Entering the world of freelance jobs for the first time is an exciting prospect. When my journey first began, I envisaged securing clients, taking control of my own schedule, and determining how much I could earn.
In reality, all of this is now happening. However, it does take some trial and effort. Your venture will always begin with finding freelance jobs for the first time and I am here to show you how.
Make sure you write a killer CV/Resume
Finding freelance jobs is no different to securing work in the physical world. Your prospective clients want to know what you can do and the best way to demonstrate that is through creating a CV or resume that shines.
Naturally, if you’re new to the world of freelancing, this seems like a daunting prospect. What if you have no experience to speak to? Trust me when I say we have all been there.
As a beginner, you can draw on the experiences you have in other fields, your qualifications, and skills. There are jobs out there for beginners and once you have a few of them under your belt they’re going to bulk up your CV. Using my life as a freelance writer, for example, I did the following in the early days:
- Played on my skills as a medical science graduate, especially those involving research
- Began writing on a pro-bono basis for some sites as proof that I could write
- Started a blog to demonstrate my writing skills
- Created a few samples to show off
Before you begin applying for freelance jobs, make sure you polish your resume. That way, when you attach it to your applications it’ll catch the employer’s eye and entice them into buying your services.
Start looking for freelance jobs in the right places
While I was once a fan of places such as Odesk, and I will still maintain they’re a good source of freelance jobs for beginners, however when it comes to long-term sources of work you shouldn’t rely on them.
There are several reasons for this. First, more often than not I find that those who claim they’re willing to pay ‘higher’ prices for ‘expert’ writers still insist on paying 0.01 per word. Additionally, the site is brimming with low-paying jobs, which means sifting through them to find golden opportunities is arduous.
Rather than turning to content mills that encourage a race to the bottom attitude, you can aim for the following resources:
- The ProBlogger job board
- The Freelance Writing Morning Coffee Newsletter
- This Twitter account
- Media Bistro
- Freelance Writing Jobs
Such sites usually provide better-paying clients, which means you increase your earning potential from the start. Additionally, look for online publications that focus on your writing niche and pitch an idea to them occasionally. If, after a while, nobody picks it up, you can just use the content for your own site. See, nobody loses that way do they?
Write a unique pitch for every client
Very occasionally I will come across advice for those seeking freelance jobs that includes tips such as ‘keep a blanket pitch ready to send out quickly.’ Please, do not ever do that.
If you want a prospective client to hire you, you need them to see that you’re taking their project quickly. As someone who occasionally hires freelancers, I can soon spot those who send out emails saying “Dear Sir, I am very interested in your job, blah blah blah.”
The particularly frustrating thing is, those who write the emails assume I am a man. Seriously, if you’re too lazy to read a job advert in full, don’t expect your pitch to get a second glance. I always delete said emails immediately.
Instead, break out a notepad and a pen. That’s right, in a world of technology, I want you to aim for good old pen and paper. Then, while you browse through the job that’s twinkling in front of you, jot down what you feel the client is looking for.
After filling your piece of paper with pertinent information, begin writing a pitch that highlights how you meet their needs and demonstrate the attributes they’re seeking. If you’re feeling especially keen, make sure you brim with enthusiasm about their project.
In all seriousness, such pitches attract way more attention than those that are half-hearted. But, don’t assume that this means you’ll receive resounding ‘yes’ answers all around. One of the toughest aspects of finding freelance work is taking rejection on the chin. With persistence, however, projects should begin to land in your lap.
Find freelance jobs by pitching regularly
On that note, if you want to secure a steady source of freelance jobs, make sure you pitch regularly. I like to pitch to three places a day for several reasons:
- I know that the world of freelance jobs can leave you feeling as though you’re fluctuating between periods of feast and famine. But, this only happens when you don’t take the time to secure several sources of income,
- With at least one pitch a day I will aim for a higher price. Doing so ensures my freelance jobs pay in line with inflation. Which is rising rapidly here in the UK.
- I want to make sure my pitching technique remains consistent. I also like to split test my approaches to see which ones are more effective.
Use the job boards above to find projects you can pitch to. Also, take a note out of Richard Branson’s book and say yes to projects before figuring out how to handle them later. In the world of freelance jobs, there are always opportunities to learn.
Have a portfolio and/or website in place
Okay, I know you see yourself as a freelancer. However, even as a solopreneur, you need to operate as though you’re a business.
Common sense dictates that anybody wanting to find a reliable source of freelance jobs needs a web presence. Whether you choose to dip your feet in the Internet water through sites such as Blogger, or by creating your own WordPress wonder, just make sure you have somewhere clients can visit when they want to know more about you.
Having your own website comes with a few advantages:
- You can show off your work to others
- You have somewhere to publish testimonials
- You can write a blog that drives organic traffic
- You have content to post on social media
On that note, if you’re looking for freelance jobs and your site needs a little content thrown in, let’s consider working together.