When you choose to become a freelancer on the world wide web, you need to be prepared for taking on the challenge of competing on the ‘Global Stage’.  If you ever felt intimidated right before an interview, get ready to face the pressure of bidding for jobs where contractors from every corner of the world are vying for the same spot as you. You will be competing tooth and nail on skills, experience, delivery timeline & price!

For every European/ American freelancer who feels unfairly undercut by lower priced contractors from other parts of the world, there are many contractors from Asia & Africa who lose out on projects simply for not being ‘Native English’ (regardless of their high contractor scores on the freelance portal).

Getting started on freelance job portals is certainly not easy, but not impossible either. And as you progress, retaining existing clients while attracting new ones, requires you to be a master juggler of limited resources, most importantly time!

Incidentally, the word freelancer has its origins from the 18th century, as ‘available for hire mercenaries who possessed fighting weapons or lances’. 

The one weapon that you as a modern day freelancer must  use to the maximum advantage is your ‘profile’ on the freelancing portals.  Your profile will be the world’s window to you.  But most importantly, the profile should tell the client why they should hire you, from among scores of other eager freelancers.

Profile Building 101   why you

Here’s a checklist for creating a strong profile on any freelance job portal.

  1. Upload a professional picture – avoid graphics at first; people want to know ‘who’ are they hiring. Your mugshot must instill a sense of confidence.
  2. Develop an exacting tagline – The one line (less than 5 words) that summarizes you as freelance service provider and will be displayed in your contractor summary.
  3. Write a professional summary  –  Describe your services , employment details, educational qualifications.  List all jobs that could be seen as a ‘value addition’ to your profile, whether or not the job was directly related to writing.
  4. Showcase your portfolio –  Add relevant samples to your portfolio, without compromising any client confidentialities.
  5. Take the website skills test – Depending on the skills you are listing, take the relevant  tests. In particular English U.K, English U.S skills tests are crucial for non-native English speakers.
  6. Add ‘ keywords’ to facilitate profile search by clients –  This will help you get potential job invites, instead of having to search yourself.
  7. Develop a project bidding template –   Use this to customize bids as per requirements of each job.  Attach relevant samples of your past work, pertaining either to the same subject matter or showcasing the style of writing required by the client.
  8. Develop a writing ‘niche’  –  Overtime identify which projects you enjoy the most or which were a best match to your  skills. Develop a ‘niche’ and display it overtime on your profile.
  9. Ask for feedback – Seek client feedback on successful completion of projects to improve your contractor ratings on the freelance portals.
  10. Reinvent your profile every couple of months – As you do more jobs, you gain perspective and expertise, that must be showcased in your profile. Review your profile every couple of months to keep it looking ‘fresh’.

Make sure you check all these basics for your profile on the freelance job portal(s) of your choice.  Of course you will make your own rules as you go along the way.  But be sure to come and share them with me! All the  best :0)