The golden arches.
The red bulls eye.
That blue bird.
I don’t have to tell you which companies these images represent, do I? You just know.
While we easily think of multi-million dollar corporations when we think of successful branding, we need to apply those same ideas, principles, and techniques to the freelance business we operate from a home office.
Why Should You Care About Branding Your Business?
Regardless of the freelance business you run—whether it’s writing, design, VA work, or something else—there are hundreds, if not thousands, of other business owners doing the same thing. It’s a crazy and competitive business environment.
Creating and communicating your unique brand identity sets you and your business apart from the competition, according to LeapZone Strategies. Discovering your brand message is not hard, but it does require intentional examination of what makes you different.
When crafting your message, consider what problems you solve, how your business makes life better, and how your clients benefit from what you offer.
Once you’ve answered some crucial questions about your identity, it’s time to work on messaging. What makes up your brand? Typically, you’ll want to name your business, choose a tagline, and design a logo.
Name Your Business
As a freelance business owner, you’ll need to come up with a name for your business. You’ll want to choose either your personal name or create a business name.
Freelance Folder outlines the pros and cons of using either a personal name or a business name for a freelance business. Sometimes using your personal name can be perceived as less professional, but sticking with your own name doesn’t lock you into a certain type or kind of business for the long haul.
Deciding on a business name, though, can be a long and complicated process, as you’ll want to find something that’s memorable and creative that is not being used. Once you do come up with a business name, however, it is the perfect vehicle for succinctly communicating the uniqueness of your offerings.
Weigh all the pros and cons of naming your freelance business, but most importantly, don’t let the process stall the actual work you want to do.
Choose A Tagline
A tagline is a catchy slogan that becomes a recognizable part of your overall brand message: “It’s everywhere you want to be” (Visa) and “Good to the last drop” (Maxwell House Coffee) have become synonymous with the brands they represent.
CrowdSpring offers many ideas for writing a memorable tagline to set your business apart from the competition. Many effective tagline characteristics may seem obvious: it should be unique, simple and concise.
But the most important characteristic that’s often overlooked or misunderstood is that your business tagline should focus on your audience, not your company.
As you consider your tagline, go back to those questions you answered initially to discover your identity. How does your business help your audience? Use that information to create a memorable tagline.
Design A Logo
A powerful tool for distinguishing your business from its competitors, your logo can speak volumes about your business using just an image and a few words.
“I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time,” said Blaise Pascal. This quotation captures the difficulty in producing something creative in tightly-defined parameters, which includes logo design. When working with a single image that is scalable from thumbnail to billboard-size, a couple of fonts, and one or two colors, the task becomes quite challenging.
Creating a truly professional logo is best left up to—well, the professionals. Smashing Magazine outlines ten common logo design mistakes to watch out for. Make sure your freelance business logo is simple, timeless, and unique and that it isn’t a copycat—whether intentional or unintentional—version of an existing logo.
Evaluate Your Brand
No matter how young or old your business (and your brand), it’s a good idea to keep a critical eye on your brand message and identity, revising and fine-tuning as necessary.
The calendar gives us natural breaks in our business routine to look over our business. As you make New Year’s Resolutions, celebrate your business’ anniversary, or as winter melts away, take inventory.
Spring cleaning your brand, according to Entrepreneur magazine, involves re-evaluating your audience (including a shift in the clients whom you do or don’t serve) and updating your offerings (including which offerings to promote more or drop).
Intentional branding is crucial to creating a successful freelance business. Capitalize on what distinguishes you from the pack through creative, memorable, and timeless brand messaging, and keep an eye on your brand, ready to adjust it as necessary in order to maximize profits.