Most freelancers think their only way to succeed in their business is by heavily investing in developing their personal brand. After all, the impact personal branding can have on sales is astronomical. Yet, what happens if you loathe self-promotion and self-marketing? Isn't there a way to succeed online without personal branding? Can your side hustle truly become a business without it? Of course, there are ways to make it happen.
1. Create an Audience Persona
You don't have to be the face of your business, create a persona that can share the story instead. In a sea of freelancers offering similar products or services, what makes you different? Whether you focus on sharing a story about you or within a persona, focusing on differentiators and the emotions you want to invoke in clients is a good start. Focus on developing a story to help connect at a deeper level with customers. Personal branding is all about controlling the narrative. Use that same power to build your business.
2. Continue Offering Value
Focus on becoming a thought leader in the industry. Start building blog posts that provide quality content that's useful for the target audience. By choosing to run a blog or to guest blog on influential sites, you develop a brand without being your company's face. Continue building your company's online presence, even if you're the only member of it. If you do some research, you'll find countless brands out there that have the look and feel and the presence of a large company, but in reality are run by a single freelancer, just like you.
3. Pay Attention to Social Media
While you don't need to develop a personal brand for guaranteeing success, you have to make sure everything you put out there with your name correlates with your company's brand. Invest in taking professional headshots for social media profiles that will be open publically. Social media channels like Twitter and LinkedIn are great resources for freelancers looking to succeed online. Make sure you also have professional headshots on any job listings sites you work with, like UpWork or Fiverr.
Be careful with all social media profiles, including your private ones. Take the time towards creating consistency across them to help maintain a strong personal brand without trying too hard. Small details like making sure your bio says “Content Marketer” or “Freelance Designer” can make a huge difference in the way you can influence brand perception.
4. Provide Knowledge
A business can become a resource for many others. To build your brand, the most important thing one can do is to give. Share advice with others on social media, provide real-time support, acknowledge others making great things in your industry. All of these things will help you grow your client base. Eventually, your business brand will exponentially grow to the point that your brand will be unmistakable.
Regardless of what stage of your freelancing career you find yourself in at the moment, the first thing you need to decide is what type of career you want. Are you a solopreneur? Or, do you want to slowly but steadily start building a team? Both scenarios can succeed online without personal branding. It's a matter of sharing your authentic story with your audience, and eventually, they'll follow.