Having a hard time getting that first job on Elance, Vworker, or Odesk? Clients won’t trust you until you’ve built up a job history. You know that once you’ve passed this barrier, it will be much easier for you to get your next client, and then you’ll really start building your business. So how do you do it? Keep on reading because you’re about to find out.
Have A Very Well Written Elance Profile
Your Elance, Odesk, and Vworker profiles are much more important than your Facebook profile. You aren’t just writing something for your friends. You are writing a little advertisement for yourself. Make sure your English is perfect and your wording is as smooth as butter. Be specific about your unique skill set, and never promise to do more than you know you are capable of.
I see a lot of profiles where the freelancer states too many generalities. If you find yourself saying things like, “100% satisfaction and amazing turnaround,” or “the most innovative web designers on the web,” stop yourself. This is a huge turnoff to buyers because they know you are just fishing for whatever phrase sounds nice. Take the time to find very specific strengths that set you apart from everyone else. Your buyers will notice the extra effort.
Bid Competitively (For Now)
The lowest bidder doesn’t always win, but a bid that is lower than average can help to position you as the better choice. Here is something you can try. Go through the buyer’s project history and try to find out what she has paid for something similar to the project currently listed. Instead of bidding the lowest price possible, position your bid slightly lower than the price of the last project.
There is such a thing as bidding too low, and it can actually cost you the job because it makes you look like you don’t understand the scope of the project. I certainly don’t always hire based on price alone. I almost always pick the candidate who grasps the project the best.
Be There For Someone In A Time Of Need
Emergencies happen, and they are the reason companies like Elance, Vworker, and Odesk exist in the first place. If you can find someone in a rough spot who needs your expertise right now, you will be on your way to securing that crucial first project. To narrow down your results, just type “urgent,” or “emergency” into the search bar. There is almost always at least one person in desperate need of your help on any given day.
Realize that I offer this advice with a word of caution. I wouldn’t recommend most of these clients on a longterm basis. Some people genuinely do get into emergency situations, but I’ve often found that most “needed it yesterday” types simply lack good time management skills. Take the project now, but don’t offer to help them when they come back with another “emergency” unless you are getting excellent compensation.
Follow Through With Your Best Work Ever
So you got hired? Excellent. Now get to work right away and impress your client with some real results. Time is ticking. The more time you spend procrastinating, the less excited your client will be when you deliver your work. Keep a sense of urgency and get your work done a few days ahead of the deadline. Stay in close communication in case anything unexpected happens.
Still lacking motivation? Think of it this way. It’s better to have a profile with no job history than to have a profile with one botched job. If you fail now, you basically ruin your chances of ever getting work on any of these sites. I did that with GetAFreelancer.com, and it’s one bridge I’ll never be able to cross again. Don’t close the door to more opportunities just because you want to be lazy!
When All Else Fails, Get A Friend To Hire You
It took me a month and a half to land my first job on Vworker. That’s one month too long if you’re looking to use platforms like Odesk and Vworker to build up your portfolio and launch your online career. It might seem unethical, but it is completely OK to have a friend hire you for your first project.
Just make sure you’re actually doing a project and not simply paying off your friend. I’m sure you can find something that needs to get done. Maybe your friend needs a custom made Twitter account or some help editing a term paper. This practice is completely ethical as long as you are going out and commissioning real work.
My friends still hire me over Elance and Odesk because these sites aren’t just tools for finding work. They’re also great for managing projects and making sure everything gets done according to a set schedule. I see these sites as a software platform and nothing more. Their job is to facilitate the online work process, making it easier for you to manage your work life from home.
Don’t allow the fact that you don’t have an online job history get you down. It’s a lot easier to build an accomplished profile than you might think. With persistence and the desire to create a schedule that allows you to get the most out of life, you can win your first job and launch your freelance career.