Being a freelancer is hard, especially when you first start out. You will make a lot of mistakes and that is normal, trust me! Everyone makes mistakes. Just read Joe’s trip in the freelancing world, first entry HERE. This is why you read articles like this one, so that you will not make the same mistakes others make.
While there are so many topics that can be covered, one deserves special attention: the actual bidding process. It does not matter what freelancing platform you want to use since the mistakes I mention below can be made anywhere.
Remember that you DRASTICALLY increase your chances of being hired when your bid is suitable. From the first line the client will realize if he does not want to work with you, wants to work with you or wants to learn more about what you propose.
Let’s jump right into the topic and not waste too much time. Also, if you use Upwork, use these tips to make sure that you take full advantage of the connects they have. The Upwork Connects Policy was recently changed. You can learn more about it here.
Bidding On Everything
If your profile says “content writer”, bid on writing jobs! If it says “virtual assistant”, bid on virtual assistant jobs. You can have a wide skill set, of course, but you should never bid on something that does not match, simply because you can!
As a client, I can tell you that I received hundreds of bids on writing and web design jobs from people that told me that they are very good at data entry. This is just the first example that comes to mind.
Bid on the jobs that you actually want to do and that you could be really good at!
Submitting A Bad Proposal
I think I could write thousands of words while highlighting just examples of bad proposals I had to see. For instance, the classic:
“I am really good at X, I did this in the past and will get the job done for $50!”
What does this tell me about you? It tells me that you are freakin’ sloppy and that you will not get the job done right for $50, especially when the budget is much higher.
Take the time to create a good 2 to 3 paragraphs proposal that will highlight your experience, skills and qualifications!
Also, attach samples and proof, if you have such files. They do increase the possibility of having the client at least look at your proposal, which is difficult from the start, with some jobs on freelance desks having dozens of bids.
The Generic Proposal Template
You find a template online and you use it! Sounds good, right? It should increase the chances of success since that template was highly successful for someone. This is what most people think and it is completely wrong!
I have to admit that I am so guilty of this mistake. I did it for years. As soon as I got rid of it and started to actually work on every single proposal I made, everything changed.
Hard truth time:
Most clients out there are good enough to INSTANTLY figure out when you use a generic proposal template. They hate that! It is disrespectful!
Use a generic proposal template as a skeleton of your proposal and modify it according to the job. Check out the requirements, do your research when links are offered and add details from the description. It will be faster and you take advantage of both.
The Low Bid Trick
You are new on a freelance site and you want to bid the lowest amount as you believe there is an increased chance that you will get it. That is ONLY true for jobs like data entry or copy-paste jobs in general!
When I first started working on Elance, I was horrified to see so many that were bidding outrageously low amounts. They had no jobs and their profiles were not complete. I actually got jobs by simply being honest and highlighting the fact that I offer quality, not a low price! My competition was obviously on the hunt for ANYTHING. That does not create a good impression!
Not Bidding Often Enough – Getting Discouraged
You see a job that you like. You bid! You see another one. You bid! Another one. You bid! You do not get any of the jobs and you end up feeling discouraged. I see this way too often.
Just as with a regular job, a freelance job is hard to get, especially at the beginning. You need determination and if clients do not respond after you make many bids, it is a sign that something is wrong. Start learning, analyze your bids and see what others do in order to get awarded. Make sure your profile is complete and that you have samples, as much as possible and as high quality as you can present.
Never stop bidding and trying!
You are not even trying if you simply stop bidding. Even with standard membership levels, you have access to quite a good number of bids. Re-read what was written above and improve your bidding. There is no reason to be discouraged. I bid on over 30 jobs until I found the first one, every single one suitable to my expertise.