Being a freelancer has its own advantages – possibility of earning more than a 9 to 5 job, independence to be your own boss, flexible work times at your favorite places like lake-side or a coffee shop, and a good set of perks. You could be the cynosure of many eyes, especially friends and relatives.
To be a freelancer, you just cannot quit your day job. It is important to have a client list that can give you consistent workflow. To build it, you will need to get noticed in the right circles. It is obvious that you will be getting on to freelancing sites to find work and good clients since it is the best route to take.
In this post, we will discuss a few ideas that will help you land your first freelancing gig.
On any freelancing website, the interaction is quite impersonal. The only way to create an impression is to showcase your capabilities in the best manner possible. The way forward is to build an awesome online portfolio. When it comes to choosing a provider, a client will always compare profiles and look at past work.
Since you lack the punch to showcase past work as a freelancer, you will need to work harder on the profile that will tell the client that you are worth the chance. In fact, if you have some good work showcased on other platforms, you can showcase the same here at Vulpith. Or, you can put up some work you may have done earlier in your day job depending on the legalese you may have got into at that point in time.
Make sure that your profile is lucid and shows off your best work, achievements in a simple and elegant manner. Do not brag or make the profile flowery.
Free work and Pricing
To fill up the void of freelancer experience, you can initially take up a few free jobs from the listing and offer a quick value, which is not harming you, yet client can taste your worth. In this context, some clients may not return, but that's ok. Remember, this is like a business and you have to offer some to prospective clients. If you are a designer you can help them with suggesting something on their websites, or tips on how to brand or design their visiting cards etc. Look out for startup companies, charity organizations.
Depending on your skill set, offer your quick services as a promotional. In this world, word-of-mouth is the best way of getting more business and it brings direct clients. Hence if some clients don't turn up, still they may refer some others as clients, you never know. We are not saying offer for free and earn nothing. You have to run this like a business, not like consulting.
Coming to pricing, initially, you will need to keep a discounted price on your services until you are proven worthy of a higher price. Keeping very low price to beat the competition is also not a very good idea. Hence, when sending a proposal, keep the quote at a bare minimum price initially, so that the chance of landing the project goes up. Everyone likes discounts, make the most of it.
Build a reputation
The best way to build a reputation is to give value for money to every client. There are typically three types work deliveries; Activity, Result, and Value. Activity is just doing what is being told without assuring the results. A result is you get results to the client. Value is much more than results. You see what the client need, how to minimize costs or improve ROI etc. We will discuss the above later in another post.
Once you complete a project successfully, you can ask your client to provide testimonial (apart from ratings). These testimonials are a kind of feedback or recommendations given by your clients about what and how you delivered the work. Work on the feedback for any possible improvements and put recommendations up on your profile and actually flaunt them. Whenever you complete a project, ensure that you get a feedback/testimonial from the client. The more detailed it is, the better.
Build a reputation outside the freelance platform by writing something about your industry, maybe an article or a blog post or giving some business tips, or writing some piece of code for a technical problem publish them on external platforms. Add those links/URLs to your profile in Vulpith.
Many freelancing sites offer webinars and competitions from time to time as a promotion. Do participate and ensure that you get noticed. We at Vulpith are also working towards offering such free webinars or skill training/ testing. Stay tuned. It is also a good idea to participate in external meetups and webinars that address your skill set. They will help to enhance your knowledge as well as give you an exposure to some of the most well-known people in your industry.
Use your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn account to showcase your skills and build a reputation there. Always post your latest work there so that you get a good exposure. Get some recommendation if you worked full-time previously. Add your LinkedIn profile to Vulpith. Get some recommendations there and you will see people approaching you for work. Having a good network is crucial for succeeding as a freelancer.
Success begets success, so don’t give up if you are not getting work. Once you have done the hard work and landed 15/20 gigs you will have more than you can handle. In the last post, we had discussed the importance of discipline and perseverance.
If you think I may have missed out something, please post in the comments.