We’ve now updated this article, please check out our latest article on Landing your first client at PeoplePerHour here.
Congratulations on registering with PeoplePerHour and joining the community of people taking part in the new cool gig economy! But joining is not enough; now you need to get your first client. PPH provides an infrastructure but getting a customer is your job, so you have to be proactive.
Bring your profile to life
Start by filling it in. List your qualifications and experience but don’t over-egg it. Upload a picture because customers like to see a face behind a CV. But you better keep the image simple, passport-style – a picture of you in Ibiza waving a pint doesn’t inspire confidence in your business qualities.
Supercharge your portfolio
The next step is to upload your portfolio – the evidence that you can do what you say you can do. A student project or that site you did for a cafe that has never taken off will do, too. Don’t have a single web link or a picture to present your projects? Helping a local charity (they always need volunteers) for free is a neat way to get some samples and references.
Get your references sorted
When it comes to referrals, it’s a great idea to invite people who worked with you before to leave their testimonials. As I said before, this doesn’t necessarily have to be a paid job and may not be in the field you are selling your skills in. You want to work as a digital assistant, but never did it formally? But you did organise a Harvest Festival at your child’s school… You can ask a teacher to leave a testimonial about you being dependable and highly organised.
Apply early, apply often
Hourlies – the special PPH advertisement of a job you can do for a set price – are a great thing, but you shouldn’t expect clients to randomly stumble into you. You have to apply to job ads. Don’t be fooled by “You were invited to submit a proposal” message. It’s not a buyer contacting you directly – it’s a result of an algorithm matching keywords of your profile and searches to the Job. You still need to apply and persuade the client that you are the best person for the job.
And don’t go on PPH twice a week, expecting to go through the adverts and select those that are worth your attention. In the beginning, before you acquire your regular clients, you have to monitor ads often and apply ASAP. Being proactive and prompt increases your chances of getting the job. The customer will not wade through all 50 applications and will not wait a week before selecting the winner. A quick response also advertises your immediate availability.
Don’t wait for the reply to come in, apply to the next one. You’ll negotiate the conditions when you win the job.
Show that you care
As with the CVs, a standard one-size-fits-all application indicates that you are not interested in the job, not really. You need to tailor your application to the job each time. Yes, it takes time, but it’ll improve your client-winning skills.
Set a reasonable price
Have a look at the profiles of other freelancers who offer similar service. You’ll notice that there’s a range of options – from the lowest to the highest bidder. The highest bidders are usually experienced people with tens and hundreds of positive reviews. Remember that your work quality is unproven yet, you are an enigma, so even if you’re positive that your service deserves a lot, don’t go to the high end just yet.
On the other hand, don’t try to underbid either because low price can raise suspicion about the quality of your service. The best would be to set your price at the lower end and explain in the application that you are trying to get your first client and therefore extending a discount.
Don’t get discouraged
It’s not easy to get the first client. Expect tens of applications where the job is awarded to somebody else. Please, don’t be discouraged. You only need to get the first job; more will follow.
About the Author
Vicki Doronina is a freelance copywriter and marketing coordinator. Her writing appeared in Science (Careers), The Scientist, Her View From Home, Soapbox Writers, and biotech blogs as well as in Russian and Belarusian media outlets. She lives in the UK. You can hire Vicki on PeoplePerHour.