Freelancing as a career option has become an extremely attractive proposition in recent times. According to a study conducted by software company Intuit, freelancers are expected to constitute at least 40% of the American workforce by 2020. Given the proliferation in the number of freelancers, the competition in this segment too has risen quite significantly. Regardless of whether you are a photographer, a software developer or an Internet marketer, the following tips will help you mold yourself into becoming a better freelancer.

1. Quality Matters; Not Quantity

If you are just starting out as a freelancer, it is quite likely that you would be soliciting job opportunities from online marketplaces like Freelancer.com and Elance.com. It is very natural for you to bid on as many projects as possible. However, a key lesson to learn here is that the quality of bid matters; not the quantity. Try to learn as much as possible about a client’s business, what they do, how they do it, and what is being asked of you. Once you do an in-depth study of the requirements, prepare a short document where you can comprehensively put down all the things that you bring to the table. Bidding is not a numbers game. One high quality bid is more likely to get you the job compared to dozens of low quality bids where you do not take the time to analyze either the client’s requirements or help them understand what your skills are.

2. Be Clear About Your Offerings

Freelancers bidding for projects are known to be quite secretive about their job processes. For instance, if you are an Internet Marketer who is bidding on an SEO project, the client will naturally want to know what kind of processes you will follow to help their website reach the front page of Google. This communication plays an important role in establishing trust between the client and the freelancer. Use this conversation to clearly mention your strategy. When a potential client trusts you, they are likely to hire you even if your quote is much higher than those from rival bidders.

3. Surprise Your Client

Clients are normal human beings too. They love surprises. As a thumb rule, always under-promise and over-deliver. Think you can help the client increase revenues by 100%? Only promise 50% in your bid. Surprises need not necessarily be in over-delivering on your targets. You can also take up additional tasks that were not part of the project brief. This demonstrates your tendency to take ownership of projects. It also makes you indispensable over time which is an important factor in establishing a loyal clientele.

4. Actively Contribute Towards Improving The Product

Unlike what corporate businesses would like you to believe, the products and processes they own are not all thorough and perfect. There are a lot of small but effective business improvements that are overlooked even in the biggest of companies. As a result, your clients will always love a freelancer who goes out of their way to suggest improvements and recommendations. For instance, if you are a developer and believe the business would be better served by making some changes to the project requirement, make it a point to take it to the client. Of course, do not go way out of line; only make recommendations in areas where you are an expert. Clients don’t take it too kindly if you have been hired for a data entry job and you report that their website design is shoddy.

5. Improve Your Communication Skills

As a freelancer working remotely, one of your vital assets is communication (oral and written). Language plays an important role in establishing your authority. If English is not your primary language, enroll yourself in one of the popular English language classes in your neighborhood. Even if you are fluent in the language, common typographical errors always create a bad impression in the eyes of the client. So make it a point to hone your language skills up before scouting for freelance projects online.

Are you a freelancer? What other tips do you think can make fellow freelancers better? Tell us in the comments. Photo Credit : AbductIt, Flickr

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