How to Develop Your Freelancing Brand

Brand development is one of the key goals for businesses everywhere. By developing a brand, businesses are able to carve out a customer base and ensure that they keep coming back.

Like many other parallels between working as a freelancer and owning a business, brand development is also an important consideration for freelancers as well. In the same way that developing a brand is beneficial to businesses selling a product, freelancers can use brand development to attract new clients, retain current clients, and even increase the rates that they are able to demand.

If you’re unsure how to go about developing a beneficial brand for your freelancing career, follow the tips in this guide to get started.

Specialize

In freelancing, it’s often better to do one thing really well than to be decently good at a variety of things. If you can set yourself apart as an expert in a specific niche, finding clients in that niche who are willing to pay you top-dollar rates will become much easier.

For example, a freelance copywriter may establish themselves as an expert at writing product descriptions, or a freelancer photographer may specialize in shooting weddings. While both would still be able to pick up work outside these niches, developing a brand focused around these niches will set them apart from the competition and enable them to command higher rates when they are working within the niche that they specialize in.

Best of all, the niche you choose is entirely up to you. While the more in-demand a niche is the better, you may be surprised by the abundance of work available in a wide range of highly specific fields and niches.

Your Communication is a Part of Your Brand

Freelancers have a few less opportunities to establish their brand than a company selling a product. With this being the case, it’s important to take advantage of every brand-development opportunity that you have available.

One such opportunity is your communication with your clients. How do you want to come across to them? Themes such as professionalism, helpfulness, and astuteness are all themes that you may wish to incorporate into your communication. In addition to these, you may wish to establish other, more unique themes depending on what you want to be known for such as a slightly personal level of friendliness or even quirkiness and humor. In the end, the brand you establish through your communication is entirely up to you.

In addition to incorporating themes into your communication, you may also wish to adopt certain standards such as how you deliver files, your email signature, and more. These standards provide clients with a sense of familiarity when they work with you and may help persuade them to keep coming back to you for more work.

Create an Online Presence

For freelancers who are working primarily online, your web presence is by far the bulk of your brand. This web presence can include your profiles on sites that you are working off of, social media pages, and even your own website.

In all aspects of your online presence, it’s important to consider the brand that you are trying to develop. When creating profiles for yourself, be sure to be thorough and professional, drawing emphasis to your particular skills and specialties. When creating your own website, you’ll have even more control over the design and the content. Think carefully about the ideas you want to convey about yourself to potential clients and try to incorporate those ideas into your website design.

Lastly, you may wish to make use of social media in order to better connect with your clients and establish your brand. However you go about building an managing your online presence, keep in mind that it is the most effective tool you have available for establishing your freelancing brand. Take advantage of it as best you can.

Create a Logo

The first step of brand development for most every business is to develop a logo that captures the theme of their business and helps convey a message to potential clients and customers. As a freelancer, you too can make use of a great-looking logo to help make your web presence look more professional.

Whether it’s true or not, clients often associate logos with experience and professionalism. Take advantage of this association by having a logo designed for your freelancing business and displaying it across your online presence.

Having a great logo is especially important if you are working in any sort of design field. Before you can convince clients to let you design their projects, it certainly helps to display some great designs of your own.

Develop a Bio

When you go into business as a freelancer, you are selling yourself. Many clients will want to know a little bit more about who they are working with, and, therefore, it’s a good idea to put together a thorough bio.

While this bio should certainly focus on your work-related skills and accomplishments, don’t be afraid to include a little personal info as well. Where did you grow up? What are some of your hobbies outside of work? Giving clients a little glimpse at the person behind the work may help them trust you more and make them more likely to give you their business.

Make Use of Marketing Materials

Freelancing these days may be a largely online pursuit, but that doesn’t mean that more traditional, physical marketing materials such as flyers and business cards have gone the way of the dodo.

Quite the contrary, you can make use of these physical marketing materials to reach clients who may have never otherwise stumbled across your web presence. You never know who you are going to run into, and handing out business cards to people who are interested in your services may help you land a few new clients. Likewise, putting up flyers at events and other spaces can also help you attract new interest.

In the grand scheme of things, these kinds of marketing materials may be a relatively small part of building your brand. However, they are still worth having around in case the opportunity to put them to use comes up.

Create a Blog

No matter what services you are selling, creating a blog centered around those services is a great way to attract new visitors to your website, develop your brand, and showcase your skills.

Creating a blog allows you to further demonstrate the style and voice you want your freelancing brand to showcase. Better still, it can help show off what you are capable of. For example, if you are a freelance copywriter you can use your blog to showcase your powerful prose. If you’re a freelance graphic designer, use your blog to show off and talk about some of your designs, and if you are a photographer you can use a blog to tell the stories behind some of your photo-shoots.

People love stories, and providing them with stories centered around your brand is a great way to increase their trust in your services and pique their interest. As an added benefit, writing a blog is a great way to boost your SEO and drive more visitors to your website.

Coffee Shops All Over Are Cutting Off Wi-Fi Because Of Freelancers

Free Wi-Fi has long been one of the main marketing ploys that coffee shops everywhere use to attract visitors. Now that freelancing has grown to such a high degree of popularity, though, some coffee shops are starting to declare their businesses a “laptop-free zone”, stating that there are too many freelancers spending all day in their shop working.

Why Coffee Shops are Cutting the Free Wi-Fi

So why do coffee shops care about freelancers using their Wi-Fi? The key to success for any coffee shop is customer turnover. They need new customers coming and going from their shop all day long, not customers staying all day taking up a table.

That’s not to say that cutting off the Wi-Fi is necessarily a prudent move. For some coffee shops, though – especially the smaller ones – it’s the only way they can ensure they keep enough tables open for new customers.

In addition to the economic impact of people bringing their work into the coffee shop, some coffee shop owners have complained that it stifles social interaction.

One coffee shop owner named Ronke Arogundade said she was cutting off the Wi-Fi in her shop as a way of “reviving the art of hospitality.” She went on to say that, “’Without laptops, people have a natural time cycle – they drink their coffee, have some food, chat and leave. But when you open a computer you move beyond that natural cycle and lose touch with the environment around you.”

Whatever their reasoning, banning laptops and/or shutting off the free Wi-Fi is becoming something of a growing trend for coffee shops everywhere.

Are Freelancers Really Taking Over Coffee Shops?

Aside from freelancers, there are plenty of other people who bring a laptop to coffee shops. From students completing homework assignments to business professionals touching up a last-minute project before they head into the office, coffee shops have become a common workplace for many individuals. However, no group takes advantage of them quite like freelancers.

There are a few different reasons why freelancers tend to enjoy working at coffee shops and also tend to stick around longer than the average customer. For one, freelancing is often a very solitary career. Working in a social environment such as a coffee shop allows freelancers to get outside the house and work within a peaceful, almost office-like environment.

As for why they tend to stay longer, freelancers are able to perform their entire day’s work without every having to leave. Students will have classes they eventually have to go to, and business professionals must eventually show up at the office. This isn’t the case with freelancers, who can check into a coffee shop and work an entire eight-hour day at the table.

When you consider the fact that freelancers now make up 35% of the workforce in the United States, you could see where this might be a problem for coffee shop owners.

Should You Keep Working at Coffee Shops if You are a Freelancer?

The short answer to this question is yes, if you enjoy completing your work in a coffee shop you should continue to do so. However, you should also be respectful of the business you are visiting and the rules they choose to enforce.

Keep in mind that only a handful of coffee shops are cutting off the Wi-Fi. Many others still welcome people bringing their work into the coffee shop because they know they’ll likely buy something while they are there.

Even still, you may want to think twice before you camp out all day at a coffee shop, especially if it seems busy or there aren’t enough tables available for everyone to be seated.

In the end, a little common courtesy and awareness is all you need to ensure that you are able to still enjoy working at your favorite coffee shop while at the same time staying respectful of the people who own it.

The Future of Freelancing and How it Will Affect our Economy by 2027

In the past few years, the growth of freelancing has rapidly accelerated. As the modern workforce continues to evolve, it looks as if freelancing will continue to play a larger and larger role in how people earn a living.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the stats pertaining to the growth of freelancing as well as a few predictions about what the future might hold in store.

The Current State of Freelancing

Right now, there are 57.3 million people freelancing in the United States, contributing an estimated $1.3 trillion to the economy each year. This last figure is a full 30% higher than the amount of money freelancers contributed to the economy just one year ago.

Today, freelancers make up 36% of the workforce in the United States. If the current growth rate continues, freelancers will make up a majority of the workforce in the USA by 2027.

Simply put, these numbers are astounding. The fact that freelancers will soon make up a majority of the US workforce alone dictates that freelancing will play a major role in our economy going forward, even more considerable than the role it already plays.

Factors Driving the Growth of Freelancing

The rapid explosion of the freelancing economy is not an unexplainable phenomenon, and there are several key underlying factors that have contributed to its growth. These factors include:

  • Advances in Technology – One of the biggest factors driving the growth of freelancing has been technological advances. Keep in mind that the internet alone is a relatively new invention, and the various platforms, tools, and technologies that make freelancing possible are even more new to the scene. 74% of freelancers who are already established said that they their workload has increased over the past few years, and the technological advances that connect clients with freelancers all over the world have certainly played a major role in making this increased workload possible.
  • Freedom and Flexibility – Ideals about the perfect career are changing. Not too long ago, the ideal career was a steady 9-5 office job with good benefits and a good salary. For many, this remains the ideal career. For a growing number of others, though, the ideal career is one that offers the freedom to set your own hours, travel when you please, and be your own boss. Since freelancing offers all of these things, more and more people are choosing freelancing as their career.
  • A Changing Workforce – 47% of all millennials work as freelancers – more than any generation to come before them. In fact, 50% of the entire freelancer workforce is comprised of millennials. By and large, millennials are more tech-savvy than previous generations and also value the freedom and flexibility that freelancing offers more than the generations before them. As millennials continue to comprise a larger and larger portion of the workforce, their attraction to freelancing is helping spur its growth in a big way.

Factors Holding Back the Growth of Freelancing

While there are plenty of reasons for someone to choose a freelancing career, there are also still a few factors that hold some people back. The most common factors that troubled the freelancers surveyed include:

  • Income Predictability – When working as a freelancer, it’s often hard to know what your weekly paycheck is going to be. Some weeks it might be much higher than average and other weeks it might be much lower. While these peaks and troughs usually average out, many people prefer to be able to know for sure how much they are going to earn each week.
  • Lack of Benefits – Working as a freelancer is the same as being self-employed, meaning that benefits such as medical and dental insurance must be paid for out of pocket rather than being paid for by your employer. This lack of benefits is a sticking point for some.
  • Difficulty Finding Work – There’s two types of work that successful freelancers must complete: the work itself and working to market themselves and find new clients. This latter category is something that many people take issue with, as they would prefer to only focus their efforts on the work itself rather than having to spend time drumming up business.

Interestingly, though, most of these points will likely become less problematic as the freelancing economy grows. Already, there are organizations such as the Freelancer’s Union working to provide benefits to freelancers. Difficulty finding work will also become less of an issue as more and more businesses begin to rely on freelancers and seek them out. Lastly, once a steady workload is secured, income predictability becomes less of a concern as well.

What the Future of Freelancing Holds in Store

Driven largely by technology and also by changing ideals, the world economy is rapidly evolving. Many jobs that were commonplace not too long ago have either been greatly diminished or are no longer as desirable as they once were. Meanwhile, freelancing jobs continue to grow rapidly – so much so that freelancers will likely comprise a majority of the US workforce in just a few years.

How to Stay Sane and Productive When You’re Working from Home

Working from home is like living the dream. Flexible hours, the comfort of being on your territory, working from bed if you want to, not having to get to an office or even change your clothes, etc.

Until you see the bad side of this. The distractions, the laziness, the lack of motivation, the social isolation.

These really can become a permanent part of the life of a freelancer if you don’t do anything about them. The worst thing is that they will take away your focus and productivity and thus prevent you from being good at what you do. That means by not taking care of each and every barrier of working from home, you risk lowering your income or losing clients.

Let’s see what you can do to never fall into that trap and instead keep enjoying the benefits of working from home:

Find your prime time

There’s a concept in time management that states every person is most productive during a certain period of the day. Find that through experimenting and structure your days around it. It will change the way you do your work, really.

The benefits of working only during your peak time are increased concentration, higher levels of energy, better mood, more creativity and willingness to do your work.

By making this one change to your lifestyle, you can double your results.

Have rituals

Rituals can keep us sane and also disciplined. By having a morning routine, for example, you can make sure you have motivation to wake up every morning and kickstart the day.

Also, certain habits can get you in action mode and help you focus and get to work when you don’t feel like it. Here are some examples.

Plan your mornings. Decide to wake up 30 minutes earlier and prepare for the day but also do some things you enjoy or which help you be organized. You can journal your thoughts, review your goals, make coffee and drink it slowly, plan what to do in your free time later today, or schedule a virtual meeting or a call with a client.

When you’re about to get to work, though, have a short ritual to get you started. It could be going through what you worked on yesterday. Seeing where you left off helps build momentum and get things done to move ahead.

When the workday is over, have a relaxing evening routine to end the day. It’s like coming back from the office when you need to empty your mind and just get ready for sleep. Never take your work with you in bed. That’s even more dangerous when working from home as you can be checking emails or be on social media right before bedtime. I suggest you limit digital distractions or even eliminate them at the end of the day.

Do something social every day

You’re harming your social life by not putting effort in it. While it’s easy to always be working on the next big thing or just relax at home, you need socializing every day in order to feel alive, be positive and find meaning.

That can happen by getting people on the phone or preferring virtual meetings, for a start. Then, go out for lunch and invite a friend over for coffee. Also, be the initiator for a reunion with old friends.

If it’s not possible and no one seems to be available, go for a walk in the part, take your laptop to a coworking space or a coffice, or just hit the gym, go to the store or else. The point is to be around people, not on your own for the whole day. That is directly related to happiness, improved mental health and focus.

Declutter

Clutter at home, which is also your office, lowers your productivity and doesn’t make you feel good. What’s more, it’s not really the best work environment so you might end up getting less done because of this.

Dedicate this weekend to decluttering. Get rid of anything that you don’t use or need. Organize the rest of the belongings. Remove digital clutter too.

Every time you get to your workplace, you should feel great, be with a clear mind and excited to get to work. So it makes sense to make some adjustments to your desk in order to create a pleasant atmosphere.

Add some greenery, it’s good for the health and focus too. Get a whiteboard to brainstorm ideas and visualize them. And storage units to keep all necessary documents or belongings related to your work.

Use lists

Lists can save your sanity and your work. No need to remember anything anymore. Simply add it to your to-do list or calendar whenever it comes up.

Get one of the many free apps on Apple and Google Play stores and enjoy their incredible features, such as organizing lists in categories, synchronizing them with your other apps, setting reminders, etc.

Work on your priorities first

A mistake many people make is to simply start working on random things from their daily to-do list. But what you work on first thing in the morning will decrease your focus, attention span, motivation and energy for the rest of the day. So it makes sense to let it be your top priority task/project/activity.

Take your to-do list to the next level by putting the 3 priority items on top. These are the ones who are urgent or directly related to achieving your goals.

Complete small tasks right away

 

You know what such tasks are. The ones that pop up all the time and which take 5 minutes or less to be done. But which you simply leave for later, try to remember or just add to your list. But they tend to pile up and it becomes overwhelming.

You can’t really have a nice evening knowing there’s 10 of these waiting for you tomorrow.

That’s why the best strategy is to tackle each right away. They are easy and simple. Be it to answer an email, make a decision, reply to a client, update something on your site, etc. Take action now and save your time and focus in the future.

Let some things go

Letting go is an important skill for a freelancer working from home. That’s because you can either be multitasking, trying to get done as much as you can, to make every client happy, to answer everyone’s expectations, to set many new goals at once, etc.

Or you can accept that you have limits, let go of some past projects that don’t seem to be a good fit for your vision anymore, and just concentrate on the activity in front of you right now. That will help you simplify your work and life and be more productive.

What are your bad habits when working from home? Which of the tips above would you like to follow first in order to improve an aspect of your work?