Self promotion is very important, I am just now learning this. Freelancing is not for the meek! You need to get your name out there, build a reputation and find clients any way you can.
I am learning that the only way to be successful is to get out there and join help groups, talk to other freelancers and find as many avenues as you can to let people know who you are.
I have found a few groups on Facebook that I have joined, and of course I am using Elance to acquire jobs as well. Once you get a job and start working be sure to do everything in your power to assure that your is customer happy. When it comes down to it you want that first customer happy because they will give you a good rating for work well done. Of course a lot of customers on Elance are not one time customers they are established and if they like your work the will likely hire you again. Having a good reputation for work well done speaks volumes.
Don’t be ashamed to ask your friends for help with promoting your business, sometimes it is who you know. Word of mouth is a good way to strike up business. To be honest I would not have gotten my first job if it wasn’t for a friend.
Talk to your circle of friends, you never know what you’re going find, if you talk to Sally who knows a friend, that has a friend who is an author and is in the market for a good virtual assistant the likeliness your name will come up is pretty good. Just remember if Sally tells her friend that you would be a great assistant, and you get the job, you need to be sure you do everything you can to impress and satisfy that customer. Your friend put their reputation at stake so you could have a job, you wouldn’t want to destroy a friend’s good reputation.
If you work a job and the customer mentions that you did a good job and are pleased with your work. Don’t be ashamed, ask them to rate your services. A good rating will help when bidding for the next job.
Last week I bid on a job (that I did not get) and the perspective client mentioned that they normally delete bids that are from new freelancers because they do not have ratings or history. Yes this is not a fair practice because there are thousands of good freelancers that are just getting started. I have over 13 years of experience in what I do, and to be told that my bid normally would have been deleted because of the lack of online history is a little disheartening. But I have to remember that ultimately the client lost out, and it did not let it get to me.
Just remember one simple thing when placing a bid for jobs on whatever freelance service site you use. Don’t ever get discouraged! There are so many jobs being posted on service sites daily that you will end up getting hired eventually. Just like anywhere some jobs are good ones and some are not, stick with a service that will help you with getting payment for work completed. I found when using Elance I make sure that I place bids with companies that have good standing with Elance. Before you bid make sure you look at everything!
Like always if you have questions, or would like me to cover anything specific in a post please fill out the comment form below. I would love to hear from you!
Next post I will be talking about my first paycheck, I hope you stay tuned!