Why Freelancers Need a Brand and How to Create One

We all know that large and small businesses alike benefit from great branding. Freelancers, on the other hand, may overlook this effective marketing strategy.

The truth is, however, that as a freelancer branding is just as important as it is for traditional businesses. Yet, many freelancers don’t realize how important this vital marketing tool really is.

Without branding, your freelancing efforts may never grow into anything more than a hobby. Branding is really that important.

In this post, I’ll explain why it’s important to have a brand and how to create the brand that you need for your freelancing business.


Why Brand?

The reasons for branding your freelancing business are simple:

  1. To make your business memorable. Without a strong visual, your business will not only fail to stand out from competitors, but also will not stick in the minds of potential clients. This means that when a prospect you previously engaged needs your type of services, more than likely they will choose the other freelancer they spoke to simply because of your competitor’s memorable brand.
  2. To build a strong core from which your business can grow. A well-planned brand makes for an excellent foundation for your marketing efforts. If you know your brand look and feel, colors, fonts, icons, and more, these can be what guide you in building your website, store front, marketing materials, blog, or anything that will be in the public eye. Cohesiveness is one very important key to making a business, freelance included, grow successfully.
  3. To create credibility as a freelancer. A huge concern to clients and customers is whether or not a freelancer is a legit expert in their field. With a clear, established brand, clients are more likely to believe you are serious about your work. While you will still need the credentials to back up the legitimacy of your business, a brand is a big part of putting to rest a client’s fear of a scam.
  4. To target the right clients and customers. No business wants to waste time with clients who have no need for or who are not willing to pay for services or products offered. Having the right clients is especially important for you as a freelancer since your time is probably stretched to the max most days. So set up your brand right and you will be drawing the kinds of customers who are ready and willing to make a purchase.

Now that we’ve explained why you should brand your freelancing business it’s time to explain how to brand it.

How to Establish a Brand

Establishing a brand is also simple. Do not let the term “branding” overwhelm you. Creating a strong brand for yourself is very possible and will certainly be worth the extra time and effort. The following are a few simple steps you can take to find success in branding yourself as a freelancer:

  1. Define long-term business goals. Long-term goals help to set more effective short-term goals that will one day help you achieve your highest achievements. They will keep you on track when you might otherwise lose focus with overwhelming day-to-day business efforts. But most of all, defining your big goals will help you understand what your brand will look like.
  2. Research your target audience. Part of your branding purpose is to reach out to and identify with your target clients. These are the clients that want and need your specific type of service or product. When you know who you are talking to, you will be able to create a brand that appeals to them, whether they first notice you online or through business cards or postcards you have handed out at a conference.
  3. Choose a business name that attracts your target clients. When you are freelancing, you may be tempted to come up with a creative alternative to your own name. My advice to you would be to keep your name. Using your own name is far more personal and will give your clients a better sense that they can trust you with their business.
  4. Design a logo that defines your business. When you understand the audience that you are reaching out to and you know where you want to go as a business, you will have a great idea of the message you want to relate through your logo. Design a simple and versatile logo that will look good on your business cards, posters, website, or wherever you will place it.
  5. Keep your brand style and colors consistent across the board. Every aspect of your business should look and feel like your brand. Your website should use the same fonts and colors as your business cards and letterheads. The style of graphics you use for your brochures should be the same as the ones you use for your postcards. The more consistent you can remain, the more effective your brand will be since clients will remember you much more easily.

Don’t Forget Customer Service!

Branding yourself also involves the quality of your character and your performance in much the same way as it does for any big business. In the process of branding your freelancing business, don’t neglect your work or your customer service.

Have a clear return policy or satisfaction guarantee. Stick to your promises, keeping in mind that wise old saying, “The customer is always right.”

Always do excellent work or provide products that do what you promise the customer that they do. In short, combine your work efforts and customer service with proper branding, and you are sure to see your freelancing business rise to great heights.

Your Turn

How did you establish a brand for your freelancing business?

Share your experiences in the comments.

Comments

  1. says

    I’ve started freelancing since 1998 (while I still had a 9 to 5 job) and created my brand since then. The name created was theBigSauce (actually wanted BigSauce but the domain was already taken). The concept behind the name was to add “sauce” to the work inorder to achieve more “flavor” and “taste”. My first site designed during the late 90′s was designed to convey this concept message.

    Last year, I had to tweak my logo a bit after realizing that a music group calling themselves The Big Sauce Trio from Buffalo, NY, formed in 2009, somehow just took the liberty of taking my logo and added the word “trio”. (http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=169463449997&set=a.169461184997.120918.78738614997&type=1&theater) It’s such an honor. **sneer** :)

  2. says

    My brand came about really organically and I basically chose the colors because I liked them. I always like the combination of slate blue and chocolate brown. Then, adding in pink and beige for highlight and focus colors rounded it all out.

    I also put a lot of thought into my custom text. After I designed my logo, I print out the name of my company in all the san-serif texts I had installed on my computer. Myriad Pro just had all the angles, stability and personality that I was looking for. I recommend printing the way I did as it gives your eyes an easier canvas to choose from than a computer screen. I feel it gives you a better sense of “who” the fonts are…if you catch my meaning.

    Brand name (Humble Bunny Design) came from being in Japan and being raised the way I was. People are humble here and I’ve always been attracted to humble individuals. It’s a practice I try to carry out in my own business. The bunny has a lot of positive symbolism around it and as my first pet was a rabbit when I was young, I’ve always loved them. I could go on forever but I’ll stop there. :)

    Anyway, great article for those freelancers outside the design industry. Next time I have a client who needs some concise convincing on why they need a re-brand, I’ll definitely forward them this post.

  3. Tara Hornor says

    @Chana – Oh, wow! They do seem to be quite the copy of your logo. How frustrating! However, your current logo is quite unique with the tomato icon included. And I love your font!

    @Nathan – What an original name! I really like hearing the story behind it – you should definitely put that somewhere on your site for clients to read. I could see it really boosting a stronger sense of connection. I’m glad you enjoyed the article!

  4. says

    @Tara Thanks Tara! That’s not all, if they wanted a website someday and trying to register for a thebigsaucetrio.com …. they’ve got to get it from me. LOL I’m such a devil.

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