So many of the freelancing guides out there goes something along the lines of…
“Yeah so when you got that rating built up with some good reviews you can start raising your rates.”
Stop right there! How do I even get that first client?
When I was getting started I consumed information about freelancing in insane amounts. Thinking back, it was probably too much planning and learning and too little action. Either way, in all the information I found out there I noticed it was quite common to quickly skip over the part about how to get the first client. And I found that to be pretty frustrating. At least for me, finding that first client was the hardest part. Every single client after that will be easier, assuming that you are not doing shit work and getting 1 star reviews.
Everyone will have a different story about their first client, so I will go ahead and share mine. I’m definitely not an experienced freelancer. But I did eventually land that first gig.
Like many people did when they started out, I was a little too hot on the copy paste function while submitting proposals. This led me to getting an exact amount of 0 jobs. I estimate that I sent out around 20 proposals before I got my first offer. Since I wanted to focus on building up my reputation I was focused on getting small jobs that I could complete within 1 day. In this way the process of getting reviews is much faster. This is what I recommend for new freelancers starting out.
My first job offer
It was an early Tuesday morning (deep voice). I took another sip of my freshly brewed black coffee, while making a face attempting to hide the bitterness of it. Once again I refreshed the browser window.
“Avada Theme – Woocommerce not translating into swedish on the shopping cart”
Wow I thought to myself, I’m a Swedish WordPress developer, and I also happen to be specialized in WooCommerce. Like a shark going after its prey, I pressed that green proposal button. My fingers moved quickly across my clicky mechanical keyboard (It feels like tapping on boobs fyi).
At the time I thought I knew what I was talking about. But in hindsight when I’m reading my proposal I’m raising my eyebrows quite a bit. I’m not quite sure how I could possibly know that it was a problem with the plugins (It was a theme issue). But I guess at least it looked like I knew what I was talking about…
I actually put in a $30 bid for this $70 job. I think that was probably a little low. $50 would have been more reasonable. But again, I didn’t care about the money, I just cared about getting around 3 solid reviews to begin with. Even though I didn’t know what I was doing I ended up googling my way to success within 3 hours.
So what are the key takeaways from this?
- Focus on smaller projects that can be completed within one day. In this way it’s a smaller commitment for the client.
- Stay on top of the new jobs coming in. When something really fits your skills you have to act quickly. Sometimes the client will hire you right away (like in my case).
- Write a customized proposal for the job. No copy pasta. Make sure to write a plan of how you are going to solve the problem (Without being too technical).
- Look for jobs with a client that share your nationality or a job where your nationality would be beneficial. These jobs may not show up very often, but when they do show up its usually a great opportunity.
- Specialize in a niche. If your toilet is leaking shit water across your whole bathroom, do you hire a handyman or a plumber?
Good luck out there!