In my experience, finding long-term clients is not an easy task, especially at the beginning of a freelancing career. There is a huge number of freelance platforms out there where you can find countless of open positions. However, due to the massive competition, it can be very hard to score a job. This article guides you through the process of applying for job offerings step by step. This will surely help you get the best remote jobs on freelance platforms.
Freelance Platforms: Yes or No?
Before we jump into ways how you can find the best remote jobs on freelance platforms, let’s first have a look at their pros and cons:
Pros of Freelance Platforms
- Getting paid is a quite straightforward process. If you use the payment features that these platforms offer, you won’t need to worry about chasing after people to pay you.
- You can find a great variety of positions being offered, so it is quite probable that you will find something in which you are proficient.
- You can “recycle” your profile, and create one in a platform to then adapt it and use it in another freelancing platform.
- If you come across a difficult client, these platforms usually offer support to aid you in solving the problem.
Cons of Freelance Platforms
- Competition can be fierce, particularly in fields like freelancing, IT, VA or translation, where there are thousands of qualified professionals who have been doing this for years and even have more credentials than you do.
- As a result of this, clients sometimes do not offer as much money as they should and people can end up working for less than $5 an hour. Learn here how much you should charge your clients as a freelancer.
- Some platforms charge too much for using their services so your rate ends up being even lower!
How to get your first job as a freelancer
Now, you have decided to take the risk and become self-employed using these freelancing platforms. If you really want to land your first job, there are some steps that you can follow to enhance your possibilities of doing so!
Your profile is everything
Potential clients will most definitely have a look at your profile before hiring you. So you need to make sure that it is top quality!
The photo is the only image a client will see of you, so use a professional one with great quality. You don’t have to look super formal but you shouldn’t be too familiar either. Pictures at the beach, for example, are not a very good idea.
Describe your skills and qualifications using qualifying adjectives that will make you stand out. Also, be as specific as possible when discussing your expertise. Instead of calling yourself just “writer”, name yourself a “researcher and academic writer” to make sure you receive appropriate job offers.
If this is the very first time you are freelancing, then you will not have any reviews to prove
It is highly recommended that you build a portfolio with your best
Your bio is the part of your profile in which you can tell your potential clients why they should hire you. Writing a good profile can be a daunting task if this is your first time working as a freelancer, so having a look at what other successful people wrote can be of help. Of course, I don’t mean that you should plagiarize their bios! But seeing what works can inspire you to see what you can mention in your bio, and adapt it to your skillset.
Doing this will also help you set a rate for your service according to your experience. If everyone asks for 25$ per hour, and you don’t have more than they
Honesty is really important in freelancing.
If you lie about your level of
Sending a killer proposal
First of all, you should read the post with attention and send an appropriate answer in which you show your potential employer that you understood exactly what you have to do. Sending a pre-made proposal is never a good
When sending a proposal, it is very important that you do not only talk about yourself (meaning describe your prior experience, the tasks you carried out and so on), because it seems you are making it about yourself, and it should be the other way around.
Instead, describe how you will be useful for him/her to fulfill the task at hand, how much it would benefit them to hire you.
I can give you some pieces of advice I always provide to people who work for me, and that I find very appealing when receiving a proposal for the jobs I post on freelancing platforms:
- Tell me if you are willing to discuss the job thoroughly before starting, or if you prefer starting with the task and then introducing as many changes as needed.
- Are you willing to make revisions?
- Be realistic about the final product you will deliver.
- Try to set a schedule for finishing the task and let me know as soon as possible.
- Are there any time zone differences that might affect the project?
Your proposal shouldn’t be too long or it wouldn’t be feasible to read all the applications we receive as employers.
You should try to attach samples, a link to your portfolio, or even attach references provided by previous employers to enhance your proposal.
The perfect timing
As I stated before, be ready to find a lot of competitors on your way to success. This means that being on the alert for new jobs and sending proposals as soon as they appear is very important.
These clients will receive many proposals, and they probably won’t read them all. The first ones that he/she gets will probably be the ones they send a message to.
For example, do not waste your time sending proposals to job offers that have been open for weeks, because they have either hired already and forgot to notify it, or they have received too many applications already.
Sending proposals to a great variety of positions is also key. Of course, this is
It is not easy when you are just starting with this, but practice (and patience!) makes perfect. If you keep on trying, you will succeed.
Somebody finally answered
Once you have sent a proposal, you only have to wait for somebody to answer. Did you receive an answer? Most clients try to narrow down the scope and select freelancers that they believe are the most appropriate for the position they are offering.
In this case, the answer you provide will be extremely important: You will give
If some days go by, you can send another message
Always bear in mind you should not be annoying!
The line is really thin, so take into account that you should not follow up with
In my personal experience, I have received emails every day from freelancers who obviously wanted to get a job. Somebody should have told them that sending a dozen messages would not do the trick! Some of them even looked for my social media accounts and started messaging me there, too! I ended up blocking him, and that was not good for neither of us.
How much should you ask for your work?
Finally, the information you were looking for, right? I hope not to disappoint you when I tell you something you might have heard before: It will depend on what you do! On how much expertise you have to offer, on how much you spend in order to provide that service, and on how many competitors you have in your field.
Some pieces of advice I can give you are:
- If you are just beginning, try not to charge too much. It might not be easy for you to lower your rates, but getting clients (and their five stars review!). When you build up a solid reputation then you can boost up your rates and charge as much as you think is fair. If you want to know about my own experience, I got my first job as a proofreader of a translation of horrible quality for a very low rate (less than $10, which ended up being even less because of the fees applied by the platform). I wanted everything to be flawless so I spent long hours correcting everything and making sure that the final product was as good as I wanted it to be. True, I ended up making a very small amount, but my client was so satisfied that the gave me an excellent review and this was the push that I needed to get more and more clients.
- When deciding on how much to charge per hour, set realistic expectations. For example, asking for a lot without being able to showcase a portfolio is not going to end well for you. However, do not ask for low rates either because you will be seen as desperate and you should value your credentials if you want people to respect you as well.
- Most importantly, try not to undersell your work and do not do anything without earning what you deserve. If you put yourself on the clients’ shoes, then it is understandable that they want to know how well you write before setting up a contract. However, asking for people to work without being paid is not professional and does not show respect for the freelancer’s time and effort. What would be totally fine would be to carry out a short test to show how good you are, particularly if you have competition, though the tests should be paid. If somebody asks you to charge less to them, be respectful but firm and explain clearly why is it that you want to charge that much. If they still don’t listen, then be strong and say no.
I got it, what now?
Congratulations on your first freelance job! I’m sure you did a great effort to get it, and now you have to prove your client you were the best possible option. As this will be your first review, be sure you do your best.
This review will open doors for next and probably
Never Give Up – Consistency Pays Off!
Sometimes, being a freelancer can be hard because of competition, low paying jobs
- take care of your profile,
- send killer proposals and
- keep yourself updated with what is new in your niche,
you will eventually find a great job, particularly if your reviews are great.
Hard work, consistency, and being really, really patient can take you to the top. Don’t ever lose hope that one day (and before too long!) you’ll be successful in what you do.
Bonus tip: If you are looking for other ways to find clients online as a freelancer, check out the linked post with plenty of tips.