For many freelancers, once you get into a groove and have a consistent client base, new work flows in like water. There will always be dry spells, though, especially in your early days. That’s when freelancer websites come in handy.
These sites are built to connect freelance clients with knowledgeable pros like yourself. Each site is unique: some are job boards alone, others have more comprehensive platforms. Either way, you’re up against plenty of competitors so winning contracts and clients on those sites takes skill.
I’ve used many different freelance sites with varying levels of success, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Here are my top tips.
Get Familiar with Each Site
Every freelance site is different. They have different application or recruitment processes, the clients are looking for different things, and so on. To be successful, you need to understand all of a site’s ins and outs.
Spend time investigating the process. Check out profiles for successful freelancers on that site to see how they market themselves. It helps to follow the platform on social media too because some post tips and tricks.
Flesh Out Your Profile
On many freelance sites, each freelancer has a profile. It’s where clients learn about the freelancer, their background, their skills, and so on. Take advantage of that opportunity – add as much detail to your profile as possible.
Each site has its own options for profiles, but the more you can customize it, the better. Post your picture, background qualifications, and professional social media accounts. Include samples of past work or, for certain specialties like a web designer or public relations freelancer, case studies.
Prepare in Advance
Sometimes freelance work opportunities come and go quickly. You don’t want to miss out because you’re spending too much time writing a pitch or proposal.
Write that pitch in advance based on what works best for that particular site. Prepare a template you can copy and paste for each exciting new job post.
Be sure to customize it for the potential client before submitting it, though. Explain why you’re the key to solving their problem. Show that you’ve done some research and invested time into it.
Keep a Watchful Eye
As I mentioned, job posts come and go quickly, especially on certain platforms. To snag every opportunity possible, maintain a schedule of checking for new posts often.
For example, set a recurring action item in your task tracker to check each site at 4:00 every day. Not only will you catch more jobs before they vanish but by being among the first to apply, you could have an added advantage.
Keep up that schedule even when you have plenty of work. It often takes time to apply for gigs, get responses, negotiate contracts, then start working. You want as few gaps in your income stream as possible.
Most freelance sites have some type of customer review option where past and existing clients review your work on your profile. Getting more positive reviews can be a breakthrough toward future clients.
Use strategies to ask clients for reviews especially if this is a new challenge for you. It will help your freelance business thrive on and off that particular platform.
Join the Community
As you’re learning about each freelance site, check out any social or community components they have. Some have online forums for freelancers or customers. Others have internal social networks or external ones like a Facebook group.
Take advantage of those features whenever possible. Many have educational and business growth events like webinars or networking events online. Others merely offer a place to connect with other freelancers.
Regardless, I can tell you first-hand that simple interactions can lead to long-term, profitable clients.
Develop an Online Presence
Fleshing out your profile on a site and interacting with its community will enhance your presence on that freelancing site. Prospective clients, especially high-budget paying clients, won’t stop there. Expect them all to Google you.
When they do, you want an established, robust professional presence that instills confidence in your abilities. There are plenty of ways to do this and it’s an ongoing effort.
For example, create content on your own site as well as other sites through guest posting. Post often on your business-focused social media accounts. When clients find strong digital trails, they trust that you are the expert you claim to be.
Making Use of Freelancer Websites
Freelancing websites are divisive among freelancers: most either love them or hate them. Everyone has their own experiences, but if you know how to use them, they can become lucrative parts of your growing business. In fact, many companies have hired freelancers on those sites and have continued working with them for years.
In the end, being a successful freelancer is about collecting and using many strategies so wherever the clients are, you’re there too. Harnessing freelance sites should be among those strategies.