I opened a freelance account many years ago. I didn’t know anything about freelancing. I was thinking that immediately after registering as a freelancer, I will start getting offers and make money. I had never been so wrong in my life. The first few years I didn’t get a single job. I must confess that I didn’t put much effort into creating and promoting my profile or applying for projects. I just added my skills and my work experience. No surprise I didn’t get any job.
Here are the top 7 things that helped me boost my freelancing career and make enough money to pay the bills.
- Land your first job– I was registered as a WordPress developer. However, there are thousands of WordPress developers who are more experienced and have a better reputation. The competition is really high and I couldn’t get any customer. I started to look for jobs that required more specific skills. Luckily, my mother tongue is considered a rare language. I searched for jobs that involved knowledge of my mother tongue and I finally succeeded in getting a job. I got hired for a Google project to record myself how I pronounce words in my language. It was a simple one-hour task and it had nothing to do with my goal to work as a developer, but I was happy and proud that I finally got contracted for a project. The most important thing about that job that helped me with my further career growth was the feedback that the client left on my profile.
- Get positive feedback – I ask the clients to rate my work and leave a feedback on my public profile. That really helps to create a good impression of a trustworthy and experienced professional when applying for jobs with new clients.
- Aim for long-term contracts – working with the same client for a long time is not only good because you have a permanent source of income, but it is also beneficial for your freelance profile statistics. You will increase your number of hours worked or the number of contracts (in case the client creates a new contract for each task).
- Create a professional profile – the profile should emphasize your skills and experience. Include a summary of your career highlights. You can add links to your Linkedin account or website if you have such. It is also good to have a profile picture. Accounts that have a profile picture are most likely to gain customers than accounts without a picture.
- Create a portfolio – For some jobs it is required to show samples of your previous work, and your application will not be taken into account if you don’t have a portfolio.
- Work on your proposal message– the proposal message creates the first impression about you on your potential customers. It can make you stand out from the crowd or be ignored. Most clients don’t like if you send them a general message that you copy/paste to everyone. Include something that is specific to the job you apply for. Give a short summary of your relevant experience, the deadline estimation, and the expected result. Clients like to work with freelancers who not only complete the specific task but who also give them ideas that are beneficial for the client’s business.
- Don’t apply for jobs that you are not sure if you can complete – I have done that and it was a mistake. I have applied for jobs without having the required skill or tools. My intention was to learn how to do the job after I sign the contract. I failed every time I tried it. Getting jobs and not completing them, no matter the reason, ruins the professional image you try to create as a freelancer. A negative comment and a low rate might have a huge negative impact on your freelancing career. Reviews and rates are essential for the clients when they select which freelancer to hire.
To finish, I will share the freelance sites I use:
- Upwork – the biggest freelance platform and my personal favorite. Most of my projects come from Upwork.com
What other tips and tricks do you use to grow your freelancing career? What other sites can you recommend? Share your experience in the comment section below.