If you’ve ever found yourself wondering why you’re not getting freelance work, you’re likely extremely frustrated, and with nearly 15 million articles on Google asking the same question, you’re certainly not alone. So many freelance platforms charge to bid on leads or just to join, and with 35% of the U.S. workforce currently freelancing, competition is stiff!
Getting a freelance career off the ground can be challenging and you’ll make many mistakes. But the key to having a smooth freelance experience and a steady stream of income, like anything else is learning from those mistakes or even better, start by avoiding the following classic mistakes.
1. Your profile picture is working against you
Unsmiling, grainy, sexy, or poor quality profile pictures can be devastating to your online freelancing career. Just because you can link your Facebook account, doesn’t mean you should use your Facebook profile picture. Swap that “for friends-only” pic for a high resolution head shot with a pleasant smile — no selfies, no bare shoulders or shirts bedazzled with “S-E-X-Y”. Just don’t.
2. You’re not telling the story potential clients want to hear
Profiles are so 1997. Clients don’t just want to see what skills you have or the work you’ve done. They are more interested in the story than the work itself. But what the heck does that mean?!
For your client, your work is a means to an end: more traffic, more profits, more sales, more free time, higher grades for their kids, a more fulfilling life. You aren’t just building someone’s website or preparing their dinners for the week, you are giving them that end result of happiness and success. By focusing on the end result, you’re focusing on what potential clients really want.
So when writing a bio for your profile, tell your story. Write it with personality, help people connect to you and why you’re freelancing, demonstrate your specific expertise, and include a call to action like “I’m ready to work for you, check out my services below”.
3. You are too difficult to get in touch with
In an on-demand freelance world, hiring decisions are often made in minutes, not days or even hours. Verify your phone number, keep a keen eye out for email and text notifications (email or text) and respond to people immediately. If you don’t, someone else is beating you to the punch and getting the job. We also have more thoughts on writing the best messages to get hired.
4. You are waiting for work to come to you
You need to be checking in on job opportunities posted in your specific field on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Simply asking for work on Moonlighting and other freelance platforms is not good enough, and is not going to get you a job any more than standing on a street corner with a sign. Check the local/virtual job feeds and the other jobs feeds every chance you get. Keep an eye out for relevant job alerts. Reach out to past clients, ask them if they have new work or can recommend you to any of their friends. Start a referral network and work it!
5. You lack online proof of your abilities
When was the last time you purchased anything without checking the reviews? Either personal accounts from friends or scoured the internet for mass approval? How about hired a new employee without checking their references? Sounds pretty foolish and risky, doesn’t it. So why expect anyone to hire you with no ratings or reviews?
Ok, that’s enough questions. The point here is that you can verify your online identity through your social media accounts and get your past clients to provide ratings and reviews for services. People love knowing who they’re hiring and that other people think they’re awesome. That simple.
6. You aren’t showing off all the skills you offer
If you haven’t added any skills or services to your profile, people may not know what you actually offer. Take a look at your freelance niche and add in every skill you have. If you’re a graphic designer, can you design branding and packaging? Also, know how to code HTML? How about email campaigns? List them all and you’ll be found for all the skills you offer and who knows, maybe inspire your new client to hire you for even more work that could have gone to another freelancer otherwise.
7. Potential clients just plain can’t find you
Have you reviewed your Moonlighting profile, checked all the boxes, and are still not getting the attention you want? You might be buried at the bottom of a list of thousands of other freelancers offering the seemingly exact same services. Reach out to our customer success team for advice on improvements you can make. Or perhaps it’s time to consider advertising your freelance business. We can help you made that determination, too.
Freelancing is not the right career path for everyone – any more than the medical field is the right career path for everyone. Still, you need to start with the right foundation give yourself time to succeed. Be patient, ask other freelancers for advice, be bold and unafraid, and freelance on Moonlighting!