How To Build Your Brand While Taking On Clients
If you’re currently trying to build a brand but you’re also working with clients to make ends meet, I get it.
I’ve been there.
When I made the transition from working full-time to working for myself, it was because I started freelancing.
I took on some clients and performed content writing services for them.
Then over time, that transitioned into Pinterest management, consulting, coaching, and more.
If someone reached out to me and said “can you do this for me” I would say yes.
I needed the money to pay the bills!
So pretty quickly, a good chunk of my time was filled with doing work for others instead of my own brand.
But I always knew that this wasn’t the direction that I wanted to push my brand.
I didn’t want to become a service-based business.
I wanted to get paid to create content full-time.
So I learned to manage my time in a way that let me grow my brand and still work with clients to make ends meet.
Now I want to share some tips, share my experience, and just talk about how I was able to get my brand to the point of no longer needing to work with clients.
Let’s get into it!
Before I get into the tips, I want to share my experience just so you can understand where I’m coming from.
I started my blog in October 2016 and at the time, I still had a full-time job.
And one of the goals with creating my brand was to be able to leave that job.
But I knew that it was going to take me a while to build up my brand to the point where I could quit and work full-time for myself.
But after a year of juggling both while trying to build up my income through affiliate marketing and ads, I was still barely making any money.
I’m talking about a couple of hundred dollars in 1 year!
So I looked into other ways to make money online and ended up creating an account on Upwork.
And if you don’t know what Upwork is, it’s a freelancing site.
I created an account as a freelancer saying that I was willing to take on my own clients.
And truthfully, I didn’t think anything of it!
Until one day someone reached out to me and wanted to talk about a possible job opportunity.
Within the next few weeks, I left my job and started working with clients.
RELATED: How To Become A Freelancer On Upwork
I quickly became a yes girl.
If someone reached out saying “can you help me with this” I would say yes even if I had never done it before!
I became a Pinterest manager, a blog coach, a consultation for YouTube.
If you can think of it, I was it!
So before I knew it, my services expanded dramatically but I didn’t feel like my brand was growing at all.
WHAT KIND OF BUSINESS DO YOU WANT TO BUILD?
But here’s the thing, I always knew I didn’t want to build a service-based business.
It was that simple!
And if you’re someone who is trying to build that kind of business, then this blog post isn’t for you.
I want to talk to those of you who are hustling to make ends meet but don’t want to be doing it forever.
Those of you who are working your butts off behind the scenes to build a brand you’re proud of while also doing what it takes to put food on the table.
If that’s you, listen up!
Right now, I need you to decide what kind of business you want to build.
Do you want to become a public speaker, a travel influencer, or a full-time YouTuber?
Do you just want to get paid through ads, affiliate marketing, and your paid products?
Or do you want to work with brands and land sponsored posts?
You need to be clear about what you want for your brand.
Because without this, you’ll be treading water and working with clients forever.
WHAT’S MORE IMPORTANT TO YOU?
Once you know what kind of business you want to build, it should be obvious what’s more important to you.
Building your brand in the direction you want it to go? Or taking on more clients?
This should be a no brainer!
But don’t get me wrong here, I completely understand that you need to take on clients to make money.
I get it. I’ve been there.
But that doesn’t mean that 90% of your energy needs to be spent on doing work for clients.
So here’s what I want you to do.
You need to create systems to help you be as productive as possible with your client’s work so you can save more time for the work that’s going to make a real difference.
To do that, let’s finally get to the tips.
TIPS TO GROW YOUR BRAND WHILE WORKING WITH CLIENTS
Now, this all depends on how many clients you have and how much work they require.
At this point, I’ve been able to offload every client but 2.
And at the start of 2020, I will be fully on my own, with no more weekly client work! Wooooo!
And honestly, because of the systems that I have in place, I’m spending a max of 4 hours a week on client work.
So you may be at a totally different place from me!
But just know, I started out working 20 hours a week for clients and I got it down to 4 hours because working with clients wasn’t the direction I wanted to grow my brand.
It is possible.
But you can’t keep spending all your time on client work if that isn’t what you want to be doing forever.
Let’s get to the tips!
1. Get your client work out of the way first
Let me guess…
You like working on things that have to do with your brand more than the client work you have to complete?
Am I right?
For me, I don’t really love my client’s work.
I could spend hours and hours working on my own brand and never be bored.
But with someone else’s brand, it’s often hard to feel that passion.
And I know that if I push off my client’s work, I will keep pushing it off until the last minute.
I will wait until it absolutely needs to be done and then I’ll be stressed that I didn’t do it sooner!
So, to save yourself not only time but also stress, get your client work done first!
I try to get all of my client work done on Sundays so then I don’t have to spend any time during the week worrying about my clients.
And then I also have a ton more time to just work on my own brand which is important!
2. Batch your work
This goes along with the first tip and is also, so so important!
Try to get all of your client work done at one time.
OR give yourself certain blocks of time where you’re working on clients compared to working on your brand.
So what I do, if I’m scheduling pins for 1 of my clients through Tailwind, I’m always going to schedule my other clients pins at the same time!
This will help you get in the flow because you’re doing similar things back to back.
And it will also save you a ton of stress that’s caused by jumping between different tasks!
3. Don’t be on your emails all-day
One of the easiest things you can do to make more time for yourself is to stop checking your emails.
Giving your clients complete access to you can cause a lot of problems.
When you sign on your clients, be upfront and tell them that you will respond within 24 hours.
But don’t tell them you will respond within the hour!
And then only allow yourself to check your emails at the start of the workday and then end of the workday.
This is something that I’ve always done with my clients and it works wonders!
It helps to set boundaries and let your clients know that you aren’t always on call.
They have to work with your schedule and trust that you will get back them when you say you will.
Plus with this strategy, you can better block your time for client work compared to brand work.
So my strategy is to get all my client work done on Sunday.
If there is a problem or something that occurs in the middle of the week that gets done, I will get it done!
But it’s not like every day I’m working on client stuff.
It’s just a couple days a week during the times I’ve allotted!
4. Be selective with what client work you take on
This is something I wish I would have learned sooner.
Like I said, I would take on basically any client that came my way.
And after a few months of doing this, I realized that it was making me miserable!
Because here’s the thing, not everyone is going to be a perfect fit for you!
You aren’t always going to work with people that love you and appreciate your work.
And you may run into a situation where a job is asking too much of you and taking up way too much of your time compared to the money you’re making.
This is when you need to be selective!
Yes, you need to make money.
But you don’t need to completely break your back while doing it. And you don’t need to hate the people you work with!
If you think that someone isn’t the right fit for you, don’t be afraid to turn them down.
They can always find someone else.
And if you notice that one type of client work is easier for you to complete and pays you more money compared to something you absolutely hate but do because you need the money, make the obvious decision and stop doing the thing that you hate and take on more clients doing the things that are easier and pays more.
But here’s what it comes down to.
Working with clients isn’t growing your brand in the direction you want it to.
So if you’re spending the majority of your time working on client work, then you aren’t going to be able to grow your brand.
You really need to learn how to prioritize, work smarter, not harder, and make the time for what’s important.
And if you don’t, then you won’t see the results you’re dreaming of.
For over 2 years I worked with clients to make ends meet.
And it was great because I needed that money and I was able to positively impact so many people and brands.
But it was because of the work on my own brand, building out my income streams, staying consistent with my content, and just doing the dang thing, that I was able to get to the point where I’m at today.
Officially offloading the last 2 clients that I have.
Just know it is possible.
And you will have to hustle to make it happen.
But it’s worth it!
Cathrin (Cath) creates content that encourages bloggers & online entrepreneurs to be themselves, chase their passion, and create their success online. 1 year after started her blog (TheContentBug.com), Cath left her full-time position working in the digital marketing industry to pursue her dreams of being her own boss. In weekly blog posts, sporadic YouTube videos, and constant talking on Instagram stories, Cath hopes to spread her story and be an inspiration to others who desperately want to change their lives.