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Old 12-10-2012, 09:00 AM
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Default Appearance and Career?

Do you think your appearance online reflects how well your career is going to be? After marketing myself on various social media channels I have seen a variety of pictures under professional online entrepreneurs profiles. These are from people who are doing really well for themselves online.

What do you try to keep your online appearance limited to?
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Old 12-10-2012, 09:13 AM
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A number of the photos you see on line are not the actual person. I've known a few who pay for a head shot or use a generic free domain photo so that they still have a level of privacy outside the office.

Consumer Reports used to rag on things like that all the time. There was one huge ad you always saw in newspapers and magazines of an "actual doctor" and then the same photo was caught claiming that man was a real estate agent.

Therefore, photos really don't mean anything to me. I had to put one up at Textbroker and DMS, but I used a black and white image rather than color. For other places, it's either a picture of a beach, my cat, or my puppy.
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Old 12-10-2012, 09:13 AM
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I personally don't mix my personal life with my professional life online. My work ethic and experience speaks volumes to my clients. It doesn't matter what you look like, how your pictures look, etc if you don't follow up on deadlines and continually give repeat excuses for why work is not completed.

My personal life such as Facebook and anything else I do are well hidden. I do not accept friends requests from clients so that is not an issue. I do not post with my real name on forums so that is not an issue. My picture on sites like Odesk and Textbroker is a simple face shot. I'm not going for a modeling career. I'm a writer, so I put out there the same image I would if it was going on the back of a book or over a column in print news. It's the same image a magazine or other publication receives of me if they need one.

In response to your first question about your appearance online reflecting how good your career is going to be, I would say no. At least not in this environment. My clients care a lot less about what I look like and a lot more about the fact that when I say I will get the work done I get it done. I don't wait till after the deadline to give them an excuse. I get it done. The only thing that shows how good your career is going to be is your work ethic and professional behavior towards the client and their job.
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Old 12-10-2012, 09:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwinter View Post
I personally don't mix my personal life with my professional life online. My work ethic and experience speaks volumes to my clients. It doesn't matter what you look like, how your pictures look, etc if you don't follow up on deadlines and continually give repeat excuses for why work is not completed.
Exactly. Every client I've had makes it a point to send as much work my way because I consistently meet deadlines, use proper grammar, and check my spelling before I turn in work. It's always shocking to me how little some writers seem to care about those three points.
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Old 12-10-2012, 09:35 AM
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I am sort of in the middle on this topic. I think a picture can make a difference if you are aiming to attract clients. If your website picture is of you drinking or wearing a low-cut top, that's not going to help you out in any way. Sadly, there are plenty of professionals I've seen who have pictures like this on their profiles and websites.

There ARE also some studies which show that having a picture of yourself can sway some clients to hire you, because you seem more like a real person. Some people are still wary of hiring contractors they can't meet in person for a face to face, and it sort of compensates for some of that. But, I don't think you'll run into major problems if you DON'T have that necessarily. I don't have a picture of myself on my own website, and I've never had anyone say they wanted to see what I looked like. That said, I've never had one...so I can't really say whether I'd have higher conversions if I DID.
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Old 12-10-2012, 09:42 AM
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It is true that pictures could always be fake. I have never had a client come right out and ask for a picture. But, know all clients seem to want to be connect social media wise. I am often curious about the person behind the emails and do research to find out more about my clients. It helps me know more about what to expect. For example, if a client had a shirtless photo or a picture of them getting drunk as their profile picture I would pass them by.
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Old 12-10-2012, 10:27 AM
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I have a picture of me smiling on my professional-type sites. I don't have a photo of me on my website. I think that as long as you're reasonably attractive (as in neat and clean, with a pleasant expression on your face), you'll do fine if you put up a photo. If your hair is a mess or you look like you haven't slept in three days, then I would suggest waiting for another day to take a photo. If you're wearing a low-cut top and a push-up bra, then put on a different type of shirt for the picture. You know, use common sense.

While I know what just about all of my clients look like, I don't think I'd not work with someone because of his or her appearance. If the client wants to wear a low-cut top or has bedhead, I don't really care, so long as they pay me on time!
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Old 12-10-2012, 04:47 PM
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I'm very weird about putting my picture out there. I tend to think that people share too much online and for some reason, I'm not keen on putting my photo out there for the whole world to see. I don't think it really affects my ability to get work. If someone said they wanted to see a picture, I'd send them one, but it's never happened. I have met many local clients in person and they seem to prefer that,but less local (and international clients) don't seem to care.

Two things:
I have a local client whom I've never met, but his picture is attached to his emails and on his website. So I have a pretty good idea of what he looks like. He specializes in internet marketing, SEO and PR. I follow him on twitter and while his other pictures feature him in a suit, he's posted pictures of himself shirtless and tatted up on Twitter and as someone whose specialty is helping businesses market themselves in the community and through social media channels, I thought it was an odd standard to set.

I recently picked up a job on Freelancer with a client in Italy. He suggested we have a Skype chat, which I assumed would be just a chat. I have never used the video call option on Skype. I have no webcam on my desktop and it's just not my thing. I added him on Skype and he hit me up and asked for a video call.. I said I didn't have a webcam, etc., and realized how backward I sounded, so I went and got my laptop, which has a camera.He immediately called me before I could see how I looked and I was appalled .. he got me on a bad day. I usually shower, do my hair and even put on makeup in the morning. Even if I plan to be at home working all day (which is rare, really). This day I had not put on makeup and while I'd washed my hair, I had not styled it. I looked terrible and I was so ashamed through the whole call. Learned my lesson!!!

Deb
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:16 PM
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I don't think it needs to be professional, but I do find that people want to know they're hiring a "real person." That's why my social media profiles and website have my picture. I have 3 different ones I rotate. My brother's ex-girlfriend is a professional photographer and she took a few basic ones a few years ago when she was trying out a new lens I just happened to be there at the right time. I like them because they aren't a crappy quality picture you take of yourself but they aren't all photoshopped either.
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:18 PM
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And I am the same way with not liking mixing my personal and professional life. My business Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest accounts are different from my personal ones. I really wish I chose a pen name when I wrote my first article but it's too late now. So anyone can google me and see everything I wrote way back before I knew what I was doing. For that reason, I changed my business name even though it has my last name in the title.
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