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How On-Demand Workers Can Succeed in 2018

A new year means 365 new days to get things done. For on-demand workers — freelancers, contractors, rideshare drivers, airbnb hosts and other gig economy professionals — it’s time set a course for success in 2018 and beyond.

Conscious Personal Branding

The personal brand trend is over two decades old. But it remains key in business, particularly for on-demand workers. That’s not going to change anytime soon.

The basics of a personal brand are evergreen — define who you are, what you bring to the table, why you’re the one for the job. What has evolved is the increased competition for work. To stay ahead of the game, you’ve got to up level your effort. Figure out what you’re known for and how you can help people. In business, you might be known for graphic design, sales or project management. Tie these professional qualities into your personal brand and all that you share about yourself.

If you don’t make an effort to define your personal brand, others will do it for you. People form judgement and opinion very quickly. The default today is ignore, not to ask. We are used to receiving information quickly and will move on to the next thing just as fast if details aren’t clear and easy. Be critically aware of what you are sharing about yourself and how you are presenting yourself at all times — offline, online, in-person, and remotely.

Do your actions match how you want to be seen? Is that a differentiator that can make you chosen? Are you going to get gigs based on the story that your Instagram feed is saying about you? If not, it’s time for a change.

What do a bunch of photos like this on your social pages say about you? You may lose the job because it looks like you like to drink.

Elevate Your Personal Marketing

In the past, you either had a business card, LinkedIn profile, maybe a website or an active social network profile. Today it’s all of the above. Just look at the struggle that TV networks have: in the 90s, marketers could advertise on four networks and capture 85% of eyeballs. Today ABC, NBC, FOX and CBS are super lucky if they get just 20% of those eyeballs. This fragmentation means you’ve got more places manage your brand. The days of infrequently updating online profiles are over.

The audience is hungry, searching job candidates online is a standard practice. They expect to see a current presence. They want to know more of your story. Most of us aren’t hustlers — we have to do the bare minimum to keep up. To compete in 2018, you need to make personal marketing a priority. It’s not an option.

There’s a lot of overlap between branding and marketing today. If I could boil down marketing to one thing, it’s about attention. Consistency is king. Establishing and maintaining a presence is everything. If you’ve heard that marketing is about the “five Ps” (Product, Price, Place, Promotion and People), I would argue that it’s down to one: Story.

Figure out how will you stay in front of the audience and where you need to be. How will you feed the beast? Take cues from transmedia marketing to counter market fragmentation and use video — it’s one of the best ways to feed your audience (and it can be easier to do). Be active in whatever community your target market is in. Create a calendar each month of where, when and how you’ll tell your story.

Take 2018 by storm! Define your story, find your audience, tell your story. Repeat. Happy New Year!

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