Hopwork, Coder, Upwork … The chances of positioning yourself with a client have multiplied in recent years with the appearance of these platforms. But there is a hiccup: certainly the opportunities to have new projects have never been so numerous, but competition has never been more visible. No chance. You will find that there are an incredible number of graphic designers, developers, consultants on these sites. And so the question I ask you is: and you in all this?
How can you make the most of these platforms to find new projects? And this, without either selling your soul to the devil, or breaking your prices to eat only the package of pasta (not the pasta, just the package)?
The answer is threefold: it must be considered as a commercial channel like any other, don’t put all your eggs in one basket and do the bridge with all your other communication actions.
So there are rules to follow, of course, but also a lot of investment, rigor and personality to make a difference. As well as an action plan.
This is what I set up to sign my first contracts (via Coder and Upwork). I also contacted freelancers via these platforms.
What I pass on to you in this article is the fruit of my experiences and my reflections.
I also make the parallel with my experience in sales, web marketing and copywriting to give you a mini-guide to follow.
And right away, here are two principles that I invite you to keep in mind:
1 / These platforms should not be your only source of prospecting
If you are only present on these sites, you may miss out on many other opportunities.
You should consider them as:
- A skills demand aggregator;
- A second showcase site.
But in this case, he is not a salesperson for you for the simple reason that he is not going to work for you. So, integrate these platforms into a more global business strategy: social networks, networking, content, canvassing, partnerships.
You will not have the leisure to spend your day on these freelance platforms. You must therefore have well-targeted actions that will take you very little time.
2 / Do not favor a single platform
Do not choose a single site, it could harm you. You could be missing out on an interesting offer just because you weren’t in the right place. Although they are different, whether in terms of organization, prices or customers, you have the opportunity to be present on all platforms. Enter it.
Rules to respect
An extremely professional profile
Your presentation must convey the image of a professional. That means :
- No spelling mistakes;
- Simple words and in appropriate language;
- A clear structure of the remarks.
Show that you have mastered your subject by explaining how you work, and why you choose to do so.
A profile photo that highlights you
Your photo will be the first link with your contact. Don’t put an avatar or logo, it looks like you’re trying to hide something. Be smiling, preferably in the light. Show your whole face and voila.
Here are some examples of great photos:
A clear and personal presentation
The words you will use are all of great importance. In two minutes, your reader should know:
- What are your areas of skills ? = to find out if you have the ones that interest him;
- How do you know acquired and developed ? = to find out what your skill level is and if you have ever worked in a structure similar to your own;
- How you working ? = to know if your way of doing things will stick with hers;
- With whom do you like to work? = to know if you are made to get along.
You have noticed, your contact will project with you. Your presentation must be clear and adapted to the targets you want to reach. She must also be personal : do not use phrases used in other profiles.
Express your personality, it will make you unique in the eyes of your reader. And it will compare you less fact. I’ll talk about that a little later in this article.
A strong positioning
Strategically, it’s counterproductive to know how to do everything. I paid the price, and I think many people too.
Why is it counterproductive?
Because on these platforms, companies are looking above all for a skill : a graphic designer, a developer, a salesperson, a strategist… They are aware of their needs.
Like when you go to Decathlon to buy a ball. Same pattern: you know why you go there.
By not positioning yourself as an expert in your main area of expertise, you are leaving room for others. Because you will always be compared to better than you.
Imagine that you land at Decathlon on a screwdriver balloon … weird, isn’t it? You will doubt the effectiveness of the first feature. Now you have come for this. Disappointment.
Focus your message on your main strength areas.
So, those looking for this skill will give you a few seconds of attention.
And it’s a VERY large part of the job.
Choose the skills on which you are excellent and which are in demand on the market. Do not talk about others.
A unique project response
Whenever you are going to apply for a project, take some time to respond personally.
Don’t choose an automatic response : you will not differentiate yourself and you will be chosen on the price.
I give you the example of my message which allowed me to get my best contract (after having been asked thanks to my profile):
I appreciate your request for your project for several reasons:
- I know your company and appreciate its products;
- Your project is particularly ambitious and atypical;
- You have powerful levers to activate to quickly reach your goals.
I can offer you support on your business development through three axes:
- Definition of a strong and unique value proposition to position you sustainably on the European markets, and attack the US market (I speak English for that);
- Capitalization on your expertise and your talent through a content strategy specific to companies;
- Implementation of the tools necessary for prospecting new customers (CRM, mail automation, cold mailing).
Putting in place such a strategy takes time. It should be considered for several weeks in order to really achieve the goals you set for yourself.
I would be delighted to be able to discuss with you your ambition and the form of service you expect, to make you the best possible proposal.
Thank you for your attention, and wish you a very pleasant end of the day.
I worked on my text in a very personalized way, projecting my interlocutor into his future project. You noticed I use “you” more than “I”. It takes on average 4 “you” for an “I”.
Finally, I brought him a little information that is very valuable to him. This allowed me to start a conversation very quickly and win this contract.
A fair price, focused on adding value
Don’t sell off your prices.
Highlight the benefits that you will bring to your interlocutor.
Set a price that allows you to live well while staying within market standards. Your best customers will not choose you for your cost, but for the return on investment that you promise them.
Do not feel uncomfortable setting a high price: if you are looking to achieve excellence in your trade, you deserve it.
Examples of concrete achievements
Help your interlocutor to project themselves into an achievement by your side. Show him the fruits of your labor. Explain as much as possible the context of the request and the steps you followed.
Choose beautiful images and / or beautiful figures to make you shine brightly.
Examples of great achievements:
The images are sharp and representative. What if you are not creative?
Do like me: highlight the achievements made by the company you worked for. This will link to your experiences and recommendations.
Key element that will seal the decision-making: have you already worked ? With whom ? what did they say about you?
Most platforms offer an external recommendation system. This allows you to ask your former customers and employers to talk about you WITH THEIR WORDS. Change their words as little as possible, to make them truly authentic.
Preferably put a name, a first name and his company. If possible, add a photo of your recommender.
A foolproof investment
Many projects are submitted every day on all of these platforms. But if you don’t show up to their carriers, they’ll never take you. You must therefore demonstrate reactivity and of resilience.
Responsiveness, because first come will often be first served.
Remember that professionals who post on these platforms expect responsive service providers who can provide them with quick answers. The first impression they should have of you is that of a reactive person.
Resilience because you will suffer a lot of refusal or lack of response.
But that should never stop you. Set up a routine. Thus, you will never focus on a single offer, like “The one that you should not miss”. There will always be opportunities for those who are patient to have them.
Professionalism comes above all through your attention to detail and the keeping your promises. We will “pay” you for a meticulous and well-done job, within the required deadlines.
You can show, through your profile and your interactions that you are “professional”. Concretely :
- Pay attention to spelling mistakes, don’t let any pass;
- Write concise and clear sentences ;
- Support your recommendations on these qualities;
- Always respond to requests within a period that you have posted (“I reply within 12 hours”).
Show your achievements in the dedicated spaces.
“Pictures are worth a thousand words” : it’s more impactful to show your work than to talk about it.
“Your best salespeople are your customers” : Ask customers who recommend you to focus on how you work.
This will support your point of rigor.
Put your personality forward
“People don’t buy the product, they buy the reason for the product’s existence.”
Simon Sineck explains in his book that your history and your values must support your presentation.
Your future customers will take you in large part because you are unique and in adequacy with their way of working.
And surely you also want to work with clients who understand you. Only good things will come out of this relationship.
Therefore tell your story in one or two sentences. The point is not to say where you come from or the studies you have done. But good to say in a few words what brought you here.
I begin my presentation on Upwork with: “Before I sold to entrepreneurs, and now I help them sell. ”
Another example: “15 years of passion for drawing and comics make me an accomplished graphic designer today”.
Another example: “I’ve been writing more than 1000 words a day for the past seven years. That’s over 50,000 pages written. What if the next pages were written for you and your customers? ”
These are just examples, but you see the principle: find what makes you strongest and express it in a sentence or two.
Without strategy, no result.
This is one of the founding principles of business development that you can apply to your presence on freelance platforms.
Concretely, you have to take daily habits so that you are always visible and available.
Do not leave requests lying around for several weeks, even if you are overloaded today: you will not know what tomorrow will be like.
Every day, I advise you to:
- Go around incoming requests and new projects;
- Systematically do one to two proposals from your services;
- Communicate a relevant and commented information on your job on all social networks. Attach it to one of your profiles;
- Get in touch with a new person every day on social media. Do it in a personalized way, by digging their centers of interest and their news.
In parallel, I advise you to actively participate in community life of these platforms. Other freelancers will be able to recommend you if your skills are not among their own.
It’s regularity which will make your success: the more you will be visible, the more your positioning will be clear and your professional profile, the less you will have to chase after your next profiles.
This same regularity must, in my opinion, apply in your daily life as a “business manager”. I’ll talk more about this in this article.
Now go on the attack!
Certainly, competition is important on these platforms. But the reality is that most of those who succeed on the platform are those who have invested the most. So it’s also possible for you to make a difference.
I landed one of my best contracts on one of its platforms, even though I had only been launched for a week.
Those who explain to you how these platforms do not work are those who have never made the right decisions: investment, rigor and creativity.
Above all, your commercial actions should not stop at these platforms. And if you want to have as many opportunities as possible in your freelance life, you have to get into good habits.
In the meantime, tell me in the comments if you have other best practices for making a difference on these platforms.