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Getting Started as a New Freelancer

nick_schumacher
Active Member
Nicholas S Member Since: Nov 4, 2018
1 of 8

Hey guys, 

 

I'm fresh out of college and am now fully committed to making it as a full time freelancer. I was wondering if any of the veteran freelancers on here can offer me any advice on landing that first gig. Also if any of you would be willing to review my profile and offer feedback, then I'd be really greatful. 

 

Thank you. Have a great day!

petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
2 of 8

@Nicholas S wrote:

Hey guys, 

 

I'm fresh out of college and am now fully committed to making it as a full time freelancer. I was wondering if any of the veteran freelancers on here can offer me any advice on landing that first gig. Also if any of you would be willing to review my profile and offer feedback, then I'd be really greatful. 

 

Thank you. Have a great day!


 Personally I think you should gather real working experience in brick-and-mortar employment first for a few years.

 

As far as your profile is concerned, has it actually been approved yet?

It lacks focus "generalist" is not what clients tend to look at, and your price is profile suicide.

It will turn off the decent clients and only attract the bottom-of-the barrel ones which almost invariably expect the world and will destroy your profile in no time.

 

To be honest, your profile would indicate that you are currently not ready to take the step into running your own business.

 

Your opening line alone is a deal killer. First of all "recent graduate" reads as "I have no experience" and "passionate" is one of those meaningless phrases. Clients don't care about your passion, they care about two things: Your skills and your experience.

The rest is just as fluffy and lacks focus.

Then you say you want to "discover where my true talents lie and gain experience" - which is another nail in the coffin.

Clients don't come to Upwork to help amateurs in their quest to figure out what they can do, they come to Upwork to hire people to get their sh*t done in time and on budget.

You then drive in the final nail of your profile coffin with that $ 3/ hour nonsense.

 

The only clients who will be attracted by that are the clients you sure as hell do not want to work with if you want to create a career as a freelancer.

 

nick_schumacher
Active Member
Nicholas S Member Since: Nov 4, 2018
3 of 8

Wow that was thorough! Thank you for your full assessment and complete honesty. You're right in the sense that I don't have much experience which is why I've set my rate so ridiculously low just to get those first few gigs at minimal financial risk to clients, but that may be a mistake as you've mentioned. 

 

I've considered the brick and mortar route too, but I run into the same experience issue ("entry level" now requires 2-5 years experience), and freelance is simply a better fit for my personality and better aligns with my goals. I'm essentially bootstrapping right now. I don't expect to make a fortune right out of the gate (or even a "livable wage") but I can get by on very little and supplement other income from Uber (not relevent experience I know, but it goes back to the experience paradox) and savings. 

 

Perhaps I'll remove the generalist title, I just want to experiment with a variety of roles. Perhaps I should try Fivver for that purpose. I'll put your thoughts and suggestions into consideration but I am not willing to give up and put off my frelancing career until I gain experience at a traditional brick and mortar company.  

 

Thank you

 

 

colettelewis
Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
4 of 8

@Nicholas S wrote:

Wow that was thorough! Thank you for your full assessment and complete honesty. You're right in the sense that I don't have much experience which is why I've set my rate so ridiculously low just to get those first few gigs at minimal financial risk to clients, but that may be a mistake as you've mentioned. 

 

I've considered the brick and mortar route too, but I run into the same experience issue ("entry level" now requires 2-5 years experience), and freelance is simply a better fit for my personality and better aligns with my goals. I'm essentially bootstrapping right now. I don't expect to make a fortune right out of the gate (or even a "livable wage") but I can get by on very little and supplement other income from Uber (not relevent experience I know, but it goes back to the experience paradox) and savings. 

 

Perhaps I'll remove the generalist title, I just want to experiment with a variety of roles. Perhaps I should try Fivver for that purpose. I'll put your thoughts and suggestions into consideration but I am not willing to give up and put off my frelancing career until I gain experience at a traditional brick and mortar company.  

 

Thank you

 

_____________________________

 

You should not just "consider" the  excellent advice you have been given, but put it into practice.  

 

The first three lines of your profile (and any proposal) are all that a client sees initially, if you fill it with fluff, a good client will pass you over. Your profile needs to be as sharp as possible particularly at entry level and with the skills you are offereing, but this does not mean setting a bottom-feeder rate. 

 

At the moment, your profile is a target for every scammer going. 

 

Before bidding for any jobs you should also read this thread written by Upwork staff: 

https://community.upwork.com/t5/New-to-Upwork/Getting-Started-on-Upwork/m-p/264214#M2460  

nick_schumacher
Active Member
Nicholas S Member Since: Nov 4, 2018
5 of 8

Thank you Nichola! Saying that I am considering advice sounds rude in hindsight. I fully intend on implementing it. You're right about the scammers and I will make immediate adjustments. I will do some more reading into starting out (starting with the article that you have provided). I'm trying to hit the fine line between knowledge and action. I am an extremely analytical person and tend to overthink things without taking the immediate necessary action.

 

I know experience is key to any profession but there has to be a place for someone with ambition and drive that is willing to work around the clock to gain said experience. 

 

Thanks again!

mystudiomke
Community Guru
Lila G Member Since: Dec 4, 2017
6 of 8

Nicholas, 

 

Agreed with most of the recommendations above. I personally don't think a brick an mortar job prior to freelancing is essential when you have ambitious, self-motivation and continuously educating yourself. You just have to give it your all to prove yourself. As for your profile, the number 1 killer is your hourly rate. I get your thought but you're only hurting your profile reputation. A good client will never take you seriously at that rate even at entry level.

Check this link out:

**Edited for Community Guidelines**

 

I would recommend doing some research on top-rated freelancers in your skillset. See what an average rate an start from there. Also as previously noted, a client just want to make sure you have the skills to do the job. Prove that in your statement. A big red flag is saying you're new or 'still figuring out'. 

 

I hope that helps!

 

Lila
nick_schumacher
Active Member
Nicholas S Member Since: Nov 4, 2018
7 of 8

Thank you Lila! It seems that the common theme here is that a low rate will do more harm than good. My inital thought was to offer extremely low rates to compensate for a lack of experience but after listening to experienced freelancers such as yourself, Nichola, and Petra it seems that a higher wage will increase my legitimacy in the eyes of quality clients even with less experience. I'm now thinking that somewhere $8 - $12 is more optimal given my skillset and credentials. This can obviously increase as I complete more jobs and get more experience. Great article and website in general. I'll definitely do some more research.

 

I have also learned that I need to narrow my focus. I think I'm going to put some more effort into optimizing my blog to figure out what aspect of IT and digital marketing I enjoy the most in practice, while doubling as part of my portfolio. Thanks again!

gilbert-phyllis
Community Guru
Phyllis G Member Since: Sep 8, 2016
8 of 8

Seriously, you need to listen to Petra and Nichola. 

 

Passion is the least valuable asset a freelancer can have. And there is nothing unique about a background that combines tech and marketing.

 

Jumping into Upwork with no brick and mortar job experience in your chosen field is like embarking on a solo long-distance sailboat race when you (1) have never sailed on your own before, (2) have never crewed on a boat sailed by professionals, (3) have never crewed in a race, either amateur or professional. Maybe you're a strong swimmer, but do you have advanced first aid skills? Are you an expert navigator? A skilled mechanic? Do you have wilderness experience of any kind?

 

As a freelancer, you wear every hat in your business and you need experience and insight about how to fill every role.

 

I know this is not what you want to hear, but we are not being mean. We don't want to see you founder and sink.