Are you looking for work from home jobs and have registered for an account with Fiverr, Upwork or any other freelancing site and wondering when you shall get your first job? Well, this guide will help you get your first freelance job.
First, let’s call a spade a spade. Finding your first freelance job can be quite an uphill task and it requires diligence and patience. It could take a year, several months, weeks, days or just hours for you to get your first freelancing job. It depends on several factors that we shall look at in this post.
Ok, let’s get started. Here are some work from home tips that will get you your first freelancing job.
1. Find a good reputable freelancing site
The choice of the freelancing site determines your freelancing experience. To identify a good reputable freelancing site, you should look for:
- A freelancing site where jobs are posted regularly. A good example is Upwork and Freelancer.com where jobs are posted almost every second since they have gained trust from clients. The more the jobs that are posted the more the chances that you will get a job where there are not many applicants, which means you won’t have a lot of competition.
- A freelancing site that does not require you to pay to register for an account.
- A freelancing site that charges a small amount of fee from what you will get paid by clients. The standard fee by freelancing sites is 10-20%.
- A site that is well rated by other freelancers. You can find reviews online.
With a good freelancing site, your chances of excelling in freelancing are high and you would most likely get your first job within days if you follow the other tips outlined below.
2. Create a well-organized profile
Your profile is the only line of defence as a beginner. Remember you have no ratings and the only thing that the clients can look at is the skills you have outlined in your profile.
Choose your area of specialization carefully and highlight all the skills within that area that you are qualified in. It is important to avoid mentioning skills that you are not proficient in since it could land you in trouble if clients decide to hire you for them and you don’t do a good job.
You should write down the profile in a professional manner ensuring that everything is grammatically correct. If a clients’ notice some grammatical errors in your profile and they are looking for content writers, they will not proceed to even contact you no matter how well your cover letter could be.
If you have worked on other jobs outside the freelancing site, you could outline them in the portfolio section. This could go a long way in proving to your clients that you are capable of doing the job even though you haven’t worked with any other client on the platform.
If you are a writer, for instance, you can provide links to sites where you are the author (your name on the provided link must match the name you are using on the freelancing site)
3. Apply for recent jobs where there are few or no applicants
One of the secrets of making the first impression on clients is applying for jobs that have few applicants and where possible those jobs that do not have any applicant at all. And since most reputable freelancing sites have hundreds of thousands if not millions of freelancers waiting for job posts, the only way you will apply for jobs that have few applicants if by applying to newly posted jobs.
And to do so you have to be online throughout to refresh the job post page every minute to apply for freshly posted jobs before other freelancers apply.
As a beginner, you should avoid applying to job posts that have more than five applicants since chances are those applicants have already been rated and clients will prefer someone that is rated over you.
4. Write a professional compelling cover letter
Your cover letter acts as your introduction to the client. And the way you present yourself matters a lot.
A client can tell whether you went through the job requirements or whether you are qualified for the job by going through your cover letter.
You should ensure you provided every information that the client has requested in the job description. It is a common habit for clients to ask freelancers to include a certain word or phrase at the beginning or end of the cover letter to see if the freelancer read all the instruction or they are just submitting a generic cover letter.
A good cover letter should have:
- Outline of skills that you have that will ensure you do the job perfectly.
- Outline how you intend to do the job.
- A timeline – when you intend to finish the job.
- Cost – the amount you intend to charge for the job. It is important to provide it in milestones if the contract is a long term contract.
- Any other information the client has asked for in his/her job description.
- Sample of similar tasks you have undertaken. This could be in form of a file upload or link to a site where you have uploaded the work. Links work best and if you have not uploaded it on a site you can share it through google docs.
5. Look for jobs where clients do not require a lot of expertise
In freelancing sites, clients gauge the experience and expertise of freelancers by the reviews they have received from the different clients they have worked with. And an expert is usually that freelancer who has worked on very many jobs from different clients and received a 5 star from all of them or a majority of them.
In most freelancing sites like Upwork, clients will specify whether they require an entry-level, intermediate or expert for their project. You should apply to jobs where clients require an entry-level freelancer since chances are the client is not concerned about the ratings.
You can also search for jobs where clients have said newbies will be considered. You can do this by searching the term ‘Newbies’ in the search box.
6. Cost – charge less
In freelancing, the cost is a very critical factor. Clients are looking to get the best quality of work using the least amount of funds possible.
Therefore, you should be careful to charge the least amount especially since that could be your only bargaining tool.
A client may have received 5 applicants for his/her job post on writing a 500 words article for example. And each of the applicants charges $5 to do the job. If you have a well-organized profile and a good cover letter, you could propose to charge $1 for writing the 500 words article. If the client is looking for an entry-level freelancer, chances are he/she will contact you to talk more on the job and if you prove beyond a reasonable doubt you are capable you will get your first job.
The best starting fee that you can use as a beginner is between $1and $5 for most projects.
7. Offer to do non-paid tests
Most clients are hesitant to assign jobs to new freelancers because they are afraid the freelancers are learning on the job and they may not do a perfect job. Therefore, to prove that you are good at what you say you are good at, you can suggest doing a sample for free for the client.
If the clients require 5 articles, for example, you could suggest doing one of the articles for free. Or if you are Computer-Aided Design (CAD) specialist and a client wants an assembly drawn, you could suggest doing one part for free. This will instil confidence in the client that you know what you are doing.
8. Address clients by their names – get it from the reviews of other freelancers
Before applying to jobs, it is always important to go through the reviews that the client has been given by other freelancers to find out how he/she relates with freelancers. A good client is that client that has 4 to a 5-star rating.
Also, it is most likely that you will find freelancers who have addressed the client by name when providing their feedback. Note that name and use it when writing your cover letter.
When you address someone by name it provides a sense of closeness and the client could be thrilled enough to contact you for an interview. You can use terms like Hello sir/madam or Dear sir/madam in case their names are not available.
9. Be prompt to reply to messages from clients
Most clients are looking for freelancers who are available to work on their projects immediately. Therefore, if you send an application, you should be around your computer or smart form to respond to the first text from the client.
If you delay too much the client could be interviewing a number of you and he/she could settle for one among those who replied before you.
Replying fast also gives you a chance of getting the attention of the client before he finds someone else who could be as good as you.
10. Search for jobs where clients are looking for freelancers specifically from your country
Some clients specify that they are looking for freelancers from certain regions or countries.
For example, you may find clients looking for native English speakers for content writing jobs. Or they could specify certain countries depending on the nature of work.
You could search for the name of your country in the search box once in a while to see if there are search jobs that have been posted on the site.