Personal branding for freelancers

On Being An Expert & Personal Branding

What would it be like to be an expert? People would come up to you for advice and be happy to pay for it. Whether it would be for a one-on-one consult, buying your book or purchasing a ticket to your course; if you’re an expert, you can make a living. But how do you become an expert? When are you an expert? The answer may surprise you.

I was discussing this topic briefly last week when I was moderating the ‘Women in Media & PR’ panel at the I Am Tomorrow event. Because a while ago, I learned something. Just like with anything in PR, it’s not what you claim you are, but the truth lies in what your audience believes you are.

In other words: it depends on your audience. If you know only a bit more than the people in front of you, you’re an expert to them. You can help them in their journeys. You can share your knowledge and lessons learned from your experience. You can provide value.

I’m not the most successful freelancer the world has ever seen, but I make a decent living out of it and I got there rather quickly. In addition, I made sure all my work is location independent, so I can (and do!) travel a lot. This puts me in the position where I can help people who are struggling to get started as a freelancer and particularly the ones who want to do so while travelling.

Ask a 6-figure making freelancing whether or not I’m an expert and he would laugh in your face, but ask an aspiring digital nomad and there’s a pretty good chance he’ll say I may be. So that’s my audience, that’s the people I can provide value to. I created a Facebook group for those people where I share my knowledge. I give free workshops for them. I speak at events for them. I write guest articles on websites they visit. And I launched a course for them.

Does this make me an expert? I don’t know; you should ask my audience.

Now ask yourself: to whom could you be an expert? If you have a couple of years of social media marketing experience, you probably know a LOT more than the average starting business owner. Go to your local chamber of commerce and see what kind of events they organize for new small businesses. See if you can give a workshop there. If you know quite a bit about sales funnels, that’s probably more than the average Kickstarter or Indiegogo project initiator; create a Facebook group specifically for them. If you’re good at taxes and the administrative side of a business, you can be an expert to all the Shopify and Etsy store owners; write guest blogs on the websites they visit.

Provide value without expecting anything in return, just to get your name out there. People see my name, my knowledge, and my thoughts and if they like what they see, they’ll contact me. A couple of times per week by now. There is no reason why that couldn’t happen for you.

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