Once you decide you want to work for yourself, you will need to determine your both your brand, and how you will market your brand online. Below you will find steps to get you started.
Determine Your Strengths
Create a diagram of skills you possess. Use a diagramming web tool to help generate a chart.
- Determine the general topic of your best skills. This will be the main topic of your diagram.
- Narrow the general topic down to specific skills. Draw lines from the main topic to these topics.
- Break down these skill sets into personal rankings. Draw lines from the specific topics to these rankings. List ranking keywords like: expert, strong, good, fair, and poor.
Review your diagram to determine which skills you marked as “strong” or “expert.” These will be the skills you want to use for your professional offerings. Before you settle on these areas it is good to further your research. Start your research by asking yourself questions like:
- What strengths do I have that not many others have? (These are the skills you want to bank on.)
- What strengths do I have that stand out compared to others in the field?
- What is the market need for my skills?
- Are these skills I can do online?
To find the answer to these questions you need to do online research through search engines, websites, and social networking tools. If you are not sure of how your skills compare in the market, do search queries and keyword analysis. Use words that maximize your search query. Determine keywords that help break down the topic search further.
Do search queries for people who have:
- written articles on the topic
- developed well-established websites (study the features, fonts, images, content, colors, social interactions, business models, missions, services, etc.)
- a strong social networking business model and voice
Read message boards and articles, and ask peers on social media. Use tools like the following to help with your social search.
Make an ordered list of your findings and break your key areas down into sections of importance. Study your findings and determine your market and brand.
After you have determined the skills that you want to turn into your professional offerings, there are few more vital steps you should take to find your brand online.
Decide Your Voice and Style
Ask yourself questions like:
- Am I informative?
- Am I creative?
- Do I have a sense of humor?
- Am I analytical?
- What is my tone (Conversational, academic, etc.?)
- Who will my audience or clients be?
Your voice sets your tone. Your tone effects how your online branding is perceived: your writing, your client interactions, your social networking, and your overall brand marketing.
Decide Your Visual Style
Ask yourself questions like:
- Do I like clean white spaces?
- Do I like color? If so, which colors?
- What images do I like?
- What fonts do I like?
- What type of web pages do I like?
- How can I apply my skills to visually market my brand?
- Is my visual style compatible with online digital displays?
Use the answers from your online branding research to create your brand. Once you do this, use tools to measure your brand’s effectiveness. As you move forward with your online brand development, these tools will help you analyze your brand so you can tweak it as needed.