The US independent worker population numbered 64.6 million in 2022, a 26% increase over 2021, which at 51.1 million showed 34% growth over 2020. Such impressive growth points to fundamental changes in the workforce as more and more enterprises strategically deploy independents to boost business growth and competitive advantage.
While this is great news for independents, it can also pose challenges. Bigger numbers mean stiffer competition for many skill areas and especially for high-value projects. You need to find ways to stand out and attract the kind of business you want. One of those ways is to create your own brand.
What is a Brand?
The American Marketing Association defines a brand as “a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s goods or service as distinct from those of other sellers.”
A well-conceived brand:
- Sets you apart from other independents
- Tells prospects and clients what they can expect from your services
- Communicate a lot of information about your services at a glance
- Conveys the benefit of working with you
- Helps prospects and clients make an association in their minds about your work
Your independent professional brand is comprised of:
- Your name, either your own or one that represents you as a company
- Your brand statement, which expresses what you offer, who you offer to, and how you are different from other independents
- Your brand voice, the tone you use in communications that is authentic for you and aligns with your target market
- Logo, a graphic or distinctive typeface that is unique to your business and reflects your brand statement
- Tagline, a short sentence or phrase that conveys the distinct value of your services
There is no single “right answer” when it comes to creating your brand. As in independent, this is your personal brand, expressing your personality and work quality in a way that resonates with your target market.
Why You Need an Independent Professional Brand
Creating and expressing your brand can help accelerate business growth by helping you:
- Promote Yourself
Self-promotion can be a stumbling block for many independent professionals. A brand can make this easier by visually demonstrating your quality and expertise.
- Connect with Clients of Choice
A well-tailored personal brand focused on your Client of Choice can help make those valuable connections.
- Gain a Competitive Edge
Leading with your brand can help you stand out and give you an edge over independents with no brand identity.
- Garner Trust
Trust is a crucial building block of any independent professional. By clearly expressing your expertise, your brand can build trust from the first time a prospect becomes aware of you.
- Move Away from Projects You Don’t Want
Independent professionals often must accept projects that aren’t ideal because they need revenue. By promoting your skill and expertise through your brand, you can move away from less desirable projects, and toward the projects you enjoy and excel at.
- Charge More
Clients can gain an immediate sense of your caliber as an independent professional and mentally put you in a higher rate bracket.
- Make High-Quality Network Connections
Expressing your personal brand can attract professionals that align with your personality and style of doing business. Not everyone will become your client or partner, but they can help you build a robust professional network that can lead to better opportunities at a higher rate.
Your independent professional brand can turbocharge your business by helping you make high-quality connections and opening up valuable work opportunities. It justifies the time and expense of crafting an accurate representation of your skills, work quality, and personality.