Freelancing is harder than most people think it is. If you’re a designer or developer, you’ve probably done a couple of freelance projects yourself and already know that. If you haven’t but would like to experiment with freelancing, we’ve got you covered. In this post, we tell you best practices you can follow to nail your freelancing game and where to look for work Let’s start with the first half – best practices.
Best Practices to follow
Once you know where to start looking for projects, it’s wise to know how to get started. If you do currently freelance, see if you’re hitting all the check-boxes on these best practices.
1) Let your profile do the talking: By this I mean, flesh out your profile with the aim to stand out from the rest. There are tons of profiles on these sites with the same, bland descriptions which hiring managers easily discard. Here’s what you can do:
- Focus on what you can offer rather than about you.
- Sell your skillset and what you can offer that others can’t.
- Please do a grammar check. No one’s going to take you seriously if you have basic grammatical errors. Avoid using short forms like “u” for “you”.
- Put out our your portfolio with work which you would easily count as your best.
Make sure you already have your work profile along with your portfolio on sites like Behance (if you’re a designer, this is a must!) and LinkedIn. You can bet recruiters who’ve seen your work on other sites will most likely make their way to LinkedIn to verify your profile.
2) Your cover letter needs to be impressive: Avoid recycling your cover letters from past applications – the ones that say “Dear Sir/ Ma’am,
My experience includes web designing, developing…”
- Add a personal touch. Start with a “Morning” or “Hey”. Avoid starting your cover letters with “To whomsoever this may concern”. It does nothing for you.
- Your first line must be attentions grabbing focusing on what the client is looking for –
I understand you are looking for someone who can understand your brand and give it an online identity with a one-of-a-kind website. Does that sound accurate?”
- The body of your letter should focus on your skills which can benefit the client rather than skills that you possess in totality. The point of you mentioning your skills is you aid your client, to solve his problem. That is of real interest to him.
- Close your letter with questions that are related to the project. Some examples would be:
Can we continue this conversation on Skype to discuss the project further?
Do you have existing marketing material that would help understand your brand better?
- Add a call-to-action that compels the client to reply: This can include something like, “I look forward to working with you. We can get started as soon as possible. Do send me questions you may have.”
3) Prepare for the interview: If you follow the above two tips, you probably stand a pretty good chance of bagging the project but don’t let that catch you off guard. You’ve applied for the project, don’t be surprised if you’re called for the interview.
- Understand the project description thoroughly. You don’t want to guess your way through the interview. You can risk sounding unprofessional and not trust-worthy.
- Go back to your application (in case you’ve applied for multiple projects) to refresh your memory of what you’ve written. You can bet your interviewer will have your application opened during your interview.
4) Be persistent: Even if you don’t manage to land a project, don’t let it discourage you. There is still a ton of work for you online. Be persistent at applying for projects (only the ones that genuinely interest you, though).
Where to Look for Work
Now that we have some guidelines, let’s tackle the second challenge – finding work. Where do you start? Here I’ve listed a couple of popular freelancing sites where companies and brands often scour to get some great work done.
Coroflot: Design-driven companies hit up Coroflot for their design needs. If you think you’re a good designer, I recommend you list yourself here. Coroflot has a rigorous process of choosing the designers they want to associate with. To begin with, you must upload at least 3 samples before going forward. Coroflot boasts of companies that use their help namely – Addidas, Nike, AOL, Facebook and more.
Crew – Crew offer opportunities for freelancers in web design, development & brand identity. Here, clients can come to get a free estimate for designing an app, a logo, a website or a brand. The opening line for this site reads: Hire a trusted creative freelancer.
Gun.io – A great site for developers to be listed on. Companies that use talent from Gun.io include Amazon, Zappos, LonelyPlanet to name a few. You need a Github account & some great coding skills to qualify. Gun.io claims to be the world’s first network for freelance professionals.
Additionally, Elance and Freelancer although not web design and development specific, are great freelancing sites to find work. You can get yourself listed under ‘web development’ or ‘web design’ based on your skill set. Elance (part of Odesk) and Freelancer are two of the most popular freelancing portals and you don’t want to miss up an opportunity to be listed here. You can create accounts and pick projects based on the skills you add in your profile.
If you have done some freelance projects online, we would love to hear where you learned of the project from and what you did to get it, in the comments section below.