Asking For a Friend | Chapter 17
Advice from Babe to Babe
Looking to take on some freelance work? Trying to bring your side hustle to the next level? This week’s edition of Asking For a Friend prepares babes to take control of their work, from pitching and personal websites, to the basics of branding. Read up, launch those websites, and keep hustlin’, babes!
The best way to start branding yourself is to define yourself. Just like any good business, knowing who you are and what you stand for is the foundation upon which you will build your brand and strategy. Start by figuring out the brand you already have by talking with family, friends and coworkers about how they perceive you. I sent out a one-question survey to over 40 people I knew and trusted, and I asked then to describe me in seven words. I combined that with my personal results from the Myers-Briggs, True Colors and Strengthsfinder 2.0 personality tests. Once you understand the brand you have now, you can then define what brand you want in the future and work towards that goal. What do you want to stand for? What do you want to be known for? What do you want people to say about you? From there you can map out how to get from where you are now, to where you want to be in the future. Then the real key (and hardest part of any brand) is consistency. To maintain a brand over time, you need to deliver a frequent and consistent message. Otherwise, you don’t have a brand—you just have a fad.
—HILLARY KIRTLAND, CONTRIBUTOR
Well, as any decent ad or PR person will tell you, the goal of branding isn’t to attract everyone; it’s to attract the right people who resonate with you and your brand. There are seven billion people out there, and no one else is you —and that is your power. All that being said, it’s still important to present the best version of yourself. Let’s talk through how to perfect and harness your personal brand with three easy steps: (1) define, (2) refine and (3) activate.
—MANDY SHOLD, So You Have a Personal Brand— Now What?
Absolutely. First (and most importantly), it’s a way to show clients what you’ve done. Second (and more selfishly), it’s a way to keep track of what you’ve done and have it all in one place. Third, the financial investment is pretty minimal these days. Sites like WordPress and Squarespace let anyone keep a digital portfolio for not too hefty a cost. Of course, you can always consult with experts to beef it up, but if you’re just starting out anyway, something like that should do the job. It’s really better you start it now than worry about playing catch-up later if things take off.
—EMILY BLOCH, BABE #201
Yes! I have experience with Wordpress and Squarespace and I highly recommend Squarespace. It’s very simple to use and set up, plus there are many free templates to help you save time and money. A website not only presents you in a professional way and allows customers or clients to find you via search, it’s also a great way to keep track of all the amazing work you’ve done, if you’re using it as a portfolio.
Building and refining my website has been one of the most rewarding experiences. Over the years the process has lifted my confidence and helped me refine my artistic identity more and more. It’s always a work in progress, but totally worth it.
—ASHLIE JOHNSON COGGINS, CONTRIBUTOR
Always! It gives you the chance to continue to brand yourself and showcase all your hard work. Plus, it’s easier than ever to create a beautiful website. Sites like Wix or Squarespace are user- (and budget-) friendly, and come with so many seamless options you don't need to worry about too much customization. Just make sure it's simple and easy to maintain in the long run.
—MANDY SHOLD, BABE # 154
The formula might change ever-so-slightly depending on the type of services you’re providing. But in my experience, a cold pitch is most successful when it’s targeted toward that client. Here’s what I do; here’s why you should care; this is who I am. Link to your website for extra context and keep it short and sweet.
—EMILY BLOCH, BABE #201
I’ve found no matter what I’m selling, the following elements are always in my framework:
Figure out your bottom-line-up-front (BLUF). Whether it’s the campaign idea you have, the services you want to provide to this specific client or the product you’re selling. Start there. Show it off with creative content, as a prototype or whatever you have to do, but let it be the hero of your presentation.
Provide your reasoning with this equation: what the research says + what people say = your recommendation. For example: the research says recruiting someone new can cost up to ⅔ of that position’s salary + your employees say the biggest factor to turnover is poor internal communication = save money by hiring my coaching services for your leadership team.
Always end with an ask. Are you asking them to meet with you? Look at your website? Refer you to a colleague? Buy your product or service? Regardless of what your ask is, make sure you end your pitch with one. You won’t get what you don’t ask for, and you want to make sure the potential client knows the next step to take with you. Never leave them to figure it out for themselves.
—HILLARY KIRTLAND, CONTRIBUTOR
Until Next Week,
—THE BWH ADVICE GURUS
Asking for a Friend is Babes Who Hustle's weekly advice column that asks and answers the work-related questions on all of our minds. Looking for advice and guidance? Hit us with all of your questions below and stay tuned for next Wednesday's edition!