What are tips and tricks for a happy freelancer?

Job security can be a huge stress factor for freelancers. It’s not just about finding enough clients and work, but also about finding the right clients…

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels

How you present yourself online and to future clients is key to finding the next job. In this article, I’ll give you some tips to help you focus: your freelance profile, your online presence, your rate, and your passion and skills.

A perfect freelance profile

When you’re a freelancer, you’re the product whether you like it or not. When you’re looking for roles, you’re selling yourself — your knowledge, your experience, your skills, your work ethic, and your values. Your profile and online presence are essential to making that perfect first impression.

Your profile picture

Did you know that a profile with a nice and professional picture gets 21x more profile views?

The profile picture is the first thing your potential clients see. Use a recent and professional-looking picture. Adding a personal touch to your picture immediately creates that first connection with a client. If you don’t have a recent professional-looking picture, there are a lot of freelance photographers who will happily lend a hand…

About me

A complete “About me” section with at least 3–4 lines increases the chance of being contacted.

Tell something about yourself as well as what you’re offering. And please, use your real name! Describe who you are, the type of work you do, your interests, your education, qualifications, awards, certifications, and publications. Consider adding where you are located, how long you’ve been working independently, and add a fun fact or two!

Recommendations

Recommendations are ranked high on the list of essentials. Potential employers always scan profiles for recommendations, especially those with real names and pictures. Recommendations give you an 8x higher chance of landing a new job or project. Invite your former employers or co-workers. Whilst this may be easier for experienced freelancers, we advise starting freelancers to invite their co-students, or friends and family to write something about you…

Skills

Be as complete as possible in your skills. When you add at least 10 skills you will be contacted 33x more often. Personal attributes or soft skills are at least if not more important compared to hard skills or diplomas and certificates. If you’re not sure what to add, there are a lot of soft skill tests out there on the internet to help you get started. Also, ask people you’ve worked within the past or your friends and family for their input. As a starting freelancer, don’t forget skills learned during your prior work history. Or, add skills you’ve gained during any volunteer work you may have done.

Offers

Pricing your services can reduce going back and forth with a client and allows you to start working on projects much faster. Whether you’re starting your independent journey or have years of experience, pricing your services can be challenging to know how much to charge (see the topic “Calculate your rate” below). Give your potential employers a clear description of your offer. Include the core skill in the title and support it with a detailed description.

Availability

Keep your availability updated, in a place that you can easily share with potential employers, so they know if you’re open to work and by when. Even if you’re not immediately available, keep this information up to date so clients can reach out even if you’re only available in a couple of weeks.

How to connect

And a bit obvious, but is sometimes forgotten, add you’re online (e-mail/telephone number) contact details and social accounts (LinkedIn/Twitter) to your public profile, so potential clients can always reach you directly. Or use www.Calendly.com to give clients the option to plan a (short) meeting with you.

Portfolio and projects

Showing off your portfolio and projects is becoming equally important than your experience, if not more important.

Always use a good picture. A catching title, company name and be as clear as possible about the project, scope, and size, as well as about your role in the project, the work you did and the value you added and/or use a link from other platforms like LinkedIn, awwards,Medium or Behance.

Core values

Work (and life) can at times feel like a bad storm. You can feel like a boat, being tossed around by the waves and the wind with little or no control. Your core values are the anchors that will stick with you and keep you on course through even the worst of storms. Unsure what yours are? There are online lists with hundreds of potential items. Review them carefully and pick the 4–5 that feel closest to who you are and what you stand for.

Online Presence

Showing your online presence on your profile is super important in the freelancing world. It not only gives clients an idea of who you are and what your personality is, but it also validates you and your experience.

Social accounts

Use your social accounts to share your profile, your freelance skills, and experience on social media (Twitter/LinkedIn) and let people know about your availability and how they can connect with you.

Networking

Start networking, offline if possible, but at least online. Find a community that works for you, where you find answers to your questions; your day-to-day topics, finance, skills, the issues you deal with, etc., and where you can connect and chat with other freelancers. Even if it’s only a coffee break…

Guest blogging

Are you a blogger? Use guest blog options on relevant websites or platforms to show off your skills and voice your opinion about your work field. Your content must be relevant of course and, if possible, help other freelancers.

Calculate your rate

As a freelancer, you need to be aware of what you’re worth, what the value of your skills is, as well as the value of what you’re offering. This can be a process, but if you have figured out your own value, clients will also value you, which in turn increases the chance of a next job. Of course, this value changes as you have and get more experience.

If you have no idea as a starting freelancer, have a look at Clockify. Please note that your location is one of the biggest factors that determine your hourly rates.

There are mainly 3 options to determine your rate:

  • Time-based Rate
    A rate is an ongoing price for the amount of time spent. An example of a
     rate is € 50/hour or € 1,000/week. Rate pricing is best for freelancers who are just starting out. It is also good for projects where it is hard to estimate the total time required to complete it, or for tasks that involve a lot of moving parts. We recommend very carefully tracking the amount of time spent, and keeping your client informed on a regular (at least weekly!) basis.
    For yourself, track your projects so you can eventually move to a fixed price once you’ve performed this service multiple times and are able to standardize this offering.
  • Fixed Price
    A fixed price is a one-time fee a client pays in exchange for a service. Fixed prices work best if you know how long a project will take and how much value you will deliver.
  • Contact for pricing
    If your rates are negotiable or vary often, contact for pricing is a great way to work out a pricing model with clients individually. Your price can be finalized by identifying the specific needs of your client and their total budget for the project.

Passion and skills

Don’t be too modest or too limited in expressing your skills. Show what you’re capable of; show off your experiences, your blogs, your websites, your portfolio, etc. But, be crystal clear about what you are offering. Please try to avoid vague titles or skills.

As a freelancer, it’s really important to stay relevant, keep your skills up-to-date and continue to expand them. Use the time in between jobs for (online) courses. Or, provide coaching or mentoring to others, and add it to your profile. Be passionate about your skills and the entrepreneurship of freelancing. And learn from others, I personally like Scott Luscombe, with his Freelance Success Friday events where he shares his way of working.

Any thoughts?

If you think I’m not complete, or if you have another opinion? Let me know, I’m very curious.

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