Why your face matters
Growing up I had a few piano teachers. And, over a period of ten years I discovered that they all offered the same thing (how to read music and how to play songs), but they all taught me in a variety of different ways. Their service, teaching the piano, was largely the same. Their style of teaching; was very different. I warmed to some easier than others, and when I found the right teacher, I was extremely reluctant to change.
Social media didn’t exist when I was learning the piano. I couldn’t search my Instagram feed for each teacher and decide whether or not I’d like them to teach me. I had no idea what their personality would be like until I turned up to class and had signed up to a term’s tuition. It was so extremely different then, and things have significantly changed now for people running small businesses.
Last week I purchased some groceries at a leading supermarket. I waited in line patiently with my trolley load full of produce. The lady who served me was cranky and rude. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’d much prefer to have a friendly person greet me at the EFTPOS machine when I’m paying more than $200 for groceries, than a rude one. I’ll be visiting another supermarket instead next week!
I choose to buy my natural deodorant online. It’s not cheap, but the women who own the online store are extremely likeable and have exceptional customer service. It’s a great product, but before I’d even tried the product, I genuinely felt like I could trust the information I was reading. Their personalities were likeable and their story behind the brand, believable.
Why you need to show your face
So, you’ve decided freelancing is for you. You’ve quit your regular paying job, and you’re crossing your fingers that your freelancing passion will become your primary income. You’re feeling confident about it, but there’s a lingering feeling of doubt that sits in the back of your mind. You want to back yourself, you know you’re 100% capable, but the unfamiliar is slightly daunting.
You jump onto Instagram and Facebook and start following other businesses and freelancers, but the reality of your social media news feed feels distorted and false. Your confidence wanes slightly as you begin to realise the nuts and bolts of running a business, is so massively different to being a ‘part’ of a business. No manager to consult, you are the manager. No colleagues to chat with, you’re flying solo. No tech support, you’re it. No team meetings, just you and your fur friends.
At first, the realisation of running a business on your own can be unnerving, but in reality, these are the most significant perks of being a freelancer. You are it. The business depends on you. And sometimes you might wish you had an IT department on call, but the reality is, help is not far away. And yes, tea room banter and work friendships are awesome, but you will overtime create your own community of work friendships centred around your business. There is a true sense of freedom that comes with being a freelancer, and it is this that draws people to it, time and time again.
When the phone rings, you’ll need to answer it. When a query comes in via email, you’ll need to reply. When a comment is posted on your blog, you’ll need to respond. When an invoice needs to be written, you’ll need to do it. When a payment is overdue, you’ll need to chase it. When tax time arrives, you’ll need to lodge your return. When you’re having website issues, you’ll need to fix them. Nothing can be left unturned; the business depends on you.
When you become the face of a brand, who you are and what you deliver needs to be promoted. It isn’t enough to sit behind a brand name and only promote your products or services. This marketing strategy is long gone! People want faces and people want stories. You’ll need to show your face and let people get a glimpse of the person they might be dealing with. Highlight your strengths, showcase your personality and promote your brand.
In a world that’s so extremely fast paced with information so readily available, it’s essential that you stand out from the crowd. It’s very difficult for people to remember promotions they’ve seen, articles they’ve read or faces they’ve seen. On a daily basis, people are confronted with a deluge of information and breaking through this clutter and noise is extremely tough. You’ll help develop stronger recall and increase your brand awareness, if you show your face and provide meaningful and useful information to your clients. They need to develop a relationship with you and trust that what you’re offering is what they need.
It can be easy to think that perhaps, you are not enough. Maybe you don’t like taking your photo and would rather hide behind the brand name than promote your face. Or, maybe you think that the brand on its own is enough and that people don’t need to connect with you. Unfortunately, if small businesses rely on only promoting their products and services, they run the risk of getting lost in the crowd. With other businesses just a click away, alongside the constant clutter of information swamping clients, the risk is too high.
Your brand is largely centred around you. Your products and services are dependent on you. You are it. Small business owners now have the opportunity to promote themselves better than ever, enabling a faster and stronger business interaction before they’ve even sold a product of service. Creating a positive brand experience starts and ends with you, so don’t shy away from the potential this offers.