For freelancers and entrepreneurs, building a personal brand has never been more important than it is today. Anyone with access to the internet and social media can build an audience, position themselves as an expert, and start attracting clients for their business. And that’s exactly what a lot of people are doing.
A study by Upwork revealed that the freelance workforce is growing at a rate 3x faster than the overall workforce in the U.S. By 2027, freelancers are expected to make up the majority of the U.S. workforce.
While it’s great to see that so many people are embracing their entrepreneurial spirit, this also means that every self-employed freelancer, independent contractor, and entrepreneur will soon face more competition than they already do. The key to differentiating yourself from your competition is building a personal brand.
Why every entrepreneur should build a personal brand:
When you’re building a business around your niche (as an author, speaker, coach, consultant, freelancer, etc.), the concept of building a subjective branding perhaps comes intrinsically to you. When you’re the face of your business, creating your personal brand makes perfect sense.
Your brand is what distinguishes you from your competitors, helping to form a lasting impression in the mind of your audience and customers. Without a compelling personal brand that attracts your target audience, you may find yourself struggling to build a profitable and sustainable business.
But even if you’re building a company that has its brand, to build a personal brand still has its benefits.
Most people are more interested in following other people than they are in following specific companies. Therefore, building a personal brand to attract audience can actually help increase exposure for your company.
Having a personal brand helps to build trust with your audience, and position you as an authority and a thought leader in your industry.
Get featured in media: Having a personal brand makes it easier for you to pitch and be found by media (online publications, magazines, television, radio, podcasts, etc.). The media is in constant search of experts that can share their insights with their audience.
Build your network: When you have a personal brand that clearly articulates who you are, what you do, and how you help others, it makes it easier for other people and entrepreneurs to see value in connecting with you. You can leverage your personal brand to build your network, both online and offline, quickly and effectively.
Attract more clients: Building a personal brand that positions you as the go-to expert in a specific industry or niche helps you to attract more of your ideal clients. When you’re positioned as an expert, it’s also easier for people to refer clients to you.
Premium pricing: Having a strong personal brand helps justify charging premium prices for your products and services. Without a brand, you become a commodity that competes on price. And there will always be competitors that can beat your price.
Create a lasting platform: Over time, your business will evolve. You may even start multiple businesses in different industries over the course of your career. Your personal brand stays with you as you move from one venture to the next.
7 Steps to Creating A Personal Brand Which Will Be Profitable
After reaching out to dozens of entrepreneurs and branding experts, we’ve outlined 7 specific steps to help you t build a personal brand that attracts your perfect clients.
Build your foundation
The first step to crafting your personal brand is to lay a foundation that you can confidently and authentically build upon. The key principle here is authenticity.
There is a misconception that building a personal brand means crafting a persona. But a persona, by definition, is a facade. It’s not a true reflection of who you are, and therefore, it’s inauthentic.
Your personal brand should not be an inauthentic persona. Branding is not about positioning yourself as something that you are not. It’s about purposefully and strategically showcasing your authentic self to your audience and your customers. Your personal brand should be a true reflection of your skills, passions, values, and beliefs.
Choose your target audience
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as you build a personal brand is trying to appeal to everyone. In reality, not everyone is your ideal client.
In order to attract your perfect clients, you must be willing to repel those who you do not want to work with. This means identifying a specific target audience and building a brand that is attractive to them.
It may seem counterintuitive, but if you try to be liked by everyone, you will attract no one. You must be polarizing in order to stand out. Not everyone that is exposed to you or sees your message will like you or resonate with you, and that is perfectly fine. You don’t need to reach everyone to build a successful business. You just need to reach your perfect clients.
In order to build a personal brand, you need to have something to sell to your target audience. You need an irresistible offer that helps your audience solve a specific problem or achieve a specific result.
A lot of entrepreneurs make the mistake of creating a product or service that they want, only to discover that no one else wants it or is willing to pay for it.
This is why identifying your perfect client before you create a product or service is so important. When you know exactly who you want to help, you can create an offer that is the perfect solution for them.
Optimize your personal website
Having a personal website is an important component to build a personal brand. Having a strong presence on social media is important too, but you do not own or control any of the social platforms that you establish a presence on. Your website is a platform that you own and control, and in many cases, visiting your website will one of the steps your target audience takes towards becoming your client.
First impressions are critical. When your target audience visits your personal website, they should be able to immediately understand who you are and how you can help them. They should feel like they’ve come to the right place. If this doesn’t happen with a few seconds, most new visitors will leave your website.
Perhaps more importantly, your website should be optimized to convert casual visitors into paying clients. There are several key elements required to make this happen, and most of them belong right on your homepage.
Have a content strategy
Creating and distributing free content is one of the most effective ways to build your brand and earn the trust of your target audience. Instead of trying to convince your audience that you can help them, you create content that helps them. This builds trust and helps to position you as an expert and an authority in your industry.
It is not a coincidence that the most successful personal brands today publish significant amounts of content online to help build and nurture their audience.
Have a visibility strategy
Publishing content on your own platforms is a great way to build your audience, but it also takes a lot of time. A faster way to build your audience is via exposure to other people’s audiences.
Build a community
Instead of trying to build a large and broad audience, shift your focus to becoming a leader of a community in a specific niche. Define your target audience, and build a community for them to interact with each other, share ideas, support each other, and reach out to you directly.