5 Simple Ways to Secure Your First Gig on Freelance Marketplaces

Donald Ngonyo
9:55 pm
March 20, 2024

Do you find it hard to get lucrative gigs from freelancing marketplaces?

I always hear comments from freelancers who are about to give up on their dreams.

They say something like:

It seems like using freelancing platforms doesn’t work nowadays. I have had my profile for over a year without finding any gig.

If you work on platforms like Upwork or Fiverr, you must be strategic to succeed and grow.

Freelance marketplaces are the best for anyone to start a freelancing career. When you sign up on these platforms, you have a pool of clients ready to hire someone. With this, you get a sea of opportunities to launch your career and life on your terms.

Platforms like Upwork have new projects posted every minute. That means you can always get someone to hire you if you use different tactics.

You do not need any experience or a massive portfolio to win lucrative gigs. As long as you have the skills, you are good to go. You price your service well by demonstrating the value you bring to the table.

Landing Your First Clients on Freelance Marketplaces

Before writing this article, I heard from a freelance writer who had won a 500-word article gig paying $150. Another writer told me she fired a $15-a-post client after getting another paying $100 per blog post.

These are real stories from real people. How do you go from zero to landing a $100 gig on a freelance marketplace? Two things are crucial:

Make a Mindset Shift

You can only win gigs if you believe in freelance marketplaces. With a mindset shift, you’re not going to stop until you find the right clients who pay for the value you provide.

Don’t buy into the negativity that freelance marketplaces pay $10 for an article of 3000 words. You will not be able to earn more with this mindset. So, have a winning mindset and apply the simple ways outlined in this article.

Look for the Right Clients

Avoiding earning peanuts as a freelancer requires you to look for the right clients. Drop the scarcity mindset to ready yourself for the clients ready to pay for your services. Companies are willing to pay up to $500 for an editorial or blog post.

Ways to Secure Your First Gig on Freelance Marketplaces

Clients face an overwhelming pool of proposals for each job listing. This makes it challenging for freelancers to capture attention and win contracts.

Employing effective strategies to differentiate oneself is beneficial and necessary. A strong strategy helps you get regular work and stop struggling to land gigs.

As a freelancer, you must create a compelling and trustworthy professional image. Understanding how to show value and maintain a reputation for reliability and quality.

Also, these strategies are not static. Freelancers must be dynamic and responsive to the changing market and client needs. Adapting to trends, engaging with clients, and showcasing proven results is paramount.

A well-thought-out approach enhances visibility in the middle of competitors. It also fosters professional relationships, leading to consistent work, and long-term success.

What are the ways to secure your first gig as a freelancer? Let us dive in and discuss the details.

Creating an Outstanding Profile

Your profile on a freelance marketplace gives a customer the first impression. It acts as a magnet for attracting or repelling clients. Make sure your profile grabs attention and inspires action.

How do you create an outstanding profile? Here, every small detail matters.

Use a Professional Headshot

  • Always choose a high-quality headshot. It should show you as approachable and professional.
  • Make sure the photo is current. It should have good lighting. And it should show a friendly yet confident demeanor.
  • Avoid casual or distracting backgrounds; a simple, neutral backdrop is best.

Write a Compelling Bio

  • Begin with a powerful opening statement that captures your expertise and personality.
  • Articulate your skills, experience, and what sets you apart from other freelancers.
  • Tailor your bio to speak to your target client — address their needs and how you can solve their problems.
  • Keep it concise, but engage with a touch of your own story or passion for your work.

Show Your Skills and Endorsements

  • List your top skills first. This makes it easy for clients to see your qualifications.
  • Update your skills to reflect current trends and your personal development.
  • Ask previous clients or colleagues to endorse you. This will add credibility to your skills.
  • Use skill tests if available. They provide proof of your expertise.

Create a Portfolio Highlighting Past Work

  • Select your best work to show your abilities and experience range.
  • Include a variety of samples if you have a broad skill set to show your versatility.
  • For each portfolio item, provide context, project objectives, your role, and the results.
  • Remember to get permission from clients if you’re sharing work that isn’t public.

Creating an outstanding profile is a continuous process. It requires frequent updates and reflection upon the feedback you receive from clients. Having a good profile increases the likelihood of getting noticed and hired.

Crafting Winning Proposals in Freelance Marketplaces

Crafting Winning Proposals

Many freelance marketplaces need the submission of proposals or cover letters for jobs. Writing winning proposals is an art that you must perfect. Your proposals need to resonate with potential clients. They need to show that you understand their needs and can provide solutions.

How do you craft winning proposals? Here are aspects to consider:

Personalization for Each Client

  • Avoid using a generic template. Tailor each proposal to the specific client and project.
  • Mention the client’s name. Reference details from the job post to show you’ve done your homework.
  • Show excitement for the project and state why it fits your skills and interests.

Highlighting Relevant Experience and Skills

  • Say the main project requirements. Then, detail your expertise in those areas.
  • Provide examples of past work that relate to the client’s project.
  • Emphasize unique skills or experiences that give you an edge over other freelancers.

Addressing Client’s Pain Points

  • In your proposal, focus on the challenges the client is facing.
  • Explain how you would approach these challenges and strategies to overcome them.
  • Assure the client that you are not only there to complete tasks but to provide solutions and value.

Clear and Concise Communication

  • Articulate your points and avoid jargon that the client might not understand.
  • Keep your proposal concise — highlight key points without using excessive details or information.
  • Break up the text and use bullet points or short paragraphs for readability.

Proposal Follow-ups

  • After you submit your proposal, mark your calendar for a polite follow-up. Do this if you haven’t heard back after a reasonable time (usually one week).
  • In your follow-up, repeat your interest in the project. Ask if they have any questions or need more information from you.
  • Balance being proactive and being pushy. If a client doesn’t respond after two follow-ups, move on.

Remember, a proposal is the beginning of a conversation with a potential client. It should show your qualifications and readiness to forge a professional relationship.

Pricing of Your Services

One of the ways to win gigs is the right pricing of services. Setting the right rates helps you land jobs and leads to financial sustainability.

When it comes to pricing, cheap is not always the best. You do not attract good customers with low rates. Set the right price for your services and you will make your freelance career glow.

Understanding Market Rates

  • Research to understand the rates for services like yours within the freelance marketplace. What are your target customers willing to pay? You can check the hourly rates they have paid for past projects to determine how to price your services.
  • Consider factors like experience level, niche expertise, and geographic location when comparing rates.
  • Stay updated with industry trends to ensure your pricing remains competitive and fair.

Value-based Pricing versus Time-based Pricing

  • Value-based pricing sets prices based on the perceived value rather than the hours you put in.
  • Time-based pricing charges by the hour, suitable for projects lacking a defined scope.
  • Assess the pricing model aligned with your services. You can also adopt a hybrid approach based on the project type or client preference.

Offering Packages

  • Bundling services into packages attracts clients looking for comprehensive solutions. It helps increase your project value.
  • Create defined packages with set prices to simplify the client’s decision-making process.
  • Include options for different needs, with tiered packages from basic to premium.

Flexibility with Budgets

  • While having set rates or packages, be open to negotiating with potential clients.
  • Understand budget constraints and explain what you can provide within their budget
  • Establish a bottom line to avoid undervaluing or overcommitting for less pay.

Competitive pricing reflects the quality of your services while fitting within market expectations. Transparent and justified pricing builds trust, leading to more successful negotiations.

Networking and Building Relationships

Securing consistent work in freelance marketplaces requires networking and fostering relationships. When people understand your skills will hire you for projects.

Here are ways to enhance your networking efforts and win more jobs.

Utilizing Social Media and Professional Networks

  • Leverage platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and niche forums to connect with clients.
  • Share your work and insights, and take part in discussions to position yourself as an expert.
  • Use these platforms for outreach, keeping your connections informed about your availability.

Engaging with Past Clients for Repeat Business

  • Maintain a relationship with previous clients through occasional check-ins and updates.
  • Ask for feedback on completed projects and show how you have used that feedback to improve.
  • Make clients aware of other services they might find useful, opening doors for new work.

Seeking Referrals from Existing Network

  • Don’t hesitate to ask satisfied clients for referrals; word-of-mouth can be powerful.
  • Express appreciation with a special discount for the new and referring client.
  • Keep a referral request short, respectful, and professional.

Attending Virtual Workshops and Webinars

  • Engage in continuous learning by participating in relevant online workshops, webinars, and courses.
  • Use these events to learn and connect with future collaborators or clients.
  • Offer to speak or present at events related to your field to build your reputation.

Networking is not only about gaining new clients. It is also about building a support system, mentorship, and staying on top of industry trends. Authentic relationships lead to organic growth in your freelance business.

Leveraging Client Testimonials and Reviews

Client testimonials and reviews can enhance your credibility and influence potential clients’ decisions. Here’s how to leverage them:

Encouraging Feedback Post-Project

  • After project completion, request feedback. Personalize your approach and make it easy for the client to provide a review.
  • Express how valuable their input is to your professional growth and client satisfaction.
  • Follow up if necessary, but always maintain respect for the client’s time.

Showcasing Testimonials on Profile

  • Feature positive reviews and testimonials on your profile to immediately grab attention.
  • Select testimonials highlighting your skills to provide proof of your expertise.
  • Update this section to keep the content fresh and relevant.

Using Reviews to Improve Services

  • Analyze feedback to identify areas of strength and opportunities for improvement.
  • Consider constructive criticism as actionable insights to refine your processes, offerings, or communication.
  • Share with prospective clients how you’ve utilized feedback to improve your services.

Responding to Negative Feedback

  • Address negative reviews and offer a solution or clarification if there are misunderstandings.
  • Take accountability for mistakes, and the steps you’re taking to prevent similar issues.
  • Convert negative experiences into learning opportunities to improve your services.

Testimonials and reviews serve as a testament to your past successes. It is also a commitment to future quality. Managing and utilizing client feedback sets you apart in a crowded marketplace.

Secure Gigs on Freelance Platforms Like Upwork and Fiverr

Throughout our discussion, we have explored strategies to help you price your services. We also outlined the importance of networking and building lasting relationships. These are crucial for a thriving freelance career on Upwork.

Understanding market rates and offering packaged services can make a significant impact. The emphasis on using social media underpins the importance of community and connections.

Another aspect is to remember the value of client testimonials and reviews. They are powerful endorsements of your work and show your successes. They are the basis for improving and offering quality work to clients.

Persistence and adaptability are your greatest assets as a freelancer. Freelancing is ever-changing. It’s crucial to remain flexible and open to evolving your strategies. By staying informed, engaged, and proactive, you position yourself for ongoing success.

Now is the time to take action. Use these strategies to attract clients, and build a foundation for sustained growth.

Each step is an investment in your future. Embrace the journey, and celebrate each milestone along the way.

Are you ready to start applying these methods? Let me know if you have questions or need further guidance.

Want to level up your freelancing game?

Grab a copy of The Freelance Lifestyle: Building a Fulfilling Career and Life on Your Terms to get more secrets about freelancing.

© 2024 Donald Ngonyo. All rights reserved.