Branding and Marketing


Branding and marketing is often the first thing people think about when they “go independent,” perhaps because it seems like the easiest part of being self-employed. In some ways it is, but don’t underestimate the task. How you go to market is critical and can take years to master. Simply updating your LinkedIn profile to say “Independent Consultant” is not enough.

PICA is here to help. Our Founder & Chief Advocate has been helping independent consultants with this for years, and has coached hundreds of professionals on how to be their best.

PICA members have access to members-only content in this section, as well as web workshops, virtual roundtables, and PICA Office Hours. Non-members and members alike can access free content below, and submit questions on PICA's Facebook page.


Foundational Concepts for Every Independent Professional

To earn more and keep more of what you bill, you need to be a business and present yourself like one. This will affect how prospective clients perceive you, and by extension, how much they may be willing to pay. Regardless of how long you’ve been independent, make sure you fully understand the following foundational concepts.

Lifecycle Stage Title Description
What/Who is a Professional Independent Consultant? As we go to market or talk about ourselves, we need to convey three key elements. This article explains what they are and offers suggestions to help you walk the talk.
Temporary Employee vs. Independent Contractor Whether you call yourself a consultant, contractor, or freelancer, the only status that matters is how you are classified and paid. Be sure you understand the various labels and terms so you know how to position yourself for success.
Consultant, Contractor, Freelancer: Labels Matter! The terms you use impact how potential clients perceive you, how they pay you, and even how much they're willing to pay.
One Easy Step to a Professional Image Every self-employed consultant should follow this advice from PICA's chief advocate, yet many established consultants don't. If you want to be taken seriously as a consultant, read this!
As we go to market or talk about ourselves, we need to convey three key elements. This article explains what they are and offers suggestions to help you "walk the talk."
Whether you call yourself a consultant, contractor, or freelancer, the only status that matters is how you are classified and paid. Be sure you understand the various labels and terms so you know how to position yourself for success.
The terms you use impact how potential clients perceive you, how they pay you, and even how much they're willing to pay.
Every self-employed consultant should follow this advice from PICA's chief advocate, yet many established consultants don't. If you want to be taken seriously as a consultant, read this!

Resources on Branding and Marketing

At PICA we regularly add new content and virtual events to help you go deeper on these topics. Below are resources to help you define and refine your go-to-market strategy, arranged by the lifecycle stages of exploring, emerging or firmly established as an independent consultant.

Lifecycle Stage Title Description
To Be or Not to Be an Independent Consultant If you're thinking about "making the leap" this article by PICA's Chief Advocate will help you think through the pros and cons.
Registering Your DBA (Doing Business As) Once you've selected a name for your business, find out if you need a DBA and if so, how to get one.              
Know Your Niche Don't make the mistake of marketing yourself as a "jack of all trades." PICA's Chief Advocate explains why knowing your niche is critical, and offers tips for figuring it out.
Why Personal Branding is Vital and How to Do It Consciously create your brand so you become known for something. This helps clients think of you and their colleagues refer you.
Creating Your Consulting Résumé Even if you have a website and an all-star LinkedIn profile, you should still have a resume. Know how a consulting resume is different than a traditional one, and get tips for creating a strong one.
Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile for Independent Consulting Your LinkedIn profile is your #1 marketing tool since 95% of your potential clients will view it. Learn how to make the most of it!
Use Work Samples to Seal the Deal PICA's Chief Advocate explains how to use samples to demystify what you do to help you win the work.
Shift Your Perspective to Make Business Development Easier Most consultants struggle with business development. A simple shift in thinking can make this easier.
Quote Your Billing Rate with Confidence No matter how you price your services and expertise, confidence is key. PICA's Chief Advocate offers tips and advice.
If you're thinking about "making the leap" this article by PICA's Chief Advocate will help you think through the pros and cons.
PICA's Chief Advocate offers tips on two interrelated topics: what to keep track of so you pay less tax, and how to set up your business for success.
Don't make the mistake of marketing yourself as a "jack of all trades." PICA's Chief Advocate explains why knowing your niche is critical, and offers tips for figuring it out.
Consciously create your brand so you become known for something. This helps clients think of you and their colleagues refer you.
Even if you have a website and an all-star LinkedIn profile, you should still have a resume. Know how a consulting resume is different than a traditional one, and get tips for creating a strong one.
Your LinkedIn profile is your #1 marketing tool since 95% of your potential clients will view it. Learn how to make the most of it!
PICA's Chief Advocate explains how to use samples to demystify what you do to help you win the work.
Most consultants struggle with business development. A simple shift in thinking can make this easier.
No matter how you price your services and expertise, confidence is key. PICA's Chief Advocate offers tips and advice.

Related Tools, Services, and Events

Lifecycle Stage Tool/Service/Event Description

Web Workshop: Know Your Niche
Offered several times a year; see our calendar

PICA's Chief Advocate explains why knowing your niche is critical, offers tips for figuring it out, and answers your questions.
Tool: Figure Out Your Niche
Download the tool
Use this worksheet to help zero in on what you're really good at, why, and in what situations.
Virtual Roundtable: Branding to Build Your Business
Offered several times a year; see our calendar
Get your questions answered about how to better position yourself in the market. (This virtual conversation with PICA's Chief Advocate is limited to 20 PICA members at the All-In level.)
Web Workshop: How to Create Your Consulting Website
Offered several times a year; see our calendar
If you're running a business, you've got to have a website. If you don't yet have one, or need to improve the one you've got, you'll learn a lot from Jared Gold of WebsiteByTonight in this 1-hour interactive session.
Tool: How to Build Your Website

Download the tool

This 4-page checklist will help you plan and organize your content, as well as where to get photos and what platform to use.
Partner Service: Catalant
For project opportunities, explore Catalant's website
Supplement your project pipeline with Catalant's online platform. Search and bid on projects for Fortune 1000 companies.
Tool: How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile for Independent Consulting
Download the tool
This 14-page guide gives step-by-step instructions to help you present yourself online to prospective clients and colleagues.
Web Workshop: Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile for Independent Consulting
Offered several times a year; see our calendar
Position yourself for success by getting tips and live advice from PICA's Chief Advocate.
Partner Service: LegalZoom
Register your business name or secure a trademark; start here
If you're a PICA member at the Pro+Legal or All-In level, you'll save 15% on LegalZoom products and services such as forming a legal entity or consulting with an independent attorney through LegalZoom’s attorney network.* 

Web Workshop: Know Your Niche

Offered several times a year; see our Calendar

PICA's Chief Advocate explains why knowing your niche is critical, offers tips for figuring it out, and answers your questions.

Tool: Figure Out Your Niche

Download the tool

Use this worksheet to help zero in on what you're really good at, why, and in what situations.

Virtual Roundtable: Branding to Build Your Business

Offered several times a year; see our Calendar

Get your questions answered about how to better position yourself in the market. (This virtual conversation with PICA's Chief Advocate is limited to 20 PICA members at the All-In level.)

Web Workshop: How to Create Your Consulting Website

Offered several times a year; see our Calendar

If you're running a business, you've got to have a website. If you don't yet have one, or need to improve the one you've got, you'll learn a lot from Jared Gold of WebsiteByTonight in this 1-hour interactive session.

Tool: How to Build Your Website

Download the tool

This 4-page checklist will help you plan and organize your content, as well as where to get photos and what platform to use.

Partner Service: Catalant

For project opportunities, explore Catalant's website

Supplement your project pipeline with Catalant's online platform. Search and bid on projects for Fortune 1000 companies.

Tool: How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile for Independent Consulting

Download the tool

This 14-page guide gives step-by-step instructions to help you present yourself online to prospective clients and colleagues.

Web Workshop: Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile for Independent Consulting

Consulting Offered several times a year; see our Calendar

Position yourself for success by getting tips and live advice from PICA's Chief Advocate.

Partner Service: LegalZoom

Register your business name or secure a trademark; start here

If you're a PICA member at the Pro+Legal or All-In level, you'll save 15% on LegalZoom products and services such as forming a legal entity or consulting with an independent attorney through LegalZoom's attorney network.*

 * Excludes subscription renewals, third-party products and fees and attorney-assisted products. Discount code will be sent after PICA verifies membership.