Internet business is booming. As technology brings people closer and more connected, newer forms of business are emerging. Freelancing, for a long time, was considered different from starting your own business because of the kind of work you do.
However, today, freelancing is a more profitable form of working than a 9 to 5 job is. However, when something is so profitable, a lot of people jump on it until it is no longer so profitable. Fun fact: that is what is wrong with a pyramid scheme. That is why those schemes don’t work
These statistics from Statista show that by 2028, we will have as many as 90 million freelancers. That is an impressive number because until 5-6 years ago, freelancing wasn’t taken seriously. Freelancing, much like blogging, was considered a side gig.
But with the large number of people getting into freelancing, it is important for you to distinguish yourself from the rest. Even well-established and experienced freelancers are at risk because there is always someone else to do the same job at a lower cost. If the job is transactional, companies look for workers with the lowest cost possible.
Only for gigs that need strategy, expertise, and skills will companies look for experience and the quality of work. However, jobs in this talent-differentiated economy are hard to get too because of the competition. So how do you stand out? Well, you develop a personal brand that is unabashedly you.
Why Personal Branding?
A brand tells a story. It is a tried and tested method to stand out from the crowd. Freelance business is growing so rapidly that it is hard to stay relevant, much less continue getting the business you are getting. As Jeff Bezos once said, “A brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Personal branding is how you’ll compete with skilled workforce across the globe because distance and geographical boundaries are no longer a concern.
Even though you might not be as famous as some of the great individuals or brands, you can develop your own story if you work hard enough. So here are some ways to build your brand
How to Build a Personal Brand?
1. Update Your Social Media Accounts
As a freelancer, you need to increase your presence on social media since that is where most business comes from. Choose which accounts you want to focus on. Just because you have access to multiple accounts, does not mean you’ll post on all of them.
This will actually harm your brand because if you post on the wrong platform, people might not take you seriously. Impressions go a long way when it comes to companies or businesses. Do your research to decide what platform is the best for your niche and focus on posting on those platforms.
2. Identify Your Niche
Everyone is good at something. It need not be something profound. Given the consumer preferences today, even the most trivial things gain immense business. It is important for you to experiment and see what you’re really good at. Think back to the type of content that had the most engagement on any of your social media platforms. Try to hone that skill.
Try to polish it into a marketable one. Read up on whether it has any commercial value. There are so many online tools such as Google Trends that tell you the search volume for particular terms. The more unique and engaging your content is, the more followers you’ll build, and the quicker you’ll be an expert in your field.
3. Share Content Regularly
Earlier, when there was lesser competition, all you had to do to retain viewership is to post a lot. Today, given the volume of information, people don’t need volumes in posts. They need engagement. That is why posting every day or multiple times a day can be annoying and spammy.
That also doesn’t mean that you should only post once a week. With the number of people working in the same niche today, it is easy to become irrelevant.
The ideal number of times, according to Michael Noice, the founder of Entrepreneurial Coach, is about 3-4 times a week. This is not a thumb rule. There will always be times where you don’t post, and that’s alright. But you should keep analyzing the data to identify a pattern that works for you.
4. Create Engaging Content
Nothing attracts people like content. Re posting content written by industry experts or thought leaders is always a smart thing to do. However, that is not all you should be doing. You should be creating your own content to establish yourself as an expert in your field. Creating or curating your own content shows that you understand the latest trends in the industry and how those trends are evolving.
To be successful online, you need an angle. You need to present the story from an angle that only a handful of others have presented. Creating content means taking a fresh approach to what you’re sharing with your network. But you should remember that social media is not all about businesses.
It is about people. Don’t hesitate to include some details about yourself. Adding personal details gives people a glimpse into who the person behind the content is, and that can improve content engagement.
5. Import Your Contacts
When you’re using social media, import the contacts on your phone. Most contacts that you have are the ones you’ve created when you were studying, working, or partying. Either way, you have some similarities with these people. When you present your content to them, you know that at least a few of them will find it relevant. ‘A few’ is always a great start.
You can’t expect to become an overnight star with a brand. However, with some effort, you can hope to keep building your stardom until you are where you want to be. Import your contacts to see how many connections you’re missing and how many are doing things that are relevant to the kind of brand you’re creating.(1)
[Also Read: The Freelancer’s Guide to Personal Finance]
As a freelancer that’s starting out, there are a lot of opportunities you can exercise. Once you’ve grown, you need to check who you associate with. But, in the beginning, you can explore a lot of options such as approaching influencers for marketing, joining social media groups, or maintaining consistency of your tone and image. However, all of them require consistent effort, and the more you persevere, the more successful you’ll become.