This is the third article in our series about “How to become a freelance developer”
In previous articles we talked about the importance of using freelancing as a stepping stone towards getting a full-time job as a remote software developer. We also concluded that, early in your career, you should prioritize getting experience instead of money. Because of that, you should stick to the two platforms with the largest amount of projects (opportunities): Freelancer.com and Upwork.com.
Many of our students get their first proposals accepted in Freelancer.com in their first week in the program. In this article, I want to talk about the first step you need to nail if you want clients to accept your proposals too: you need to have an outstanding profile.
Here are 17 tips and tricks to help you craft a kick-ass profile.
Make people trust you
#1. Use your real name.
#2. Use a professional photo (white background works the best).
#3. Verify your email, phone, payment method, Facebook, LinkedIn, and verify your identity.
#4. Use the headline field to describe your niche (see next section about picking a niche).
#5. Write a summary focused on HOW you can help the client. Write it in first person, show empathy and communicate that you care about the client and their needs. Show passion for your work. Check the grammar!
#6. If you blog (you should!), list your top technical articles in the “Publications” section.
#7. If you have previous work, show it in your portfolio. Don’t show mediocre work. Side projects and small unpaid work counts, just make sure they look great by using high-quality images only.
Choose a niche and stick to it
#9. Avoid selecting low-quality skills (e.g. “Blog install”, “Wordpress”, etc.)
#10. Improve your summary with the right type of projects you want to specialize in. For entry-level developers, we recommend that you list the following project types in your summary: static websites, newsletters, responsive websites, UI components, single page applications, scripts and command line tools.
Set the right price
#11. Low hourly rates suggest low quality-work. With a higher rate, clients will assume you are a high quality freelancer. To find a baseline, copy what other intermediate developers are charging in your niche and use a value somewhere in the high side of the range. Start applying (to the right type of projects) and lower your rate 5–10% every week until you start getting projects accepted.
#12. Since you are just beginning, do not focus on maximizing how much you make, but on getting proposals accepted for the right type of projects. We will talk about this in the next article since it’s probably the most important step for your career.
#13. Don’t select “Beginner” in the Experience Level section. Select “Intermediate.” If you are considering freelancing, chances are you can easily step up to deliver like an Intermediate developer.
A few more things…
#14. Avoid wasting time and money on certifications for now. Wait until you get a few projects, positive reviews, and payments, and then decide which is the platform that works best for you, Freelancer or Upwork. After that, reinvest some of the money you made in completing the most important certifications for your niche.
#15. Don’t sign up for a Paid Membership yet. You can do this later once your profile is set up, so you take advantage of the free trial.
#16. Take a look at the profiles of the top freelancers in your niche and try to copy what they are doing.
#17. An outstanding profile is not enough. You still need to send great and personalized proposals, pick the right types of projects and, more importantly, get the job done and get positive reviews. We will discuss this in the next articles in this series.
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