In a world of freelancing and networking both online and in person, creating a personal brand is highly important. However, it's not as simple as it may seem - see how Stuart Baggs "The Brand" of The Apprentice manages it as he's torn apart by one of Sugar's advisors.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines a brand as:
A particular identity or image regarded as an asset:
"You can still invent your own career, be your own brand"
...so we can somewhat see what Baggs meant when he referred to himself as a brand. However, the way he carried himself did not seem so much like an asset, but rather a liability. Either way, we're not going to spend this whole article writing about Stuart Baggs. We've learnt from his mistakes and we're going to be looking at a few things that you can do to create your own personal brand.
Step 1: Understand your current brand. Simply enter your own name into Google and see what comes up. If there's nothing relevant, try adding a town or industry to your search. You might find Social media accounts, previous companies that you worked for, or even newspaper articles. If nothing comes up this isn't an issue, it means that there's much more you can do to improve your brand.
Step 2: Create a personal website. If you didn't show up on Google then this is a great way to combat that. Creating a website can be easy with services such as Wix & Webs, which allow you to create a website by just dragging and dropping elements. Alternatively, you could learn to create your own website from scratch or even hire someone to create your website.
Having your own website adds a lot of validity to what you're selling, and allows people to find out more about you, seeing your previous work and case studies.
Step 3: Creating social media accounts. It's likely that you already use social media, including the most popular, Facebook & Linkedin. However, depending on your industry different networks are more effective. Pinterest is great for creatives while Houzz works well for interior decorators. Reddit and other social networks can also be useful for other industries - so have a look around and try a bit of everything.
Step 4: Promotional products reinforce your brand. If you really want a potential client to remember you then they better have something to remember you by. Of course, we recommend promotional products, however, research has shown that promotional merchandise has a much higher success rate than other forms of advertising. Pens & USB flash drives are ideal for every company and useful to almost anyone. However, the best products are those which are relevant to an industry. So make sure to have a look through the store for your perfect promotional product.