Stand Out in Freelancing With Our Pro Tips
The year 2020 turned the labor market on its head when an estimated 71% of professionals found that they can work remotely.
Many people also realized they could start freelance, even while attending college.
The number of freelancer workers in the United States continues to grow, from 53 million in 2014 to 59 million in 2020.
These numbers tell you something very definitive: competition for freelance work is fierce. So if you want to get jobs, you must stand out.
Here we take a look at seven ways that help you stand out in freelancing from your competition.
1. Build Your Online Portfolio
The highest paying freelancing jobs include copywriting, software engineering, and social media managing. All these jobs have digital elements.
Building a digital portfolio shows off your skills and helps you get found.
Most freelancers rely on low-cost and free methods to advertise themselves. It’s possible to put together a simple website and host it at a reasonable cost. Link your free social media accounts to generate further reach, and then upload samples of your work.
Add your relevant contact information to your online profiles so that companies interested in your skills can contact you.
Feel free to show off the projects you’re most proud of on a professional level. Include information about the ones you decide to showcase.
Potential employers want to know how much interest a piece generated or how much money software saved for your client. Attach statistics to the items in your portfolio that demonstrate your work’s effectiveness.
Some fields are subjective, such as art. In others, you can quantify the results you’ve delivered in the past.
If you’re just developing your portfolio and freelancing profile, it’s okay to state that in your bio. Some companies search for rising stars.
2. Proactively Search for Opportunities
Once you build your portfolio and roster of clients, you earn credibility as a freelancer. Even a veteran freelancer must proactively search for opportunities.
Freelancing is a sum of several income streams, for example:
- One client may need work completed for six months.
- Others only require a one-time project.
- Some freelancers only work seasonally, earning enough in one season to get by until the following year.
You’re constantly balancing short-term gigs with long-term opportunities.
A photographer who lives in a snowy area may travel to warm island regions to photograph destination weddings. When the weather clears up, the photographer returns and photographs weddings locally.
Every wedding is one project that provides an addition to the portfolio. The photographer also must actively search for the next wedding to photograph.
3. Keep Your Skills Current
Several fields continue to evolve. A freelance copywriter must learn how to integrate search engine optimization elements into the copy.
Most copy ends up online and print. The online version must drive traffic to a promotion, website, or social media account, while the print version must grab the reader’s attention.
Individuals who work in software and automation industries must update their skills. And yes, robots are flipping burgers, taking lunch orders, and making deliveries. But, someone must program, maintain, and perform quality assurance on the bots.
One set of skills becomes obsolete, but it opens the door for new jobs and skill requirements. Freelancers who adopt the latest in-demand skills will find themselves working more often than others.
Once you pick your freelancing specialty, find out the skills companies are searching for and ensure you keep them current.
Networking never goes out of style. Attend industry conventions, gatherings that potential clients attend, and local business-focused mixers.
As a college student, you’re learning how the real world operates. By becoming comfortable with real-life networking, you prepare yourself to communicate with clients post-graduation.
Your goal is to establish income streams now so that they’ll flourish in the future.
5. Turn in Work On Time
Every project you complete develops your reputation. Some companies aren’t sold on freelancers because they’re not prepared to manage them. Hiring an individual remotely and allowing them to work off-campus is new for several managers and executives.
To ease the minds of nervous business executives, excel at every aspect of every job.
You’re representing yourself every time you turn in a project. You also represent freelancers. Companies that have good experiences with contractors are more likely to hire others in the future.
The adage of under-promising and over-delivering is more than a cliche. Delivering work on time is excellent. If you set yourself up to provide work within a prompt turnaround time, you’re on your way to gaining loyal clients.
6. Narrow Down Your Clients
When you learn the ropes of freelancing, you’ll go through stages.
In the beginning, you’ll take all opportunities that come your way. These projects earn you some income. They also teach you some lessons.
Once you build your portfolio and roster of clients, you can narrow down the type of projects that you prefer. If you’re a copywriter, maybe you like to write service page copy for websites instead of editorials.
After working with several clients, you’ll gain confidence. You can narrow clients by pay, project requirements, and quality expectations.
7. Collect Client Testimonials
Some freelance work is subject to non-disclosure agreements, privacy laws, and non-compete agreements. Other clients won’t mind you adding their project to your portfolio.
When you find clients who don’t ask you to give up your rights to the work, collect a testimonial from them. Client testimonials build your credibility.
Ride-share freelancers receive a rating through their company’s app. This lets future customers know what to expect when receiving a ride from them.
Client testimonials are another way to receive a rating. For freelancers, it’s the equivalent of receiving a letter of recommendation.
Freelancing offers several benefits.
You receive the freedom to set your work schedule, pick where to work, and set your terms.
To stand out among your competition, consider adopting the above tips, among several others.
Karen Lein is the general manager of Copper Beech at San Marcos and Grove San Marcos. She is a Fresno State alumni and enjoys traveling and watching football. #GoDogs!