How to get your first client from any freelancing sites like PeoplePerHour, Guru, Freelancer.com, or 99Designs or even Upwork
As a freelancer, there are numerous freelancing marketplaces to help you build a long list of clients. However, every freelancer isn’t able to get their first client from such freelancing sites. Some are really good at it and get clients very easily whereas others struggle to make anything significant out of it.
For me, Elance (and now Upwork) has always been a good source of clients along with my blog. There are strategies that you need to follow to help you get projects. I have almost completed 60k USD worth of projects only in Elance.
Before you can be successful in placing your proposal on such sites you have to understand how these platform work.
These freelancing sites help those who want to hire people for what they want to be done but are not willing to hire full-time. Describe what is wanted and developers and experts all around the globe can offer expertise to get it done.
So what is the secret where few people just have too many jobs from such sites at the rates they want to be working whereas others are just not able to fetch their first job?
A lot of Indian freelancers I had a discussion about it get it completely wrong views about such freelancing sites. They tend to think it is all about being competitive in price and the client wants to get everything done for a dirt-cheap price and makes them wonder if those kinds of sites actually work.
I would say those kinds of sites work but you need to realize how they can work for you. So here are some basic guidelines to get your first client from any freelancing site.
Choose one site that you want to go with
You cannot just complete the profile on every possible site and get good reviews on each of those sites. You just have to start with the one that you think has the jobs that you can do it now and get started with it.
If you ask me, I always worked with Elance (now Upwork). However, I knew freelancer.com works well for my colleagues. Still, I never completed a profile on it. The reason being I am able to manage too much work from one site only. So, I never needed nor never wanted to get to a site just for grabbing more clients. I am sure it can never be the case where you can work on all the jobs one site can offer and you can handle more than the site can offer for your expertise.
So I can never see a reason why you may need more than one. Before Elance, it was RentACoder which was one site that I used as a freelancer. Again, it was a similar story where I never thought about moving to any other freelancing site to get client work.
Yes, you can and will register an account with many sites to see what projects a site has to offer. Once you know for sure those are the kind of projects you can handle, opt for the one that offers more job in the category that you are good at.
My Elance profile is since August 2002, but I possibly started working on Elance in 2008.
I possibly registered my account of Elance when I wanted to work in my college days. Then I found RentACoder had those homework help projects that I preferred working. When I left my job and become a freelancer, RentACoder was merged with Freelancer.com. So, I moved over to Elance which is now Upwork.
Complete and Verify the profile
Once you have identified the site that you want to go with, stick with it for a long time. Try to complete the profile. If your choice of site is Upwork, here is how you should get profile approved, and then build an Upwork profile like a pro.
Remember this is not a profile that you can just fill in bits and pieces like you would do on Facebook or Twitter.
You have to allocate time to get it accomplished. You have to list your experiences, create superior images of sample work even as a new freelancer. We even have to share recommendations. It’s like creating your CV on the site.
May even have to take some tests on the sites to show that you are knowledgeable in the area. If the site doesn’t offer tests, opt for some online courses from Udemy and then as certifications.
Last but not least is, you may even need to scan your mark sheet or the degree.
Apply for what you can deliver
Once you have your complete profile, then and then only you should be applying for jobs.
Remember once you have clicked the apply button, there is nothing much you can do after. So everything that you want to be done is before you click the apply button.
If you are applying just because it is the category that allows you to apply for it, your response will be based on what the client wants to be doing for the hundreds of other applications.
You should be applying by understanding what exactly the client wants. More so how you can offer him the solution he is looking for at a better price than others.
Once you can offer a solution, price becomes a secondary issue but then when others also offer the same solution and as you don’t have the experience to back it up, you have to provide good value to your pricing.
Here is my proposal template that I use for the winning proposal on Upwork. Again if you prefer Upwork as the freelancing site to get your first, you can read my step by step guide for Upwork here.
Size of jobs you should apply to
Apply for small jobs because people don’t hire newbies with no experience for larger projects. Smaller ticket size jobs are a good way to get your first client from any freelancing site like PeoplePerHour, Guru, Freelancer.com, or 99Designs or Upwork.
On top of that large jobs can take a lot longer for you to complete and get a review. Smaller jobs can build up your reviews faster.
I always prefer to work on small jobs and to date, I prefer to be working on small jobs because it keeps me free for my forums and blogs. However, with time I have some regular and bigger clients as well.
If you apply for a job that you can show you can do it at a good value for money price, you are more likely to get hired.
Once hired, it is a new beginning. Now you need to ensure you not only deliver what you have promised in the given deadline but also try to over-deliver.
Make sure you not only follow the deadline religiously but at all cost deliver it well within the timeline you asked for getting it done.
Ask for feedback
Once you have completed the task, ask for feedback or if there is something you can improve on. I always ask my clients for things I can improve on even today.
There is always room for improvement and think about how you can improve on things you have been doing. It helps you be a better freelancer.
Also, ask to share an honest review for your profile. These reviews can help you get more jobs from other clients.
Rinse and repeat the process, but don’t think about getting your freelancing rates higher. It is not all about the 1st review that you got can make the second client confident enough paying you a lot more. Accumulate 10 excellent reviews before even thinking about giving yourself a raise in price.