Branding your freelance business
When you are freelancer, you need to be an adaptable person who can wear many hats. You need to be an industry expert in your chosen sector, understand the competition, strategise and market your services or products and also deliver whatever you sell on time and on budget. But you also need to give a little thought to your brand. Although this may seem to be something of an elusive thing to tie down, it is worth taking the time to think things through and present your brand thoughtfully as this can have a huge effect on your business.
What are you aiming for with a good brand?
Your brand means that you make your mark and establish a present in your market. When someone wants to employ the services of someone or buy products within your sector, the ideal scenario is that your brand is so strong that you immediately spring to mind and you are the first port of call.
How do you create a strong brand?
It will take a while to decide on the specifics of your brand. Strangely, experts recommend that you set out the parameters of your business and also make it clear what you do not wish to be involved with. If you want to be in a niche market, you need to be clear on what you are focusing on. If you want to provide a specific type of clothing, for instance, in a specific style for a specific demographic, then be clear about that. If you target your marketing appropriately, your message will get through but you could damage your brand image if it is too woolly, unspecific or general.
Be aware too that the brand may change over time. Perhaps your initial intention is to provide a general service but you suddenly realise you have a talent for one particular aspect and want to specialise. It can be easier to change or develop your brand than you imagine by focusing on your best work or by keeping up with market trends and demands over time.
Another thing to bear in mind is that your business behaviour must mirror your branding. If you make a claim to be one of the most efficient contract accountants, then the timely delivery of your service to your clients must reflect that.
Remember that once you’ve created your brand, you need to live with that brand in all your social interactions. You need to keep your game face on and almost live and breathe your business as you come across potential clients and businesses all the time and sometimes in unlikely situations. Freelance work is not a 9 to 5 job.
Also bear in mind that you need to put your customer first (as the old adage goes). As with most work, the best form of marketing is a job well done and if you make your client look good and help them on their way, you are also helping your brand.
Rob is an enthusiastic copywriter and blogger who loves to write content on self-employment and contract accountancy for a multitude of blogs.