Freelancers—Stop Chasing Clients and Build Your Own Brand
It’s not uncommon for freelancers to work diligently from project to project. Lining up work consistently is how we earn the real money. However, working so hard for our clients can mean we’re neglecting our own business. Building a brand is what can lead to longevity and increased income.
I hear quite often from my freelancer friends that it’s difficult to juggle client work with work they need to do to grow their business. Despite the challenge, here’s why it’s important to prioritize your own projects:
Building a Brand Can Reduce Stress Levels
A brand that’s recognizable can attract top-tier clients and partnerships. You won’t have to chase them down. I consider my brand an ever-evolving work in progress. There’s always more I want to accomplish. I want to publish more books and increase traffic to my blog. But what I have built so far has helped me secure clients that pay much more than the ones I had at the beginning of my career. Positioning myself as an expert in the personal finance space has gotten me assignments that pay expert rates.
Building a Brand Gives You More Control
Aside from helping you increase your freelance income, building a brand can help you explore new methods of income. This is key for freelancers. We trade time for hours. What if you need a break? What if you suffer from burnout? Having other streams of income can pick up the slack.
The needs of clients have a huge impact on our income. This is one thing that frustrates me at times about the freelancer business model. We have a bit of control, but much of the control sits in the hands of the person paying us.
Clients are who decide if they have work for you to do. Their needs can change at the flip of a coin. One month they’re paying you a couple thousand dollars for various assignments and the next month the work can dry up. Building a business where you have other sources of income beyond freelancing can support you through slow periods.
How can you fit your brand into your schedule?
Deciding to work on your brand is one thing, finding the time to do all the work is another. I’ve found working on my personal brand while working for clients has been one of the biggest challenges of running a business. Client work usually takes precedence over my own work for obvious reasons.
To juggle both, you have to start treating yourself like a client as well. You also have to think about the long game. Working on your brand may not result in fast money. It’s a long-term investment in time and money that you’ll see return from later. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see an increase in income right away. Set goals and deadlines for your business.
You may also need to hire someone to assist you. Hiring an assistant has been vital to getting my business projects completed. My assistant writes blog posts for me and shares my personal posts on social media as well. Assistants can also take care of tasks like invoicing.
One of my biggest business regrets is not focusing as much on my brand from the beginning. My focus was always to get as many clients as possible to replace my full-time income. That’s a great short-term goal. I’ve seen the brands of my clients and peers take off while I put my own on the back-burner because I was chasing down clients. I still work with clients, but focusing on my legacy and long-term goals has moved up on the priority list.