How to Land that First Freelancing Client and What to Expect
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Don’t say you can do a job in one day if you can’t
Once you have decided to enter the freelance marketplace, you may feel a little bewildered. You know what you want to do, but you’re not entirely certain how to get started. Where do I find that first freelancing client? Here are some tips to help ease you into the exciting world of freelancing.
The best way to find clients is to join one of the many freelancing websites. Freelancer.com, oDesk.com, Elance.com, Outsource.com, and LinkedIn are a few very good sites. There are many others, but these are some of the most user-friendly.
You will want to fill out a profile on yourself on the website to showcase your talents. Don’t be bashful, and don’t be afraid to list all your abilities.
“You may think it is trivial that you are an expert on left-handed yo-yo’s, but, rest assured, someone, somewhere, is going to need an article done on that topic”
If you are experienced in migrating information from LotusNotes to Windows 7, then put that in your profile. There are probably more people who need that service than you would imagine. Your profile should be the first stop when clients are thinking about to hire you. Make it good.
If you have a portfolio of work, add that to your profile as well. It will give a prospective employer a better idea of your work. Any information you can provide makes you more marketable.
Most sites allow you to fill out a skills section in your profile. List everything you can do (or want to do). Again, don’t be shy. You may think, “Everyone knows how to use excel.” Well, not everyone does know how to populate an excel spreadsheet, and they will pay someone who does….someone like you
Next, you need to review the website to find jobs that appeal to you – projects that you are qualified to do. If you find a gig that appeals to you, look to see other similar jobs to discover what others have bid for the same project. This should give you an idea what to bid.
Be realistic. Don’t take on a project that does not pay you what you are worth.
If you do, you might actually be doing the work for a sub-contractor who is going to re-sell your work at a higher price to another client. (Sorry to say, but it happens).
When your bid has been accepted, the client will contact you. This is where the fun begins. The client should flesh out the project, and let you know the parameters. Make sure you understand what is wanted, and the deadlines for delivery of the final product. Ask for clarification. Communication is key.
“You do not want to write a 500 word article on The Culinary uses of Black Truffles, only to find that it should have been White truffles.”
At that point, you have spent a lot of time and effort for which you will receive no payment. You have not fulfilled the terms of the contract.
When you accept the offer from the Freelancing client, with any luck, you will have good communications and everything will go fine. Sometimes, unfortunately, that does not happen. Projects are often subject to “scope creep” (it gets bigger, the terms change, tasks are added).
Remember that you are a professional and you have a contract. You have the right to remind the client that you agreed to do A. Not A, B, and C At that point you can re-negotiate, or end the contract.
Most projects, especially if they are big, have a benchmark, or milestone payments. These are partial payments for segments of completed work. Some jobs only pay upon completion. Some clients will request sample articles or give you a task to complete before they hire you.
Try not to bet too bogged down with writing and re-writing with no promise of remuneration. A little sample is fine, but you don’t want to give away the whole pie, as it were. When the project has been completed to everyone’s satisfaction, the Freelancing client will make a payment to the website, usually by credit card or PayPal.
After the work has been completed, and everyone is happy, be sure to ask for and give feedback. Positive feedback from your client lets other Freelancers know that this is a reputable employer. And positive feedback from your Freelancing client ensures that you will receive more work. Feedback is your currency and Freelancers with the best ratings will have clients coming to them.