Written by: Hasan M.Mudafer
As a freelancer, you are the face of your business and how you present your business to possible clients has a huge impact on your success. With the rising number of freelancers in Iraq and an increasingly competitive international market, personal branding gives you the chance to shine bright and worry less about competition. It allows you to command higher commissions and draw in clients like magnets. In this blog post we will show you exactly how to do it right, so let’s get going!
How does branding work?
Branding is more than just pretty visuals. Branding is about making a deep connection with your audience because at its core, branding is showcasing your values, vision and purpose, and this will resonate deeply with the individuals that do business with you.
Your personal brand is your reputation, so you always need to keep it intact.
Not putting effort into your personal brand can result in your business being seen as careless and untrustworthy.
Now that you have a brief understanding of branding, let's start the roadmap.
1) Types of freelancer brands
Before we jump into strategies, you must be aware of the several types of freelancing brands that cater to different audiences.
Understanding which type of freelancer you are is a crucial step in order to start your branding journey.
2) Brand strategy: without a strategy, everything collapses.
Brand strategy is at the heart of branding, it’s a part of the business plan that outlines how you will build favorability within the market.
The goal of a brand strategy is to become memorable in the eyes of the client so that they decide to choose your services over the competition.
While this is a long topic, let's highlight three important questions to ask yourself for making an effective brand strategy.
What are my purposes and values?
It is important to ask yourself, why am I doing this?That’s where your purpose and values stem from. Of course, the number one reason for everyone is to make money, but there needs to be more.Take a look at the value statements of these nine successful brands:
Who is my ideal client?
We all have an idea of a perfect client in our head,but if you don’t then you better get one soon. An ideal client is the persona of your target audience and Instead of thinking about thousands of people, try to narrow it down to a particular persona by Asking the questions that are relevant to the service you provide.
Suppose you are a freelancer who provides technical writing services in the academic sector such as research, essay writing, thesis proofreading and case studies, this is how your clients persona might look like:
Demographic (age, gender,education ,location) ?
The age range can vary, but generally, they are individuals who have already embarked on their academic journey and in their twenties as a minimum ,enrolled in a higher education program or have finished one, reside in the same country that you reside in, gender is irrelevant for your service.
Career background (job title, career path) ?
Are your services tailored to students of higher education or individuals who work in higher education?
You might be focused on helping and assisting students in their journey achieving a masters degree or a doctorate in their fields or you might be focused on helping researchers and professors develop in their area of expertise and excel at their work.
Think about the services you provide and fill this grid with your ideal customer traits:
It’s totally fine to feel lost at the beginning, as you start working and acquiring clients it will become more obvious.
Understanding your audience goes a long way for your brand strategy because it helps you figure out the best way to communicate and deliver your message to that audience.
What is my USP?
A USP is a unique selling point. This is the unique benefit that you provide and it is a very important question that you must ask yourself.
Why should the client choose you?
Examples of a USP can be:
3) Build an online presence
One of the biggest mistakes freelancers make is not doing enough promotions. In order to get more clients and gain credibility and trust you will have to share your work and build up a consistent online presence. You can do that by:
4) Consistency is everything
Congratulations! You have chosen which type of freelancer you are, made a strategy and built an online presence, is that it? No, but you’re almost there. Branding isn’t to be rushed and requires constant and continuous effort in order to achieve results over the long run.
Once you have made the elementary blocks of your personal brand, you then start the challenge of sticking to that guideline. That means using a consistent tone of voice in all your messaging and consistent colours and typography so that you’re noticeable.
Making changes and developing your brand is fine, but just be aware that you need a plan and a good reason to do so. Brand consistency is the key to generating credibility and trust, so be careful.
The benefits of branding
Creating a personal brand can lead to:
Investing in your personal freelancer brand may not be easy and will take some time, however, personal branding provides many benefits. Following this roadmap and doing your personal work and research on personal branding is an important factor in your success as an independent contractor (freelancer) in Iraq.