Friday Fusion: August 7, 2020

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What are your favorite marketing tools and subscriptions for your freelance business (especially CRM, CMS, social media management, project management, etc) and why?

Here’s a lost of marketing tools that Consulting Success uses to manage their consulting/coaching business — taken from their feature in StarterStory:

We use a variety of tools to run Consulting Success. One of our principles is reducing complexity, and we’ve chosen platforms/software that we feel are the easiest to use in their respective categories.

My favorite tools and subscriptions also tend to be what I find the easiest to use and has the functionality I need to deliver my content/products:


How can I build myself into a personal brand?

Your personal brand is how others perceive you.

Personal branding is the art and science of crafting that perception.

First, you must define what you want to be known for and how you want others to perceive you.

Only you can decide that.

But here are a few examples:

Example 1: David Perell — “The Writing Guy”

David wants to be known as “The Writing Guy.” Why? He’s loves writing and teaching others to write. He sells a writing course called “Write of Passage.” If he’s known as “The Writing Guy”, people will perceive him as an expert in writing — and are more likely to buy his course.

Example 2: Ed Latimore — “Stoic Street-Smarts”

Ed wants to known for the combination of philosophy and street smarts. He’s interested in philosophy. He grew up on the streets, where he acquired street smarts. This combination makes him unique. It makes him stand out. People who like this combination are more likely to buy into his personal brand — and are also more likely to buy his products.

Example 3: Me — “Websites for Consultants”

I want to be known as an expert in websites for consultants. Why? I love writing and designing websites. I also love consulting — selling your expertise. I want to sell products that help consultants build their own consulting websites. If I’m known as an expert “websites for consultants,” it will help my business.

Think about what you love to do and how you can help people.

That intersection is where you start with your personal brand strategy.

Second, you must “build” that perception.

I’m glad you used the word “build” in your question. That’s exactly what it takes.

Ed can’t just say he’s an expert in stoic street-smarts — he has to prove it.

David can’t just call himself “the writing guy” — he has to prove it.

I can’t just claim that I’m an expert in “websites for consultants”— I have to prove it.

Habits play an essential role in building your personal brand.

“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.”

—James Clear, Atomic Habits

If you want people to buy into your personal brand, you must take action to prove it to people. Over, and over, and over.

Eventually, they’ll have no choice but to think of you in a certain way — based on your actions.

In summary:

Your brand is how others perceive you — it’s who you are.

Who you are is your habits — the actions that you take.

By answering the following questions, you’ll understand how to build your personal brand.

  1. Who do you wish to become?
  2. What do you want to be known for?
  3. What actions can you take to become that person?

Do those actions publically, and you’ll build yourself the personal brand of your choice.

“Your brand is just a lagging indicator of who you are.”

—Naval Ravikant

What are the reasons for resentment against Upwork?

Here’s the cold, hard truth about why freelancers resent Upwork.

Most freelancers are terrible at marketing.

They don’t know how to attract clients.

So, they go to Upwork — which provides them with a straightforward means to attract clients.

Then, if they can’t get clients (or they get suspended, or Upwork raises their fees, or Upwork does something they don’t like), they take it out on Upwork.

I’m speaking from personal experience here.

I used to be terrible at marketing.

I had no idea how to attract clients outside of Upwork.

I was bothered by the fact that they were taking a percentage of my hard-earned money on every project.

But hey, they were providing the job postings, so fair enough.

Then, I thought: “Why am I relying on Upwork to get clients?”

“There are other ways to get clients. I’ll just do those.”

A few months later, I stopped using Upwork completely. I didn’t need it anymore. I became indifferent towards Upwork.

Being mad at Upwork is like being mad that you’re in traffic…but there are dozens of other wide-open lanes.

Upwork is not the enemy. Don’t waste your energy resenting them.

Instead, resent your lack of marketing skills.

Or, even better — improve them!

Upwork is one of many methods to attract clients. Relying on a single method (like Upwork — or any freelance platform) will breed resentment.

I need a website for my business. What are my options for a professional looking site that can be easily managed?

There are endless options to create a website.

I’ll give you three options based on my experience.

WordPress

Pros

  • Free
  • Highly customizable
  • Endless plugins to help build the type of site you need

Cons

  • Requires more technical skills
  • Can feel “heavy” or “bloated” (depends on your website’s needs)
  • Requires a lot of learning (or hiring a developer) to get the site you want

Webflow

Pros

  • Fast
  • Easy to use
  • Great looking templates

Cons

  • Lackluster content management system
  • Difficult to integrate eCommerce
  • Requires some coding knowledge add functionality

Squarespace

Pros

  • Very easy to use
  • Solid suite of tools (eCommerce, marketing, etc)
  • You can get a clean, professional site up fast

Cons

  • Hard to customize
  • Your website often looks generic
  • Slower website speeds

What you choose ultimately depends on the goals of your business, your technical skills (or willingness to learn and get your hands dirty), and your budget.