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5 Tips How To Be A Successful Online Freelancer

Updated on April 28, 2015


Freelancing is the ability to create a business out of what you love to do. There is a great freedom in this type of job and I have been a freelancer for many years, on many different platforms. Through the years, I have seen many people fail at getting jobs and making money. So these are my tips on how to be a successful freelancer. So whether you are a full-timer like me, or just want to make a few extra dollars, these tips will help you to do so.

Apply For What You Know

This seems pretty simple, but some people miss the point of freelancing. A person is hiring you to do a job, so before you even apply for a job make sure you can actually do it. If you are a writer, do not try for jobs out of your field or area of expertise. Most platforms will have ways for clients to give feedback, so make sure that every job you apply for is something you can actually do and do well. If you want to try something new and have no experience, well you can try to be upfront, but chances are slim if there is any other semi-attractive applicants.

Prove It

You know the real way to get someone to pay you to do something? Someone that has never met you and most likely, never will. You have to prove what you can do. In the freelancing world, this equates to a portfolio.

Portfolios can come in many forms and one of mine is my profile and articles on Hubpages. Articles and short stories that are published on public forums are ranks and commented on, a real version of what you can do for the client. I write content on occasion freelance and all I have to do is leave a link to my profile. The potential client instantly has proof of experience, quality, tone, etc. Makes the application/proposal process a breeze.

So once you make the decision to go down the route of freelancing and you have figured out what niche you want to work in, spend some time making several like projects. These should be projects that you are wanting to get hired on. This will save you a tremendous amount of time filling out applications that you will never be hired for. Put your best foot forward and it will get you hired.


The profile is the first thing that the client is going to look at, well after the scores and feedback, but we will get to those later. Profiles are important and many seem to have trouble with this. So here I like to make a suggestion, do not use the words; hope, want or need. This is not a diary and well, no one cares about your hopes.

Example: My name is Jennifer and I hope to be a writer someday.

No. You are trying to be hired for a job, not a hope. So if that is how you want to start out, you are a writer, not a hopeful. The same with want and needs, they don’t belong in your profile. What does belong there, is what you have done, can do and anything pertaining to the work you are trying to get. This is not a social network and your personal life should be kept out of it. Looks tacky and unprofessional.

Profile Picture

Keep it neat and looking presentable. This is not a job that you have to look presentable every day. I sometimes work in pajamas, but for that selfie, straighten up. It should be of just your face or some upper body, and that’s it. Some platforms will require a face picture and I hear, can be very stringent on it. Clear face shot, semi-close with little to no background. A good crop can take care of all the rest.

The Proposal

The proposal or application is one of the most important parts of the freelancing process. You will have to do this quite a bit because you will have many clients, so I have it down to an art. I like to keep it, short and sweet.

Real Example:

Hi my name is Jennifer and I have several years of experience writing. I will provide a link to some previous works. If this is the style you are looking for, I look forward to working from you in the future.


(provide link)

That’s it. That is all you have to say and I get almost all the jobs I apply for. I think that if you go down the list and do each tip, that is all you will have to say as well. Less puffery and please do not get into hopes and dreams in the proposal. Let your work speak for itself and if it is well done, you will not fail.


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    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Very good advice and to the point. Thanks.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 2 years ago from Germany

      Good advice! Thanks for sharing.

    • Karen Hellier profile image

      Karen Hellier 2 years ago from Georgia

      Oh wow, including what you write to prospective clients is very helpful. Thank you! Nice job, voted up.