When I first wrote this post (09.21.09 11:20am) there were 993,558 GetAFreelancer service providers, 346,574 oDesk job seekers and 98,973 Elance experts. That’s a whopping 1,439,105 freelancers and counting. And that is only from three popular freelance sites. Today, there are 1,056,679 GetAFreelancer service providers, 388,937 oDesk job seekers and 100,550 Elance experts. That’s a whopping 1,546,166 an increase of 107061 in just a matter of 54 days.
For sure, many of them have already established their names and reputations in the industry and have equally earned by the thousands right at the very comfort of their home cum offices.
And here comes the newbie. Fresh from a resignation, or termination, or probably a recently graduated student wanting to try your destiny in the freelance world. What will you do to get a job or fish for clients?
With most freelance sites, the process of getting a project is done through bidding or proposal submission. So here’s six proven, tested by experience, no nonsense mantra in winning a freelance job bid.
1. Watch your price tag.
One of the most influential factors that will affect your bid or proposal is your freelance fee. For some obvious reasons, (which I’m sure you know) that service buyers hire freelancers because of the savings they can actually get. And there’s just one carnal rule for this, “Don’t let your price tag skyrocket that buyers can no longer reach it nor give it at rock bottom price that even Paypal would be ashamed of charging a fee for it.”
Remember, you are a freelancer, you need work but you have bills to pay and needs to suffice, so charge accordingly. Think of the trending that the other bidders are offering and make it as competitive as possible. You can either go down a bit, (tolerable range) or raise a bit higher but still at a reasonable price. And if you would charge higher, make sure that your resume or proposal would also show why you are worthy of a higher fee.
2. Don’t be afraid to bid, but bid wisely
There are jobs that require a certain set of skill depending on the service buyer’s preference. And there will be times that you will not be able to meet all of them. Does that mean that you shouldn’t try and bid at all? Not necessarily. You must consider if the skill needed is really a requirement. They will indicate if its the main skill needed or just an additional factor that may help you in getting a more favorable standing. If the job posted is article writing and sometimes they may indicate that knowledge of HTML would be an advantage, you can still try it out. That is of course at your discretion, which brings me to my next point.
GetAFreelancer gives 15 bids per month to its regular members and would increase by one every month, Odesk gives a maximum of 20 bid allotment for a member who have passed the Odesk Readiness Test, while Elance provides 3 connects only for a free membership. You can purchase additional if your bid runs out.
Considering these details, bidding for a project should therefore be thought wisely. Bid on a project that you think will give you the highest probability of being hired. You might just end up losing a good opportunity because of an unwise choice. So bid wisely, I’m sure you wouldn’t want to spend for another bill while you are still looking for a source of income. Unless you plan on getting an upgraded membership that would cost $12/mo for GAF and $9.95/mo for Elance then using the free membership is still preferable option.
3. Be an early bird
If you are looking for a job, procrastinating or any other form of delay will make your job search miserable. Much the same with a freelancing. So, bid early. Keep yourself up-to-date. Subscribe to an RSS or anything that will keep you informed as soon as jobs are posted. The earlier you bid, the greater the chance that you can get the job especially if there is a sense of urgency for the position being offered.
4. Make your Proposal Stand Out
For about six months that I’ve been working for a recruitment agency, I probably have seen thousands upon thousands of curriculum vitae, both the good and the not so good ones. Not all of them caught my attention. Some have just passed liked an ordinary letter, but others stood among the pack. It’s like separating the colored from the black and white. But if you really want to get a job, make an effort to make it stand out. There are resume’s that are being sold from Resume Planet or you can also visit free-resume-tips.com to give you the basic concept of a simple but attention grabbing curriculum vitae.
5. Maximize the interview part
This portion will actually make or break all the efforts you have made from the previous tips. So don’t ruin what you have started, build it even stronger. Remember, this is not your usual person to person interview where you can be intimidated by the person’s looks. It will either be on your regular regular or through some VOIP service. So get out of the chicken coop or the garage and head to some quiet place where you can understand each other clearly.
Relax, that is probably the best thing you can do. If you anticipate too much of the technical side you might end up failing on the simple ones. As what Brian Lamb said, “My basic approach to interviewing is to ask the basic questions that might even sound naive, or not intellectual. Sometimes when you ask the simple questions like ‘Who are you?’ or ‘What do you do?’ you learn the most.”
6. Build your reputation
Publilius Syrus said: “A good reputation is more valuable than money”.
In freelancing if you want to earn a lot of money, nail a bid easier, a good reputation is one of the keys you should have. Every interaction with a client or prospective employer is an opportunity to build a good reputation. Maximize that opportunity and never missed out on it. Protect your job by protecting your reputation. Build your authority by banking on reputation. That is how important reputation is. Feedbacks will reflect what kind of character you have. And getting a bad feedback can kill your freelance career. Guard it with your life. As a final thought, Warren Bufftett has summarized it in his words:
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently”.