10 steps towards successfully landing freelance jobs online
Founder & CEO
2020 has been more than challenging in many aspects of life as we knew it.
By now, most of us have made our year-end reflections, extracting the learnings, formulating what we want to be thankful for, defining our goals for the new year and drafting a new work plan for 2021.
Last year was a transformational year for Wisar too.
We launched our subscription service to help freelancers find the right jobs online faster and launched our first 100% online freelancer training program.
Both activities gave us very rewarding learnings that we have summarized for you in this decalogue, hoping to support your career success as online freelancers.
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IT ALL STARTS WITH A LIVE PROFILE…
“Change is the only constant in life”, said Heraclitus about 500 B.C. A saying so valid still today, even more with the increasing availability of easy-to-access pieces of training to master any skill you want (who hasn’t acquired a new skill in the last 365 days using Google or YouTube?).
1. MAKE SURE YOUR PROFILE EVOLVES WITH YOU
- Keep your professional profiles updated with every new and relevant skill you have learnt and put into practice, showing now only what you have learnt, but mostly the results you’re now able to generate thanks to that new skilled you’ve mastered.
- Update your portfolio with your newest accomplishments, nothing speaks better for your work capacity that the results you have been able to deliver to the clients that have trusted your services.
- Make sure your clients leave reviews when closing a project. Even if the projects have been contracted in other platforms or offline, you can now add client testimonials to your Upwork profile. Make sure you’re experience and value is reflecting everywhere possible!
…AND THE CONSCIOUS SELECTION OF THE RIGHT CLIENTS AND PROJECTS…
You can always use services like Wisar, that discard automatically those projects with the lowest hiring probabilities for you. Here some of the filters we use and that you could implement in your manual search too:
2. DISCARD CUSTOMERS WITHOUT VERIFIED PAYMENT METHODS
3. NEGLECT PROJECTS WITH VAGUE TITLES OR SHORT DESCRIPTIONS
- You’ll not have enough information to assess you have the right skills to accomplish the client goals. You’ll most probably produce faulty. deliverables at the customer’s eyes that require extensive review cycles.
- You’ll make a lousy estimation of the effort required and most probably won’t be able to deliver at the agreed deadlines.
- You’ll end up investing more time in the project, blocking your availability for other projects and producing a negative result (financially speaking) if the budget is not adjusted (which usually happens in fixed budget projects).
We don’t want to be fatalistic here, sometimes you get lucky, the stars align and all the risks are mitigated to end up engaged with a satisfied customer and good payment for your work. If that happens, bear in mind that it’s more an exception than a rule. Protecting yourself starts with selecting the right customers from the beginning.
On a positive note, there’s less competition out of the lazy-freelancers grass. Since many opt for the fast proposal to short description projects, you’ll find a lower volume of proposals presented in projects with long and detailed descriptions. Worth it to try, low hanging fruits here!
4. RESIST THE TEMPTATION TO CONQUER THE LOW-BUDGET SPACE
Wisar.pro adds the offer of multiple freelance jobs platforms, allowing independent workers to find opportunities 50% faster thanks to smart filtering and the use of artificial intelligence algorithms.
… WORTH TO PREPARE COMPELLING PROPOSALS FOR…
Many freelancers are reluctant to present proposals when the information is not 100% available to understand the full scope of the projects.
Even if we focused on well-written proposals, all the required information to assess a project is not always available. This could be due to confidentiality purposes or even to lack of knowledge from the client who needs your expert support to finish defining the project. Sometimes, the client knows the result he wants to accomplish but fails to know in detail the hows and whens to get there.
Think about proposals as door openers and prepare them not to win the contract immediately, but to win an interaction with the client to clarify, re-assess your fit and negotiate the terms of your future work. Some actions to build doors opening proposals are:
5. GO RIGHT TO THE POINT WITHOUT EXCESSIVE FORMALITIES
• Don’t use valuable space in excessive greetings (“Hello,
• Be kind but avoid non-value-added sentences (“I have read your project and found it very interesting…”). It’s expected that you read a project before presenting a proposal, and no one presents a proposal if the project doesn’t interest him.
• Make an impact from the first line of contact, get straight to the point and show the value you bring with the experience you have. How about starting with “Hi, I’ve completed x projects using my x skills, I have what is needed to deliver your project successfully…”
6. DON'T FALL IN THE COPY/PASTE TRAP
There’s nothing more frustrating for a client that losing time reading proposals that show little alignment with the project description (even more if the description has been carefully written). Customizing your proposals by mentioning the needs described by the customer and how your experience fits within those is a sign of respect, seriousness and commitment with your time and results. It’s also a good practice, since writing a conscious proposal allows you to reflect in detail on the project and validate if it’s really a good fit for you.
You can even make questions to open the conversation, they don’t only show your interest and your real understanding of the subject, but also act as a call-to-action triggering the customer engagement.
7. SAMPLE AND TRACE: SHOW YOUR CAPABILITIES AND MEASURE YOUR IMPACT
You can even use traceable links (with UTMs and/or bit.ly, for example) to measure the effectiveness of this action by observing the open rates of your links. This would give you a better hint that the 0 feedback you may be getting from the platforms once a proposal has been submitted.
8. SET THE RIGHT PRICE POINT
Defining your prices well is key to present a compelling proposal, as much as helping the client to understand the rationals behind them.
Especially for fixed budget projects, building a good structure of milestones helps the clients to see the value attached to every activity or deliverable.
Sometimes, even after selecting well-described projects, the information provided by the client is not enough to define a fixed price for it. In that case, make some assumptions to define a starting price point and share them with the client so he can have an idea of how the project could vary if certain changes or clarifications are made. Chances are you will discuss the project in further detail and the price will be dramatically adjusted after that. It could even happen that hourly projects are transformed into fixed budget ones, so don’t be afraid to set the ground for negotiation and show your flexibility to adapt as needed.
The members of our community enjoy the ultimate convenience of getting by email a daily list of the recently published projects that better match their profiles, with multiple updates in the Wisar.pro platform during the day.
… FOLLOWED BY INTERACTIONS TO SHINE AND LAND YOU PROJECTS
9. THERE'S NO SUCH A THING AS TOO MUCH PREPARATION
Make sure you review the project description and the proposal you presented before your first reply to the client. Probably, you don’t remember by heart the project details when the customer replies. Avoid the temptation to jump into the conversation before entering in consonance with the projects and re-aligning with your proposal. This will help you tune in with the customer and show consistency with the proposed terms and arguments used in your first contact.
10. REPLY FAST AND SET THE NEXT STEPS
Lead the conversation to the next steps without too many formalities and don’t abandon the client if a fast answer is not coming your way. Customers are usually busier than you, also talking to multiple freelancers at the same time. Make their interactions with you worth and focus on getting into a voice or video call as soon as possible. Written language has its limitations, and the fact that it’s usually not synchronized at the same time means that the hot-deal emotions are lost amid other emails or call.
There’s nothing better to clarify details, show alignment and define engagement terms that a human 1:1 live conversation.
Once you get there, make sure you defined actions to follow before hanging up. Do not leave the conversation in the air without specifying the next steps.
Are we missing any point that you consider critical for sucess? We’ll be happy to complement or refine the list with your learnings, don’t hesitate to share them with our community commenting to this post in our social networks (LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter).
The search is over!
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