Working as a freelancer can be a fabulous opportunity to earn money. Some small business owners use sites such as Guru.com and Elance.com to supplement their income and attract new clients, while others work full time providing freelance services. Whatever your situation is, you want to win jobs you apply for.
Throughout the hundreds of interactions I’ve had with freelancers, I’ve noticed a pattern that separates freelancing professionals who get jobs from those who don’t. Here they are in a summarized format:
1) Customize your Proposal
Customizing your proposal shows you’ve taken the time to read the job description. If you are applying for a larger job, consider tailoring your resume to match the job. When a freelancer submits a customized proposal it tells me she is more likely to spend the time it takes to do a quality job.
2) Perfect your Sales Pitch
Keep in mind your bid is a sales letter. Those who persuasion in their proposals are far more likely to win jobs than those who do not. And even if you don’t consider yourself an expert in sales letter writing, don’t be discouraged. The vast majority of freelancers make no effort on this, and their proposals sound something like this: “Hey, I can do this. Contact me for more info.” Hardly persuasive. Even a small effort at writing a persuasive proposal will make you stand out in a crowd of applicants.
3) Provide Examples
Just as you should tailor your bid to each job, provide examples of your work that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. You don’t need to list everything you’ve done, just 2-3 highly relevant examples. Employers want proof of your skills.
4) Provide Clear Communication
Good communication starts with providing multiple ways for a potential employer to contact you. In addition to traditional methods of communication such as phone and email, add your instant messenger information. Employers often want to conduct brief interviews through instant messaging, so encourage that.
5) Follow Up
If you haven’t received a reply, contact them again. If possible, provide several new samples of your work, and possibly some comments on how you intend to complete the project. When I am managing dozens of projects, a freelancer who follows up often makes me look at his bid again. This is very important when you are trying to differentiate yourself from 50 other applicants.
6) Provide a Customized Sample
I remember a time when a professional created the custom script I needed, showed it to me, then submitted his competitive bid. On my end there was no risk of hiring this person – the project had been completed! Of course this is somewhat risky for the person bidding for the job, but you don’t have to create the entire project – just show the employer that you are capable of doing the job.
7) Exude Confidence
If you have the skills needed for the job you are applying for, show confidence in yourself. I’ve seen far too many freelancers begging for a job—which is very unprofessional. Also avoid bidding for wages far less than you’re worth. Craft a portfolio that makes employers “beg” to hire you.
Employers looking to outsource are worried about losing time and money with freelancers who don’t perform as they should. The key to successful bidding for freelancing jobs is to prove you will provide quality work within time and money budgets.