Freelancing becomes an exciting career when you know how to acquire new clients. The customers who value your efforts are ready to pay a premium for high-quality work and excellent customer service.
Acquiring such clients is becoming more difficult due to stiff competition from freelancers across the world. While new freelancers face credibility issues, experienced professionals find it increasingly difficult to convince potential clients to pay well for quality service. However, some freelancers have maximized their earnings by positioning themselves strategically on various freelancing sites such as PeoplePerHour, Freelancer and Upwork.
You too can significantly increase your client engagement in freelance marketplaces by making minor changes in your approach as explained below.
Tweaking Profile Details
A freelancer’s profile consists of five broad sections:
Profile Image – Put your smiling face as the profile picture. The image can depict your profession, but do not include your company logo, group photographs, or selfies.
Profile Summary – Your profile summary should be brief, concise (no more than 150 words), focused, and error free. The write-up should compel potential leads to start a conversation.
Portfolio – A portfolio is a chance to showcase your attitude, aptitude, and the best work you have done so far in your professional career. Write helpful descriptions about each portfolio item. The content should highlight your unique selling points.
Education and Work Details – You should provide complete information that is relevant to your freelance niche. Don’t describe additional certifications or work details that are not related to your current job profile.
Skill Tests – For new freelancers who have done less than ten jobs on a particular freelancing site, the skill tests play a critical role in you getting new projects. Try to maximize your score in the relevant skills and then highlight them in appropriate bid proposals.
Bid More and Bid Early
On Freelancer, you need to place 45 bids to win one job, whereas on other sites such as Guru, Upwork or PeoplePerHour you need to place 10+ bids to get a new project. Moreover, you need to be quick and place your bid as soon as the project is active on the site. The reason why is because many projects get awarded within an hour or so of being posted on the sites.
Placing bids on old projects will be a waste of time since most of the clients choose the winners within 24-48 hours of creating the job. If required, do subscribe to a suitable membership plan to acquire more bids (or connects). However, never sponsor your bid for a higher bid rank, as doing so rarely helps. It is advisable to plan your bidding and working time to maximize your productivity.
Writing a custom proposal for every job you bid is painful, especially after knowing the low project award rates. However, a thoughtfully written proposal will instantly differentiate you from 90% of the bidders. Therefore, it is necessary that you spend some time on writing a winning proposal. You must read the entire project description carefully and look at the attached files before writing the proposal.
The plan should include:
- A proposed solution to the problem stated (2-3 lines)
- Queries, or more information requests that will be helpful in completing the project
- The price you will charge to complete the project
- The timeline
Due to lack of adequate information, at the time of bidding you might not be able to estimate the right price and amount of time you will need to finalize the project. In this case, you should specifically mention that the timeline and cost will depend on more information provided by the client.
Most of the clients on freelance marketplaces are entrepreneurs who are very price sensitive, so the pricing strategy will have a long-lasting impact on your freelancing career. Your pricing will also decide the project-award rate and, to an extent, customer satisfaction.
You should be transparent about your quote and the factors that might affect the final budget of the project. You must clarify your stand on the number of revisions you do for free, how you charge new requests, etc. If you charge on an hourly basis, you must be able to estimate the number of hours needed to complete a project.
Certain endeavors take their own time irrespective of how much effort you put into them. Freelancing is one such endeavor. There are no short cuts to real success, and you need to work hard to achieve your goals.
Over time, you also need to grow in your understanding of clients. Not all customers are equal. There are some difficult clients who will never be happy with your work, no matter what you do. It is always better to identify such people and say goodbye to them, even if you lose a payment.
Last but not least, you should always remember that “Patience is the mother of all virtues.” So have patience and enjoy the bumps that come along the way of becoming the owner, manager, director and hero of your life.
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