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How Freelancers Can Build a Strong Brand Image And Capture High-Paying Clients

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If you’ve gone through Zac’s free, but hugely valuable, blogging course (if you haven’t, sign-up from the sidebar) I’m sure you understand the huge earning potential that full-time blogging offers.

But reaching that stage requires time, effort and a lot of sweat. Almost every successful blogger has years of hard work behind him.

One smart way to keep the cash flowing while you build a full-time blogging career is to start offering services as a freelancer.

Depending on your skillset, you can offer services like article writing, web design, logo design etc. You can even get clients for services that you can’t personally offer, but can outsource them to other freelancers.

However, since there are hundreds of thousands of freelancers competing for clients on different platforms, the only way to acquire really high paying clients is to build a strong brand image that elevates you above ordinary freelancers.

Not sure how to do it? Here are a few tips you can start using straight away.

1. Don’t Call Yourself a Freelancer

Because doing so will immediately reduce your perceived value. The prospect will think of you as one of the thousands of freelancers that offer cheap services on freelancing portals.

As Seth Godin often says, calling yourself a freelancer will make you appear as just another cog in the system that has nothing unique to offer.

So start differentiating by not labeling yourself as a freelancer.

There are plenty of other catchy titles you can use.

For example, instead of calling yourself a freelance graphic designer, use the title “Creative Artist” or “Creative Media Consultant”.

If you’re a freelance copywriter, call yourself a “Creative Storyteller” or a “Corporate Wordsmith”

This immediately separates you from the crowd and makes potential clients think about you.

2. Adopt a Professional Outlook in All Business Operations

What’s the general perception about freelancers?

  • They’re unreliable
  • They’re lazy
  • They’re not professional

I’m a freelancer myself, so I obviously hate the stereotype.

But it exists.

To counter this, and appear reliable, you need to adopt a professional outlook in all your business operations.

This starts from having a really professional website that has details of your services, your professional background, your portfolio, client testimonials and other details.

For example, Neil Patel, a six-figure content marketing and SEO consultant, started off as a freelance SEO. But look how he brands himself on his website now.

NP

You can set up an attractive and responsive site using a WordPress theme or any other leading website builder.

Similarly, your email communication with the clients, the way you submit projects and how you send invoices, all these things represent your brand and have an impact on the client.

Always use a professional email address hosted on your domain name. Similarly, instead of creating plain invoices in MS Excel, without any branding, use invoicing tools like WorkFlowMax to create stunningly beautiful invoices that make an immediate impression on the client. It gives you several pre-designed templates that you can use to create professional invoices within minutes.

invoice-10

These seemingly small changes can help you establish a strong reputation with your clients and prospects, and help you grow your business in future.

3. Target a Specific Niche And Build Your Image as an Expert

If you’re branding yourself as a freelance writer or designer who can serve any clients from any industry in any part of the world, you’re setting yourself up for failure and mediocrity.

You’ll have a MUCH better chance of landing high-paying clients on a regular basis if you establish yourself as an expert in a very specific niche or a specific region.

This is the same approach that Glen Alsop (ViperChill) used last year to generate more than $1.4 million in 2015. He and his partner, just two people, created niche specific digital marketing agencies and acquired several clients in excess of $50,000.

For example, instead of branding yourself as just a freelance copywriter, you can brand yourself as a specialist real estate copywriter.

Or you can take the alternate route and focus on a specific region. For example, this web design agency even mentions its target region in the URL, Webdeveloper.Sydney

webdeveloper

The third approach is to target both, a specific region and niche.

When you brand your services for specific regions or industries, you immediately increase your brand’s perceived value. This gives you a better chance of landing high-paying clients because you’re perceived as a specialist.

4. Create High-Quality Niche Specific Content

There’s no better way to build your authority in a niche than high quality and actionable content marketing.

According to HubSpot, content marketing produces 3 times more leads for every dollar spent, as compared to outbound marketing.

roi-of-content-marketing

Creating high-quality content not only puts you ahead of other freelancers but also helps you generate traffic and leads for your business.

However, to make your content effective, especially blog content, you need to have the right strategy.

Here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Identify high performing and proven content ideas in your industry, using BuzzSumo or Ahrefs, and model your content accordingly.
  • Perform comprehensive keyword research before creating content.
  • Create eye-catching and attention grabbing headlines. Websites like Viral Nova and Wellness Nova have become million dollar businesses just because of their content headlines.
  • Use high-quality images in your content.
  • Use frequent data references and stats in your content.
  • Link to other influential bloggers and content marketers.

And most importantly, spend 20% of your time creating content and 80% time promoting it on social media and other channels.

That’s the key.

5. Build Your Credibility With Guest Blogging and Self-Publishing

Guest blogging might not be the ideal way to generate traffic to a new site, but it’s certainly effective when it comes to branding and networking.

When you’re featured on the best blogs in your industry, your credibility immediately skyrockets. You can use this as a differentiation point while negotiating with prospects.

videofruit

Similarly, if you’ve authored a book on any subject related to your core services, it immediately makes you look like an authority figure in your industry.

And self-publishing isn’t a big problem these days thanks to Amazon. You just need to write a decent enough book and publish it on Amazon so that you can call yourself a published author.

Your prospects would rarely buy your book to see what’s inside, but it’ll make a strong impression on them.

Wrapping Up

Freelancing is multi-billion dollar industry and there’s a lot of money to be made in it. But to really stand out from the crowd, and acquire high paying clients, you need to work on building your brand image and differentiating yourself from the thousands of other freelancers who’re offering similar services for pennies.

Blogging

How Much Confidence Do You REALLY Have in Your Blog?

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Watch this video I recorded in Brooklyn Heights today:

Sweet view, eh? I made a powerful point too. Bloggers sometimes boast of their confidence and clarity. Puffing themselves up, they believe deeply in themselves and in their blog. Critics? Who cares? These dynamos seem unstoppable. Belief! Success is on the way, right? Awesome. Then, after mentioning their blog in front of a parent or sibling or cousin, their loved ones make fun of “blogging”, telling these idiots to “get a real job”. OUCH! Like a balloon being popped, your loved ones took a pin to your ego, deflating you. AND showing how you genuinely have little confidence in your blog. Turns out, you feel filled with doubt and pure uncertainty about your blog AND in yourself, blogging-wise. This is a good thing. Critics trigger and unearth deep fears you need to face, feel and release, to reach the next stage of your blogging career. So…how much confidence do you REALLY have in your blog? Talk about your blog to friends and family members, or to strangers. You will find out. Fast. Because these folks are non-targeted and often highly NOT interested in blogging.

I recall mentioning my blog to my fam about 10 years ago. Before doing this, I believed I felt super confident about my blog and self. I BELIEVED in myself! Wild-eyed, ignorant, deluded newbie blogging excitement covered up the fact I doubted myself and my blogging abilities, horribly. After that little chat – even though no family member seemed terribly critical – I felt like crap. Awkward, and lost, my family’s questions triggered deep fears in me. I doubted myself. I doubted my blog. In truth, I had no idea what I was doing because I refused to learn from pros. Bad idea. Naturally, I gained confidence after this session – eventually – because I faced and felt doubts eating into my blogging confidence.

The quickest way to gain blogging confidence is to discuss your blog and what you do with anybody on earth, from friends, to fam, to strangers. Never try to convince or influence or convert folks, because doing so shows your lack of confidence. Let people live their lives and make their choices. Your job is to see how shy or clear you feel discussing your blog. Shy bloggers feeling awkward chatting blogging with folks simply feel filled with fear. Blogging fears need to go for you to succeed. Speak about blogging in public. Broadcast live in a public spot. Record videos in busy spots with heavy foot traffic, as I did above, in Brooklyn. Face, feel and release self-conscious fears that need to go for you to reach the next stage of blogging growth.

One way to be a smarter and richer blogger is by facing your blogging fears routinely. Speaking to or in front of fam or strangers about your blog certainly unearths some of those deep fears. Do it. See where you are at, confidence-wise. Being straight with yourself is hands down one of the quickest ways to accelerate your blogging success. Relax, share your blogging exploits and honestly assess how you feel, to increase your blogging success.

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Blogging

Writing: Your Best Blogging Friend

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Writing helps you succeed with blogging. Because writing gives you credibility. Credible bloggers land clients, sell eBooks, place sponsored posts and drive steady traffic, too. Write your rear end off. Write 500-1000 words daily. Write to be confident. Write to be clear. Write to gain credibility in your blogging niche. Of course, most bloggers struggle because few bloggers practice writing offline, daily. Bloggers only write when they publish a blog post or guest post. BIG mistake. Most bloggers publish posts infrequently, meaning you get in little writing practice. Not good.

Why do you believe you can just show up, write and publish a post and become successful quickly? If blogger were this easy, guys like me could have gone pro within weeks of buying my domain and hosting. Alas, it took me thousands of hours and years to go full time because I had to practice writing, creating and connecting to be REALLY good at blogging. Skills, exposure and credibility flow to bloggers who tirelessly practice all aspects of blogging. Everybody else fails and quits.

All money you make through blogging flows to you because people trust you and your blog. Writing skillfully – with confidence and clarity – is the only way people trust you and your blog. The more you write, the more skilled a writer you become. The formula is genuinely simple. But quite uncomfortable to put into action, sometimes. Few bloggers want to practice writing with nobody watching. Some bloggers foolishly skip writing practice because they believe writing offline for practice wastes their time. This is like saying you waste your time practicing shooting hoops in a lonely, empty gym if you aspire to make it to the NBA. NBA stars practiced 10,000 hours or more, often times in quiet, lonely gyms, and always *in private, out of the public eye, with nobody watching*, to become skilled enough to go pro. Expect to take a similar journey in order to become a professional blogger.

Writing is your core skill. If you write well, you make money online. If you write poorly, you do not make money online.

Buy my eBook:

15 Ways to Make Money Blogging

Every way to profit – out of these 15 strategies – can work quite nicely if you practice writing offline daily. Practice to become confident. Practice to become clear on your writing. Confident, clear writers write with authority. Writing with authority inspires trust in your readers. Again; this is a simple process. But sometimes, this process feels uncomfortable. Nudge through discomfort. Write, write and write some more. People who trust you based on your writing skills tend to buy your eBooks, hire you to coach them, hire you to freelance write for them and buy sponsored posts on your blog. Be diligent in writing. The money flows to you based on how much you practice writing. Plus, practicing your writing makes you prolific. Being prolific increase your blog traffic and blogging profits, too. No downsides exist to writing offline daily. Only upsides. So….write!

Practice in private. Shine in public.

Any successful blogger you envy now practiced writing so diligently that you would never envy their writing practice. After having written millions of words both online and offline, nobody envies the work I put into going pro. But being free to circle the globe? Worth it!

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Blogging

Do You Assume too Much?

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One of the biggest problems in blogging; bloggers assume too much. Perfect example is someone emails looking for your best sponsored post price. Right away, most bloggers fear losing money to a cheapie because they ASSUMED someone looking for the best price is cheap. Based on past experience. NO! Do NOT do this. Because based on NOT assuming, but being open and in the moment, more than a handful of folks looking for the best price placed orders at my full price, when I shared it was my final price. I rarely if ever assume because assuming cuts you off from traffic and money, based on past experience and future expectations.

These days, I am more in the moment. I am open. Let’s say a blogger quotes their sponsored post price as being $100. A blogger outreach service pro asks for a lower, better price. In that moment, you can do one of two thing: make a foolish assumption that the individual cannot afford $100 or simply share how $100 is your flat, final price. Assuming they cannot afford $100 INSTANTLY robs you of $100. I mean, instantly. Labeling their email as spam or being nasty with them immediately robs you of $100, based on your ignorant assumption. Choosing not to assume anything opens you up to making a quick $100. Wealthy people with large budgets sometimes seek the best price. Rockefeller would be worth $280 billion today – by estimates – and he balanced his books to the penny. He sought the best price but had billions to invest and did invest billions to be the wealthiest person the world has ever known.

This is why I wrote Creating the Mindset of a Successful Blogger for you. How you choose to think and feel dictates how you act. How you act dictates your success. Failures cling to the past and wander into the future by assuming future scenarios based on past experience. But wise bloggers remain grounded in the present, never assuming. Of course, many cheap bloggers willing to pay only $5 for a $100 sponsored post emailed you with “the best price” reply, in the past. But never rob yourself of $100 by assuming these folks do not have $100 to invest in your guest post. I leave no stones unturned. The way I see it, spending 1 second to read a “Give me a sponsored post for $5” email here and there is worth the “OK, let’s place it for $100” email I see more often these days. Assuming cuts you off from abundance. Being open-minded tunes you in to abundance. Make more money. Be open-minded. Stop assuming.

A few moments ago, our Uber driver told us he originally hailed from Jordan. He has been in the USA for 20 years. My silly mind made a quick assumption; he must live in NYC, like many folks do who immigrated to the USA over the past few decades. He still had a heavy accent. But I refused to assume this and asked him where he lived in the USA. He said in the same New Jersey suburban development where we lived. Small world! Not assuming opens you up to fun, fascinating experiences. Stop assuming online. You’ll make more money, too, and will enjoy your blogging journey.

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