Finding freelance gigs 10 years ago was a long and complex struggle, so much so that you’d have to rely on cold-calling and networking like crazy just to bag a few jobs.
But in today’s digital age, it’s become somewhat of a breeze. Obviously, you have to work hard, be disciplined and know how to effectively be your own boss, yet it’s much easier than ever before to pursue this path – and all at the click of a button, thanks to sites like Upwork and Freelancer!
That said, you’ll need a good online profile that will make you stand out from the crowd and help you secure lots of jobs. Thankfully, we’ve created this easy and simple guide to help you out.
Here’s how to create the perfect freelancer profile.
1. Use your real name
If you’re sceptical about sharing your real name online, you might as well quit freelance work right now!
No one will take you seriously with a made-up name like ‘catlady85’, for example, which won’t instil any confidence in potential clients. In other words, it’s essential that you use your real identity. But be sure not to abbreviate your name – a contractor will likely skip your profile if you’re listed as Michael P.
2. Upload a professional picture
If you think that a selfie will do for your freelancer profile, you better think again! Remember: you’re creating a professional – not a dating – profile, so make sure you use a clean, smart photo of yourself to match.
It’s important to dress professionally and to smile in your photo – after all, first impressions are what count in the online world. As such, it might be a good idea to have your picture taken against a simple background by a professional photographer.
3. Make your headline unique
The few words you choose to use for your headline can be what makes or breaks your success as a freelancer. Done right, you’re more likely to get noticed and, as a result, secure more jobs. Done wrong, however, and you risk swimming in a rising sea of professionals.
Let’s say you’re a web developer. If you really want to stand out and get discovered more, you need to show what your skills are. So, ‘Mobile and Web Developer – UX Specialist’ in this case would be far more appealing to potential clients than a simple ‘Web Developer’.
4. Make your bio matter
Your profile bio or summary is your selling point, but that doesn’t mean you should shamelessly toot your own horn like there’s no tomorrow. Not only will this make you appear full of yourself, but it will also make people question how good you really are.
Instead, showcase your skills by telling potential clients what you can do for them and how you can bring them instant results. Let’s say you’re a digital marketer and social media specialist; your bio could say something like: ‘I can relate to your target audience and drive noticeable results in a few weeks by following unique social media strategies that will work for you’.
5. List your qualifications and work experience
Most freelancing websites include profile sections to include your qualifications and experience; make sure that you take advantage of these.
Be sure to include any important modules that you completed as part of your studies or strategies that you learned during this time in a neat bullet-point format.
More importantly, your work history will help sell your skills. If you have a few years of experience in your chosen field, make sure to include all the relevant details here, especially if you spent time working for a well-known company. This will inevitably add value to your work and help you get shortlisted for jobs.
6. Showcase your best bits
Most freelance sites have separate sections where you can upload a portfolio and showcase your work. You shouldn’t overload it with examples of the same kind of thing. Instead, select your finest pieces of work and show different styles that you can create.
If, on the other hand, the site doesn’t offer this section, create your own online portfolio on a website like Behance and add the link to your profile.
7. Connect your social accounts
Showing that you have an online presence is super important in the freelancing world, especially on LinkedIn. It not only gives clients an idea of who you are and what your personality is like, but it also validates your experience in the digital world. And by building a large following, you’ll have more exposure to find freelance jobs in your niche.
Although Upwork, for example, doesn’t publicly display your accounts, it helps the platform understand your interests and, therefore, narrow down job searches based on the information from your online footprint.
8. Be particular about your skills
If you’re a highly skilled professional (which I’m assuming you are), you’ll possess a variety of skills and be trained in many different areas. However, when looking for a freelancer, a jack of all trades, master of none will be useful to no one.
Therefore, it’s important to be careful with the skills that you list on your profile. These should relate to the job category you’re listed in and should not exceed over 10 entries. It’s vital to list them in order of priority, too – what you’re talented in the most should be the first thing that employers see when they visit your profile.
9. Decide on your rate
As the saying goes: know your own worth!
The first step is to research the average hourly rate and to not sell yourself too short. It might seem like a good idea to set a cheap rate at the beginning to attract more clients, but you’ll soon start feeling frustrated when you’re putting in hours and hours of work for next to nothing in return.
On the other hand, you shouldn’t aim too high and overprice yourself, either. Your rate should match your experience and skills. Therefore, if you’re an inexperienced writer, you can’t set your hourly rate to anything over $50 as you’ll end up receiving little to no work.
10. Keep your maintenance up
By now, you’ve most likely successfully created your freelance profile. But don’t put your feet up so soon!
To ensure you remain competitive and in business, you need to frequently update your profile and remove any irrelevant skills and samples. In such a fast-paced marketplace, you’re expected to keep up with the trends and know how to work in the online world. For example, a design style that was popular last year might not be this year, so you need to keep your portfolio updated with new and creative ideas to showcase your flexibility and originality.
In the freelance world, your profile is your CV and your proposal your interview. It’s what will get you a job and earn you a paycheque. To ensure you don’t set yourself up to fail, follow these vital steps for creating a personable and professional freelancer profile.
Are you a freelancer with any other useful tips to share? If you do, let us know in the comments section below.