A few months ago, we listed out the Top 100 Freelance Blogs. The blogs on that list are people who have found success through freelancing and are kind enough to share the tips and tricks they've learned with the rest of us. Many of the top blogs - Freelance Switch and Freelance Folder, among others - also tap into the expertise of many freelancers in diverse fields for a comprehensive view on the freelance experience. In the spirit of those blogs, we've asked freelancers to take part in a panel to discuss the factors contributing to their freelancing success.
Thousands of people try to get started with a freelance career every month, but find that it's hard to promote themselves, get jobs, and build a strong reputation for securing ongoing work. While many dip their toes in the freelance waters, only some rise to the top. These individuals surveyed below are some of the best from around the world - including freelance software developers,freelance designers, and virtual assistants.
Top providers were surveyed on the following factors to freelancing success and the results compiled for you. Each factor was scored on a scale of 1 - 4 for importance to success and the consensus or standard deviation of answers is displayed alongside each factor.
The freelancers that contributed to this post are from several different countries and include programmers, designers, writers, and virtual assistants. All of them have exceptional feedback scores and have been very successful in their freelance careers. Meet the Panel of Experts.
Do not be afraid of the competition while deciding your hourly rate. But make sure you deliver quality and timely work which compliments your hourly rate.
Study your market. Get a feel of how much other providers, in the same field as yours, are charging for their services. Then structure your hourly rate accordingly. Never ever shortchange yourself by submitting low bids. Most good buyers do not mind paying a little more for quality service.
To find your first work, I think your rate should be lower. Then you can increase it after some good feedbacks.
One factor I take into account is how much time the buyer has taken to write a clear and detailed job description. If the buyer has only provided a short one or two-sentence description (especially for larger projects), I have to wonder about the quality of communication I should expect when discussing requirements, timelines, etc.
If there is not much information posted, then the Buyer may not know exactly what they want. Contact the buyer and ask questions before committing to the project, especially if it is a fixed rate job.
Carefully read the job descriptions and don't be afraid to spend a lot of time reading these specs to make sure you're a good fit.
In your cover letter, show the buyer how you can help him achieve his goals and why you think you are the right person for the job. Also, before even thinking of applying, do your research and try to find as much information as possible about the buyer and the job requirements.
Make it simple and detailed, write things that are related to the job you are applying. Don't do a cut and paste letter.. it's annoying and it shows no respect to the buyer.
Your cover letter should make a buyer review your profile. Include: 1. Your Brief introduction 2. Your statement of understanding of the task 3. Your probable solution/sugestions for the assignment 4. Mention your experience about the similar type of tasks if there are any. 5. Mention the URLs of your portfolio.. 6. Let your prospective client know about your timezone and working hours. Ask the buyer for her best time to contact. Finally, be polite. Review your cover letter before sending it.
Don't shortchange yourself by engaging in price wars with other providers. Charge what you feel is right for your service and don't go lower than that.
Even if there are 5 candidates with low amounts it's better to put higher amount. And try to explain in your cover letter to buyer, why you're worth it. Inexperienced buyers may just take the smallest bid. The experienced buyer will pay more for the good specialist.
Your job should have a reasonable value. Therefore, don't take long jobs with low rate. It will show that you're not worth higher wages.
Make sure you establish and confirm communication methods (e.g. IM contact details, email addresses, phone numbers) at the beginning of the project. You don't want to spend valuable time trying to chase down the buyer to have a critical question answered.
It's extremely important to openly communicate with your Buyer. Before you begin, ask questions until you and your Buyer are on the same page with the project direction and always stay open to suggestions.
Keep them completely informed. I have a client who specifically mentioned that he doesn't need to know all the time, but appreciates that I update him regularly.
I always believe in the 3 H's: Humility, Honesty, Hard work. I have always believed that these comprise the basic foundation of a good working relationship.
As you work with your buyers, you'll know which ones you can show more of your personality to (with chat symbols etc.) which kind of helps to build a relationship. It's hard sometimes not to come across cold with only remote communication.
Be open-minded and graciously accept critiques regarding your work, if there are any.
In anything that you do, always do your best and don't settle for anything less.
Always deliver quality services. There is no other way but for you to always aim for superior results.
Prepare a brief document with your final project delivery. Explain the outcome of your task to the buyer. Try to meet globally established standards. Perform quality assurance tests on the outcome before delivery.
Meeting deadline is important. This doesn't mean that you and just you should deliver the agreed work within the deadline. All stake holders of the project are responsible for this. You may face some never known issues which prevent you to complete the task on time. In such cases, let all stake holders of the project know about the circumstances and possible solution in advance so that the team can come up with some resolution
I do my best never to miss a deadline. If you see you will miss a deadline, honesty is the best policy.
Keep client posted, report as per client's request. If any problems, need to tell him in advance to look for workaround.