And maybe more importantly, who do your clients think you are? Here's the thing. When we talk about "personal brand" (gross), a lot of us forget that we're talking about who you are, and how you communicate that. The good news? That means you can actually be you. Create content that matters to you, your audience, and your potential clients Do NOT dilute who you are, or try to be who you think your audience wants you to be. According to an Edelman study of 11,000 consumers, 92% of people want to do business with companies that share their values. And values aren't something you put on — they go deep. Clients want to work with people who share their values too. And think about it — don't you too? Best-selling writer Jeff Goins calls these people his "tribe," while designer and author Paul Jarvis calls them his "rat people." That's not an insult - Paul loves rats, so when he finds the 1% of the population who feel the same way, he knows these are people he wants to connect with. That's incredibly powerful. Be human. Transparency, openness, honesty, and authenticity are incredibly powerful currencies in the attention economy. They are how you build a relationship with people even if you’ve never met. That, and providing value with your content – but that value isn't always a 1-to-1 transaction. In fact, not everything is transactional. Not everything is how-to. A lot of times, people are happy to share stories and interesting ideas. Dan Harmon says "Find your voice, shout it from the rooftops, and keep doing it until the people looking for you find you." And he's right. Care. Be passionate. Give a shit. Author, journalist, and psychology expert Charles Duhigg says one of the best ways to stand out is by indulging in your obsessive compulsive disorder. He says "People who are successful are people who are not ashamed to say, I am super passionate and interested in X and I m going to indulge that. Yes, I'm a weirdo. But I m going to figure this out, and I'll figure out what I like about it, so that I can share it with you." Essentially, what he's saying is "be a big fat dork about whatever tickles you." Ideally, this aligns with your freelancing career. It’s your business – do it your way. There are dozens of tactics and advice columns on the best way to approach your business, your marketing – whatever. It can often be worth your time to listen, but rarely is this advice iron clad. Whether you're trying to find an audience, attract prospects, or just figure your personal business out, don't just assume you need to make x posts a day on every social media channel, or a portfolio that looks like your competition's. What you really need to do is know who you are. Know what matters to you. Chase what excites you and build from there. Look for like minded people. Reach out. Ask them questions. Listen. Genuinely get to know them. Strive to give more than you take. Leave things better than you found them. Reflect. Reiterate. Wear your past mistakes proudly and do better in the future. If you simply keep your word and do what you say you'll do, you're head and shoulders above the rest.
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