Marketing and branding is an inevitable part of your freelance business. For a marketing person, this is the fun part. For everyone else, this is the part that’s most likely delayed (or never done at all), and thus is a missed opportunity to promote yourself and your business.
I am a marketing person and I love this stuff. So for me, figuring out the brand and marketing strategy is basically playtime. As a solopreneur, you are your business and vice versa. So it’s key to understand how to best market and brand yourself — and therefore, your business — with your target client and projects in mind.
Let me ask you this: You want appreciative and easy-going clients who have challenging projects (in all the right ways) that align with your passion and goals, right? Well, the first step of getting those clients and projects is attracting those clients and projects. And in order to do that, you need to think how you’re marketing yourself and your business.
Here are a six tips I’ve picked up along the way, while learning from and working with the best local freelancers — and marketing agencies — here in Sacramento.
Know Your Brand Voice
Are you straightforward or quirky, witty or elaborate? Do you prefer conversational or professional tone? Perhaps a mix of both? Be authentic to who you are, and translate that into your business and brand voice. Remember, clients want to work with you for a reason — because of your talents and, to some extent, your personality.
Be Consistent in Messaging
Maintain familiar talking points regarding your services and in how you portray yourself to potential clients through social media, your website and other marketing efforts. This will help people get to know you and your business, and also what to expect from you should they seek your services.
Know Your Wider Audience
It’s not just potential clients out there, but also potential collaborators and partners: We freelancers need to stick together. As cliché as it may sound, we benefit that much more when we join forces through collaborative projects for clients and creative ventures for our communities.
Repeat After Me: I Am Not My Competitor
Stick to who you are and what your business is all about. Sure, imitation is a form of flattery, but when you trespass into the territory of following what other successful solopreneurs are doing, you’ll likely only get stuck in the middle of a project — or worse, career — unhappy with where you are because you followed someone else’s footsteps and not your own.
Find Your Niche
Don’t try to be a Jack or Jill of all trades, as you’ll come across as the doer of all and expert of none. I will say, however, there is something to be said about generalizing your services and offering variety to help support both cash flow and the inevitable highs and lows of freelancing. It can work if you do it right and keep your services within the same realm of one another. But you cannot be everything to everybody — at least, successfully. Find what you’re good at, what you enjoy doing and what pays well (hopefully something that is all three) and that’s your niche, friend.
Be Socially You
I mentioned it before, but it’s worth mentioning again: Be authentic to you and your business. And this also includes authenticity in your personal branding on social media; it is your digital footprint and image, after all. Find the platforms that best align with your personal brand and business goals, and get really good at using them. Communicate. Learn from influencers. Engage regularly. Use the tools mentioned here to activate your social network and really amplify your solopreneur business.
You don’t need to be a marketing pro to know how to market and brand yourself as a solopreneur. Do a little more research, dig a little deeper into your goals and passion and dreams, and nail down a strategy that feels right to you and your freelance business.
Follow Cherise’s journey every month as she navigates the freelance life.