Job boards & freelance marketplaces are often overlooked by larger design and development companies. This can sound like great news for the small guy however these sites do have their place for both small and larger companies. The truth is they won’t even be competing with each other and both large and small design firms can take advantage of the opportunities. So whether you’re a large company, small design studio or a freelancer, if you’re not taking full advantage of these sites you’re leaving money on the table for your competitors to scoop up.
For The Busy, Larger Design Agency
A smarter larger design agency wouldn’t ignore the online job boards and freelance sites. Instead they would assign one of their employees to maintain active profiles, bid on jobs & even take advantage of job board listings as I’ll explain shortly.
Freelance marketplace profiles can be maintained by staff already on the payroll. Ignoring freelance sites because you are competing against lower bids should not be a deterrent. Position yourself as experts and bid on projects with higher budgets. Not every job posted is looking for the beast deal. Many jobs won’t even consider the low bids and they will totally ignore them. This is where the larger companies have the unique opportunity to bid on, and land, those big budget projects that require more advanced skillsets then a smaller company just starting out cannot provide.
Now let’s talk about job boards. Why in the world would a larger design firm be looking through a Job board? Because job boards can lead to more jobs duh! How you ask? When was the last time you visited a job board? Very often these online job boards post jobs from businesses looking for web design or development companies who can help maintain, make changes to, or develop new features for their sites. It’s not always web design and development companies looking to hire freelancers or full time staff who post on job boards.
So would it hurt for an employee of a large design firm to take a few minutes out of their day to scan the job boards? I don’t know about you but I don’t ever say no to an opportunity at making more money. If you’re excuse is you’re already too busy and don’t need to waste your time with this method then why are you here reading this article in the first place? Here is an idea - why don’t you simply hire more help and take some of your profits to expand. The extra help can be assigned to getting out there landing more sales and growing your businesses by taking advantage of all these opportunities sitting there passing you by.
For The Smaller Company or Freelance Designer
As a smaller company or freelancer just starting out you need to find work. Since these resources provide thousands of opportunities for you to land a gig it’s a great place to spend some time. I don’t recommend spending all your time bidding on projects and applying for freelance gigs on job boards but you should allocate some of your time to these places.
To make better use of your time narrow down the amount of freelance marketplaces you keep an active profile on. Stick with the big boys with thousands of listed jobs and before you know it you will start landing some gigs. As you build a solid reputation through positive reviews you will start to land more and more jobs. It takes some patience and some extra time on your part but it’s a great starting point to find gigs online when you have no work and you’re just starting out.
Worried about the low competitive bids? Don’t get discouraged when you see offshore designers who bid insanely low bids. Low bids are often associated with unreliable and poor quality work. Job posters who regularly use these sites have learned the hard way and will usually only seek out those bidding with realistic fair bids. You also have an upper hand because cultural differences and communication issues are a very common problem for job posters when they contract offshore companies and freelancers. Don’t be scared to bid what you’re worth because the job posters are not always looking for the lowest price. They want someone who can offer a fair price, be reliable, be available and simply get the job done.
How to Land More Jobs Through Freelance Sites
Your competitors are lazy and will simply copy and paste their responses when bidding on a job. Job posters can see right through that and will ignore those bids. As a user of these services myself (usually for content editing) I can tell you many of the people bidding against you are lazy and placing bids using the copy/paste method. I simply ignore and decline these bids. The way I see it, and how most job posters also see it, is if you want to work with me you better take the time to respond personally and not with a canned response to my posted project. Show me you are a real person who wants to work with me and is actually interested in the project. So if you want to land more bids take the time to get personal and send a message to the job poster after placing your bid. Start by introducing yourself and letting them know you have looked over their details. Now would also be a good time to ask any questions about their project if you have any.
To land more gigs you need a good reputation on the freelance job sites. Even just one positive review will help you get your foot in the door when bidding. It’s imperative that you have at minimum one positive review (of course the more the merrier). I found that once I landed that first positive review it gave me a foot in the door with all my future bids. Many job posters won’t consider working with someone who doesn’t have a positive review. You might have to low ball your first couple of jobs to get that positive review but it’s worth it. The more positive reviews you attain the more jobs you will land and the more money you can demand.
Showcase What You Do
It amazes me how many people are looking for work but don’t display any samples of past work in their portfolios on these freelance job boards. Job posters want to see what you can do without having to ask you. Make sure your portfolio, or even resume, showcases samples. If you’re just starting out and don’t have a large portfolio then you need to create a “dummy portfolio”. For example if you’re a web designer then design a handful of websites to showcase your skills. If you’re an article writer then have some samples of your writing available to review. Job posters will look at your portfolio or sample work before contacting you. If your competitor is showcasing their work and you’re not – guess who is going to win the gig?
I Don’t Care About You!
Ok they call it an “about me” section but it should be called “what can you do for me” section. Your about me section of your profile should briefly talk about you but more importantly you need to sell yourself by filling this section with how you will help your client and the benefits they will receive by working with you. This is where you sell yourself and not talk about yourself. There is a difference and don’t make it boring. Sell yourself and tell your potential client how working with you will actually benefit them and help their business. If you can you should show off some case studies of how you helped other businesses in the past and how it benefitted them.
Your Resume On Steroids
If there is an option to add a resume make sure you add one but don’t just list your skills and past work experience. What’s just as important, if not more so, is to use this as a place to add testimonials from past clients. Turn your resume into a sales piece with lots of testimonials. Of course if you’re just starting out you probably don’t have many testimonials so just make sure to ask for, and collect them, after every successful project. Before you know it you will have more than enough to add to your resume. A combination of listed skills, past work experience and lots of testimonials will help you beat out your competitors bidding on the same project.
Lastly, if you can, you should also show off some case studies of how you helped other businesses in the past. Your resume should be a combination of your skills mixed with some good sales copy to sell yourself. Not many of your competitors are doing this and it will set you apart when bidding on projects.
A standard freelance job board works a little differently than a freelance marketplace because you are not bidding on a project instead you’re selling yourself and that usually involves a resume being submitted. A lot of the same practices we just discussed can be used to help you land more jobs through regular job board postings.
For example, you can get personal when responding to freelance job board posting. Businesses both large and small want to work with real people. If you want to stand out from the crowd you need to sound like a real person and not just another boring resume submission. Accompany your resume with a personal message or cover letter. Make sure it’s personal and not your usual boring standard cover letter. Show them you took the time to research more about their business and how you can help.
You should also showcase your work with an online portfolio. There is no better way to show off your skills then with real world examples. Make sure to link to your online portfolio. If you don’t have one – why not? Go set one up and make sure you link to it.
A good reputation is as simple as offering contact details to references. Happy past clients are usually more than happy to help. Even if they never contact your references, just letting the job poster know you have them available is enough to stand out from the next resume who doesn’t have any references. Sub consciously It shows you have confidence and have nothing to hide.
Your resume on steroids – remember that? It’s no different here. Imagine 100 people all submitting their resumes hoping to land that freelance job. If you want me to take notice of you then you better not sound like the 100 others applying. Drop the old school resume and sell yourself – be different!