In the music industry, being self-employed is extremely common. Many music business professionals set up their own company, while others simply choose to freelance.
Setting up your own company seems very enticing at the beginning, and it does work well. However, it’s a lot of admin work. People don’t want to follow companies on Twitter, let alone part with their money in exchange for services from them.
On the other hand, freelancing allows you to use your personal brand which is usually much more social media and client friendly. Freelancing can give multi-skilled professionals the flexibility to do the work they want, when they want. It’s very common for freelancers to offer several different services to a variety of different companies.The money and workload varies greatly and it can be an unpredictable career path, but once you’ve built your client base you can become a lot more stable in your work.
When I first encountered the music industry, I used a business brand: Aysh Cream Entertainment. It started off as a music blog and eventually transformed into a PR and music marketing company. Before this I had AyshBanaysh.com for other ramblings, but I was set on not mixing the two.
Even in the early days, I always found it tricky to decide what to post where and keep the social media profiles updated regularly alongside the social media and writing work I was actually paid for. A few years later I added Eat More Cake to my roster of websites and everything just got crazier.
I was spreading myself too thin. For a while I struggled to keep up and market my own brands while still completing the projects I was working on. This in itself degraded the perceived quality of my work- why would you trust someone with your marketing if they can’t even market their own stuff?
Long story short, I decided to get rid of Aysh Cream Ent and spend the time I’d have spent managing that working AyshBanaysh.com and the projects I choose to take on. It was a tough decision and took a lot of thought, so I thought I’d share my decision-making process for any of you struggling to manage both a personal and business brand. In many cases, it’s perfectly feasible to have both. However when you’re just starting, it’s a lot easier to build a strong personal brand and then, if you like, transfer some of that strength to a business down the line.
In all likelihood, you probably already use your personal social media profiles regularly, so by using your personal brand it means you don’t have to dedicate time to additional profiles. While you probably don’t use sites like Twitter as effectively as you could, a little bit of research and strategy tweaking could make that time you’re already spending even more effective.
As I mentioned above, people don’t want to follow companies. This whole industry relies on networking with people. It’s a lot easier to build a relationship with a potential customer as a person than as a bland and boring company. Your tone tends to be a lot more casual, which puts the customer at ease. Companies are usually seen as too promotional. They exist to sell, so that’s what they focus on doing most of the time. This can be off-putting for customers. However, there’s more to your personal brand than selling, which makes it a lot easier to subtly promote in every day conversation.
Using a personal brand helps you become better connected with your target audience. A lot of the time I felt like I was pushing against the tide trying to get people to follow my Aysh Cream Ent accounts when all they really wanted to do was follow and connect with me.
I find there’s a lot of shitty companies in this industry that promise results they can’t deliver. Trusting a person can be a lot easier than trusting a faceless corporation. Testimonials and personal recommendations from your connections and previous clients will help build your credibility and enable you to gain more clients. That credibility is then directly attributed for you and will stay with you wherever you go, whether you get a full time job at another company or do some freelance work.
You can just be yourself
No more ‘we think’ or ‘*insert company name here*’ thinks, it’s all about what you think and what you want to do. Don’t want to work on that project? You don’t have to. Don’t like that song? Don’t promote it. It’s much easier to share opinions as a person.
The biggest benefit of choosing to focus on my personal brand for me is all the time I save by running less sites and social media profiles, having to write less blog posts (which gives me more time to write for other places) and having everything I am working on all in one place.
If you’re struggling to decide between using a business brand or personal brand, or if your business brand just isn’t getting the results you want, consider focusing on your personal brand. You can leave everything for your other brand in place (I’ve kept the Aysh Cream Ent. domain and social profiles) in case it doesn’t work out, but you might just find your marketing efforts to be more effective when you dedicate all your time to one profile.