If you appreciate flexible schedule and relative freedom more than steady income and security, then freelance job is for you. In this article I will try to give you some tips on how to find freelance work.
As a rule, people of artistic nature (web designers, graphic artists or any other creative service experts) find it difficult to fit into the office routine. Inspiration doesn’t come by schedule; it just flashes your mind all of a sudden. And you need to make a sketch of this vision while it is still fresh in your memory. Is this your style of work?
How to get a freelance job? In fact, there are plenty of websites where freelancers can get a project, we will list the most reputed of them below. However, it can be hard to get good paying jobs on those types of sites (why don't I get hired to freelance projects!!!), and if you don't have a good portfolio it may be tough landing any clients.
Here is primary advice on how to get freelance projects online
Study your niche and seek potential clients directly, by visiting them and offering your services. A good presentation will come in handy if you attempt this route. It might offer you some good, steady work if you are lucky.
Showcase what you’re good at on various professional and social media platforms. Talk to people and see what the current trend is in terms of charges and offers. Compare them with what you can produce. You need to talk to people and ask them to outsource your professional line of business.
Experienced professionals say that freelancing is a perfect blend of some things which you need to know to get the ball rolling. They are:
[tweet_box]#Freelancing is a #perfectblend of things which you need to know to get the ball rolling #freeadvice by @moreno_helga[/tweet_box]
I placed skills on top of the list. It’s very important to define what you can do for the clients and how you can do the same job better than others.
Having a good portfolio of your works would be a perfect pitch for the clients about your skills, as most of them are looking for your actual work samples to know your expertise level. Moreover, most the long term clients come after seeing your online portfolio. After all, it’s your work that speaks for you.
Ok, artists have samples of their work, but what about other field professionals (like networking or something else) for who it may not be possible to highlight their best projects. In that case, they can ask for a small test to show their skill if the client is not convinced after the talk.
Well, this is another very important thing. Your communication abilities equal your professional skills. Be very careful about what you say.
Persistence is something which will take you long way. When you are starting freelancing, you have to be persistent. Don’t expect to get some big ass project the next day you start out unless you are insanely lucky.
Have faith and keep pitching yourself to clients who are looking for freelancers. It may take a week or a month... Just don’t give up thinking "dang it, I am not getting any reply from clients..." Believe me; everything comes to the one who knows how to wait.
Stay connected! Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, Badoo, Myspace, Viadeo, Sina Weibo, Reddit, Tencent Weibo, Quora, Yammer, etc. – the websites are arranged according to their popularity.
It’s always helpful to keep a wide circle of friends / colleagues / people from the same field. Post your work on forums and social media websites, take part in different competitions (no matter whether you win or lose, you'll get to know some amazing artists / persons and get some exposure as well) troubleshoot issues, answer questions and share your knowledge.
SEO would be the finest activity to become successful. Millions of people are using search engines to find information, people, etc; and if you can somehow appear to them, it will be really great.
And now let’s talk about the process of freelancing
Where to start or how can I get freelance work at last?
First of all, make a portfolio or, even better, your own website to showcase your works and projects. If you are a creative artist, use sites / galleries like Behance, ArtStation, DeviantArt, DrawCrowd and others to promote your works there.
When you have your portfolio and you're ready to register freelancing platforms. There are plenty of them on the Internet, we will list only the most popular ones.
Upwork - Freelancers are charged a sliding fee based on their lifetime billings with each client. Service fees are the same whether the contracts are hourly or fixed-price. 20% for the first $500 you bill a client across all contracts with them, 10% for total billings with a client between $500.01 and $10,000, 5% for total billings with a client that exceed $10,000.
Freelancer - For fixed price projects, they charge you a small project fee relative to the value of the selected bid, as an introduction fee. If you are subsequently paid more than the original bid amount, they will also charge the project fee on any overage payments. For hourly projects, the fee is levelled on each payment as it's made by the employer to you. The fee for fixed price projects is 10% or $5.00 USD, whichever is greater, and 10% for hourly projects.
Fiverr - Fiverr always charges 20%, for every gig, for every project. So if you sell a custom gig for $500, you’ll be charged $100.
Designhill - Designhill.com is a crowdsourcing graphic design marketplace and a creative platform for designers to learn and showcase their creative work. The platform has over 38,000+ graphic artists, logo designers, illustrators and visual artists from across the world who work 24/7. A client can launch a contest from $99 and a designer usually earns different % of an amount based on the type of packages.
Guru - When you put in a bid (for example) of $100 and finish a job, you will NOT receive $100. A percentage is taken out and that is based on the type of membership you have. To find out more about the percentages, and answers to your other questions, just click this link.
Toptal - They have freelancers all over the world, and they have a lot of flexibility here. Thus, the short answer is: they will work with you to find a price that works for you. Typically, their engagements fall into the following ranges: hourly: $60-$95+/hour, part-time: $1000-$1600+/week, full-time: $2000-$3200+/week.
99designs - Technically they don't take a percentage from the designer. They charge a fee upfront to the client which contains the designers prize award. For example, if a client gets a bronze contest for $299 then the prize amount is $200 to the designer, but if a contest holder ups the prize amount they take aprox 30%.
Flex jobs - They have several subscription levels to choose from to fit your job search needs, including: one month for $9.95 (normally $14.95), three months for $20.95 (normally $29.95), one year for $34.95 normally $49.95).
Crowdspring - Crowdspring offers multiple pricing packages within their Express, Silver , Gold and Platinum packages. The award to the Creative is always around 60% of the total, which you will pay and it will be visible to you when you select a package. For instance, the Silver package is $299 for logos which includes an award of $200 and comes with some of their most popular features. Express packages start at $199, $100 award and $99 fees and are non refundable. You can learn more about Silver, Gold, and, Platinum projects and the features by clicking here.
People per hour - They’ve simplified things by eliminating their previous subscription plans. Now, it’s as easy as getting Jobs done. All work billed through the site will be charged a 3.5% Commission Fee, apart from the first £175 in the month (€210 and $280 equivalent), which will incur a 15% fee. Thought of differently, a typical user who puts all of his or her work through PPH will only pay 3.5% apart from one day a month. They’ll be supporting the above by moving to a monthly billing cycle. This means that initially a 15% Commission Fee is applied and then at the end of the month, once all Invoices have been reconciled, they’ll reimburse your PPH Wallet for the difference between the 15% and the 3.5%. Fee for Invoices raised above £175. Depending on where the Seller is based, VAT may automatically be added on top of the Commission Fees described above.
Now when you know where to go, feeel free to visit any of the sites above, create an account, fill in all the required details and start browsing projects relevant to you. I am sure you’ll come across tons of interesting projects you’d like to participate in.
Pick the project you like the most, but remember that you should be able to cope with the challenge. Send a cover letter / proposal to the prospective client. Include the link to your portfolio and try to explain why you are the best executor for this project.
Send your messages again and again until you get your first project. Be persistent and you will crack this hard nut.
Once you get your first project, take it as your firstborn. We mean with greatest care, spare no effort to give the best possible output. Your aim is to get a good review and a good reputation on that specific site.
With good reputation and experience you can start increasing your rates. Keep repeating the good job and you’ll have some really good clients eventually.
So, these were the basics of how to start freelancer’s career. Now let’s talk about some more professional tips.
Always strive to do a little bit more than you’ve been asked to. Taking projects, clients and money they pay you for granted is the way to nowhere! But you don’t want to find yourself there some day, do you?
Always be positive; never hesitate to ask questions related to projects, client prefers serious freelancers. If you ask some questions about the project (good questions) then chances of getting reply increase.
Always write proposals in from a blank slate. Never use copy paste proposals.
If in doubt – take it out! This should become your rule. We mean that you should never take the project if you fear that you can't complete it. Especially in the beginning of your career when your resources are limited. A hasty approach will lead to waste of time and money (both your and your employer’s) and negative rating too! If it’s your first project a negative feedback will work like a killing switch. You’d better start small and slow. You will pick up the pace later, after a rock solid start.
Freelancing gives you the insane freedom in terms of time and place of work. Actually you don’t have any strict time restrictions. It's really easy to get distracted and later regret about your recklessness. Be careful about that; always manage your time wisely.
Don’t be afraid to disturb the prospective client once again. We are speaking about the situations when you get an initial positive reply from a customer and later if he/she just forgets about you. There is really nothing wrong in dropping a reminder and asking him/her about the project status. Such kind of things show your enthusiasm and incredibly boost your chances to bag that project.
Stay in touch with the client even when the project is complete and the money is in your bank account. Be humble. Say a nice little "hi, how are you?" from time to time. It has never hurt anyone! Keeping the contact alive at a moderate pace even after the project is done will help you earn client's trust and that can bring you a fortune sometime.
Becoming a freelancer you should be ready to the period when your income is unstable. Ups and downs are always a part of such kind of job. Be ready for that, both mentally and financially. Don't freak out and panic when you are out of work. Don’t fall in despair; you can use this shotgun vacation to hone your skills, because skills pay the bills! Never depend on a single source of income. Always bid on other freelancer markets.
Stay updated. Take your time to explore new advanced technologies appearing in your field. You must know all the upcoming game changer things and learn it if needed by putting your possible ego of "I know it all" aside. You are not working at the office where you are competing with another 10 guys like you. Your market is wide open and you will find another 350 or more persons with one call doing the same job as you. Try to get ahead of yourself – always.
There is nothing bad in going for a bit low rate to begin. Specially for the cases when you think you can learn new things. You can't jump directly on the upper step of the stair! So don't hesitate to go for a bit lower rate at the beginning of your career. You will learn new things and will have a better picture of everything. After that, you can surely increase the rate.
There are no excuses for delays in freelancing, so always provide the work on time. This is really crucial. Most often the client doesn’t know you personally so your words matter the most. If you promised something, make sure that you keep your word. Delays of couple of days may happen and they are fine with approval. But always try to meet the deadline.
Experienced freelancers say that if you follow your passion for something in your work, it will be far better than anything. You will never get tired or feel bored with the job. That flame within will keep you climb up the mountain. Passion is really a driving force in freelancing, just like in everything else.
That’s it; I shared some (hopefully) useful tips from the point of experienced freelancers. Definitely I might have missed something… Feel free to shoot the questions if you want to know more and don’t be shy to add your own tips / advice / recommendations on how to freelance and be hired.
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