You’ve probably heard that freelancing can be more lucrative than working a traditional job, and that it offers you more freedom to pursue your passions, but you might be wondering how to get started. If you’re already freelancing, perhaps the challenge is getting more clients and projects on the books so you can make even more money and work less hours. In either case, here are eight tips to help you get more projects in freelancing!
1) Make the most of job boards
The most popular job boards out there will post thousands of openings each month. Once you’ve connected with your dream company, put their name and logo on your resume. Then search for them on job boards and apprise them of your interest. That way, you’ll have already won yourself a spot on their radar, leaving you one step closer to getting that contract work or full-time gig. This can be as simple as submitting an application directly through their website, but also check out sites like AngelList, where founders and CEOs post about positions they need to be filled. You might even find work through connections you make at networking events—you never know who knows whom! If you don’t want to be too direct (and are willing to pay), LinkedIn is another great resource for finding contract work online.
2) Build your personal brand on social media
Think of how many people are on Facebook: 1.28 billion. When you build your personal brand and share content on Facebook, you’re building trust and engaging with a group of people who want to hear what you have to say. If they like what they see, they may even hire you as a freelancer or bring you into their company for contract work. This is an easy way to get more projects while working as a freelancer. The next time you start work on a new project, be sure to create a Twitter account and start sharing useful information there as well. Remember that just because social media isn’t your job doesn’t mean it can’t help your job.
3) Outline your own process
There’s no shortcut for getting more work as a freelancer. In fact, most of your time will be spent chasing potential clients and building relationships with them. Here are some tips for being proactive about finding new clients and following up after you meet them For starters, work on developing a process that works for you—it doesn’t have to be perfect right away; it just needs to make sense at first glance. Then, develop a checklist of sorts that outlines each step in your process so you can easily keep track of what steps need to happen next. And finally, don’t be afraid to share your process with others!
4) Offer project packages
The best way to attract a large number of projects is by offering project packages. One of the first things that potential clients do before hiring a freelancer is look at his/her portfolio and see if they are capable of handling that type of work. By offering packages, you also put your potential clients at ease knowing that they will be hiring an expert and not just some Joe-off-the-street who says he can do it. With packages, you don’t have to worry about what kind of work comes in; all you have to do is execute. To help with deciding on package prices, I suggest using industry averages as well as your own past work experience to determine how much time each project should take you. Then multiply that time by how much you want to charge per hour for each task (and then make sure there’s enough wiggle room for padding). This will give you a good starting point for pricing out each package without having to think too hard about it.
5) Ask for recommendations
I recommend you ask at least one person every month for a recommendation of a company or an individual that could use your services. This can be a simple way to get additional clients. Every time you meet someone, whether it’s someone on a social networking site or just at work, ask for their business card and then send them an email thanking them for talking with you and asking if they know anyone else who needs your type of services. If they don’t, ask if they would mind giving you a reference anyway. In some cases, even though they might not have any immediate need for your services, they may still refer you to others because it makes them look good as well. Just make sure that you stay in touch with those people so they don’t forget about you. Once a year send out another reminder note and let them know how much you appreciate them referring people to you.
6) Keep trying (and be patient!)
While freelancing can be a great way to make some extra cash, it can also feel very lonely. While you might find success right away on certain platforms, it’s important to keep trying and stay patient. Don’t give up if things aren’t moving as quickly as you would like them to. Stay motivated, and know that eventually, your hard work will pay off! (And don’t forget to ask for referrals!)
Keep track of your applications, resumes, and proposals by using project management software such as Asana or Trello. This will help you see how many projects you apply for each month and which ones are turning into opportunities with real potential.
7) Go above and beyond
An essential trait that distinguishes a successful freelancer from an unsuccessful one is their willingness to go above and beyond for their clients. Your ability to do extra work for your clients will make you stand out amongst other freelancers and will help you gain a better reputation. Moreover, it gives you an opportunity to get noticed by your client. Here are some tips on how to go above and beyond My client wants me to finish my work in 24 hours? I’ll show them I can do it faster! As soon as my project is done, I send it over and add Finished ahead of schedule! at the top of my invoice. My client just gave me another job? I’ll complete both jobs within less than 48 hours so they can see how quickly I work!
8) Be active on freelance forums
Forums are a good way for freelancers to stay on top of projects and issues that matter. Not only do you have a chance to connect with potential clients, but you can also help out other professionals. If you’re new or just getting started, forums are a great way to build a reputation for yourself as an active community member who is eager to learn and share your expertise with others. As you become more experienced, take time to offer advice and insight to other members who may be starting out—it will make them feel better about working as freelancers, which means they’ll continue coming back to forums. For example, if someone asks about a payment issue they might be having with their client, chime in with what worked for you; by doing so you not only provide helpful information but also get connected with that person down the road if they need another freelancer. Try to explore best freelance market places.
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