Yeah, we heard. You are going steady on the BYOB path. You’ve had a couple of rewarding gigs, have secured a reliable clientele—and the profits are pouring in.
But now you are looking to scale. You want to attract high-quality clients. You are looking to establish a strong foothold in your niche. You want credibility, respect, influence—you want it all!
So, how do you go about it?
The answer is straightforward: Create a personal brand.
As a freelancer, you can no longer hide behind a corporate logo and let it speak for you. You have to get out there and market yourself as the “best of best” in the currently competitive and saturated market to take your success to new heights.
Sounds exhausting? Fret not, we’ve got your back!
In this article, we’ve put together 5 handy tips to serve as a starter guide for freelancers who are about to embark on their personal branding journey.
1. Invest in creating a professional portfolio
Honestly, this one is a no-brainer. Creating a professional portfolio should be one of the first things you do if you are starting off your freelancing journey.
As a web developer, we’d recommend you create your personal portfolio website to showcase your talent through past projects.
Let the recruiter glimpse into your potential and skillset. Here’s a tiny dose of inspiration by Jack Jeznach to get you started;
The key is to keep it crisp and aesthetic. Be specific about your past work experience, your roster of skills, work ethic, and so on.
Your professional portfolio should be able to answer any potential questions a recruiter might have about you.
Make your portfolio as visible and engaging as you can. Even if it ends up costing you more money than you decided on, don’t back out; it’s an investment that will pay you back manifolds.
2. Authenticity is key
It is no secret that the freelancer market is extremely competitive and saturated. So how do you set yourself apart from the crowd?
The answer is simple really.
Find what makes you “YOU” and tap into that. What is it about you that is unique? How can you add value to your client’s business?
Find that X factor you have and work around showcasing it.
Your defining traits and talents will help build your brand in the long run. So, make sure to sell your authentic self in a way that sets you apart from the rest. Be original and let your true self shine through.
Whatever you do, do NOT jump the bandwagon of what works for someone else.
3. Be a master of one
As a professional service provider, you need to be an expert in your forte; whatever additional skills you possess are a bonus.
For example, a skilled web developer who is also a competent UX designer or a proficient copywriter who also possesses basic graphic design knowledge.
Your master skills is the one you will eventually be known for and should thus, form the foundation of your personal brand. If you try to be an expert in multiple fields, there is a chance that you will fall short in all.
As the old saying goes “Jack of all trades, but master of none”.
So, pick a core skill to prove your expertise in and further learn other skill sets to complement your master skill.
4. Revamp your social media presence
In the freelancer market and especially in the current digital era, headhunting takes place online. So, if a recruiter is looking for developers in your niche, the onus is on you to make sure they find you—and when they do, they should be wowed by you.
Given that you have a solid online presence, your portfolio website and social media profiles will be among the first to pop up in the google search results. Time to revamp those social media accounts, innit?
Be mindful of how you appear to someone who lands on your profile the very first time. Do you come across as a sincere, professional developer?
Can a potential recruiter get insight into your expertise through your content? Do your posts demonstrate thought leadership? Would YOU hire you?
Your profile picture, the posts you write or share, how you interact with your audience — leave a positive or negative impression on recruiters.
So, be it Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin — be mindful of what you put out there. Ensure your social media platforms are appealing, engaging, and professional.
Expert Tip; It is also a good idea to have a separate account for posting personal content or edit the settings to “Friends and family only” if your clients follow you on social media.
5. Be open to the idea of perpetual learning
A mindset to improve and hone your skills is a defining trait for any successful professional—especially in the freelancing realm, where new talent is emerging every day.
It should be your priority to stay updated on new trends and constantly work on improving your skills to gain a competitive edge.
Read new books, join online courses, collaborate, brainstorm with experts in your field, listen to relevant podcasts, follow thought leaders in your industry — in short, be hustling to hone your skills every day!
Strive to deliver top-notch quality to clients; if your work reflects your improved skill set, it will help you gain a reputation as the best in your field.
Believe us, nothing works better than satisfied client testimonials to launch a successful personal brand! So, those were our 5 starter tips to help freelance developers get cracking on their personal brand.
Yep, it’s no easy feat; there’s consistent effort involved. Not to mention, it might be a long wait before you reap any fruits of your hard work. But keep at it and you will thank yourself later!
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