There was a time when I thought I might want to be a stylist. I loved putting together “looks” out of the piles of clothes that I owned. I would spend an hour getting my eye makeup just right. Not for my friends, they were more interested in getting some kind of band together. It wasn’t for my boyfriend either, especially if we were just Netflix and Chilling (though that’s not what we called it back then.) I liked to make sure my outfits, hair, and makeup were a perfect outer reflection of my inner life. Outfits still are an important form of expression for me, even when I’ve got on jeans and a tee shirt.
I find that creating the look and feel of my company is a very similar endeavor, especially since my business is Me. As a writer and secretary (with some social media marketing and web design thrown in) I want colors, fonts and pictures to be a perfect outward representation of what I offer my customers: Me.
I needed to see what other freelancers were doing, so I started by looking at Fiverr. I went with the intention of setting up an account and seeing if I could land any gigs, but I got distracted by checking out the other sellers. Many of the writers offer 500 words of original content for $5, and I’m not sure that’s direction I really want to be going. I’d have to write 20 articles a day to make any money at all!
One seller featured a video with businessey keywords flying across stock photos of business people shaking hands. While video’s are a great way to generate interest on Fiverr, the fake stock photos did not give me the warm fuzzies. All I could think was “Article Generator.”
Many more sellers use a picture of themselves. This is the direction I would probably lean towards (marketing wise), but I noticed that the snapshots lacked professionalism.
I got burnt out looking at the Writing & Translation sellers and decided to check out the Graphics & Design section. There, I found an artist who will illustrate a photo for five dollars. The style and feel of the illustration matches my personality, so my plan is to have this person illustrate my profile picture. I can use that image on my marketing materials and for my online presence.
Whether or not I’m going to work primarily online or primarily in person makes no difference. My online and offline persona, as well as my marketing materials, need to be consistent.
Branding is a long term game, and I’m acutely aware that I’m only in the Newborn stage of the process. It takes time to build a brand and a network, and right now I’m trying to lay the foundation of what I hope will be a successful brand. While I’m trying to set a tone for my business, I focus on authenticity, not stock photos.