Every freelancer has wondered at some point in their careers if they are doing all that they can in order to attract the best clients and projects. In order for a freelancer to achieve success, there is a lot more that factors into the equation than simply being talented at their work. They must be great communicators, flexible and adaptable workers, and keep a strong network to build their name in the market.
While there is never just one formula for success, we have one that comes pretty close. Here are our top tips for increasing your reach as a freelancer, and more importantly, landing your dream projects!
1. Tell the client how you plan to solve their problem upfront
The client is looking for a freelancer to solve a problem, or fill gaps that they might have. Most clients are either looking to hire a freelancer with a skill that they themselves are lacking, or to navigate time constraints, like in the case that they need to deliver a project urgently. When you explain the details of how you plan to help, while exhibiting your expertise and confidence, you will stand out from your competition and most likely get hired.
2. Your cover letter should be 100% job related – that means no canned responses
Do not approach a client with generic phrases like “I can do the job”, “Dear Sir/Madam” and “Please review my profile.” These are usually the first responses to get rejected. Try to include some specifics about the job so that the client knows you have read the description and are confident that you are up to the task.
3. Avoid typos by all means! Consider a grammar checker
It juz dusnt look profesional wen u send a client an email that containz speling errors. They wil hav serius concerns about the qwality of your deliverd work. But don’t fret! The vast world of the Internet has tens, if not hundreds, of grammar checkers that can come to the rescue. Grammarly, Hemingway, and Ginger are some of the best ones out there.
4. Make sure you have an up-to-date portfolio that you’re proud of
Bloated portfolios can end up actually hiding some of that amazing work you’ve delivered in the past. You would never see Ronaldo’s top 500 goals, you see his top 10. Those are the goals that make you go “wow!” and “that’s incredible.” Let’s be honest, most people only care about the first or top 3 anyway, usually skipping to the end. It could be the same for your portfolio of work. Refine your portfolio to include your best work in your chosen fields of interest. Quality trumps quantity, every time.
5. Accept jobs that you’re confident you can complete successfully – especially if you’re still building your reputation
Everyone is guilty of taking on something out of their scope that ends up stretching them too thin. Sometimes, that can be the right move for your career as a freelancer because it will help you grow. But always make sure it’s within a field or area where you have prior experience. If you’re a developer with years of experience in E-commerce and the client requests a brand new plugin which you haven’t used before, think of whether you’ve implemented something similar or understand the core principles. If that’s the case, you’re good to go. What you shouldn’t do is promise to be a freelance wedding photographer when you’ve never done anything like it before and potentially ruin someone’s most precious moments. Building trust and a good reputation as a freelancer means delivering what you say you will as efficiently as possible.
6. Make sure you agree on a clear set of deliverables with a set price to avoid scope creep
Make sure that you and your client are clear on expectations, deliverables, and pricing. Ideally, you should be able to agree on those terms in writing (email, chat, etc.) so that you both have a reference in case there is any confusion. If there is no clear agreement in place from the beginning, the project will most likely turn into something else entirely and it can become nearly impossible for both sides to be happy. It’s all about setting expectations and being honest from the start.
7. Network, network, network
Join meetups and find local groups of people who share your passion and field of expertise. Help out other freelancers by send them leads for projects you’ve learned about which don’t fit your skill set. Recommend other freelancers for projects that you are confident they would excel at. This network of support will prove fruitful for you in the end, because a lot of freelancers get hired through word of mouth and referrals. This is the best way to earn trust and build a solid reputation among freelancers and employers in your industry.
If you’re talented or have great skills, sign up on Ureed.com, the largest online freelancing marketplace, and connect with top employers from your industry.