How freelancers can leverage their personal brand for business

Just be you

Many freelancers don’t take advantage of their personal brand to build their business. They work under a business name that they use to promote their work. For example, a graphic designer named John Smith might operate under the name “Grizzly Graphics.” He uses a domain, grizzlygraphics.com, to advertise his business online, and he manages his social profiles behind a logo of a bear.

John Smith is the sole designer in his business, but you won’t know that from looking at Grizzly Graphics’ online presence. John’s name and his personal touch are nowhere to be found, and he is a ghost online.

And his absence is a big mistake.

Absence of Personal Brand

You are the most important part of your freelance business

Freelancers should never hide behind their business name and fail to promote themselves, because a personal brand is just as important as a business brand.

Freelance businesses are founded on the skill, knowledge and uniqueness of one person. Clients choose to work with a freelancer because they want to work with the person behind the brand.

The person is the unique selling point of the freelance business. Freelancers should never hide their persona. They should promote it. (This doesn’t mean your freelance business shouldn’t have a brand of its own. It just means that you should make it easy for clients to easily see the connection between the two.)

Start with a personally branded domain name

As a freelancer, it’s not enough to have a domain for your branded business name. You need one for your personal brand as well.

A personally branded domain:

  • shows a high-level of professionalism.
  • displays a commitment to your interest, field, or industry .
  • establishes your personal authority.
  • creates opportunities to promote your business and your work.
  • makes it easier for people to find you online.
  • helps people connect with you on a personal level.
  • builds a layer of trust between you and the audience.

If you are a freelancer, you need to secure a personally branded domain name. If your name is not available, use a domain that includes your middle name or initial or a different extension such as .net, .ninja, or .guru. There are even domain extensions that match professions such as .accountant, .lawyer, .florist, and more.

Direct your personal domain to a professional platform

Ideally, your personally branded domain would lead to a website that includes a:

  • bio
  • resume
  • list of recommendations
  • portfolio of work
  • blog
  • contact information
  • look at your interests outside of your business
  • look into your more personal side (keep it professional but show more of your human side)

But if you already have a business website, you might not have the time, money and energy to create a second website right away. That’s OK, too. You can set up your personal domain to:

Redirect to your business website. Send the traffic directly to your other website, but make sure it is clear why the domain leads the user to the site. Direct them to a web page that includes your personal information so the audience can quickly see the connection.

Redirect to your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is considered a professional social platform so you can direct your domain to your profile — only if it’s fleshed out with information, recommendations and work experience. For freelancers, it’s best to direct to LinkedIn as it is the most professional social network.

Redirect to an About.Me page. If you want your domain to redirect to a more personalized platform, try About.Me. This platform makes it easy to create a website that promotes your personal brand using themes that look more custom than a LinkedIn profile page.

It’s easier than you think to forward domains.

Whether you direct your personal domain to a website or redirect it to another platform, the goal remains the same. Make sure the destination page promotes your personal brand, highlights your accomplishments, and shares your unique position in your industry.

Create an email for your personal domain

Once you have a personally branded domain, you can take it one step further. You can use that domain to create a branded email address.

A branded email address allows you to promote your professional endeavors with every email you send, even if it is a personal email. Recipients will see your domain and be able to quickly find your website and research who you are and what you do.

As a freelancer, you need to be constantly promoting and networking. With a branded email domain (such as john@johnsmith.com), you spread your brand with anyone you send an email to, which may create opportunities with people you didn’t even realize could become clients.

Connect your business brand to your personal brand

After creating a personal digital presence connect it to your business brand. Link to your personally branded domain on the About page to guide audiences who want to learn more about you.

Make yourself visible on your business website.

 

This shows the human side of your business and allows potential clients to learn more about who they are going to be working with. It also keeps your branded website professional, while giving visitors an opportunity to learn more about the person behind the business.

Bonus tip: Get your name before someone else does

As a freelancer, you are your most important asset. So don’t leave yourself out of your marketing or put yourself in a position where someone else can steal your marketing.

If you don’t own your personally branded domain, it’s available for someone else.

Don’t leave yourname.com out there for someone else to scoop up and use. Establish your name and authority, support your freelance business, and make yourself more widely known by building your personal brand online.

Ready to establish your personal brand online?

 

Image by: markus spiske via Visualhunt.com / CC BY