Inspired by an article Popspoken wrote on the benefits of freelancing (such as not being bound to draconian jobs or draconian bosses), Evan Tan, regional director for Southeast Asia at Freelancer.com, jumped on the chance to expound more on what it takes to be an awesome freelancer in the online job sphere. This is not a sponsored post.

More and more Singaporeans have taken a leap into freelancing within the past couple of years: in fact, the significant growth in their number has attracted the attention of the National Trades Union Congress, which aims to provide a social safety net for freelancers.

To quickly start their career, many freelancers register on online jobs platforms like Freelancer.com, where they can access a large number of outsourcing jobs from all over the world. However, the popularity of these online jobs websites have also attracted millions of skilled professionals – so how does a starting freelancer even begin to make money?

Luckily, there’s a way for you to hack your way to getting hired. We’ve listed down six awesome tips to getting that project with winning bids:

1. Tailor your bid to the specific needs of the employer.

Extremely long and impersonal bid templates? Employers wouldn’t read that.

The simple trick for freelancers is to take some time understanding the project description and to be concise and straight to the point with your bids. Briefly tell them how you plan to tackle the project and articulate your unique selling point.

2. Set fair and competitive prices.

After this, making contracts like these will be much easier. (Photo: nobmouse/Flickr by CC BY 2.0)

After this, negotiating contracts like these will be much easier. (Photo: nobmouse/Flickr via CC BY 2.0)

We definitely don’t want you to sell yourself short, but for first-timers with no reviews and feedbacks yet, pricing yourself competitively against more experienced freelancers can be an employer’s deciding factor.

Ozair Rao, a freelance photographer and filmmaker shares the secret to how he started raking jobs as a starting freelancer: “I kept on taking jobs at a low cost to build up my portfolio.” Success soon came after: “Now, I could go around taking pictures and making documentaries out of passion and solely relying on Freelancer.com as a way of earning and not be worried about anything.”

Once you’ve gained experience, start increasing your rate. There are different kind of employers out there and they aren’t always looking for what’s cheap. There are those who are willing to pay much for quality services.

3. Don’t forget deadlines.

It can be really upsetting when freelancers promise to finish a project within an amazingly short period of time but eventually fail to deliver. You don’t want to be that freelancer because this will reflect on your completion rate and on your reputation.

Most importantly, that can cause you to lose what could have been a regular client. When proposing a deadline, make sure you can follow through. Yes, you’d want to impress but most importantly, you wouldn’t want to disappoint. It’s better to underpromise and overdeliver.

4. Prepare an impressive portfolio.

Making it nice-looking doesn't hurt. (Photo: Scott Kellum/Flickr via CC BY-NC 2.0)

Making it nice-looking doesn’t hurt. (Photo: Scott Kellum/Flickr via CC BY-NC 2.0)

Quality samples of previous works can get you noticed by employers. When providing these, make sure that what you’ve compiled are relevant to the project you’re bidding on. Showing a 3D-rendered design won’t sell you to an employer looking for someone to manage their data in a spreadsheet. Yes, you may be really multi-talented but what employers need to know is how well you can get the job done.

5. Communicate with the employer.

If you have some questions about the project, don’t hesitate to send him a message and ask. This shows your interest on the project. Also, if the employer contacts you through a private message, be sure to respond promptly.

6. Maintain an awesome reputation.

As you go along the way, you will be getting reviews and feedbacks from your clients, and you’ll have more stuff to put in your online portfolio. Employers look at these when choosing a freelancer. Make sure they see good stuff on your profile page – fill it out professionally, including relevant information about yourself. Having a good reputation among your clients will definitely go a long way.

All your competitors be mirin'. (Photo: SalFalko/Flickr via CC BY-NC 2.0)

All your competitors be mirin’. (Photo: SalFalko/Flickr via CC BY-NC 2.0)

Aisha Stefan, a freelance writer and work-from-home mom said it best: “One you have enough positive, excellent feedback, the possibilities of future engagement would be close to endless… The word-of-mouth endorsement is priceless to the opportunities that may arise.” Through freelancing online, she was able to contribute to their household income while having time to attend to her daughters.

Daniel Pratidya, one of our top freelancers in Indonesia, has earned more than US$40,000 from freelancing online. “Through the Internet, you can find many freelance jobs that will enable you to work at home and earn extra money,” shares Daniel. “This is a better option to develop your career path, augment your income, and pursue your passion with the flexibility of time and place. But beyond that, freelancing develops the skills and networks needed to growing one’s own business.”

With online resources, it’s easy to get started as a freelancer. Once you’ve built up your reputation, you’re well on your way to freelancing success.

Featured photo: Mark Brady (Flickr) via CC BY-NC-SA 2.0