Bidding is the most challenging part of freelancing. This is where you have to send gigs, proposals and make offers to potential clients in order to close sales. What if I tell you it’s easier than you think? The major reasons why most freelancers don’t get responses on their bids are:
They prepare a template proposal and copy paste it
They bid too much
They bid too low
They are unable to understand client problem
They only pitch their service
They justify cost
This can be easily fixed. If you filter jobs carefully, and build custom proposals. Here is a winning strategy for bidding that I have used for 5 years and it works every time for everyone:
Carefully decide your niche and only bid on jobs that are under your niche, that reflect your skills and are the kind of jobs you would love to do
Pick a time of the day as per the time zone of your clients and see when jobs are posted and when should you bid. In 2-3 days you will figure out the pattern on when most jobs are posted. For instance if bidding in US market, you should wait till 7pm our time.
Before you start bidding, use the filters, and carefully filter out jobs that you suit you, your skills, career level and portfolio.
Spend time on each job description. Read it carefully until every word is clear to you. Even if you feel it Is clear to you, read it twice and thrice and you will start realizing the pain points or problem areas of the clients. When posting a job, as per human psychology, the client has a problem that he needs a solution for, you have to find out that problem through his description and then understand the whole point. Look for particular questions, requirements and instructions so that you can clearly follow them.
Once you have figured out the pain point of your client, now you will prepare your bid or proposal. The first three lines should always be unique no matter what project. Here’s the structure – Greet client, by name if you know it – identify and mention his problem – offer a solution to his problem with your serviceOnce you have done this, you have talked about your clients problem, he will be interested in rest of your pitch.
Rest of the pitch is basically – Project – Scope – Relevant samples – Quote – Call to action To know more on the subject watch the following videos In these videos I have built custom proposals on demand, explained bidding strategy and custom proposals.
Freelancers in Pakistan usually are not clear about the payment methods they can use to receive payments from their upwork, freelancer or fiver accounts. All freelancing platforms support direct bank transfers. If you don’t have a bank account, don’t panic. It’s as simple as going to a shop and ordering a biryani. If you can go outside for a biryani and spend an hour to eat it, you might as well go to a nearby bank. Take your CNIC with you and open an account. They wouldn’t take more than an hour of your time. Make sure you open the bank account under your own name and have the profile with the same name. UBL/HBL/Meezan almost all banks are feasible. It will take max of 7 days to get your account working and when you withdraw your payments it can take 3-5 working days in case of bank withdrawal.
You can also apply for a payoneer card which works like a debit card that you can use with ATM. Click her to Sign up for Payoneer and fill your information. You will receive your payoneer card and will have to do $20 deposit to get the card running. Once done, you can receive instant payments into payoneer card with a little tax deduction.
Another option is skrill. It supports up to 40 currencies and will be set up in minutes. Go to skrill.com and sign up for an account. Then you can use this as a bank to withdraw money from upwork etc. There are multiple payment options available for freelancers but I always recommend local bank transfers, that save your money, keeps a record and helps you manage better.
9 Tips for Becoming a successful freelancer
Now that you know everything about starting freelancing, we would move to the points that are important in making you a successful freelancer. Remember many people start freelancing but not all of them succeed. Do you know why? Because they don’t understand the core values that make a successful freelancer. If you organize and follow your freelancing and adopt it as a lifestyle then you would be surprised at how easy and rewarding it can be. Here are important things to follow in order to become a successful freelancer.
In the past 14 years we have worked with hundreds of resources both in Pakistan and developed countries. It will be shocking for you to know that resources i.e. designers, programmers etc. are more skilled in Pakistan as compared to those in US and Canada etc. Why? Because we work harder, we multi-task, without government and family support we manage a dozen things on our own. In the same day we deliver those results that abroad based programmers deliver in a week. But why don’t we get high rates? A developer in US gets a $100/hour and how come we don’t even get $100 to build the whole site? This is because of communication. We cannot communicate well and when messaging or talking to clients, we make typing mistakes, spelling errors and grammar structure which makes them think that we have bad service or produce low quality work. Of course you cannot compare and should not compare your grasp of the language with a native speaker but you can improve it. Communication is a wide subject. It covers how we position ourselves, how we close sales, what value we are setting for ourselves, how we deal with pressure situations, when to be flexible and when to put a full stop to client. There are many things that come under this. And as long as we don’t improve our communication, specially client communication and business dealing, we wouldn’t be getting good rates. Client Communication – The Art Of Listening10 words that make YOU look weak
Following timelines is the most critical element for success in any career. As a freelancer it becomes all the more important because your repute depends upon it. If you are known among your clients as someone who delivers work on time and is punctual for meeting times etc. then you are more likely to get referrals and build credibility. However, if you take on a project, and do not deliver on the committed deadline then you have no chance of getting another job, a good feedback or a good referral from that client. With your profile and ranking on stake, never compromise on timeline. If you cannot deliver something in a given time, never commit to it.
Quality always matters over quantity. For example, here at our company our rule is to build one design mockup and 90% of the times that design is approved with slight changes. Now if we tried to build 5 design mockups and spent 2 hours each, it would take 10 hours and still we will not have a quality design at the end. However, if we dedicate these 10 hours to just one design, it will be near to perfect and will be of high quality. Quality always speaks for itself. Instead of having to glorify your skills and explain potential clients, you should have quality portfolio that speaks for itself and needs no convincing. Instead of going after clients, quality work can pull clients like a magnet. According to Walt Disney, “Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it, they want to come back and see you do it again. And they want to bring others to show them how good are you at doing what you do.”
Remember a client is neither your friend, nor your enemy. Be nice, be humble, be gentle but never cross the line. Always maintain a professional contact with your client. Whether he is pleased with you and wants to reward you, whether he talks about his problems, whether he is angry at you, you should always stay professional. Do not show emotions; just stay dedicated and alert to answer to his needs. Similarly, it is not okay to do unpaid work as favors. There are no favors in business. Professionals never do free work for anyone because they realize the value of their time and how to maintain it. If a client asks you something that wasn’t initially decided, communicate to them in a nice and polite manner that this would cost extra hours of work and the price would increase. Don’t do any favors and don’t ask for any either. Stay professional
5. Relevant jobs
If you stick to your niche and keep finding jobs in the relevant area, you will soon be an expert in the given niche. However, if you keep doing random jobs, you will never develop yourself as an authority. If you want clients to take you serious, you must stick with a specific set of skills and keep improving in that. If I am to get a logo for my brand, I would be happy to pay even $500 to an expert logo designer who has built logos his entire career. Instead of giving a $100 to someone who has done all sorts of graphic designing jobs in different areas. Build your profile in a niche and for that you need to stick to relevant jobs and relevant skills.
6. Overcommit /undercommit
Only commit what you can deliver. Do not commit things that are beyond your timeline or skill set. Be honest and transparent with your client. If something is achievable in a certain budget and timeline then you should clearly mention it. They might increase the budget or timeline if they are serious about the work they want. However, if for the fear of losing a potential contract you commit something just to get the contract and later are unable to deliver, you will not only lose the job but also your reputation. Same goes for under committing. Understand requirements clearly and offer a practical solution and a great final product that solves the client’s problem. If they want a landing page to collect emails, don’t just give them a page with no form to collect leads.
Consistency is the key to success. Humans are creatures of habit and when we develop the habit of producing quality, bidding daily, promoting ourselves, effectively using social media and quality testing our work then we excel to higher levels in our careers. However, if you believe that today you perform extraordinarily and the entire week you just sit back and relax, then you will never be able to build a sustainable income. Freelancing is a business and it demands consistent effort and analysis. If you do not take it serious and keep doing it on and off, then you will not gain financial freedom or success. Some days you just don’t feel like working, but that is when you need to work the hardest.
8. Improving with each experience
Every job that you do as a freelancer will add to your skills and experience. Even if you had a client who got work done and never paid, you learned a lesson. Next time you will never start working without funded milestones or upfront payments. Similarly, you worked really hard to write a sales pitch for a client, you did multiple revisions on demand but he rejected it at the end. Instead of thinking that you wasted your time, look at it as a new perspective. Before this experience, you dint know about sales writing, now you do. You couldn’t convert a client means what? Means there was a room for improvement in your work So always learn from experiences. Do not stick with the same methods forever. Keep learning each day and keep adding to your skillset.
9. Evaluate jobs before you take them
People who take on every other job just for the sake of getting a job never make successful freelancers. Be careful about who you work with, what kind of projects you should bbe working on and which projects you do not want to do. Evaluate carefully, the amount of effort required to complete the job and the end price that you will get. If you are spending too many hours on a job and it is not paying you enough to be profitable then you will not have the motivation to create quality products. You will just rush through the job and the end result will be a compromised product. Only take jobs that are profitable as well as are a great addition to your portfolio. We are known by the work we do, so pick carefully. That’s all you needed. Happy Freelancing!