Build Your Personal Brand
For many years, the province of British Columbia in Canada has had a tourism brand with the tagline “Super, natural British Columbia.” It aims to inspire people to visit and enjoy the many sights and activities in BC. And for many years, they have.
Likewise, other famous brands have taglines that inspire confidence. Think of McDonald’s — “I’m Lovin’ It!” Or Apple – “Think Different.” That might be your perception of branding, but did you know YOU are a brand?
What is Personal Branding?
Personal Branding is the process of bringing to light all that makes YOU extraordinary and attractive to your target client audience!
As we discussed in the introduction of this guide, the freelance economy is booming, and that’s all the more reason to STAND OUT from the crowd.
As Seth Godin says, “Being generic is a choice. If you are generic, a cog in the system, you will always be struggling – struggling to be paid fairly, struggling to get new clients, struggling to have the freedom to make a difference.”
Your personal brand determines the distinctive way you want to be perceived and remembered by others. It represents a blend of your personality, passions, principles, proficiencies, past experiences, and purpose. It sets you apart and makes you unique in the freelance space. And above all, it communicates clearly WHO you are and the value you bring!
Personal branding is necessary because it helps you attract and reach your “ideal client.” It also separates you from the growing base of virtual assistants and freelancers in your niche. Because people like to connect with people, your personal brand establishes a Know-Like-Trust factor. And it makes people aware of your services.
Tom Peters explains the importance of branding this way:
“Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”
And now let’s go through some practical steps to building your personal brand.
Three Steps to Building Your Brand
These steps will give you clarity about your personal brand and get you moving in the right direction.
Step One: Define Your Personal Brand
Your personal brand is composed of several key ingredients: personality traits, values, passions, skills and experience, and your target market. You can determine these ingredients by asking yourself questions and gaining feedback from others. Let’s explore the process below.
Five Steps to Discovering Your Personal Brand
1. Conduct a Personal Branding Assessment.
- List 5 personality traits (e.g. Extroverted, Creative, Humorous).
- List 3-5 top core values (e.g. Honesty, People, Precision).
- List your 5 top work passions or interests. (Refer to Three Circle Assessment in Step 3.)
- List your top skills.
- List the types of clients you might be interested in working with (e.g. small business entrepreneurs, software developers, coaches).
2. Get Feedback from Others.
- What are some words you would use to describe me?
- What would you say are my three greatest skills or strengths?
- Can you think of someone historical, famous, or fictional that I remind you of? (Have fun with this one.)
3. Evaluate Common Threads.
- Are there any words, themes, images, or ideas that seem to stand out in the information compiled in Steps 1 and 2?
- Are there any similarities with your assessment and the feedback of others?
4. Define Your Prominent Brand Elements.
Build a list of the top 5 brand elements that best define you (e.g. creative, teacher, fun, caring, practical).
You can discover these elements by asking yourself the following questions:
- What are you best at? (Your Value)
- Who do you serve or wish to serve? (Your Audience)
- How do you do it uniquely? (Your Unique Value Proposition)
- What is your WHY? (Purpose, cause or belief that inspires you to do what you do?)
5. Create Your Brand Statement.
Using your brand elements, create a brand statement for YOU:
For example, “Craig is a fun, creative, and caring teacher who designs practical online training programs for Freelancers, VAs and Online Professionals.”
Step Two: Choose Your Brand Name
As you go through the selection process, remember two important considerations. First of all, be careful not to get caught up in “Paralysis by Analysis” when selecting your business or domain name. And, secondly, remember the value of your service (and the quality of your website content) is infinitely more important than your actual business or domain name. With that being said, let’s explore the types of business names you can choose from.
Three Types of Business Names
- Descriptive Names include specific action words or keywords that represent you, your services, or your target market (e.g. AuthorSidekick.com; CreativeVirtualServices.com; HelpwithPodcasts.com; CopywritingPro.com; CompleteAdminSolutions.ca).
- Branded Names include a person’s name or a unique brand name (e.g. SabrinaCompany.com; AliTheHappyVA.com; FreelanceU.com; Google.com).
- Hybrid Names include a combination of branded and descriptive (e.g. Craig’s Copywriting Services; Ignite Social Media; Search Engine People).
Seven Steps for Selecting the Right Domain Name
Once you have your business name, you can select a domain name for your website. Here are seven steps to help you select the right one:
- Research 3-5 target keywords and consider how to use them in your domain (Infusionsoft Help, Social Media Support, Email Copywriting).
- Select a “.com” where possible. A “.net” or “.co” might be a second option. And a country-specific domain may be appropriate if your clients are located in a specific place (e.g. .ca, .au, .co-uk).
- Make it easy to remember, type, read, and pronounce. For example, avoid putting vowels together, especially if you’re handing out business cards (AndreaAssistant.com).
- Keep it to three words or less (especially for branded domain names).
- Avoid hyphens to make the name less complicated.
- Watch out for trademark or copyright violations.
- Consider using adjectives with popular names (e.g. AllStarCopyServices.com).
Seven Ways to Construct a Domain Name
Here are some creative options for building your domain name:
- Personal (CraigCannings.com, SabrinaCompany.com)
- Compound word (YouTube.com, MoneyTree.com)
- Phrase (SmallBusinessAssistant.com)
- Blend (Microsoft.com)
- Tweaked words (SmallBizVA.com)
- Affixed words (Biznik.com, Friendster.com)
- Made-up name (Google, HubSpot, Etsy)
After going through these steps, check to see whether your preferred domain name is available by searching databases at sites like Namecheap.com and GoDaddy.com. You’ll also want to decide whether you’d like a public or a private domain name.
A public domain name means that when someone searches for you in the Whois.com database, they’ll be able to access your name, email address, and phone number. A private domain name is about $10 more per year but protects your contact information so people can’t access it. You can select this as an option if you buy your domain name through sites like Namecheap or GoDaddy.
Step Three: Write Your First Business Tagline
According to Entrepreneur.com’s Small Business Encyclopedia, a tagline is “A catch phase or small group of words that are combined in a special way to identify a product or company.”
When you consider business taglines, think of them as a “Mini Mission Statement” for your business!
A great tagline is memorable and includes a key benefit (what value you’ll bring to your target audience). It also differentiates your brand, making you distinct and unique.
Three Steps to Creating a Powerful Tagline
This is a repeatable process you can go through until you land on your ideal tagline:
- Describe your business in a bulleted list or paragraph.
- Cut it down to 2-3 sentences.
- Cut it down more to a phrase or sentence.
And remember, you can change your tagline over time. For example, the taglines for a company named VAClassroom have adapted as follows:
OLD TAGLINE: “Training Virtual Professionals for the New Internet”
NEW TAGLINE: “Training Virtual Professionals for the Digital World”
Now let’s figure out how to put your brand on display!
Other Useful Topics
5 Habits to Successfully Freelance From Home
Discover the 7 habits you need to unlock your freelance success from home. Learn how to set up a workspace, manage finances, and m ...
Five Steps to Building a Powerful Freelance Brand Identity
"Discover the essential tips for developing your personal brand as a freelancer. Learn how to stand out and attract clients with b ...
10 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting a Freelance Business
Start your freelance business off on the right foot! Avoid these 10 common mistakes when starting a freelance business and get rea ...
Quick Guide to Start Your Virtual Bookkeeping Business From Home
Start your virtual bookkeeping business from home with this guide! Learn the tools, tips, and tricks you need to find clients and ...
The Ultimate Guide to Finding Remote Freelance Jobs in 2023
Start your side-hustle today! Learn how to start freelance writing and make it successful with our tips, resources, and challenges ...
The Definitive Guide on How to Start Freelance Writing From Scratch
Start your side-hustle today! Learn how to start freelance writing and make it successful with our tips, resources, and challenges ...
How to Start Freelancing With No Experience
Start your freelance career today! Learn how to start freelancing with no experience and find your first client in 5 easy steps. G ...
Quick Guide to Building an Email List from Scratch!
Discover five ways to build an email list from scratch.
The Fine Art of Asking for a Referral
Discover some key strategies for asking for a referral for your Freelance Services.
7 Online Predictions for 2020
Here are 7 Online Predictions for 2020 that could have a big impact on your Freelance Business!
How to Build a Success Mindset
Here are three key strategies for creating a success mindset in your business for the new year!
Seven Productivity Tools to Add More Time to Your Week!
In this post, we’ll share seven productivity tools and apps that can add more time to your week.
How to Combat Imposter Syndrome in Your Freelance Business
Five ways to overcome the Imposter syndrome in your freelance business... this is a must read!
How to Gain Experience (and Credibility) When You Have None!
Here are four other practical ways to gain experience in order to build credibility with new clients.
Ten Tools to Power Your Dream Virtual Office
What constitutes a dream office for a freelancer or virtual assistant? Check out some ideas here!
The Fine Art of Learning New Skills for Your Freelance Business
As freelancers, we need to update our skills to stay current in today's virtual industry. Here are 7 ways to succeed in the art of ...
Five Ways to Legally Protect Your Freelance Business
Here are five ways you can legally protect your Freelance business, so you can sleep easier at night!
Your Guide to Five Top Marketplaces to Finding Work as a Freelancer
In this guide, we’ll dispel some of those myths and look closer at five top marketplaces where you can start finding work as a f ...
How to Take Time Off in Your Freelance Business!
Discover some helpful strategies for taking time off in your Freelance Business without losing any clients!
A Guide to Writing Business Proposals for Clients
Here's a quick guide to writing business proposals that win new clients... this is a must-read for any Freelancer!
How to Select a Niche Focus for Your Freelance Business
Some get it right the first time; most struggle with finding their freelance niche. And that’s okay. It’s not easy to choose a ...
A Sneak Peek at our New-Look University!
Have a watch of this short "behind-the-scenes" video as I show you some of the exciting changes we have made to the University tha ...
How to Fire a Client the Right Way!
It is never easy to fire a client! In this post, we provide some helpful tips and strategies for ending an unhealthy client relati ...
How to Create Multiple Streams of Income for Your Freelance Business
If you’re exploring new income streams, this “Guide to Creating Multiple Streams of Income for Your Freelance Business” will ...
Freedom Story: The Journey from Vision Loss to a Thriving Freelance Business
Have a watch of this inspiring interview and receive some valuable "nuggets of wisdom" on how to build a thriving freelance busine ...
Facebook Watch Party vs Live: Two Powerful Tools to Build Engagement
Facebook Watch Party vs Live - two powerful tools to build reach & engagement with your target audience.
How to Handle Failure and Success in Your Business!
Have you encountered failure in your work as a freelancer? Discover how to handle failure and success in your business.
An Introvert's Guide to Networking like a Rock Star
Many of us find networking challenging, no matter what our personality may be. Here are 10 strategies you can use as a guide to ne ...
Your Guide to Optimizing Your Daily Productivity
Here are some tips and strategies to help you optimize your daily productivity so you can get more work done in less time!
Four Business Challenges to Overcome in 2019
In this video, I identify the FOUR challenges and offer a practical solution for overcoming them and making this your best year ev ...
Three Stories to Inspire Your Freelance Business in 2019!
I want to share three "Freedom Stories" from students all with a passion to design a flexible and profitable Freelance Lifestyle.
A Freedom Story to Inspire Your Success in 2019!
Here's a success story from one of our students, Renee, who has overcome great challenges to build a profitable freelance business ...
Five Platforms for Sharing Your Services with the World!
Let’s take a look at some of the top content channels for promoting your brand and business to the masses!
How to Embrace Your Laptop Lifestyle!
Here are some other places you can go to embrace your location-independent laptop lifestyle in your own home and beyond:
5 Keys to Finding and Attracting Clients Using Social Media
Here are five useful tips for finding and attracting your ideal clients on Social Media. The tips will help you to discover great ...
Five Ways to Create a Winning Entrepreneurial Mindset
How do you create an entrepreneurial mindset in your freelance business? Do you find it challenging to shed the attitude of an emp ...
How to Find Ideal Clients (in Your Own Backyard)
How did you find your first client? If you’ve been a freelancer for a while, you may look back and see that you have an interest ...
The BEST WAYS to Overcome Your WORST DAYS!
Here are some excellent strategies you can use to overcome your worst days in your freelance business!
Help! My Client Won't Pay Me!
While it’s impossible to predict the future, and even the best clients can fall on hard times, here are some tips you can employ ...