What’s your personal brand? It's such a broad question that it might just be impossible to answer.
What about — tell me about yourself?
You would answer this question differently if it was your mum asking, your teacher, or your new boss. In this article we're going to focus on how you're going to tackle this question with a potential client or boss.
Here are 13 tips on how to build your personal brand, which will in turn prepare you for an epic answer.
1. Have a quick definition at the tip of your tongue.
You can’t be everything all at once, but there are a few words that can describe what you offer. Take the time to sit down and think about exactly what adjectives make you, you. Also, don’t exaggerate. You can’t be everything that’s great. Firstly, they’re just not going to believe you, and might lose that sense of ingenuity.
Here’s a very basic example: I'm obsessed with learning, I love to explore and write any of my thoughts down.
It’s simple and gets to the point. Now we know you like adventure - probably travelling, you like to write, and that you’re open to new experiences.
2. Add a unique touch
What makes you different? There is no point being exactly like everyone else — and you aren’t anyway. So put your finger on exactly which characteristics set you apart.
From what we saw in the example above: you like to explore and you can write.
Sure, there are other people who can write too, but perhaps they’re more interested in the financial review.
3. Get professional.
Now that you’ve established what type of person you are, demonstrate the professional skills you’ve developed over your years. Even if you’re just starting out there’s things you would have done in school that set you towards the path you’re on now.
Include where you were educated, where you’ve worked, activities you’ve participated in, skills you’ve developed, awards you’ve received, hobbies you’ve enjoyed… you get the point. There definitely can not be someone else with these characteristics. So putting it all together is adding to the creation of your personal brand. This is what you’re about.
4. Know your benefits
From the accumulation of all your professional skills, you know what exactly it is you can offer. Keep this in mind. You have developed a pool of talents and have a range of varying experience behind you. Don’t forget it. You can’t help everyone, but you know where and when it is that your help and skills will be valued.
5. Have an online presence
As a freelancer, you’re looking to write, record, edit, and basically hone your skills for many potential employers. If you’re constantly on the lookout for your next opportunity, you know the internet is one of the best places to turn to. If that’s where you’re looking, that’s where you need to be established. Establishing yourself online is best done with a personal website. Really this is just an extended version and optimal example of what your personal brand is. This could come in the form of a blog with a collection of the articles or videos or edits or work you have done. However, if you don’t have the time for this, it could simply be an online profile. LinkedIn for example allows you to have this established.
6. Know your social media
The three social media favourites are: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. These should be a given. As a freelancer it’s hard to get by without having your finger stuck in at least one of these. Now depending on your skill, you should be able to harness other outlets. For example a video developer should master final cut pro and the workings of Youtube, while a writer should know google docs and website creation tools such as wordpress or blogger.
7. Create connections
Connections are key to finding work opportunities and getting your name out to the public. With social media, this is a lot easier to establish. You can reach out to people yourself online and stay connected with people you have worked with in the past. Not only is it a great way to find work, but it is also a great way to learn as a freelancer. One of our best teachers are our peers. They inspire us to keep going and reach new limits and who knows, you might also make a great friend.
8. Speak out.
An online presence is great and online conversations can get you places, so you've got to know how to talk. Make sure you’re sticking to who you are -the type of brand you’ve established online. If you need to run over this in your head before you met your employer or fellow freelancer, do so. It can add a touch of confidence to your brand that adds for an attractive quality.
9. Be Proactive
Work isn’t going to find you, especially at the beginning. You need to be proactive and search for the opportunities you want. By search I also mean persist.
10. Be selective
We’ve just mentioned the importance of being proactive, but there is also value in being selective. You know who you are, what your brand promotes. If you’re asked to do something from the other end of the spectrum, you might be better of saying no. You need to stick to who you are to maintain your brand. There is no need to do something out of character simply to add something else to your professional list. There is the right time and right place to showcase your personal brand.
11. Learn from your mistakes
Once you’ve established connections, placed your brand on the market and are getting responses, watch how people react. This is a great learning tool for your personal brand. If people just aren’t believe what you’re proclaiming, maybe it’s not genuine enough. Perhaps employers are overwhelmed by everything you’ve said and just can’t make sense of who you are. Learn from their reactions.
12. Self evaluate
Changing your brand is one thing, but modifying your brand is another. Now go ahead and make the appropriate adjustments to improve your personal brand. This is not changing who you are, but re-evaluating who you would rather be and who you can be in your freelancer field.
13. Be you
So now it all comes down to you. You’ve got the voice, you’ve got an online presence, a personal bio on the tip of your tongue, a network of fellow freelancers and an established criteria. This is your personal brand. All that’s left is to get it out into the field, share it with your peers and proudly proclaim it. We’re not saying boast about it, but we’re saying use and use it proudly.