How to start freelancing online

profiles that land freelance jobs online

Sandra Arevalo

Founder & CEO

Once you have decided to start a career as an online freelancer, the next question is how to start it with the right foot.

There are four key elements to shine from the start to get those first contracts:

  1. Building a door opening profile
  2. Searching jobs efficiently and effectively
  3. Preparing winning proposals
  4. Sharpening your interview and negotiation skills

Let’s review every aspect in detail:

Door opening profiles

There’s no doubt that creating a good freelancer profile in your platform(s) of choice is the building rock to your success. Find detailed suggestions to build door opening profiles in our previous posts, from the basics, to the differentiating factors and the tipping points.

Knowing that change is our only constant, keeping your profile updated with every skill acquired and adding portfolio pieces as soon as possible are vital actions.  

Since experience leverages your potential to get new clients, ensure your clients leave reviews when closing a project (you can even invite external clients to add their testimonials in your Upwork profile).


Efficient and effective job searches

When your charge for the time you work, it’s vital to use it wisely. Make sure you implement methods and use tools to get as soon as possible to those jobs that worth preparing proposals for.

how to start freelancing online

Life-changing training programs designed for freelancers who want to work from anywhere in the worldHow to start freelancing online

You can always use services like Wisar to save time in the process by removing the noise from projects with low hiring probabilities for you.

Be as efficient as possible to analyze the structured data shared by the platforms on every job post and use most of your valuable time examining the best matches to select the clients and projects that deserve your dedication to present a proposal.

You might be reluctant to present proposals when not all the information is available to understand a project entirely. Keep in mind that not disclosing all the details is common (due to confidentiality or lack of knowledge). A chat with the customer will help clarify many points; you’ll get there only after submitting a proposal and getting an interview invitation from the client. That’s why preparing an attractive bid is your best shot now!


Writing winning proposals

Remember that proposals are not contracts but a ticket to interact with the client to clarify details, re-assess your fit for the project and negotiate the terms of your future work.

As complex as they may sound, preparing proposals follows a structured approach that you can master right from the first moment.

Being new to the platforms doesn’t mean you have to start the learning curve from scratch. Use the collective knowledge to implement the best practices and avoid the most common mistakes.

Besides the content of your proposal, there’s a critical element that the client will use to select the best fitting candidates: your rate. Newcomers are usually worried to define their rates for the first time (especially if you don’t have a reference of prices for your services or can’t convert your employee salary into freelance earnings). The good news is: there are methods and guidelines available for you to get to the right price point faster.

Interviews and negotiation skills

Your interactions with clients must be at the level of expectation you have set with your profile’s quality and proposals.

There’s nothing better to clarify details, show alignment and define engagement terms than a human 1:1 live conversation.

Whenever a client replies to your proposals, reply fast and focus on getting into a voice or video call with them.

Preparing is a keystone before you get to a customer interview, it’ll help you to set the right tone to start a fruitful negotiation once you and the customer confirm your interest to work together.

How to negotiate with clients

Ready to celebrate?

At this point, you two could be ready to define the contract terms and look for a win-win agreement. Remember to determine actions to follow before hanging up and leave the conversation having agreed on the next steps.

If everything went right, you’d be ready to start working for this client right away!

The flawless execution of a project results in satisfied customers, ready to write great recommendations and hire your services again in the future. We’ll cover the critical elements of project execution in our next posts. Stay tuned!

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