As a freelancer, your personal branding can give you a great reputation or put you on the crud list. I’ll show you how to master personal branding.
Welcome to another podcast of Freelancer School I am Mike Volkin lead instructor Freelancermasterclass.com. Today we’re going to be talking about your personal branding blueprint. I’m sure you’ve heard a lot as a freelancer about how to brand or what should go into a brand and today, I’m going to lay it all out for you. We talked about the details and Freelancer masterclass, but this will least give you a good overview of what direction you should take. Okay. First of all, why brand yourself? Well, first of all, you should get clear on how you are different and why someone should work with you. And a good way to do that is to communicate that through your website because not everybody’s going to get on the phone with you. All right, your website will communicate your brand to the world so I actually
You know a lot of freelancers who don’t have websites, they don’t want to spend money making a website, it really doesn’t cost a lot of money, you just got to know what you want to put on there that’s effective. Another reason why you should brand yourself is for authority. You got to establish yourself as an expert in your field. And this is your opportunity to demonstrate your value. Even if you’re new, don’t worry about it, you can develop a brand, you’ll get featured in lots of media with a great brand as well, as have I been on hundreds of I would say, at least over 150 200 different media appearances, whether it’s TV or radio, or podcasts, whatever, I seem to be doing something every week, at least now. And another reason why you should brand yourself as marketing, you know, you make it easy for your prospective clients, to see what you’re all about and to get excited about what excites you and the bottom line to all that is that you’re going to attract more clients. So ultimately, if you want to build a company that is scalable and produces organically
In one day has value to be able to package and sell to someone else, you should be able to brand it. Okay?
Now building a strong foundation is the first thing that you should do to brand yourself. So what goes into that? Well, number one, your skills and credentials. What skills have you acquired throughout your life? What training, what credentials? What certifications or awards have you received? You have to let people know about that. It doesn’t mean you have to brag and hold up all your trophies over your head and say, Look at me, I’m really good. But at the very least, you should be able to tactfully be able to show everybody your credentials and Upwork. If you don’t want to have a website, your upward profile has a spot for all of that. your passions and your interests? What industries and topics are you most interested in? And then what are you passionate about? If those aren’t aligned, then you’re not going to build a brand that you like very much and that’s just not going to last a very long time. And then also, your core values and beliefs. What are some of your most important core values? What do you believe in? What do you think?
stand for what do you stand against? I just had a client that wanted to,
to sign a large contract with me, to be honest with you. I was a lot of money, but I turned them down. Why is that? Well, they were selling meat products. And I’m a vegetarian. I’m mostly plant-based about 90% now, but by and large, I’m a vegetarian, I love you know, working and giving money to in time to animal rights charities, I would not feel comfortable pushing a meat product onto other people. And the same thing goes for a sugar-based product that I had an opportunity to work with that was also a large client. You know, I don’t believe in pushing unhealthy products on Americans, I believe we have a huge problem with sugar and fat in this country and across the world, but mostly in this country with engineered foods. So I won’t get on my high horse about that. But I do not believe in working for companies to help market them in that respect. So you may have something similar that you stand for or against and you have to make sure that your personal beliefs align with that. Okay.
What you can do after you develop all of those is you can develop your brand vision, your mission, your message and your personality. So let’s review each of those. First of all your brand vision. What do you want to be known for? If you become known as the world’s go-to expert on XYZ topic?
That would be what? Alright, so for example, I am, I didn’t give myself this nickname, but I’m kind of being known for quote unquote, the king of freelancing. Okay. Some media outlets have put that out there. I’m not against it. I don’t necessarily want that title on my shoulders, but it’s something it’s a brand that is starting to form around me the king of freelancing, you know, not it’s not just money. It’s everything that encompasses the world of freelancing, you know, the freedom, the stress-free and the stressful life of being a freelancer working from home working for yourself. Do I want that brand? Yeah, I think it aligns with me if I do it, right. Okay. So you have to find what brand vision aligns with you and then your mission.
Why do you want to build a personal brand personally for me, and the reason why I’m talking about myself is that I want to give an example. My personal brand, the reason why I’m building what I’m building is because
at the end of my life, I want to look back and say, I helped build thousands of people’s confidence to work for themselves to build the life they want to live, to let them lead the life they want to live because people aren’t designed to be in a cubicle, 8am to 5pm making money for somebody else to line somebody else’s pockets. It’s so fulfilling. I like to give the analogy of, you know, a hunter back in the old days, you know, hunting for their own food, it’s fulfilling, to be able to, to find and eat your own food, right? It’s kind of like that the modern-day man is finding and making your own living. Okay. So who do you want to influence? What do you want to accomplish with your vision? All right, that’s part of your mission. And then your message, what is the key message that you want to communicate? What message do you want to consistently reinforce, in your content in your marketing because of all that comes into your brand
And then if you could only give one piece of advice to your audience, what would that be? It needs to boil down to one to two sentences, preferably one. If you can’t explain that in two sentences or less, then your brand isn’t concise enough. All right? And then what’s your brand personality? What are some of the personal characteristics and traits that you can weave into your brand? Do you want to be perceived as very polished professional or perhaps more quirky and adventurous? Okay, this right here is not an accident. I am in workout clothes for a reason. I don’t sometimes I’m in sportcoat sometimes I’m when I do these videos. It’s it’s informal. I’m in an activity where I do that for a reason. Okay, there’s, there’s a calculation behind that’s not because I’m lazy and I want to change your sport coat. It’s because I am a freelancer. I want to show you that this is my day. This is what I do. I’m dressed in workout clothes. This is what a freelancer should be doing with their day. All right, it’s part of the encompass. This is part of the embodiment of what a freelancer is. All right.
It’s being able to wear whatever you want, no commute, no specific hours, no particular boss, no set income, right. So it’s all about the personality of the brand that I want to exude.
And then once you have all that, you just have to simply choose your target audience. And this is surprisingly difficult, but it really doesn’t have to be. So I’ve had a freelancer that was stuck on this for three years. They just continue to accept anything that they can come on them because they were scared to choose a target audience and this is a common question I get is Mike, if I narrow my niche, and I kind of like refusing work, I don’t want to refuse work. You know, you know, one of the biggest mistakes you can do is build a personal brand that’s trying to appeal to everyone because when you do that you appeal to no one you’re not really separating yourself out. And I have here you know, in reality, not everyone is your ideal client and that’s absolutely true. So you got to think of yourself as narrowing down your target audience in terms of your demographic
In terms of your desires and aspirations, and then in terms of the pain points and challenges that you can solve for your clients
and then really once you have your target niche or your great story that you’re going to develop is going to fall into place you know, it’s a story that hooks people on you and why you do what you do. And if you follow me, you know what I do? I just explained at the beginning of the video that I want to help others lead the life that I’m leaving that I love so much that gives me purpose and fulfillment. That is a story. And I talk in Freelancer masterclass about the different types of stories and how you can develop your own but just know that you should have a story that really hooks people and gets people to want to work with you. Okay, and please don’t make it up. I had a freelancer do that and a prospect called him out on this
because their story didn’t make sense and didn’t align and it just, it fell apart. His whole brand fell apart on them. So whatever you do in terms of a story or brand it absolutely has to make
sense Be honest and aligned with you.
Okay, whoops, let me pause this. Okay, sorry about that I closed out the presentation by accident, but I’m back. And then once you have that story, you can create a crazy good offer, I mean, bring them into your network with an offer, they can’t refuse. I’m not saying giving away your service for free. But what you’re do is what you’re doing is when you have that targeted niche, and you have your brand, you’re super aligned in that ideal client you’re brought in, you now have an offer that they can review you are now that one person that has spoken their language that can solve the problems that they have. So now all you need is a hook. Now, typically, I don’t see this as a discount of my services, but I offer everyone a free half hour consultation and hours too long, but a half an hour consultation. That is more than just an open conversation. I’m providing them something with value. I’m providing them some quick hits and solutions that they can take away from that and make improvements to their business and it’s something I’ve been doing for years and again
People really hooked what Wow, this guy Mike really knows what he’s talking about. I want him to help me further and it’s free. Okay?
develop content. Now that’s how you find. That’s how people find out about you and learn about you is you got to develop content, just like I’m doing right now, as I’m developing content want to put this on YouTube, I’m going to put this on SlideShare. I may repurpose this on Facebook, whatever the case, but the more content I put out, the more people are going to find me and hopefully be interested in more stuff that I have to say, right? So you should have a content plan in place. It doesn’t have to be anything spectacular. I mean, I have a spreadsheet with just a list of titles that I want to talk about. And anytime something comes in my head or I see a question, maybe on Quora, or on Reddit that maybe I want to answer, I’ll add it to my content list. Okay.
And that’s it. Please go ahead and take all of these, but do these in order please. Okay. So if I’m going back to the beginning, the first slide is other than you know, what’s the purpose of a brand is building a strong foundation. You have to start with these because if you skip steps, you’re gonna mess up your whole brand. Okay? So take it step by step, really give it some thought and this isn’t something you have to take a week off and think about, okay, schedule 30 minutes a day on your calendar for the next month to go through the steps that I outlined in this video and you will accomplish a personal brand that you’re going to be able to develop and build over time.