It’s no secret that the current job market can seem overwhelming and impossible to navigate. Most young people – even those with educations are obliged to take on unpaid internships for a time before they can even get paid to work at the bottom rung of their chosen field. A young person’s motivation to go to university, accordingly, is very low since degrees don’t seem to count for much anymore and you can develop specialized skills through online courses like Lynda for free through certain loopholes (the Toronto Public Library, for example, offers open access to Lynda’s content).
Since the economy in the west has been shifting away from labour and towards services – especially towards anything based online – coding, graphic design and savvy copywriting are often the smartest bets for young people at a loss for where to direct their energy.
The popular idea that every individual with a smartphone and an Internet connection unwittingly develops a carefully manicured personal brand may suggest that social media makes us incredibly vain, but it also trains people in the very useful skillset of marketing. In a world where you can’t necessarily count on a big, wealthy company for a lifelong career with medical coverage and a pension, the best thing anyone could do for themselves is sharpen a brand for whatever freelance service they are offering, or small business they are trying to grow.
In this post, we’re going to explore three things you can do to increase your brand visibility, whether it’s for a small business that provides real-world services or your own personal graphic design team:
Build an Engaging Online Presence:
Everybody knows that it’s important to have a strong social media platform if you’re trying to promote yourself, but a surprising number of entrepreneurs don’t realize that the utility of maintaining your accounts relies on how much you are engaging with others. Retweeting, giving your friends and acquaintances shout outs and seeking out kindred spirits who you could work with or work for, is the best way to network online and build up your name and reputation. So don’t just yell into the void, tag people, message people and cultivate a friendly charming voice that people will admire.
Make Your Branding Visible:
If you are a designer, you can probably come up with a cool logo for your business. If you work in the freelance economy, you at least probably know a talented designer who can cut you a good deal. If you manage a team of employees who are out in the field meeting with clients or providing services on site, arranging custom promotional clothing for your business is one of the best ways to cash in on free advertising. Having your logo on your business card is one thing, but having it all over yourself and your employees when you’re out in public will give you a nice boost in awareness.
It Used to be Shameless, Now It’s Just Smart
If you’re not willing to walk up to a stranger and pitch your services to them, you may as well give up. A cool logo coupled with a strong online presence are helpful tools, but at the end of the day, the face to face sell is going to make or break your business. If you’re doing a one-off gig for someone, don’t be afraid to ask if they have any contacts who might require the services you offer. If you happen to be in a membership based shared office for a meeting, explore the space and schmooze around a bit. Hit up the free juice bar and chat up whoever’s around. It’s not shameless – it’s smart.