How do you find freelance work? This has got to be the most common question asked by new freelancers. Unfortunately, clients don’t tend to come knocking on your door unless you already have a reputation. So, most get started with freelance job sites to build experience, grow their network and of course, to get paying work.
What are freelance job sites?
There are plenty of websites where customers and freelancers can find each other. They act like regular job boards, including a job description and instructions on how to apply. The good thing about job boards is that you can tailor your application depending on the job. Job boards are highly competitive though, so it’s important to think carefully about each application you make. For this reason, it can be much slower to apply for jobs through this method.
Joining the right type of freelance job site
If you’re offering your freelance skills for a very particular niche, you’re likely to find freelancing websites dedicated solely to that. This can mean that your prospective clients have a reasonable understanding of what they’re after from you, and how your services can help. One popular example of this is the ProBlogger job board which advertises projects specifically for freelance writers.
Dealing only with very focused freelance job boards can restrict your exposure though. Businesses are looking for freelancers because they’re the ones with the knowledge and skills, which might mean they’re not sure how to go about finding the right freelancer for the job they need doing. This is where bigger sites such as PeoplePerHour are useful, because they’re much more inclusive of different skills and industries.
How to get started with freelance job sites
If you want to go ahead and start applying for freelance jobs, you will need to stand out amongst the competition and present yourself as an expert – just like any job application! There are thousands of resources online about crafting the perfect CV or application to help.
Those who hire freelancers want to know:
● Whether you’re reliable
● If you’re good at what you do
● What your turnaround time is
Your portfolio of work will be key. The best way to host this is through a website of your own but you can also use a portfolio site such as Contently to link to previously published work.
Another good way to show off your experience and reliability is to have client testimonials on your website or LinkedIn page. Having a recommendation from a real person can work wonders in establishing trust between the client and the freelancer.
Staying safe and actually getting paid as a freelancer
Unfortunately, we live in a world where not everyone is genuine on freelance job sites. You may encounter scammers who want to get out of paying for work.
There are some precautions you can take:
● Ask clients to sign a contract to keep all agreements in writing
● Ask for upfront payments e.g. 50% of the fee
● Don’t release work until receiving payment or use a watermark over graphics/photography work
Plenty of suppliers have strict payment terms when dealing with new clients, so being a freelancer doesn’t have to mean being any different.
Have you had a good/bad experience on a freelance job site? What steps would you recommend for success?