Successful freelancers share tips on standing out
Finder caught up with three Australia-based freelancers to find out what they do to stand out, win clients and make money.
Freelancing is an attractive alternative for many Australians. It can provide more freedom over the work you do, more flexibility with your schedule, and more money too.
But it isn't always easy to win clients and build a reputation, especially in such a competitive market. Don't worry though, if you're keen to start a freelance career, we've got you covered.
We reached out to three successful freelancers based in Australia, to find out how they catch the attention of clients and what they do to keep them coming back. Here's what they told us.
Choose a freelancing platform
Establishing a client base is one of the hardest things to do as a fresh freelancer, which is why so many rely on platforms to connect them with clients.
However, freelancing platforms have different systems, so it's important to pick one that works for you. Some operate a bidding system, where freelancers bid for jobs, then send a more detailed proposal which is either approved or rejected by the client.
Others, including Fiverr, let freelancers advertise their specific skills so that the onus is on clients to choose a freelancer, without the need for a bidding or proposal step.
Andrew Chong, who has completed over 620 tasks on Fiverr, prefers the latter approach, where clients – or buyers – browse skills to find what's right for them.
"It effectively takes out all the work of finding and selling to clients," he told Finder. "Fiverr advertises your gig for you, and buyers go expecting to pick and choose a suitable gig for themselves. You can just focus on offering better products and a better service."
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Think about the customer
"It starts with putting yourself in the buyer's shoes. What keywords would you search, which filters would you select, which gigs would you click on, and what does it take to convince you to pull the trigger and buy?" Lepejian said.
"You have to have that mindset for your entire freelancer presence – which is not that hard. Have a captivating gig title (with relevant keywords), create yourself a clean and catchy gig image, and (most importantly) write excellent copy. You can look at other sellers to get an idea of what they do. But please, please, please don't copy them. That helps nobody."
Neva Read is a brand strategist who has worked with major names including McDonalds, Nikon, Clinique and Lexus. She switched to freelancing to spend more time with her family and to pick more rewarding work.
While she had significant experience serving big corporations, she found most of her leads were coming from SMEs and micro-entrepreneurs. So she adapted.
"I developed a new brand identity specifically for them, The Brand Ninja, where I offered tailored marketing services at prices that would suit startups and entrepreneurs," she told Finder.
When asked how others could build a reputation, pro-verified freelancer Saro Lepejian had one major piece of advice – over-deliver.
"For my first order, someone had ordered '1 winning dropshipping product', which involved me doing some research, finding a winning product and showing statistics proving its potential. I went the extra five miles by sending three winning products, copywriting 250-word descriptions for each of them, as well as proposing some Facebook targeting options," he told Finder.
"You best believe that the buyer placed another order and recommended me to others. Before I knew it, my gig had already been bought three times, which got me noticed by the Fiverr algorithm, and the rest is history."
If you want to build a sustainable income from freelancing, you'll have to be patient and accept that it's probably not going to happen overnight.
Even with her 15+ years' experience, Read said she had to wait a while before freelancing provided a reliable source of income.
"It took about six months of a consistent presence on the platform but it soon began paying off with credible leads each week that translated into a great turnover," she told Finder.
"I also began to attract larger corporations and brands from Fiverr as well, which has been a great bonus/value add."