Searching through the projects on Freelancer.com may seem like a freelancers dream. There are thousands of exciting projects at your fingertips. Aspiring freelancers often eagerly throw up profiles and start bidding on jobs that seem like a perfect fit only to come up dry. It can be frustrating to get started. Every freelancing website is its own beast. Even for those who have had success on other freelancing sites, gaining traction may take some time. Finding clients on Freelancer.com doesn’t have to be a disappointing experience. It’s important not to get discouraged. With a the right amount of effort, focus and a few basic principles you can unlock success on Freelancer.com
1.) Perfect Your Portfolio
It should go without saying, but a quality profile is the single most important part of getting clients. Even with this basic knowledge, it’s amazing how many profiles seem like they were thrown up lackadaisically. Blurry pictures and grammatically incorrect sentences send a red flag to potential clients. In order to be successful you have to think of your Freelancer.com profile as your place of businesses. It should be professional and well thought out. For those looking for a first-time project, your portfolio is the only way that potential clients can see what you are capable of. Even with the advent of remote teams and the rising popularity of freelance work, word of mouth and connections are still the most common way people get jobs. The more you can personalize your profile and get recommendations the more likely you will be to get clients.
Keep it clean:
Your profile should be easily digestible. Lengthy paragraphs in your summary section are a sure fire way to scare clients away. Keep your descriptions concise and to the point. Potential clients need to be able to understand what you are capable of after a few seconds of scanning your profile.
Provide a resume:
A resume is a great way for clients to get a better feel for who you are and make your skills more tangible. It is especially important for those freelancers who don’t have any previous projects on the site. If you have a Linkedin profile, consider providing a link to it in your summary or resume.
Create a portfolio:
Whether you are providing web design skills, writing an article or designing a logo you should be able to provide examples of work you’ve done in the past. Highlighting a few quality projects helps you stand out from the pack. Clients are much more likely to choose a freelancer if they like work they see on their profile. Note: It’s important to add a watermark or copyright to your portfolio links to ensure they don’t get used by someone else.
Continue to update:
There is always room for improvement. As you get more skills, complete projects and hone in on your Freelancer.com identity make sure to go back and update your profile. If you’re not getting any responses, consider mixing up your profile and trying a different format or rewording your summary and skills.
2.) Perfect the Bidding Process
Once you have a profile that you’re happy with you can start on the real work- bidding on projects. Odds are you’ll see lots of projects on Freelancer.com that seem like a good fit. Don’t be afraid to jump in head first, you miss 100% of shots you don’t take. The more projects you bid on, the more likely you are to land something. While going full force is encouraged, it’s important to make sure that you are putting out quality proposals. Using the same proposal for more than one project or not proofreading your proposals will ensure that they get overlooked.
Avoid lengthy proposals:
New freelancers have a tendency to get over excited and go in-depth on proposals. Just like your profile, keeping it simple and to the point is crucial. Freelancer.com lets you see how many other freelancers are bidding on the same project. It’s not uncommon to see at least 5 other freelancers place bids, only a few hours after a project is posted. Put yourself in the clients place. If you had hundreds of proposals in front of you, would you read all of them word for word? Your bid should be easy to skim with the most relevant information at the forefront.
Read the project description carefully:
Use the project description as a guide for writing proposals. Create a roadmap for the client. Let them know that you understand exactly what the project entails and see the steps that it will take to complete it. Provide concrete examples of projects you have done in the past. Choose only projects that are relevant and showcase your ability to complete the work.
Understand the client:
Freelancing is a two-way street. It’s just as important that you trust the client as it is they trust you. Gather as much information as you can about your potential client. Show them that you understand their unique needs by fully understanding the project and how it relates to their overall business goals. Taking time to look into a potential client can also help weed out sketchy clients and stop you from wasting time on a project that you don’t actually want.
Understand the competition:
Because you can see what other freelancers are bidding on the same project, make sure your bid doesn’t come out of left field. A little common sense goes a long way. If you see highly rated freelancers bidding on the same project for $10/hr don’t throw out a $30/hr rate. Make sure your rates are in line with what others are charging. In fact, it can be helpful when getting started to bid on the low end of the spectrum to entice clients. Once you build up a reputation, gain feedback on your projects and skills you’ll have more leeway to set higher prices. A few cheaper bids in the beginning can help you get the momentum you need to make more in the long run. This by no means implies that you should work for free or at a loss. The key is to stay competitive and justify your prices based on your past work.
3.) Stay on top of it
Perseverance is key! With all of the clutter out there in the freelance world, you have to let clients know that you are serious. Following up after you send out a bid is a good way to set yourself apart. Clients appreciate that you are taking their project seriously. It’s also a good way to touch on points you may have left out in your proposal.
Reply promptly to all messages and when appropriate provide links to other examples of your work. If you have profiles on other sites such as Behance, Etsy, About.me, this is a good opportunity to take the client a step beyond your Freelancer.com profile.
Another important part of success is staying active. If you create a profile and log in once a week to bid on a few projects odds are you’ll miss out on a good deal of work. A good way to stay on top of your Freelancer.com profile is adding their free buttons and RSS feed to your toolbar. Project notifications will get delivered to you real time. (If you are already running a site for your freelancing work you can also consider joining their affiliate program.) Adding the Freelancer.com button to your other profiles and sites is an easy way to generate more traffic.
Log in frequently, set your profile for updates and be a part of the community. The more you read project descriptions, view other freelancer profiles and bid on projects the sooner you’ll get the hang of it. Practice makes perfect. Put in the time and effort and you’ll be rolling in the bids in no time!
Most people have more than one skill set. Nobody wants to limit themselves by boxing themselves into one category but juggling everything from web design to air conditioning repair makes it difficult to stand out in a particular skill set. Imagine you are applying for a web design bid and your client goes to your portfolio and finds links to articles you’ve written. If your web design work is hidden, they might think you’re not a good fit. Consider focusing your skills on a few areas. This will make it easier for you to create a compelling profile and churn out quality work.
It’s best to focus on what you do best. Even if your skill set is vast, start by focusing on one or two areas. Makes sure your profile highlights them well. Once you develop a relationship with clients you’ll be able to branch into more and more areas. You’ll be doing yourself a favor by presenting a clear and coherent profile to clients. Be wary not to take on too much, too early on.
5.) Take Exams
Unlike other freelancing sites, Freelancer.com makes you pay for their skill tests. It can be scary to invest in skills tests without the assurance that you will be bringing in money, but many projects will require them. Again, if you are thinking about your Freelancer.com profile as your place of business, don’t be afraid to invest in it. Choose 3 or 4 skill tests that are important for the projects you are going after (this is another reason it helps to specialize) and add more as you start getting projects.
Freelancers who have taken exams are 370% more likely to get chosen for projects. So, while it may seem a little like a contradictory, bite the bullet and pay to take the exams.
7.) Ask for Feedback
With 13.6 million freelancers registered on the site freelancers without feedback or recommendations are easily overlooked. The first step in getting your clients to give you good feedback is to do good work, but it’s equally important that you were enjoyable to work with. Have a positive attitude and clients will be much more likely to send praise your way. If a client hasn’t rated your performance send them a little nudge. A nice thank you note goes a long way.
Practice what your preach. If you enjoyed working with a client make sure to write them a positive review. Clients want to receive the best bids, so it’s equally important for them to have good feedback. Writing a review for a client helps remind them to send some love your way.
8.) Over Deliver
At this point, you’ve secured a bid. You’ve set clear expectations and milestones for when work will be completed. Now it’s time to out do yourself. You’ve already done yourself a huge favor by laying out the terms, take this opportunity to show how awesome you really are. Deliver on milestones earlier than expected, be constantly engaged with the client and take your project to the next level. Clients will be impressed, eager to higher you again and tell everyone they know to higher you too!
9.) Enter Contests
Contests are a great way to lay groundwork on Freelancer.com. It’s a good place to get started when you don’t have any projects under your belt. You can earn money fast, gain reputation points and start building relationships with clients. While there is no guarantee when it comes to contests, it is a fun and easy way to get your foot in the door!
It may seem like a lot to wrap your head around, but by following these steps you’re sure to start landing clients on Freelancer.com. Don’t be afraid to jump in head first. Build a solid profile, make well thought out bids in specialized areas and build strong relationships with clients. There’s no knowing where the work on Freelancer.com can take you.
10.) Be Transparent
When you have clients, give them peace of mind in knowing that you are only billing for time you actually spend working on their project. Hubstaff makes this very easy to do – you can track your time with Hubstaff’s app and have reports automatically generated to email to your clients. Additionally, you can invite clients to view your work, and give them access to screenshots and activity levels of your time worked. Having this kind of transparency and confidence in your work ethic can give you the edge when it comes to winning jobs and clients.
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