In the last few years more and more workers have decided to go freelance and work for themselves. This is no surprise, both with the end of the old culture of ‘jobs for life’ and the precarious nature of the economy that makes it difficult to have confidence in your employers to keep your job secure. In addition, the global job market has been revolutionised by the rise of online contracting and freelancing sites where companies and people can outsource jobs that they need for their business and call upon the global workforce of freelancers to do their work for them. Regardless of what field you are employed in, there is a site somewhere that offers freelance work for you. A quick survey of the internet will show you that there are now hundreds of websites concentrated around connecting freelancers and contracts. The most established of these sites are Odesk, SoloGig, Virtual Assistants and Elance. Each of these provide work across all sectors, from Design and Multimedia to Engineering and from Marketing and Sales to Finance or Programming. Whatever your freelance niche, you will be able to find work. The only problem you will face is how to win the contract.
That’s because with so many people across the world also going freelance like yourself, the competition for all these jobs grows every day. No matter how good you are at your job there will always be contractors out there who are as good as you, or someone out there willing to bid lower than you to win the contract. So how do you get yourself a winning bid? Try the following:
(1) Immaculate Presentation – The first thing you should do is ensure that you have a well-written profile that is also immaculately laid out and appealing to the eye. The first place a potential client will look when considering your application is your profile and portfolio. So make it good. Put your very best work in there and outline all of your industry accreditations and qualifications. In addition, there should be a mission statement as to the way you work and a link to your own website and references. This area of the site will be your portfolio, business card and cv all in one place. Make it sparkle so people want to hire you.
(2) Reputation, Reputation, Reputation – The next most important thing to your profile is your reputation. This will be defined by the feedback that you get for every job you do through the site and will mean you are only ever as valuable as the last few jobs you have done. Get a poor review and you will find yourself struggling to get any work. This is why you always have to give 110% to every job you do through an online site – so that you build a reputation as an effective and reliable contractor. Bear in mind one thing as well – when you start out you will have no feedback at all so you will need to bid low for a while in order to win the bid. If you do this and manage to win a bid, make sure you get that all important top quality review for that first job.
(3) Tactical Bidding – There are two things to remember when it comes to bidding. Firstly, only go for those jobs you have a chance of being awarded. Bid on too much and you look desperate (plus you use up all of your credits). Secondly, you need to work out a bidding strategy that suits your work-style. Some people prefer to set themselves a minimum price that they will do a job for and then be the first to bid on a job at that price. The obvious advantage of this is that their bid will be the first one the client reads and will sit at the top of the list, getting the most attention. If the buyer likes your bid they will accept it and end the bidding early. Others prefer a different method, choosing to wait until later in the process. This has the advantage that you are able to watch the bidders before you and then put in a competitive bid that combines good quality work with a bid that sits in the middle between the highest and lowest bids.
(4) Immaculate Proposal – Lastly, make sure the proposal itself speaks to the client. Make it more appealing and more impressive than any of the other bids and show the client you have thoroughly engaged with their brief. Never, ever use a standard template to bid on jobs. They never work and you will never get the job. Highlight in your proposal how you will approach their job and include a timeline for each stage of the job and for completion.
Start with these important steps and you will quickly win your first bid.
Esther is a journalist and blogger who writes about small businesses and entrepreneurship. She also blogs for a Illinois injury attorneys.