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10 steps to earn more on freelancing sites.

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Freelancing sites are best place to start your freelance career. Here are the ten easy steps, following which you can earn better on these sites by maximizing your chances of getting hired fast.

  1-Create complete profiles and get verified your account

    The first steps to start working on any freelancing site are, signup for an account and creating a profile. Signup process is quite easy in all of major freelancing sites. The important thing is your profile. Before start working on your profile, first write down the skills you have. Whether you are a programmer

, a writer, a designer or your skill come in any other area, write down all the major points regarding it. Now you can classify your expertise level into three categories.

    1- Those areas or languages in which you are most proficient and have great experience level.
    2- Those areas in which you are less proficient. 
    3- Those areas in which you have worked casually and have intermediate level skills.
    
    For demonstration, I assume that you are a good Joomla web developer, new comer to freelancing and trying to create a profile. Now your primary skills would be, Joomla, PHP, HTML, CSS, Javascript, mootools, ajax, object oriented design etc. Your second level skills oould be CSS3, HTML5, jQuery, JSON etc.  Now in the third point, you can mention all the areas in which you have worked, but less often. It could be like Google apps, AWS, moodle, bootstrap, payment gateway integration etc.
    
    After you have realized this, start mentioning your skills and expertise from top to bottom hierarchy.   

2-Tests are important 

  Good score in tests is a best tool to grab client's attention. Before starting to take a test, first polish your knowledge. Carefully decide that in which areas you are best and start from the most best first. In odesk and elance, there are generally 40 MCQs type questions which you have to answer in 40 minutes. If you are best in that specific aspect, 40 minutes interval is an enough time. But keep in mind if you are failed in a test or have not gained a good testing score, you can only take that specific exam again after 15 or 30 days. So, be fully prepared before.     

3-Now coming to the hourly rate 

  Hourly rate is what you will charge per hour for your services. Specify hourly rate on your profile by taking your expertise level and experience into account. Don't mention too less hourly rate, as it will give an illusion that you have a least expertise level, nor mention too high rate, as you will get least number of leads and generally if the client hires you on more rate than your skills, he generally has more expectations as well. So if you are not fulfilling that expectations, chances are, you will get negative feedback.  
 

4-Before bidding, have a look at your schedule 

  Now this is very important thing. There are a lot of freelancing tools available, which you can use to manage your work and schedule. Only bid and take projects, if you are sure you have the enough time to deliver the results on time. Clients normally ask the time period you could take to complete the specific task or project. Suppose you can deliver the results in 10 days. Tell the client, 2 days ahead, i.e, 12 days. Dont neglect the element of uncertainity. Because in these 10 days, you know that so many things can happen. Your health issues could arise, you could have an urgent piece of work, software/hardware problems could occur. So, the client should mentally prepare that you will deliver the results in 12 days and he would set his schedule accordingly.

5-Only bid, if you are sure you can do it. 

  You should be very selective while marking the projects for bidding. Only bid, if you are sure that you have enough time and skills to complete the project.

6-Writing cover letter

     image via Cover Letters

Cover letter gives your first impression to the client. You have not met the client before on which project you are going to bid. He does not know who you are, nor you know him. Now, the point through which you tell him that you are most suitable for the task in question is through your cover letter. Below, I have mentioned three key points here which you should onsider while writing the cover letter. 

Don't copy and paste

     It is a habit of some of the freelancers that they have a pre written cover letter and use to copy and paste it in all cover letters. But what happens that, in this way, their chances for getting selected for a particular job become very much less. Always read the job specifications carefully and correspond accordingly.

First three lines are important

     The first three lines of your application are of so much importance. Suppose more than one hundreds freelancers have bid on a project, now the client normally does not have enough time to read all the applications carefully and completely because it could take a huge time. So, it is better that you discuss the job and its potential solution first, without going directly to your expertise and experience.      

Don't write too long, nor too short

     Application should be concrete and concise. Always write to the point and eliminate any extra detail that is not related to the job. Realize that the client posts the project to the freelancing sites, in order to get the tasks complete and problems to be resolved. So, discuss his job first and tell him that how you are a perfect guy for this project. I have talked with many top freelancers and they think that three paragraphs, with three to five lines in each paragraph are appropriate for a cover letter. But you can adjust yours, according to the nature of the job.


     
     If the job duration is less than a week, always write less and discuss the task which the client has posted. For long term jobs, you can demonstrate your skills and experience in more detail.

7-Build some project and time management skills 

image via IvanWalsh 

Build some project management skills as well. Talking about a programming project, break it up in to different phases. Make a list of tasks that would be carried out in each phase. You should have a valid idea that how much time could be spent on each task and in how much time the specific project could be completed.

8-Have an attitude of building long term client relationships

  Always work at your best, so that in future whenever the client has any customization work or a new project, he should come to you and you should be his first choice. Your quality work is your best impression and advertisement. Freelancing is like, you are running your own business. You are a one man company. So, the key to success in this business is, never loose your client.    

9-Market your skills 

image via Dragon Mestrovic

Market your skills outside the freelancing sites also. The best mediums are blogging and social media marketing. You could have a small portfolio site which would give you a greater opportunity to present your skills before your services potential customers. Wordpress is ideal for blogging with respect to SEO.

  
10-What if you have very less experience and possess intermediate level skills. 

  If you have very less experience and skills as well, don't bid on too much big projects. In the start, only bid on $50 to $100 budget projects and enhance your expertise. When you think that you have gained enough, start bidding on heavy projects also.

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