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Establishing a client base is the most important part of being a freelancer. Whether you are a designer, photographer, or writer, your income relies on your clients. This is why it’s so important to make your portfolio stand out.
And this starts with personal branding.
“Even if you’ve been at it for a while, you needn’t worry,” Wes McDowell writes on Millo. “It’s never too late, and having valuable experience under your belt will help you find your unique selling proposition (USP), making it even easier to get started.”
To get started creating or fine tuning your personal brand, follow these simple steps. You will find your USP and artistic identity in no time at all.
Step 1: Build an impressive website.
Without a website to host your portfolio, it would be much more difficult to attract new clients. Whether you are building a new website or are fine tuning an old one, make sure it is clean, well designed, and expresses your personality. Studies show that first impressions of a website are 94% web design-related, so be sure to show your personal aesthetic on every page. Drag-and-drop website builders like Wix and Squarespace can be especially useful for this.
Step 2: Clean up your social media profiles.
Once you get your website looking how you want it, it’s time to give your social media profiles a boost. Consider creating a Facebook page for your freelance business, and commit to a more professional Instagram and Twitter presence. Integrate these platforms and post content regularly. An active, professional social presence is a great way to lead potential clients to your website.
Step 3: Boost your personal SEO.
When it comes to marketing your website and social media pages, a little SEO knowledge goes a long way. There are many ways to optimize your brand, but remember to include keywords in your website. Link to your social media pages from your personal website, and vice versa. Blogging is another great way to boost your site’s SEO value. No matter how much effort you put in, remember that SEO drives 75% of search traffic. That could add up to quite a few clients.
Step 4: Network, network, network.
Your personal brand is often as valuable as the other professionals you meet. So, be sure to connect with others in your industry both on and offline. Find a freelancer in your area who you admire and invite them to coffee. You will likely walk away with ways to improve your craft, marketing, and branding. And you never know — they might even have important connections.
Step 5: Keep up your reputation.
After you establish a personal brand and start to bring in more clients, it’s essential to keep your brand in a good light. Stick to deadlines, produce your best work, and follow up with clients to establish yourself a trustworthy professional. This will speak volumes to your work once you make more connections.
As with any marketing decision, your personal branding is not permanent. This identity will change as your business changes, so be open to flexibility. With the right attention, your brand will be a steadfast part of your professional development. And that is one of the most critical factors a freelancer can rely on.