This was the question posed to a group of freelance business people by globally sought-after conference presenter on the subject of change, Michael Jackson, at a Safrea (Southern African Freelancers’ Association) webinar. “With 1.2 billion freelancers worldwide, nearly a third of the global workforce, we have to avoid being ordinary in a world of sameness. Competition is fierce.”
“We should package our offering in a new way for ‘business as unusual’ – refocusing, thinking differently and constantly reinventing our approach,” Jackson said. “We have to be one step ahead, quicker, non-anonymous, pushing ourselves. No one is holding you back, but you. I have relaunched myself – I am repurposing events and conferences worldwide, speaking less as people engage differently.”
“We live in an era of peak attention where people don’t want to read. We need to get our point across quickly and effectively. LinkedIn and YouTube are effective platforms for short messages and soundbites no longer than 1 to 3 minutes,” he said.
A three-pronged approach
Although you cannot find this Michael Jackson on the first page of Google, for obvious reasons, this has not held him back from effectively branding himself. Known as the Other Michael Jackson, he is a firm believer in a three-pronged approach, using his own name in positioning himself. This approach focuses on managing your image, branding and positioning – all being simple and consistent, crisp and clear, and smart and approachable.
“My name is my brand. Use your name as your brand and be proud of it – and add an impactful by-line of three powerful words.”
Jackson believes that freelancers should create deeper meaning by following this three-pronged approach – ultimately achieving professionalism. “Professionalism with sincerity has allowed me to blend in anywhere - enabling me to engage with people at all levels globally. Professionalism makes you belong in the room.”