This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send your blog post to us here.
You are the only freelancer in the world who does exactly what you do in your unique way.
So how do you let your potential clients know who you are and what you do in a way that feels powerful and genuine? How do you recount your professional history and products and services in a compelling way when your work isn’t there to visually speak for you?
Here are five tips for telling your story:
1. Carve out the time to get it right
You need to set aside time for yourself to craft your unique story. Take a look at your schedule and determine when you most like to write and feel self-reflective. Over morning coffee? At night after a day’s work? On the weekend?
Make it count! Schedule a few hours in your calendar and show up. This is a very important meeting you have with yourself.
2. Reflect on why you are awesome
It doesn’t matter if you hate writing, despise thinking about yourself, loathe self-promotion, and would rather crawl in a hole. Now is the time to pat yourself on the back a bit, reflect on all of the amazing things you have been doing and think about why you are so awesome.
Let’s get started. Answer the questions below honestly and with as many descriptive words as possible in a free-form style. Don’t worry about spelling mistakes or coherent thoughts, just write and avoid jargon. Be yourself. No one is reading this except for you.
What do you do? What does your work look like? (If you make visual or physical products, get down into the nitty-gritty and describe one of your most successful projects or pieces in great detail. If you offer services, write out the exact steps you take on a project from beginning to end with an ideal client.)
How do you do it? (List the cold, hard facts about how you do what you do. Take nothing for granted. For the makers: how much time does it take, what kind of materials do you use, what does it look like in space? And if you offer services: how much time does it take, what is your approach and attitude, where do you do it?)
How did you arrive at this kind of work? (What is your applicable personal and professional history that has led you down this unique path? What inspired you to start doing this? Go back in time and think about the days before freelancing, or that amazing project that launched you.)
Who are you as a creative professional and how do you want to be defined? (As a creative, you might wear many hats, but only state the thing that you want to be known for by your ideal clients.)
OK, you’re done! Save your writing and get ready to move on with your day.
But first, schedule a time tomorrow to review this. It should only take about 30-45 minutes. Do it. Show up. Don’t wait until next week!
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3. What nice things have other people said about you?
So you currently have a giant document full of information about your work as a creative freelancer that applies only to you. These notes provide the actual words that reflect your very own personal and professional history that drive your creativity and passion for what you create.
Next, you need to remember the nice and amazing things that clients have said about you and your work.
Write from memory, and if you have some great testimonials kicking around then copy them into this doc.
4. Show why you care
You’re more than just your work.
Your career path and personality make you unique, so just describing yourself as a “designer” won’t help you get new clients. Tell us exactly what you design, why, what it means to you, and how you got there. Give your clients something to care about and remember.
With that frame in mind, review your notes and take the first stab at writing your unique story as if you were telling the story to someone who loves what you do. Don’t bore them, engage them.
Set your timer for one hour.
First, clearly state what you do and the freelance services you offer. Tell us why your services are unique and how and why you do them. Next, reflect on any interesting tidbits of your professional path or applicable personal details that make you stand out from others in your field. And finally, what are the amazing results that clients get from working with you?
Sleep on this first draft, take a day or two, and better yet, engage the help of a friend and schedule in your next meeting to whittle this beast down to a manageable statement that you can use on your website and other marketing materials. It will also translate beautifully to how you talk about what you do.
You’re close. We know you can see the light.
5. Keep refining
The goal for the next sixty minutes is to finish editing your draft down into a manageable professional story that is engaging, genuine, and all you. The goal is to have one to two concise and powerful paragraphs that are malleable enough to share on your website, use in your marketing efforts and feel proud of.
Spoiler alert: this step really isn’t the last, since your unique story will be ever-evolving and changing as you do. Roll with it and come back to these questions often when you feel a shift in your work or when you know that you have something wonderful to add.
How do you tell your story?
Kind Aesthetic is a creative agency run by Sara Jones and Andrea Wenglowskyj that works with artists, creative entrepreneurs, small businesses and organizations who need genuine storytelling and beautiful marketing materials that are fresh, exciting, and engage their audience. We work with clients either through the DELVE Toolkit, a unique, affordable, one-on-one consulting program for individuals who want to hone their own skills, or through our more extensive, bespoke Kind Aesthetic services that provide clients with a stunning visual and emotional representation of their ideas to share with the world. Also, check out all of our DELVE services for artists and creatives, including workshops and events around New York City.