It’s not always easy to tell the world you’re wonderful, and while some are seemingly born with the ability to showcase themselves, others constantly need a little nudge to bring out their self-confidence. However, for freelancers, being over-modest or arrogant is an absolute no-no.
Let’s face it, work goes to those who aren’t shy about promoting their wares. However, it’s horribly easy for self-promotion to come across as over the top – or even worse, fake.
Here’s the rub: as a freelancer you absolutely have to get your name out there and showcase your talents – but it’s as bad to overdo the self-promotion as it is to neglect it. So, how should you go about singing your own praises? In this post, we give you six different ways to help make it that little bit less painful. Let’s have a look!
1. Believe You Deserve It
Before you even get to the stage of telling other people how good you are, you have to truly believe you deserve the credit. Remember, if you can’t take pride in your own achievements, who will?
There’s a great post here that looks at how to develop self-belief. Try to consciously work on identifying and acknowledging your past accomplishments (and how you achieved them) so you can easily bring them to mind when you’re feeling unsure about yourself.
Truly believing that you have the expertise in your chosen field, and also that you deserve your success, is the key that will open doors. It could potentially gain you new work, and could also net you more money for the work you already do. Having self-belief is also, naturally, going to increase your confidence and make you feel better about yourself.
2. Identify Your Expertise
Moving on, it’s time to look at what you can do to bring about the positive, practical outcomes we’ll discuss further on in this post.
Firstly, you have to think rationally about what you want to promote. Okay, you don’t like to boast – so just write down a list of your biggest accomplishments out of those you identified in our first exercise. Then, mix in what’s unique about you and your work, as well as some considered thoughts about the message you want to portray to clients.
Edit honestly and hard. Think of words that will speak to your target audience, consider what’s important to your clients, and decide what will set you apart. Choose your words wisely to showcase your personality and your creativity, and demonstrate what makes you stand out.
This exercise will also act as a great starting point for content on your own website – here, you can expand on what you’ve done and go into further detail about your greatest achievements.
3. Focus On the Client
One great, basic way to avoid coming across as arrogant is to focus not so much on ‘little old you’, but on what you can do for your potential clients.
Weave messages about your expertise into a commentary homing in on what you can provide for them. Base this solidly on the strengths that you’ve identified, researching your potential clients further to work out how your expertise fits with their needs.
Finally, another good way of involving your clients is to gather all of your courage and ask them for brief testimonials. If you ask in the immediate aftermath of a successful project, there’s every chance your client will be happy to provide a few valuable words of praise.
4. Rock Your About Page
Having said not to focus on ‘me, me, me’, it has to be added that you need a good About page for your website. Unfortunately, it’s horribly easy to write a boring and boastful bio.
For inspiration on how to do it better, look at these cool About pages. You’ll notice that what they have in common is quirky, eye-catching design, along with conversations that are easy to absorb – that showcase their expertise through client-focused messages.
Each of these pages also has a human element, whether that be an admission that the team are fond of music, cycling, tea, and beer, or have a passion for chocolate (the one time you can’t misuse the word “passion”).
What stands out is the confident tone each takes, applied lightly and with humor. Self-deprecation, in that “I’m not here to save the world, just your part of it” way, can work really well if it’s applied thoughtfully – as can brutal honesty (such as this example of a great About page by Sonia Simone).
Above all, your page has to be in tune with your personality and the services you’re offering. For example, you could get this across by talking about your journey, telling people about how you came to be offering them your services in an organic and interesting way.
To create the About page of your dreams, you’ll need to read a lot. Research acclaimed pages, get a feel for what you like and dislike, and think about what would and wouldn’t work for you.
5. Create a Compelling Resume and Portfolio
Now you’ve persuaded yourself that it’s okay to tell people about how good you are, you have to find ways to sell people on your abilities and experience.
A quick way to do this is through a free personal profile webpage, such as those offered by about.me and Flavors.me, which enables you to create a simple, easily-built online calling card. You can then link from these gateway pages to your website and other resources such as blogs, Facebook, and Twitter.
As well as your About page, a compelling resume and portfolio are also vital. For resumes, there are some great ideas floating around from Hellmann Consulting and Careerealism – and also see our own previous take for ways to shine on LinkedIn.
As for portfolios, Robert Half offers a good resource on how to choose your work, and there’s even a specialist ‘how to’ on portfolio creation from freelancing website Upwork. In essence, you want to feature work that really highlights your core competencies – think carefully about what’s likely to appeal to the clients you want to attract.
6. Listen to Your Instincts
If your gut’s telling you you’ve gone too far, and you’re beginning to sound like Kim Kardashian on a really bad day, listen to it. Hustle, but do it with grace.
Don’t forget, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with telling people you’d be a great fit for their business, and that you love your work. If potential clients then want to work with you, fantastic!
Use Bidsketch to maximize your chances of success if you’re pitching – the format will help you to sell yourself in an effective and positive way without going over the top. Above all, be honest and genuine. Don’t call yourself an ‘expert’ or a ‘guru’ unless you really are – and use the word “passionate” sparingly, as it’s very overused.
Selling yourself is a basic part of freelancing – no matter how modest you may be, you can’t get around that. While some ooze confidence, others seemingly have to fake it – and regardless of the source, the important thing is to do it well!
After reading this post, you’ll have no doubts about what it takes to put your best foot forward and sell yourself hard to potential clients. Let’s recap the six different ways you can promote yourself, without the element of arrogance:
- Believe you deserve due credit for your work.
- Identify and showcase your expertise.
- Focus on your client’s needs and wants.
- Design an About page that highlights your personality.
- Create a compelling resume and portfolio.
- Pay heed to your gut instinct.
Have you found an interesting and unique way to sing your own praises? Let us know in the comments section below!
Photo credit: ter-burg.