On a freelance job portal, it is very easy to lose oneself in the crowd, skating by getting an occasional project by chance. Being in direct competition with other professionals who possess the same niche skills as you, with the same level or experience, or even more, can be a challenge. This can be overcome by differentiating oneself, but how does one achieve that?
One way is to create a winning proposal that highlights specific skills and experience relating to the industry or the business in which the client deals. For instance, if you are a graphic designer bidding for a project with a financial services company, you can share projects done with similar companies to share your understanding of the industry and its audience.
You can opt for paid features within the bid process to ensure that your proposal is one of the highlighted proposals that are trending at the top and easily visible to the client.
A worrying trend of undercutting prices is being observed on freelance job portals where freelancers are massively undercutting the prices to the point of bringing down entire market rates to negligible numbers. This is bad for the industry and reflects poorly on the overall standards of the professionals who are also submitting their proposals for the bid.
Most clients who post the proposal have a budget and the amount they expect you to bid at must be in the vicinity of the amount they expect to be charged for achieving the goal they have set for themselves. Even when they are MSMEs or start-ups, clients are not looking for the cheapest resource person or the most experienced freelancer. Also, they will shortlist multiple proposals before deciding on whom to award the project.
You may have designed the perfect proposal, have the right experience, and the price you quoted is just right, and you may still not get selected for the project. A grim view of this is that the client found another freelancer with similar qualifications and “it was his/her day”. Often businesses save proposals and offer them other projects, or the same project if the selected freelancer is unable to deliver. If you are in doubt, you can drop a message to the client asking their reason for not selecting you and how you can better prepare when you try the next time.
There are many ways to boost one’s profile on a freelance job site such as creating a strong profile and updating regularly, sending messages to clients to find updates on new projects, and communicating your expertise through posting short videos, messages, or communications.
While bids and competitions are initiated by the client, a freelancer can boost their project by adding their projects to their profiles for sale. So, one can create a proposal such as a greeting card design for any occasion for US$ xxx, or 7 articles for US$ xxx. One can collaborate with a freelancer in a similar field and create a project for sale. For instance, a freelance architect and interior designer can collaborate on a house or commercial space design and construction.
Many start-ups assemble entire teams with freelancers for their projects, and if you can pitch a service bundle at a competitive rate then you have a distinct advantage.