Are you a one-person “studio for [insert your thing]”, or even worse you don’t even have a website, and you just send around your Europass CV🤢?
Before you decide who your ideal client is, you have to decide who you are for your ideal client. Cool? Cool.
If you are not building a business, as in hiring people to work for you, drop the “we” from your vocabulary when presenting yourself to your potential customers or partners.
When people decide to “be their own boss”, usually they form a legal entity (like a company, sole proprietorship, etc…) to make it easier to invoice clients, do taxes and all that business stuff. One of the mistakes you can do early on is then to identify as your business. I’m sure you’ve seen a website of someone you know to be a “one-man ban” say things like “We are offering services for logo design” or “Our clients are happy with our work”, using the plural because they think it will sound more professional, much business, such success…
In the last several years, whenever someone I know would come to me with a “Hey, can you make me a logo” when they are starting their freelancing career, and offer their services – I reply with a “No. You’re not a symbol. You don’t need an image to represent you. Even Prince couldn’t make that work.” You’re not Batman! 😅
Don’t worry, I did the same mistake. My first ever branding was “Goat Design TEAM” – it can’t be lamer than that 😅 … Design TEAM.
In my parents’ basement!
A TEAM… LOL…
If you want to either find a position in a company, contribute to a startup, or help a client with your skills and experience – they need to know who they are getting involved with to solve their problems. From a hiring perspective, I don’t know who is behind the “We” statement. Is it you, your off-shore team or you and your sister? But when you do not hide behind a company name, you sign your work with your full name and stand by it – your chances of getting the job/project rise significantly.
When people hear term “personal branding” they immediately think “logo, font, colours, business cards”, but actually when you are branding your self you need to be thinking about core values, how you communicate and what makes you unique and the right person for the job.
I learned this by watching some people do what I wanted to do, and then reverse engineering their approach. If only someone told me this years ago, it would be a great shortcut in my career.
Looking at this image, you can see that the visual identity is what comes last, and your personal branding should be the embodiment of you, your personality and your core life philosophy that will attract the kind of clients you really want to work with.
For example, I know people that will never work for the gambling industry, and that falls under their core values, while my personal “brand voice” is just being me – a guy that likes to have fun, do what I do with zero tolerance for bullshit.
Once you know who you are, then you can start thinking about what type of clients you want beyond just “those that pay well”. We’ll talk about that too!