The benefits of being a solopreneur are plentiful. You can choose your preferred work hours, pick and choose what projects you want to work on, and ditch the commute. The list of pros is endless.
On the flip side, freelancing is becoming increasingly popular. An average of one million Americans joins the gig economy every year. This popularity of being your own boss means that competition for freelance work is high. This is why branding needs to be part of your business strategy. Make who you are and what you do easy to remember. Here is what you need to do to keep your solopreneur brand in demand.
Be a Problem Solver
You know that you are great at what you do and why clients should hire you. Your brand message, however, should tell your client what problems you solve for them. Your clients are looking outside of their own team for a reason. Some want an extra shot of creativity. Some companies, big and small, bring in freelancers to pick up the slack on major projects. Others simply can’t afford to work with agencies. Do your research and find out what that reason is. The reasons that businesses hire outside of their in-house teams are plentiful. Never assume that you know.
When you are working out what problems you solve for your clients, try to stick to your core services. This comes under the sage ‘know your strengths’ category. “Offering too many and skills will stop you from being seen as a specialist and can actually be more damaging to your brand”, says Mauricio Danes a business writer with Writinity and Researchpapersuk.
Be Easy to Find
Much of the freelance world’s client interactions, including interviewing and hiring, are online. Being a solopreneur does away with the need for an office of bricks and mortar and allows you to be flexible in where you work. This is great for you but not so great if your client does not know where to find you. Pick one online platform to use as your main place of work, where your clients know they can find and contact you. This can be your own website, a freelance site like fivver or Upwork, or even your Instagram account. Include this on any outbound communications, such as business cards and email signatures, as you would your phone number. If you are unavailable, always let clients know in advance and put on an out of office message.
There is no doubt that social media platforms are powerful tools for solopreneur branding. Some branding professionals will argue that you should be on all of them. What is more important though is that you are consistent across all and any platforms that you are visible on. This includes your brand message and content regularity. “Keep your look the same across all platforms, everything from brand colors, tagline and logo should match”, Rachel Murphy, branding expert at Draftbeyond and Lastminutewriting. Use a scheduling platform to manage how often your content goes out and use the same content across all of them. On the latter, content can be tweaked to fit the platform (think LinkedIn vs Instagram) but the core message should be the same.
Avoid hiding who you are behind your brand at the very least be open to touting yourself as the person behind the brand. Be straight up about who you are, your training, your experience, and what interests you. The age-old adage “people buy from people” is real. Clients will trust you as a person over an anonymous brand. Equally as important, put your face out there. Getting headshots need not be expensive or uncomfortable. Look for photographers who are fellow solopreneurs that you can collaborate with. Always be clear about your expectations before the shoot. Side note, when working with suppliers I always get three quotes and if possible, meet up with them face to face before deciding. This helps to avoid being ripped off and to understand better if you will work together well. A headshot is more than a profile picture for Linkedin or Instagram, you can use them in email signatures and mailing campaigns, to accompany interviews you do with media and blogs or events you host.
Cheri.S.Jones is an aspiring entrepreneur and girl boss at Lucky Assignments Manchester and Gumessays.com. She has been involved in many daring business projects and managed to find success through networking and taking calculated risks with her girl team.
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