A question from Nancy,
I’m stuck with what title to give myself in my freelance business? My social network profiles tell the story of my work in words and my website does with sample images but when people want a one line title to attach to my name, I am at a loss.
You see, I have regular freelance clients who use me for graphic design and strategy consulting, others who strictly use me as their photographer and some clients that use all my services and call me their project manager.
Project manager sounds important but doesn’t show that I have any creative abilities. I know PMs who manage some really boring stuff in the financial world which is nothing like what I do!
So help me… What am I?
When we’re creative freelancers, it’s usually not at just one specific thing.
Most times it’s a mix of a few different areas.
Designer / photographer / illustrator / creative consultant / brand strategist / business stylist / project manager / art director / letterer / artist…
We’re torn between being clear to clients and potential clients about what we do, but we don’t want to limit ourselves and stifle our creativity.
Here’s the thing.
What we call ourselves doesn’t matter and people don’t care.
WHO we work with and WHAT we do is much more important (and meaningful) than our TITLE.
Here’s my 3 tips on how to get clear about what you do…
#1 Stop talking about YOU
No doubt, you’ve heard about creating an elevator pitch or cocktail line about what you do. You know, that snappy lil’ one-liner that tells people who you are.
Whilst this is great in theory, I’ve always felt totally cheesy saying it!
Rambling, scatter-brained line:
I’m Vari. I’m been a graphic designer for 10 years and have been a freelancer for the last 5. I do branding and some digital design oh and I sometimes mentor other freelancers, and hold some workshops and stuff… Yeah, stuff like that. Oh and I can take photos too…
Me, me, me, me and more vague me-ness.
Here’s the reframe.
Make it about them, not you.
The reframe formula:
I’m [NAME], I work with [DREAM CLIENTS] to help them [PERFECT SOLUTION FOR SAID DREAM CLIENT].
New and improved line:
Hey, I’m Vari, I work with entrepreneurs and small business owners to help them create the perfect brand for their business that’s aligned with their big vision.
So what if you do more than just one thing?
You can add this on after the initial one-liner.
So in my case…
I also work with other creative freelancers as a mentor helping them to start and grow a freelance business that gives then more money and more freedom.
What’s important to know is that this is never set in stone.
Your elevator pitch should change depending on the environment and who you’re talk to.
So again in my case, if I were at an event where there were lots of women entrepreneurs, I’d give the designer line up front and focus on that.
This is what’s going to be more relevant for these girls.
Likewise, if I’d been invited to speak at a meet up for new freelance creatives, I’m going to focus more on the mentoring side of my work. Again, it’s more relevant to the audience.
#2 Focus on what you want more of
In Nancy’s case, she’s offering a few different services to different clients which is totally cool. Variety is the spice of life ‘n’ all that but my question is this:
What is you’re perfect type of project or client?
Just because you do a certain type of project for a particular client, doesn’t mean that you have to offer this to everyone.
When you’re talking about who you work with and what you do, always focus on what you want to attract more of.
So if you’re prefect project is to work as a project manager, Nancy, make sure your bios, profiles and website copy reflect this kind of work.
#3 Create your own title if you have to
If you find that you have to give yourself an actual title, get creative and create one that feels right to you.
You don’t want to get toooooo creative with this though. To the point that no-one has a clue what you do.
Again, in your case, Nancy, you might want to go with ‘designer and creative consultant’.
Nikki Elledge Brown does this perfectly by calling herself, The Communication Stylist.
And my client Jamie sums it up beautifully with, Designer. Developer. Solution Finder.
Give it a try!
Use the formula above with the lil’ add-on if you’re the multi-talented type and introduce yourself in the comments below.