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How To Start And Market Your Freelancing Skills
How to Begin as Freelancer
In my last post on freelancing I encouraged would be job seekers to try freelancing as a means of getting themselves out of their plight, and using the freelance platforms I suggested, and getting good reviews from your clients help to build your brand to contractors. This field is a very competitive one however, and many people who join oDesk, for example, or other similar sites find that they have to strongly market their skills to before they can start to make money.
How To Market Your Skills
One of the best ways of building your brand and marketing your skills is passing as many of the relevant free tests for your skills sets as possible. You can also take exams, for a fee, that these site offer. Another way of marketing yourself is by showing project samples of your previous work or to provide links to sites that have some of your jobs.
For example if you have been a guest blogger, have contributed to a wiki page, have a blog or website, Hub pages, Squidoo lens etc or provided a list of your published works. If you provide links, do check three things:
- That the sites you've posted your articles on is still up and running,
- That your contribution is still on view
- That the links to your article(s) are still working, if not then fix it.
My area of expertise is article writing and admin, I'd advise any would-be or new freelance writers to write 10 original articles of about 500 words each, on a niche area of their choice, and publish them on Hub pages, then post excerpts from those articles as your published work. Articles published on hub pages have to go through a verification process for copy write purposes. Don't be tempted to plagiarise, Hub pages strongly disapproved of plagiarism.
Assessing A Freelance Job
When you have gone through all the hoops of joining and taking the platform's tests, the next thing is knowing how to price your services. The saying is 'time is money', so make sure that the jobs you apply for you can do them within the specified deadlines. My advise is, before you commit to any assignments, make sure you've worked out just how long the job will take you to complete, and whether the pay offered is worth your time and effort. Use time and motion as a rule of thumb, basing your assessment on the hourly rate you'll be charging, add ant overheads, also on a hourly basis, such as using an internet cafe, for instance if that applies to you.
Sometime a client may change the job specification from those original sought. When this happens, try to assess whether you can remedy the situation before replying to the client. Then be prepared to negotiate terms, whether or not you cannot come up with a solution, bearing in mind that coming up with a deal that suites both of you is a win-win situation.
Start as You Mean to Proceed
Create a spreadsheet, or chart for ALL your jobs. This will help you in more ways than one including when you have to do your account returns. Keeping on top of taxation issues right from the beginning is good discipline.
Many clients and prospects prefer to communicate via Skype or chat, if it is possible keep records of conversations, but you MUST alert your client of that you're going to record your conversation. This will help to protect you should the client change drastically or renege on payment.
Manners Maketh a (Wo)Man
Being courtesy to your clients is a must. I take it as a given that in all your communication you use appropriate salutations anyway. So from your initial contact, to closing your deal please address your client in a respectful manner and conclude your transaction by thanking your client for choosing you.
Good or appropriate communications apply even to those jobs that are in dispute. You will achieve three things by adopting such an attitude;
- You will own the moral high ground and
- You'll increase your confidence, last but not least
- You'll build effective communications skills.
If you're a serious business person you'll know that mistakes happen.So when mistakes and/or disputes happen, you're advised to take the following course:
- If you're in the wrong - be humble apologize and rectify your mistake quickly.
- If the other party is in the wrong, state your case succinctly and without rancor, and be gracious if an apology is offered. It is then up to you whether you're prepared to work with that client again.
As ever, my good wishes to you and your endeavors. May I be so bold as to ask you to let me know what you've learned from this article, and what you would have liked to see.