Congrats on becoming a freelancer and joining a fast-growing workforce consisting of millions of people in parts of the world. Chances are you’ve decided to leave your office job to enjoy a more flexible schedule and complete your projects in the comforts of your own home, which is something that you should definitely try.
If you’re reading this article, chances are that your business has not been getting enough clients recently, so you need some tips on changing that. Well, whether you’re a beginner freelancer or you haven’t been getting enough business lately, you’re going to find some helpful tips here.
But before we start, you have to know the most common problems that many freelancers experience on a constant basis but you can solve by applying techniques we’ll describe shortly.
Top Challenges of Being a Freelancer
Lack of Clients
A lack of clients is something that many freelancers are struggling with, especially beginners. Unfortunately, there’s no advantage of being a new kid on the block in this business, because of the ever-increasing competition and a rising number of freelancers.
More and more people choose to be freelancers and leave their traditional 9-to-5 jobs. For example, according to Freelancing in America 2018 report – one of the most comprehensive measures of the freelance workforce – more than one in three U.S.-based workers freelanced in 2018, while the total number of independent workers increased to 56.7 million people.
Source: Freelancing in America 2018
Unpredictability of Income
“Many of your clients will need you for one-time projects, so the level of your monthly income may fluctuate,” says Chelsea Ann Dowdell, a blogger from RewardedEssays. “Needless to say, this can be a big challenge and a significant demotivating factor.”
How to Find Clients and Market Your Freelance Business
If you’ve been freelancing for some time, you know how frustrating it can be to have to experience these challenges. So let’s minimize their negative impact on your new and exciting career.
Technique #1: Make Your Freelance Profile Irresistible
Every freelance job site out there requires you to market yourself with a profile. Essentially, your profile becomes an online resume that determines whether your potential employer contacts you for an interview.
To make you a great candidate for customers, you have to make every profile element perfect:
- Your photo. Make it professional, so no weird selfies, let alone with someone. Dress well and smile.
- Your bio. Always write it in the first person, don’t brag too much and focus on your qualifications and experience.
- Your portfolio. Only showcase your best work there. Your potential employers won’t spend a lot of time looking at it.
- Your experience. Freelance work sites typically ask clients to leave reviews of contractors, but you should do it immediately after you complete a project. Don’t be afraid to do it because your long-term success depends on the reviews left by your clients.
- Keywords. For example, Make sure that you include keywords related to your industry or niche in your entire profile, especially in the headline and bio. For example, if you’re a content writer, you should include keywords like “content writing,” “marketing writing,” and “website content writer.”
Use a tool like SupremeDissertations, Hemingway Editor or GrabMyEssay to check your profile for any errors before making it live. It doesn’t take a lot of time but it can help to keep your image intact.
Technique #2: Craft a Winning Proposal
Freelance job sites require you to send proposals to clients to persuade them that you’re the best fit, so having a great proposal is an excellent way to maximize the chance of getting noticed.
Here are the tips to create it:
- Keep in short. Employers typically receive a lot of applications, so they don’t have time to read all of them. That’s why a long proposal won’t convince anyone that your candidacy is worth considering.
- Grab the client’s attention from the very beginning. “In many cases, clients won’t read past the first two sentences of your proposal, so you should be very persuasive from the start,” says Ethan Dunwill, a content manager from HotEssayService. “For example, you call a client by name or describe what makes you the best fit right away.”
- Add work samples to the beginning as well. To know whether you can do their job, clients need to see your real experience, so insert links to published or live projects you’ve completed to persuade them that you’re a great fit.
Additional tip: even having a super proposal template isn’t always enough to get a job. Some clients filter applicants by asking them to include a certain word or sentence in their proposal to make sure that they read the job description fully. Here’s an example:
So, read every job description completely before applying.
Technique #3: Apply only for Recently Posted Jobs
Every day, people all around the world post hundreds of jobs on well-known freelance job sites like Upwork and People per Hour. Since these sites also have thousands of thousands of freelancers hungry for work, a new project gets tons of proposals in the matter of hours (in fact, Upwork introduced a feature allowing clients to restrict the number of proposals that contractors can submit for their projects because of that).
For you, it means that applying for a job that was posted only a couple of days ago may be pointless because of all the crazy competition. Besides, the number of times you can apply to jobs may be limited (for example, Upwork lets freelancers apply to only about 30 jobs a month), so send your applications only to recently posted projects.
Additional tip: don’t be lazy to answer additional answers that a client includes in the job posting. Freelance job sites allow them to do so to get more information from applicants, so they provide an excellent opportunity to stand out among others by giving thoughtful answers.
Be prepared to answer questions like these (they depend on the nature of the project, but these are commonly used by clients on freelance job sites):
- Why do you think you are a good fit for this particular project?
- What similar projects have you completed in the past?
- What is your experience in this niche?
- Have you written content on this topic previously?
- Which part of this job do you think will take the most time?
Technique #4: Use LinkedIn ProFinder
Did you know that in addition to being a social media platform for networking, LinkedIn also has a freelance marketplace? It’s called LinkedIn ProFinder and you can use it to find freelance projects and submit proposals.
Your LinkedIn profile will play a major role at winning you some projects, so keep it up to date and fully completed. Since 87 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates, you should definitely make it polished to make a good first impression.
Over to You
With the number of freelancers steadily rising, finding work as an independent worker becomes more difficult. That’s why you should learn how to stand out and market your freelance business. Hopefully the above tips will be helpful to you to find more clients and build a successful freelance business that provides a steady, high income.