Starting out in a freelancing career can be tough. Ranging from freelance authors to graphic designers and programmers, freelancing comes with many of the same hurdles. One large aspect is building your personal brand – how do you get people to recognize you for your skills? Thankfully the internet has provided a very simple medium for sharing and obtaining information in a very short time. Many tools abound, so how do you know where to start to reach your audience?
Using the right tools will surely help your profile and work stand out among the rest. Another benefit of personal branding is the quickly-recognized popularity. You probably won’t see your name up in lights in any big city for your freelance projects, but you’ll be recognized much more online and can even develop a community among others interested in your work.
Social Networks for Freelance Collaboration
More recently there have been tons of social networks being created targeting specific niches in freelancing. One obvious example would be the FreelanceSwitch Forums. Being able to ask questions and discuss common topics with other freelancers, brainstorming and figuring out your brand will come much simpler.
The new social sharing community for designers, Dribbble, has been drawing in some attention. I’ve found some amazing designers on there doing user interfaces and banners/graphics, so a good portfolio there can really land you some attention. In a similar vein, Forrst is a social network for designers and web developers alike. Currently still running in private beta, the site has been growing immensely since launch and has a very sturdy community structure in-tact.
Building and Growing Common Internet Profiles
One of the best ways to build a brand online is through a well-known venue: Twitter. Cliché as it sounds, social media truly is the way of the future. You can follow other freelancers in your field for major networking potential. By also tweeting frequently and building up your account, you will be able to gain a small following who enjoy your work!
Google offers a number of tools for social media branding. Creating a Google Account can build a number of venues with potential. For one thing, your Google Account works with many apps – Gmail, GTalk, Google Buzz… the list goes on and on. [Editor’s Note: Also Google Wave, until Wave’s recent demise.] Of the most notable here are Gmail for a personal e-mail account through Google. GTalk I have found extremely useful for building my own brand, along with networking and finding others in the market. And of course, Google Buzz is how Google is starting to build personal profiles. So getting your own name (eg jakerocheleau) as a username will secure your Google Buzz profile. It works similarly to Twitter, but can connect to RSS feeds and update automatically – a very handy branding tool.
I’m sure there are plenty of other concepts out there for building a common brand online. I’ve only covered a few here, but these small steps will most definitely increase your online branding potential very quickly. So don’t be afraid to get out there online! Start networking on Twitter and Dribbble, build up a fan base for your work – popularity at it’s finest.
- Jake Rocheleau
I’m a social media enthusiast and Internet entrepreneur. I’ve been running social media networks on Digg and StumbleUpon for a long while now, you can find me all across the web + on Twitter @jakerocheleau. If you’re interested get in touch with me – I’m a pretty friendly dude.