In the professional career, we’re simply nothing but products who sell their services at some certain price. No matter whether if you’re applying for any corporate job or online job, hiring people will judge your potentiality. If you can prove yourself, they’ll pay you for your time and service. It’s as simple as that!
Now, if you think yourself as a product and you want to sell your service, then you must need to promote yourself. Until you promote yourself, people will never know about your existence!
Why Brand Image for a Freelancer is important
Being an internet marketing Freelance professional, you must have to have a strong personal online brand image so that potential clients’ can easily find you. The simple fact is if you can’t promote yourself effectively, then how come you can promote your client’s business?
Put yourself in the employer’s position who is looking for a smart marketing professional. Will you spend your money on such person who even can’t present himself properly over the virtual world? I bet, you won’t!
Another vital reason for developing personal brand image is, it gives you a permanent identity especially if you’re a freelancer.
Instance, you’re working in an open marketplace like Upwork, Freelancer or Fiverr where you’re doing pretty well. But, what happens if your account gets a ban for any reason? You’ll be simply nowhere! And believe me, this thing happens more frequently nowadays due to huge availability of freelancers in the marketplaces.
On the top of it, when your account permanently closed on those platforms, you’ll not only lose your profile but also lose all your work records. In other words, you’ll lose your complete bio-data.
Step by step process for building own brand image
Well, everyone may have their own process to build their online reputation, but here I share my own story. It’s not really a complicated process. All you have to do this in an organized way.
It is actually a simple process to develop your professional and social profiles on multiple platforms, optimize them and connect them with each other, that’s all!
Decide a Brand Name for your Agency
Here, I actually trick a little and build two different brand image. One is for me and another is for my agency. As an individual, I treat my name as one brand and the other is for my agency i.e. Freelancers-HUB.
I get this idea from a popular online marketer Neil Patel. With this trick, now everyone knows Neil Patel is a person who represents the QuickSprout and vice-versa.
Here, I must suggest one thing while choosing a name for the agency, you must choose a name that reflects your profession or service area. However, you can choose something fancy, it really doesn’t matter. But, if the name reflects what you actually are, then it surely helps to gain better web visibility with less effort.
I set up two different profiles everywhere. Now, if anyone Google with my name, he can easily understand that I’m representing the Freelancers-HUB agency. Similarly, if you Google with “Freelancers HUB”, you can instantly find me there.
Set Up a Portfolio Site on WordPress
The first step is, of course, to set up your own portfolio site. This is important for two reasons. First, It can be used for your Freelancer profile. Second, it could be used as the training ground for practicing your newly acquired skills of internet marketing.
Honestly, my only financial investment of learning search engine optimization was buying the domain name, hosting service and the theme used on the portfolio site. It cost me approximate $186 only.
At the initial stage, the purpose of setting up this portfolio site is to learn the various technical on-page issues. Instance how to optimize a WordPress site with different plugins and all. As WordPress is the most popular CMS all over the world, so naturally SEO for WordPress sites will always have the highest demand. So, I decided to invest money on this site.
Besides, it’s not possible to practice on the client’s site, right? Whenever I learn anything new from different blog posts or other online resources, I simply practice it on my own site. So that, in case anything goes wrong, no one is there to blame.
Later on, when I realize that, the I get certain level of expertise on optimizing a WordPress site, I turn this site into my own portfolio site.
I’m not a professional designer, but still, I design this site by myself just to learn different design functions in WordPress. Instance, how to set up widgets, menu, contact forms, place tracking codes to collect visitor data etc.
The most interesting part of my case is, this investment gives me an unbelievable percentage of ROI. Initially it helps me to learn the practical stuff of SEO, but later on, two client’s contact me to get my service. They’re now among my biggest clients. I already get 10 times higher ROI from this portfolio site so far. 😉
What pages need to highlight in Portfolio site?
A website represents a person in case it’s a blog site or represents a business if it’s a local business or eCommerce shop. The importance of web pages depends on its purpose. Based on that the website owner should design his website and promote target pages for maximum online exposure.
For an individual Freelancer’s perspective, two things need to highlight. One is the “About ” page and the other is the “Portfolio”. Because, first, you need to build a well-known Freelancer brand image for yourself. And second, you need to give maximum exposure to your success stories.
So, once the potential client somehow gets to know about you, s/he must be wanted to know what you have accomplished so far! While you design and develop your pages, you must need to make sure of enough “Call in Action” facility on every page. It allows the potential clients contact you instantly if they feel positive about your skills.
Create Freelancer Profiles
Alongside developing you own portfolio site on WordPress, you must also consider developing your profile in any online marketplace. You should initially select only one marketplace to develop your profile and offer your services. To select the right platform, you must need to collect below question answers about the platforms;
- What is the process of offering your services there? Is it job application feature of selling gig feature;
- In the case of job application feature, then average how many available jobs are there every day in each category?
- Is the platform allow search engines index the freelancer profile?
- What is the payment process system they offer to both clients and freelancers?
- If the available payment process system allow you to withdraw our earning directly to your local bank account or not?
- If the marketplace offers any payment guarantee to both client and freelancer.
- If the marketplace maintain a reasonable presence on social media or not? Especially on Facebook and Twitter. Also check, if their customer services respond to your queries or not.
Once you get answers to above questions, you can easily understand their popularity, reliability and customer service quality. Based on all above queries, Upwork was my fist choice. However, later on, I also open my freelancer profiles on few other platforms like Talent hubs and Freelancer.com etc.
Profile on Upwork
Upwork s currently the most popular and largest freelancing marketplace all over the world. oDesk and Elance – the other two most popular freelancing marketplace merged together and formed Upwork in 2015. I actually start my journey with oDesk.
It’s not a difficult task to open an account with Upwork. It as simple as like signing up for any other online account with a valid email. Once you open up and verify your email with Upwork, you need to fill up below information to get a 100% complete profile;
- Provide your full name. This name should be on all your documents;
- Upload a recent image showing you full-face;
- Update your mailing address;
- Add your preferred payment methods i.e. Payoneer, Paypal or your local bank account number and other details;
- Select your skill sets;
- Provide a Short bio that highlights your skill set. It should be within 3-4 words;
- Provide an overview of your expertise, skills, and experience. It’s better if the length is between 300-400 words;
- Add some portfolio. If you don’t have any ready portfolio, create few by your own. You can use your WordPress portfolio site as a portfolio on the Upwork profile;
- Participate in few tests and show them on profile if you get above average results.
- Lastly, you need to verify your profile with the customer service via Skype video call.
At the initial stage, Upwork may not allow indexing your personal profile with search engines, but once your account gets matured, it’ll be released for indexing. However, Upwork probably more relaxed with the agency profiles. I am not sure though, but in my case, I found my agency get indexed by search engines earlier than my personal profile.
Profile on Freelancer.Com
Freelancer.Com is another good platform to build up your profile and also start your freelancing career. Signing up and build up the profile on this platform is almost same like the Upwork.
However, you need to pay minimum $5 if you want to participate any test here. But, you can still apply for jobs without attending any test. In my point of view, this is one of the main lackings of this platform. A successfully completed test result on profile helps to gain confidence in a client. My logic is when I am a complete new freelancer and yet to earn a single penny, then how come I afford to pay any amount just to take a test? This thing actually discourages me to proceed with this platform.
The best thing I like about Freelancer.Com is, it allow profiles for indexing to search engines instantly after you ready the profile. This allows you to promote your profile on many different platforms including social media channels.
Profile on Talenthub.Com
This platform is comparatively new their way of doing the things is slightly different than the other freelancing marketplaces. Signing up a new account, developing personal and agency profile at first chance are something that makes it different from others. But they don’t offer payment processing services.
Once you create and develop your profiles, you can apply for jobs. If you manage to hook a client, you can set up your contract arrangement with the client based on discussion.If the client prefers to use the
If the client prefers to use the Talent hubs time tracker, then s/he may need to buy a subscription to manage their own team and include you in his/her team. But, if s/he don’t want to spend money for that, you can offer your own time-tracking software facility in case of hourly contract.
The most important part of a buyer-seller agreement on this platform is the payment system. You have to discuss with the client and make an arrangement for transactions. This platform actually acts only as a meeting place to introduce the buyer with the seller. Rest parts depend on the buyer and seller’s mutual agreement.
Like Freelancer.com, this platform also allows your freelancer profile for indexing to search engines at the first chance. So you can promote it via any channels and grab attention from potential clients.
Besides these three freelancing marketplaces, you can find a lot more platforms. You can get a list of top 15 freelancing platform here written by Anna Jonson on Entrepreneur.Com.
Create Social Profiles
Social media channels are nowadays the best medium to reach a large targeted audience. You can’t simply ignore the power of social media channels if you want to promote yourself or your business. It is even, in fact, also the most cost effective solution for marketing too.
To get the advantage of huge exposure via social media, you must need to consider at least five platforms. They are Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. You need to create and optimize both profiles and pages on these pages. To learn how to optimize personal profiles and pages, you may need to go through the How to guides for social media optimization sections.
Building a proper brand image for your Freelancer profile and agency is important. It’s not much difficult to create and maintain them, but of course, you must have to invest your valuable time behind this. A perfect brand image not only builds your identity but also bring business. You must have to think for the long term so that it will give you the perfect ROI.