We get it. Freelancing can be a tough gig to come by, and sometimes you can do everything right and still come up short of jobs. If you are one of those people, we wish you the best of luck and a world of patience in your continuing search for clients.
However, sometimes the key to success is as shockingly simple as tweaking a profile picture or lowering your rates.
Consider the following common online freelancing mistakes
to be sure you are getting it right :
1. Your profile picture is working against you. Unsmiling, grainy, sexy, or poor quality profile pictures can be devastating to your online freelancing career. You need a high resolution head shot with a pleasant smile — no naked shoulders or shirts bedazzled with “S-E-X-Y” allowed. Check out Jessica Swanson’s 10 Profile Picture Disasters to be sure you aren’t one of them.
2. Your language skills are detracting from your work experience. Misspellings, poor grammar and texting lingo are red flags to clients no matter what kind of work you do. Spell check should be a way of life and an online grammar class may be the best investment you ever make. Read the 10 Most Common Grammar Mistakes and never make them again.
3. You lack online proof of your abilities. No matter what you do, you must find a way to showcase your skills through an online resume or portfolio. If your skills are difficult to prove online, ask previous employers for letters of recommendation to be scanned or quoted online. You can, and should, Build a Killer Online Portfolio.
4. You don’t have the experience most clients are looking for. You cannot expect to launch a brand new career online with no experience. Possible? Yes. Carlo Feliciano did it. But set yourself on the path to success by bringing “real world” experience in your freelance niche.
5. Your low rates are making you look unqualified. The value of a dollar is relative, we know. However, if you are the cheapest deal around, you also look like the least valuable deal around. Show confidence in the quality of your work and others will too. Find the right fee for you.
6. Your high rates are making you unaffordable to clients. If you really have the experience to charge that much, but are not being snatched up online, you’re probably shooting too high. Lower your rates for first-time clients, so you have a chance to show them you’re worth it. Then read this piece about raising your rates.
7. You are too difficult to get in touch with. In the online freelance world, hiring decisions are often made in hours, not days. If you aren’t getting back to people within a few hours or less, someone else is beating you to the punch and getting the job. Replying promptly is #4 on this important list for designers and every other freelancer as well.
8. You are coming across as desperate. It’s okay to vent the frustration of unemployment, but do it among friends. In the online world prospective clients need to see you as in-demand and successful. Lying isn’t necessary, just don’t wear your desperation everywhere you go. Learn the fine art of social networking – hint: it’s not about broadcasting your need for work.
9. You are waiting for work to come to you. You need to apply for jobs in your specific field on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Simply asking for work on Facebook and other social media forums is not what pitching or networking is about, and is not going to get you a job any more than standing on a street corner with a sign. Apply, apply, apply and then try these 101 tips.
10. You haven’t found your freelance niche. It may be time to look at what you are offering clients. Think hard about your work and life experience, interests and education. Are you incorporating your areas of expertise into your freelance career? You might be more successful if you do.
Freelancing is not the right career path for everyone – any more than the medical field is the right career path for everyone. Still, you need to give yourself time to succeed. Be patient and ask other freelancers for advice and feedback in our provider forums.