Most developers have been freelancers at some point of their careers. Some use it as an additional income apart from their regular jobs, others are dedicating their time completely to freelancing. I will show you some proven steps to become a Top Rated Freelancer and how to maintain it.
Freelancing can be really unpredict able in terms of financial security and can have a direct (negative) impact on your social life. On the other (positive) side, it offers flexibility and improvement in many other areas, such as project management, communication skills, negotiating and estimating a project, etc.
Being a freelancer means that everything depends on YOU. You are the person responsible for your success, but also responsible for your failures.
Now, let’s see what are the key steps (based on my experience) in becoming a Top Rated Freelancer, and having a stable income:
#5 Complete your Profile
If you want to become a Top Rated Freelancer, the first thing you need to do is making sure your profile is complete. Your profile on the freelancer sites is like your CV…
Can you go to a job interview with a CV that contains only your email address, and expect to win the job? – Of course, you can’t.
Compared to job interviews where you need to impress only once and get hired for long-term, in freelancing you are “selling” your services on daily basis. That is why you need to enter all the required fields until you profile becomes 100% complete. This means adding a rich portfolio, all the basic info about you, a good profile picture (of you, not from some fictional character), your hourly rate, and a great long description describing what you do and what you offer.
The most important parts according to me are the portfolio and the description and would like to pay special attention to them:
- Portfolio – put yourself in a situation where you are the client and you browse through freelancer profiles for a technology you need. You visit a hundred freelancer profiles and find zero portfolios. How would you filter those hundred freelancers and pick ten for interviewing? Would you write all hundred to provide you with projects they have done? – you will never do this.
- Description – when a client visits your profile, he sees the description first. That means you can either convince him to proceed to look into your profile or to leave your profile and find another one. Try writing a detailed and friendly description that will lure the client to you and won’t chase him away. Basically, the description is your first station.
This step is especially important about new freelancers who doesn’t have any reputation to show.
#4 Take Tests
Every freelancing website offers you tests in every area so you can “certify” you knowledge on that website and become more reliable to the visitors of your profile.
For example, if you are an iOS Developer take tests for iOS Development, Objective-C, Swift, English Language, Spelling etc..
The website usually will provide you with a badge upon finishing a test successfully which will appear on your profile.
Developing your communication skills is extremely important as this is the step where you need to negotiate the project in a fluid communication (by having a call or chat).
Also, I have read many complaints left from clients that the freelancers don’t respond for days or they respond later in the day and you can’t have a fluid communication. It happened to me a few times when I had to hire someone for a project and it was really painful working like that. I have noticed that almost all of my clients were mentioning my positive communication in their message at the end of the project, which means everyone appreciates a good communication.
I have been getting responses from freelancers like “But I only respond when I have a version to show”. Now, put yourself in a situation where you are the client and a freelancer says this to you on a project which lasts one month. That means you will get a response eventually once on 2 weeks. Well, that simply doesn’t work.
A daily communication with the client is a MUST, even if you don’t have much to say or show to him for that. He needs to feel that you are present and that you are working on his project because he pays you to get it done so it won’t hurt to give him one short status update about his project.
#2 Respect your clients
For freelancers, this old slogan is still valid. I have read about how some freelancers behave with their clients, which is really disgusting. You can’t argue with a client and telling what is right or wrong on his own idea. If you can’t do what he asks for, just admit it. Sometimes you will tolerate 10% more work from the agreed and that is completely normal.
His job is to provide you with funds, and yours is to fulfill his requirements. You have to consider yourself lucky that you’ve won the project because for him it would be easy to find a skilled freelancer in the sea of freelancers, but you won’t find a new project that easy.
This step is really crucial for boosting your profile, and you don’t want to end up receiving a bad rating, canceling the project where you have lost a month of development and didn’t get paid, or even a dispute. These things are the drugs for your profile. You can’t afford to get a rating lower than 5 stars, as it will cost you very expensive for your success.
Be patient with clients!
The client is always right, even when he isn’t.
If you have read this text carefully so far, I have written above that everything depends on YOU. Probably by now, it’s more clear why I said that.
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#1 Don’t overestimate yourself
We have all been in a situation where we think we can handle many projects at the same time, mainly because we never want to decline a new client. What happens next is, you work in panic 12–14 hours a day to reach all the deadlines, and at the end, you put yourself into an average performance on all your current project which might bring you bad ratings.
This behavior must change immediately if you want to become a Top Rated Freelancer. From my experience, I never work on more than 2 projects at the same time. Also, as your reputation grows on the freelancing sites, start applying only on medium and high paid projects. That means you will get fewer projects, but you will have a bigger income.
If you don’t want to decline a client and you are already full in capacity, try to give the project to a friend you trust and get a percentage of the income. But don’t do it from your freelance account, tell him to accept the project from his. You don’t want your hard work to go down by receiving a bad rating for something you didn’t work on. Respect your profile!
This post is a summary of my long experience as a freelance Mobile Developer. I have found the formula to create a successful freelance career and wanted to share it with you. I hope that you will agree and focus on these steps which will lead you a Top Rated Freelancer.
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