DOs and DON'Ts for bidding projects in freelance sites

         Freelancing is one of the most desired profile for any professional in their area of expertise. It gives you the freedom of working on your own terms in your own area of interest. It almost gives you the sense of running your own business. You become your own boss, worker, marketeer and value creator. At the higher end of value chain you can designate yourself as Independent Consultant, then freelancing becomes consulting. But its an opportunity with low or no entry barrier. Hence comes with its own set of challenges. Whether you be a successful freelancer or not, on the way it teaches you many things.

        The starting point of freelancing, If you don't have any contacts or known customer who is looking for your service, is the freelancing websites. The normal classified sites or news paper ads and yellow pages also give advertise about the freelance work, but my personal advice ignore them If you don't have any clear information about the advertiser. Many of them are fake with their own set of crooked tricks to trap people looking for freelance or home based part time jobs. Choose a renowned freelancer site like oDesk(check the link on your right hand side bar) and there are many others are also available. Choose any one or two and start the journey. I had some real good experience on freelancing which I want to share:
  • Create your profile in the site with utmost care, providing all details about your area of expertise. Read carefully the site guide line on creating the profile and implement them.
  • Add a photo to the profile in professional attire.
  • Don't worry for the number of bidders, many of them are junk and unskilled, so don't be one of them. Definitely there is competition, but opportunities are plenty If you have the right skills. So you have to create your own brand and showcase your expertise to the clients.
  • Attempt the tests related to your area and display the score in your profile.
  • Create your portfolio of projects you have worked on. 
  • Go through the FAQs, browse through the projects, features of the site. Don't rush to bid for a project.
  • Once clear on how the site works, start bidding.
  • Don't use a generic description on your bidding. Read through the project description and prepare your letter of interest.
  • Make sure you know what portion of your letter will be visible to the employer in compact view, when he browses through the bidders. Many people(some time even 100) contractors like  you would have bid for the project. The employer will not go through the detailed application. So make sure the portion, may be the summary and the first 2-3 lines, highlights your suitability for the job.
  • Attach details of any past work or a sample work relevant for the project you are bidding for.
  • Number of bids doesn't matter, carefully crafted bid for project related to your area of expertise can make the deal.So don't bid for every project you find. Invest the time and energy in optimizing the bid for the right project for you. Its alright to work on a relevant project with less payout then doing something randomly.
  • Never claim false skills or  bid for a project without having the skill to complete it.
  • When you win a project or client, give your best on the project irrespective of the payout. Getting a repeat contract is much easier then winning a new one.
  • Communicate with your employer clearly, as there is no intermediate. Inform the progress time to time before he asks for the progress.
  • Meet the deadline and quality standard both. Don't give a unrealistic delivery time which you may not meet. Incorporate the feedback or changes asked by the client even if you need to put little effort. But make sure the demands are reasonable, If a client is demanding you unfairly then learn to communicate the same or politely demand for the right compensation.
  • Make some due diligence on the client as well before bidding or specifically accepting the project. Even If the chances are very less in renowned platforms, some customers bully the contractors as well. Don't be desperate, build on your skills, sooner or later you will get your worth.
  • Evaluate your skills and demand, maintain a bar on your rate(you may relax initially to test your market value).
  • In freelancing, people accept a generalist, jack of all trade. So work on skill development and slowly venture into your related areas. You have the only trump card your niche skill which will pay for you.
All the best for your future endeavor  on freelance and to be a independent  consultant. I see a tremendous growth opportunity on this area as slowly people look out for value for money. So you need to work on two things on your skill and with your client, rest other things would be taken care of.



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