The first project is always the hardest to win, let it be Elance, Freelancer, oDesk or any other freelance website and even the other sources, i.e. if you are trying to generate business from Linkedin.
You must be ready to work on a cheaper rate at first even because you are a new provider on the platform and have no reputation and no track record. In this situation, think like an employer and his concerns about hiring you.
Well, it is harder but not impossible; taking a professional start can make it easier for you to win the first project. Before starting working on winning the project, make sure to have an optimized and convincing company profile on freelance websites you are targeting.
Once you have a professional profile, let’s start doing the effort on winning the project.
1- With a free account, you have a limited number of bids, so make sure to bid on very specific and targeted projects. If you have the paid account even, bidding on every other project blindly without reading the description is not a wise idea.
2- Knowing the fact# 1, the very first thing is to verify the employer. Although most clients are good people, but being a beginner you should not bid on the projects whereby:
- Employer doesn’t have a verified method.
- Employer has posted lot of projects but awarded a few.
- Employer has no feedback/completed project.
3- Assuming the employer is verified and good to go, the next important step is to read the job description properly and understand the requirements. Proceed to the next step only if you are 100% sure you can do it.
4- As you know how you can do the job, write a brief cover letter pitching the client effectively. Do not add unnecessary stuff that is already available on your profile. Just explain him how you are going to deliver and attach a relevant sample if you have.
5- Don’t waste time; When in doubt about a job description, you should just go ahead and bid on another project. If you’ve spend more than 15 minutes reading the project description and still confused, better to leave it.
6- Don’t use pre-written script for every project; It’s OK to have a standard set of bullet points to describe your qualifications, but that’s not all. Give every project a unique pitch based on the job description.
7- Be Patient: Once applied for the job, be patient. If you have done rightly, you will get the project.
8- Don’t Lose Hope; even if you have been rejected, do not lose hope, hundreds of jobs are posted on these websites on daily basis. Keep on bidding effectively.
9- Bring Existing Client to the Platform; If you already have a client, why not to bring him to the freelancer platform. He should not have an objection as it’s all secure and you will get a kick start on the platform for sure.
10- Promote Your Freelancer Profile;especially if you are running a PPC or social media campaign for your website and potential customers land on your website, they may be hesitant in dealing with you directly, so displaying your freelancer profile on your website’s landing page will cover their doubts and they can deal with you there.
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Depending on the services you offer, you may also come up with some innovative ways to get a kick start on freelancer websites, but the above will work in all situations.