An abundance of available skills after the onset of the world as a global village has pushed the boundaries of talent.
Constant fluctuations in the world economy have forced organizations to look beyond conventional hiring practices and seek non contractual, short term project based options such as freelancing.
As an up and coming freelancer you need to be aware of two things– there is a plethora of work available at platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, etc– there is an equally large ocean of competition to swim through.
This shouldn’t, however, dishearten you.
There are some proactive techniques and strategies you can use in order to gain an edge and bag your first job as a freelancer.
VIDEO PROFILE: A resume and cover letter are essential, but they wouldn’t be enough to make you stand out.Create a short, introductory video describing the skills you offer. Keep it informal and friendly to establish an instant connect with a potential employer. If you aren’t comfortable doing a video introduction, go for audio.
SAMPLE WORK: As a new freelancer, it is obvious you wouldn’t have positive feedback or a well built reputation on the platform to bank on. It is of utmost importance to build a portfolio of your best work and keep at hand a folder containing these samples. This would add a much needed extra layer of credibility to your profile.
THE PROPOSAL: Create your proposal wisely, this is the first point of contact between you and your employer. Do your research and make it as personalized as possible. Find out as much about your potential employer and the project requirements as possible. Refer to them by their name (look up their profile details). Avoid using templates or run of the mill approaches. Remember there will be several others, perhaps with far more freelancing experience, taking similar approaches. Be concise and straight forward. You’ve to find your own voice here and pick a way to positively catch the potential employer’s attention. Don’t forget to attach your video introduction and portfolio to this proposal
COMMUNICATE: I cannot emphasize this enough! Communicate, communicate communicate! Communication is always key. Let your employer know where to reach you and make it a point to convey to them that you’re willing to clarify all doubts and make necessary modifications and explanations whenever required. Be sure to state your Skype, Gtalk or messenger handles for swift and interruption free talk. This will not only give them a sense of security about the work being done, but also prevent pointless workflow delays.
GOOD FIT: Even before you attempt to send your proposal, make it absolutely certain you’re a good fit for the project. Your skills must match those exactly required to not just do the job, but do it well. I’ve often noticed freelancers send baseless proposals, mashed with exaggerated versions of their qualifications, which have little or no connection with the job at hand. Never waste your time and that of the employer’s by resorting to such a gimmick. In case you’ve questions about what exactly is required of the freelancer, do not hesitate to ask them directly.
RIGHT RATE: No matter how talented you are or how sharp your skills are, during the initial phase working as a freelancer,don’t be tempted to charge too high a fee. This should be a period primarily dedicated to deepening your roots and gaining a solid reputation. Be open to offering discounted rates and if you’re willing to work in exchange for feedback (and if this is permitted) make it clear in your bid.
Successfully establishing yourself as a freelancer may not be an overly smooth sailing voyage, but it isn’t rocket science either. Perseverance, a bit of tact and a positive attitude can most certainly give you the breakthrough you deserve!