Having a successful freelancing career highly depends on how you market yourself.
You may be the best graphic designer but if you don’t get your portfolio out there, no one will know about you or your works. You may be able to whip up an engaging 2,000-word article in an hour but if you don’t know how to market yourself well, no one will know how much efficiency and value you can bring to the table.
Being a freelancer has its perks – the ability to expand your income streams, pursue something you actually love doing and have a better hold of your time to name a few.
But these perks don’t come for free. No. You have to work for them.
You have to achieve that level where you can dictate the work that comes and the time you spend actually working.
And the only way to get from being a newbie to an expert freelancer is to take in more work. Get experience. Unlike corporate jobs where the work is served on your table, in freelancing you have to get the work yourself.
And that’s why you need to market yourself and your services effectively.
Why you need an effective profile
Your freelancer profile is your billboard. The best freelancer profiles are able to draw eyes to them and attract offers.
Just think of this fact:
You’re not the only graphic designer, writer or developer out there. Your prospects have thousands to choose from and you are just one tiny fish in the sea of freelancers.
You have to think of how to stand out from the competition. Therefore, your profile needs to have all the elements to win and pull deals to you.
Don’t know how to accomplish just that?
Here are 7 tips to creating an effective freelancer profile:
Have a comprehensive Headline
Your headline is your pitch. It needs to give a glimpse of your professional career and your expertise. It needs to be concise and effective.
To accomplish that, make sure your headline contains these three key elements:
- Niche / Expertise
- Years of Experience
Let’s take a social media manager’s headline for example. An effective headline would be something like, “Travel Social Media Manager with 4+ years experience.”
What makes this effective is that the prospect will know what your core focus and level of competency are.
You see when clients scan for profiles, what they only see most of the time is the name of the freelancer, rate, and the headline. You need to provide an at-a-glance view of what you have to offer to make that prospect click the link to your profile and make an offer.
But wait – there’s more!
Here are more tips to make your headline standout:
- Avoid jargon
- Keep it to at most 10 words
- Try to spice it up with adjectives (e.g. expert). I tried this and played with my headline and I got my first full-time client.
Focus on VALUE for your Overview
You made it past the screening because of your effective headline. Now it’s time to lure your prospects in. It’s time for them to love you and want to start working with you.
How do you make prospects want to work with you?
By highlighting the VALUE you provide.
Yes, you got that right!
It’s value that people are attracted to and are willing to pay for. In your overview, make sure to articulate the value you bring. You can do this by highlighting your biggest projects and how you made those projects successful.
Focusing on HOW you made your past projects successful means you have to paint a picture to your prospects’ mind of how that can also be translated to their own business. You need to emphasize your that you can solve their problems and get the results they want.
Here’s how to do it:
Pick at most three top projects you’ve performed in the past and quantify the value you were able to bring to those projects.
Here are some examples of quantifiable value:
- % (or amount) increase in sales because of an effective social media marketing campaign
- % decrease in process time because of an automated tool you made
- % increase in page views because of redesigned homepage
I recommend three projects because that can help you highlight a variety of successes in your work. Highlighting one might come up as pure luck. Having three sends a message that you can constantly deliver great results.
If you think you have more to highlight on your overview, it’s up to you how many projects you’ll include. Just make sure that each addition substantially improves your profile. I suggest you don’t add in a project if the effect or result is the same as another one. Just choose one and highlight that.
Showcase your Skills and Experience
Most freelancer platforms will have a section for your portfolio and your work experience. Don’t leave this section blank or incomplete. When prospects get to know your skills and experience, it will help them realize that you are qualified for the job; making you one step closer to that offer.
Now you may ask:
“What if I don’t have enough experience as a freelancer but have been working in the corporate world for a number of years?”
Don’t ever think your corporate experience does not earn merit in the freelancing world!
Of course, they do! Skills are skills whether you applied them in the corporate or freelance setting.
Make sure to include the following points in your Skills and Experience write up:
- Your role or title
- Number of years within that role or company/project
- Main responsibilities performed
- Expertise, technical skills, program knowledge applied
- Access to your work samples, if applicable
Now, what if you’re totally new to the industry? As in ZERO experience.
Don’t worry! There’s a solution.
If you’re just starting out, then make sure you create a strong portfolio and link that to your freelancer profile so your prospects can see your work. I also highly recommend you get training courses that will support your proficiency on the work you want to perform.
It’s that easy!
Connect with your target market by using their language
Apart from highlighting your skills, credentials, and experience, another effective way to make the most out of your freelancer profile is to make prospects feel like you understand them.
Here’s the secret:
People engage based on their feelings. When they feel that you have the skills and knowledge to perform the job – that’s good.
But what if you can make them feel that you know what their pain points are and how to solve them?
That’s even better!
This will make your profile clearly stand above the rest!
You see, when you show empathy in your profile you are able to establish a connection with your prospect that will make him think, “Hey, I’ve never talked to this person before but he knows that I need this.” It will just urge them to contact you right away.
Most freelancers would just parade their skills in their profiles. Injecting empathy to your profile exudes that genuine desire to provide value to your clients.
Invite prospects to contact you
You’ve made your case. Now it’s time to spring your prospects to action.
Make it easy for your prospects to contact you. If you’re working on a freelancer platform that strictly implements clients and freelancers to contact each other through the platform, then tell your prospects to send you a message through it. If it’s possible to add in more messaging options like Skype or email, then include that information. There are some prospects who prefer to communicate via Skype so it’s good to offer this as an option.
The key here is to push your prospects to action. Statements like, “contact me now so we could get started…” can do wonders for your profile.
Have a professional photo
Don’t ever think you can use a selfie or a group photo on your freelancer profile. You still need to exude that professional vibe and your photo needs to do just that.
If you have the budget to go to a studio and get a headshot that will be better. You can have the studio save it to your flash drive so you can easily upload after. If not, then have your friend take a few snaps of you on a clean background using a good camera. If you’re more on the creative side, then you could use a background that would tell that creative side of yours. Just make sure that your face is still prominent.
Want to know the most important thing for your photo?
It’s your smile.
A smile that is inviting will send a message that you’re someone who’s easy to work with. So expose those pearly whites!
Regularly update your profile
Here’s the thing:
Throughout your freelance career, you’ll be working with different clients, on different projects. You’ll be learning new skills, discovering more niches and probably even shifting to a different area of expertise.
You need to make sure these additions and changes are reflected in your profile. This will strengthen your profile even more and be able to attract new clients and projects.
Revise your overview, headline or photo. Make it more engaging if you think you can still improve it. Those slight changes may bring in big gains to your freelance career. You never know until you try.
Now, it’s time to make it happen.
Your freelancer profile is your resume in the digital world. It’s your ticket to getting more leads and attracting prospects to do business with you. Apply the tips you just learned and establish a better presence in your freelancer platform.
What other techniques do you use to make your profile stand out? I’d love to read them in the comments below. If your technique is so good, I’ll even add it to this post.
Share this to a fellow freelancer and start working on those winning profiles together.