How to start at a job board?
<< How to select a job board?
OK, there are projects, waiting to be accomplished and money to be taken, but how to become a part of this? Let's assume you have already selected a jobboard.
Currencies at the online freelance market
As at any other market you compete to be chosen. There are four major things you can put on the table – skills, cost, time and trust.
You bid and the client is to decide who to chose according to these factors. Always keep all of them in mind. When a project is being completed, both the freelancer and the client can rate each other. The better rating and the more reviews, the more trust and the easier you can get new projects and better deals. Keep it up and most important – don't screw the things. Even when the client happens to be a shitty dodger, calm down your nerves and try to complete the thing up (unfortunately this would lose about 1/3 of your time and most of your nerves, must be pre-calculated and in fact the fair clients pay dodgers' bills, but that's life... ). You need the rating! You could deal with the client to pass the job board and save the money you must give to it, but this would be a bad investment for you as it would not rise your ratings and chances to get future projects for a better payment. Consider this only if you already have enough stars in your profile.
- Skills stand for your ability to do what's required and in what quality. It is important to bid only for projects you are absolutely sure you can get done. A failed project not only would lose you a huge amount of time but also most probably ruin your reputation and chances for future projects. Failures an unpredicted problems do happen anyway, don't create even more. Always read carefully and think a few seconds before you bid!
- Cost is for how much are you willing to get for your work. Could be debatable and negotiated. Not always the most important factor, but a vital one. Especially for new people on that board.
- The time is how much of it would you need to deliver the result. Sometimes it could be stretched. It could be OK for some clients if you are a bit slow. Others would see it as a failure. It leaves a bad impression for you and your skills. Try your best to keep fair.
- Trust is probably the most vital one. As there are different kinds of clients and freelancers who are all strangers to each other, anybody could say anything. Seriously, there are enough freelancers who bid on projects they are unable to complete. Hoping to get the money somehow, overestimating their own skills or underestimating the project. The reasons could be different, but this makes the trust hard to gain especially at the beginning.
So, let's start winning the first projects... Most of the freelancers quit frustrated just here, unable to make the first step. Well.... let's make it!
Your trust would be 0 and you need to compensate by the other factors.
We'd like to wish you luck, but “luck” must not be a factor for professionals. Perhaps “Success!” would be a proper one.
- Bid on anything you are able to complete. Your chances are being multiplied by the number of attempts.
- Lower your price. Yes, we know - when you first see the bids, your reaction would most probably be like “this low is insane!”. Keep lowering. At this point you just need some ratings and there are clients (the worse ones) who value the prise most. The lowest bid could win just because it is the lowest. Everybody is apprentice at some point and it is unpleasant to be one. The faster you pass over this, the better. Look at this as an investment, you'd rise it up lather.
- Show understanding. It is amazing how many freelancers just bid on anything, without even reading what is the project all about. Some of these bids are made by companies or teams that are (too) confident they can handle anything, some are made by bots, some by just too silly or desperate freelancers. The clients hate these. Who would trust his project and money to someone who replies “yes” to just about anything? This shows no understanding of what is required, not a will to really get the job done, nor even that the freelancer can understand the client's language; just begging and crawling. When bidding, write something special to show that you've read and understood the task and conditions.
- Get personal. Send a PM to the client, showing that you are really interested of the project. The first question that would bother client is are you skilled enough, so send some direct links to projects like the one you are bidding for from your portfolio. Not the frontpage of your portfolio, a few clients would bother to browse it in order to find something similar to what they need. They'd most probably just look at the other bids.
- Sketch out a few ideas and proposals about the best ways to achieve the project's goals. This shows you are not only able to complete it, but also already thinking about it and how to do it best. It does make an impression and makes you stand out.
- If you are not busy with something else, do and send a mock-up/draft. Investing some time in this shows your engagement and skills and even if you are working at a wrong direction, client would know the work is already partly done. Your chances to convince him to take the risk and trust you rise significantly. Of course there is always a chance the client to chose another one anyway or to use your work without paying anything for it.
- Put some effort. You could lower the money, and additionally you could lower the time. Yes, this will mean to work under pressure and probably without sleep for a day or two but will win you some stars and reviews. Additionally check for urgent projects. They have fast turnaround and the client has less time to collect bids (which would mean less competition for you) and decide – sometimes the firs one wins. You just need to keep an aye on the projects' list, not just checking it once or twice per day. Job boads generally ARE a race, get used to it.