How to Apply for a Freelance Project

I started freelancing back in 2006 when I was going through the final phases of my Bachelors degree in Computer science and like any other graduate student I wanted to make some extra cash apart from my pocket money to meet my every growing list of expensesJ.

The toughest part of being a freelancer is hunting for leads and then stands out amongst a huge pool of potential candidates to catch the employers/clients attention. While popular job boards such as vworker.com, odesk.com, guru.com, freelancer.com and elance.com have made the job of searching for suitable projects/jobs easier, the later is still a difficult job on hand.

Over the years I have grown a complete company out of my initial one man freelance startup with some simple methodologies that make you have employer’s attention instantly. Once you have his attention. Well done! Now you simply have to build on this to secure the lead.  In this blog post I wanted to share some of those insights that I learnt over the years.

  • Read the Entire Job Description: I know sometimes project postings can become really lengthy and boring and you just want to skim over the description and simply apply/bid on the position. I can’t stress that enough! Employers spend hours and hours nailing down the requirements and they expect the same from all the potential candidates as well! It’s their first criteria of filtering out a good candidate from a rejected candidate. For them it’s simple if you are not focused enough to even go through the entire description once than in the long run you won’t be staying focused on the actual job on hand.

 

  • Avoid Generic Bids: If I am the employer I would hate this the most! if you don’t even have the courtesy to go over my project requirements and reply back with project specific questions/relevant experiences or portfolios/suggestions etc. than it would be better off that I ignore your bid altogether. So as a rule of thumb attract the client always by asking him questions about the project and try to involve him in a conversation. This gives the employer an impression that you are serious about the project and give some thought about his requirements. Give him a feeling that you gave special personalized attention to his project!

 

  • Remain within your limits: Since this won’t be the last post on which you would be bidding or commenting neither it would be the last project the employer would be posting its always a great idea to leave a good impression. So assuming the client project requirements state “I am looking for a C# programmer with over 10 years of professional experience” ask yourself am I entitled for this position/project? Considering the requirement would I be putting on stake client’s time and resources as well as mine? And of course in the long run would it spoil my freelance image in front of a client who has potentially a lot more of work coming up? Be honest with your self! It will really pay off in the long run. I have numerous clients who come over sometimes offering thousands of dollars for doing a development in language/domain I am totally alien in, at first it’s tempting but remember one failure means your whole image goes down.

 

  • Portfolio: Once you are done with everything in a structured manner and client is interested in talking further with you, he would be asking for your relevant experience. Always keep you portfolio up to date. Categorize your portfolio and make it very easy for the client to locate relevant experience. Remember the client is not interested in how fancy your portfolio page looks rather what’s the quality of work you have done until now.

 

  • Communication: I can’t insist it more but constant communication is the key to build a long lasting relationship. Clients are investing time and money in the project and most of the time they are under time pressures too. So if you can’t keep in touch at all times or give timely project status reports its more than likely that after an initial project the client won’t ever approach you again. Make your clients feel that their projects are in safe hands!

 

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1 Comment »

  1. Naman Jain said

    good one

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