3 Reasons Why Some Freelancers Get More Jobs Than Others.e_darrellj | Apr 09, 2013
Now and again we like to invite freelancers and clients to this blog, asking them to discuss their real-life experiences and offer insights they’ve gleaned from online work. Today we’ve slated Toke Kruse, who will explain what he’s looking for when hiring Elancers.
My name is Toke Kruse. As the owner of several businesses, I often use Elance to find freelancers for various types of projects.
Though hundreds of freelancers have sent me proposals in response to jobs I’ve posted on Elance, there are a few key things that least 80% of them could have done differently, and ended up with a far better chance of being awarded one of my projects.
With that in mind, I wanted to give you some advice on how to optimize your proposals – three simple but important actions that will increase your rate of job awards. As the CEO of Billy’s Billing, a provider of accounting software for freelancers and small businesses, these are points I always look for when choosing a freelancer.
#1: Provide a great presentation of yourself, your skills and your success.
You know better than anyone what you’re capable of, and all about the great work you’ve done in the past. Don’t keep it a secret! Present yourself well and honestly, highlighting your strengths and showcasing relevant examples of your work:
- Make sure your profile is well written – that means good grammar, perfect spelling and well-constructed sentences and paragraphs. It also means a tone and “flavor” that will appeal to the sort of client you prefer to work with. That might be bright and friendly, or it might be more conservative and businesslike – it’s up to you.
- Include a good photo, and highlight your past experience and other qualifications as a proven provider. If you’re new to Elance, say so. There are a lot of clients willing to give newcomers a try.
- Your profile should also include examples of your best work (even if it wasn’t done through Elance), and feedback showing how satisfied clients have been with what you’ve provided. No client is likely to hire a provider who doesn’t have any good references and work samples.
- Build up a portfolio showing the different types of work you do, and be sure to attach relevant samples when bidding on a job.
- As time goes on, be sure to keep your profile up to date, too. Add new samples of great work, new feedback from enthusiastic clients, new qualifications and so on.
#2: Offer the perfect product and a clear pricing policy.
It’s vital to your success that you offer and provide an outstanding product. I know this isn’t shocking news, but still it needs to be said – and kept foremost in your mind on every project you undertake.
The people who are consistently the most successful – in any field – are those who make it a point always to provide more than what the customer or client expects. A better product, a faster delivery, more prompt, courteous and clear communication – there are all sorts of ways you can exceed expectations. And it’s just good business to do it.
Next, it’s important to have a sensible, fair and clearly stated pricing policy. Make sure your customers or clients know, right from the start, exactly what your products and services will cost them. A clear, firm agreement on price before a project begins will save everyone involved headaches and upset later on.
When stating your pricing policy, be sure to mention factors behind your pricing that are important to the client or customer: the superb quality of your work, your speedy and reliable delivery, your flexibility and willingness to work with the client to ensure the product is exactly what’s needed, and so on.
I won’t try to go into all the ins and outs of pricing here. The subject is worth a whole article (or two or three) all by itself. And fortunately there’s plenty of good information and advice available. To put it very briefly, though:
- You don’t want to overcharge, so that the customer feels he or she won’t receive fair value for the price, and look for someone who will charge less.
- You don’t want to undercharge, either – that’s not being fair to yourself, and can end up driving you out of business.
By the way, as you may already have learned, there are some people posting jobs on Elance who are ONLY interested in getting the lowest price possible. And there are plenty of providers who, for whatever reason, will charge ridiculously low prices. Unfortunately for the clients who hire them, their product quality and service are often ridiculously low, too. So don’t compromise and offer prices way below what your work is worth. There are plenty of clients who appreciate great quality and are willing to pay a fair price for it.
#3: Be certain of what your client needs, wants and expects.
Before making a bid on a project, it can be very helpful to communicate with the prospective client, to clarify what he or she needs. Elance has provided ways for you to do this. (If you’re not sure how, check their “Help” section.)
In sending such a communication, introduce yourself briefly, tell the client that you’re interested in the project, and ask for information or clarifications you need in order to make a fair bid. A good client (one you’re likely to be happy to work for) will appreciate your questions and the professionalism they indicate.
Be sure to be very clear and concise. If your potential client is anything like me, they’ll be receiving a flurry of proposals and bids – and they don’t have time to be reading long Harry Potter stories.
Whether you’re asking questions about a project, or making a direct proposal, it’s very helpful if you include samples of past work that are similar to the project in question. In some cases you might even supply a small sample of what you would do on that specific project. I don’t mean you should do a part of the project for free – no way. But a small sample of how you would approach the task can demonstrate that you really DO understand what’s needed, and that you CAN provide it. (It can also open the door to helpful clarification of the client’s needs. Either way, you both win.)
I hope what I’ve said here will help you to stand out from the crowd, land more projects and increase your earnings as a freelancer. I look forward to seeing you here on Elance!
CEO, Billy’s Billing