I have been a freelancer for a long time, but recently decided to make a career breakthrough and started freelancelifemagazine.com, a freelance news website. And even before I started this project, I knew that I would need the help of other freelancers - programmers, bloggers, social network managers ... Of course, I decided to find these freelancers here at Upwork.
So I decided what I needed, set a budget, wrote a job post, and waited to see the offers. The number of offers was even higher than I expected, which made my choice a little more difficult. So I had to go through the elimination process and choose the freelancer who best suited my needs. At the end of the process, I hired several freelancers who did a good job. Then I created a new Job Post, hired new freelancers for a new job, and repeated the process several times.
Apart from the completed jobs, the biggest benefit for me from all these processes was that I better understood what the process of hiring a freelancer looks like and how clients think. That helped me look at my offers as a freelance designer from a different angle. But here’s what the whole process looked like for me.
1. Profile photo
The first step in choosing a freelancer was to reject offers that have an inadequate profile photo. It may seem unprofessional to make decisions based on pictures alone, but when an employer gets 40-50 offers he can’t read every offer. So, the offers to some were vague pictures, a drawing instead of a photo or a weird facial expression were the first to fall away.
My advice to freelancers: choose your profile photo carefully, even if you have a good offer, you may drop out just because of a bad photo. Upwork has instructions for choosing a good profile photo, read it.
2. Price range
Before I posted the job, I set a budget that I could spend. Since I had a lot of costs for the new project, I decided not to exceed the budget I have. So, the next step was to check which offers fit into my budget. Some freelancers made much bigger offers than the price I set. Although most of them are very professional and successful, my budget simply did not allow me to hire them. But to my surprise, it turned out that I was ready to exceed the budget a bit if the offer of freelancers is really good. Freelancers who gave a much lower price than the one I set I also skipped.
My advice to freelancers: Don’t underestimate yourself and don’t make too low offers, that doesn’t guarantee you a job. If you are confident in your skills and can offer the client even more than he asked for, you are free to make an offer that is slightly higher than requested.
Then I started reading the offers from the remaining freelancers. To my surprise, some freelancers still send out generic offers, in which they only state their qualities, what they have done so far or what they are capable of. I rejected such offers. Offers in which the freelancer writes what he can do for me, how he can help me, and what his experience is related to the job I need - these were the offers I took into consideration. Adding relevant examples was very important. I added every freelancer who had a relevant example to the Shortlist.
My advice to freelancers: write a personal offer so that the employer can see that you can help him. Whenever you can, add relevant examples or a link to such examples.
4. Portfolio, Job Success Score, and Feedback
In the end, only a few shortlisted freelancers remained, for whom I checked the portfolio, job success score, and feedback. What I understood at this point is that I had not read a single portfolio. Some other things caught my attention. Even at this point, the portfolio was not crucial, everyone had a good portfolio. I decided to look for a good job success score and feedback. Of course, this does not mean that a good portfolio is not important, it is certainly very important. But other things are also important, sometimes more important.
My advice to freelancers: make a good portfolio, but don’t just stick to it. Asking your client to give you feedback is important. Try to have a good job success.
In the end, I hired a few freelancers, they all had good portfolios, and most had an offer within my budget, but some I hired had an offer over a budget. They all had relevant examples in their offer, a Job Success Score over 90%, and good feedback. For some of them, I didn’t even read the portfolio, other information was quite enough.
This whole experience helped me better understand the thinking and needs of clients. Of course, this is just my experience, the experiences and actions of other clients may be different. But mutual understanding between freelancers and clients is very important; it is the key to long-term and successful cooperation. My recommendation to every freelancer is to go through this process at least once. Hire another freelancer at least once, it will give you a broader picture of the relationship with employers and help you make better offers in the future.
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