popular phrases and words to include in your content. Make sure to use these tools to improve your website’s SEO for increased exposure and visibility with potential clients.
Once your freelance brand is established, you should look forward to clients and projects to come knocking on your door. Remember to stay true to whatever list of services you published on your website and build your credibility as a freelancer going forward.
Before you know it, your reputation will precede you and people will actively look for your freelance brand due to positive word of mouth it carries. Make sure to implement these steps in your efforts to start a freelance career and you will be able to build a unique and reputable freelance brand in doing so.