Have you been applying for jobs all over but just can’t seem to find freelance work?
Have you started feeling unlucky?
We hate to break it to you but honest truth, it really isn’t about luck but, about work, LOTS of it.
But of course, it doesn’t mean just applying to lots and lots of jobs and praying something comes through. Sometimes it simply means being strategic and going about things the right way. Sometimes it means assessing the current process to see where you could be going wrong.
Starting with… an assessment of your skills. Are you offering skills that clients want? Is your current skill set up-to-date or are you offering knowledge that’s well past its use-by date?
Be honest with yourself because the success (or failure) of your freelance business really hinges on what skills you choose to offer your potential clients. Check out this article to get started: The Most In-Demand Skills of 2018
We’ve seen freelancers often make the same mistake over and over. If you have been struggling to find freelance work online, now is the time to be completely honest with yourself and evaluate the things you’ve been doing wrong that could be costing you, clients.
Let’s take a look at 7 possible reasons why you can’t find freelance work:
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- 5 Ways To Get Freelance Work From the People You Already Know (+ Tips on How to Approach Them)
- Finding Good Clients: 7 Must-Have Qualities of Your Perfect Freelance Client
- 11 Reasons Why Every Freelancer Must Have a Website
Top Reason You Can’t Find Freelance Work
Let’s get down to WHY you just can’t seem to catch a break in the freelancing world.
1. You don’t have a freelance niche
Jack of all trades and master of none? Yeah, that’s exactly what you are if you find yourself accepting or rather looking for any kind of job available.
This strategy may work for a newbie for a short while but in the long run, your client well will run dry.
If you are looking for high-quality clients expect them to demand high-quality work. The more a client is willing to pay the higher the expertise they’re looking for.
How will you become good at anything if you focus on everything? You need to pick a niche and become a master in that area.
How to fix it
Out of the many services you’re offering right now which one interests you the most? Which one are you better at? Now focus on that one and build your skills and expertise around it.
Even if you are not highly skilled in that area you can start focusing on taking online courses to improve your skills in that particular area.
Start applying to jobs that are in your chosen area so that you can gain more hands-on skills and become an expert.
Once you become an expert in a niche area, you will start getting freelance work from clients who are willing you pay you more for your skills.
2. You have no online proof of your skills
Your potential clients want proof of you being able to do the job you say you will do. The easiest way to prove this to them is via your own personal website.
Have you set up a website for your freelance business yet?
If your answer is no, then you’re failing your business big time!
In case you haven’t noticed, most clients will often ask freelancers to submit related work samples alongside their job applications. Clients want to see what you are capable of doing before they can hire you.
It’s important that as a freelancer you have an online portfolio that you can use to showcase your skills and past experience to your clients. This will make it MUCH easier for you to prove yourself and find freelance work.
How to fix it
Create a freelance portfolio website and add all your past work. You will be surprised at how simple it is to do this. You might just kick yourself for waiting so long to do it 🙂
Anyway, a freelance website is a great way, especially for new freelancers, to showcase their skills. You may not have past work to add on your website, but your website in itself is proof of your skill and it shows that you’re taking yourself and your freelance business seriously.
Request past clients and employers to send you recommendations, reviews and testimonials to back up your skills. Add these to your website.
Additionally, having a LinkedIn profile and a Facebook business page is also a great way to gain an online presence and showcase your skills to potential clients online.
Create a LinkedIn profile and turn it into a killer online portfolio for your freelance business. This will make it easy for clients to find you as they search online for freelancers. It will also make it easier for you to find freelance work online.
Not sure what to include in your website? Check out this article: 10 Essential Elements of a Freelance Portfolio Website
3. Your pricing is all wrong
Pricing your freelance services isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially if you’re new. But you know what? Your price could be the reason you can’t find freelance work.
Are you too cheap or too expensive?
If you are the cheapest available freelancer then you are selling yourself short. Very often a potential client may not want to work with someone who is charging too low as they equate this to low quality work.
You also don’t want to charge too much yet, if you don’t have the skills or the experience to back up your charges. You come off as greedy, unfortunately.
How to fix it
The trick is to make sure that you’re charging your clients according to industry standards and valuing yourself according to your skills and the value you will offer.
Do some research online and see what other freelancers in your niche and with similar experience are charging.
Remember to always consider your level of expertise, education, skills and experience when valuing your services. It’s also important to keep in mind that the size of a company and its geographical location may also affect how much you charge.
The most important thing to keep in mind when pricing your services is that your rate reflects your confidence in your quality of work. The more you ask for the more will be expected of you.
Don’t be afraid to play around and test different rates until you find the one that works best for you.
4. You’re waiting for work to come to you
So you’ve successfully joined Upwork or other similar sites. You have your profile filled out to 100% and now you’re waiting for clients to come to you.
We’ve got some disappointing news for you. Clients will not come to you. You have to go find them.
Having a complete profile or an outstanding freelance website will not get you clients. Putting time and effort to apply to jobs will get you clients.
How to fix it
Take action. If you want to find work, you need to get out there and actually do the work. Simply creating a profile or setting up a website won’t be enough. If you want to find freelance work, make time to apply to jobs that you’re highly skilled at, every day. Log into your account and look for available jobs that you’re qualified for and send applications.
If you don’t want to use freelancing sites you can search online for companies within your area of focus and send them cold emails introducing yourself and the services that you’re offering.
Talk to your friends, family, colleagues and other people that you already know and let them know that you are looking for work.
Tell them about your services and the kind of work that you’re looking for and request them to recommend you to anyone they know who might be interested in your services.
5. You write bad pitches and proposals
You have been applying to hundreds of jobs but you are yet to get one single client. You send hundreds of emails to potential clients but you hardly ever get a response.
Wondering what you could be doing wrong? It is all in your pitches and proposals.
Yes. Your proposals and pitches are letting you down.
No matter how many jobs you’ve done before or how many courses you’ve taken, if you can’t express all these clearly and in a convincing manner then no client will want to hire you.
How to fix it
Don’t write proposals just for the sake of doing it. Think of it as if you were applying for a traditional office job. Remember how keen you used to be with those job applications? Yes, the same focus is necessary when pitching your skills to freelance clients.
Read the job description carefully and understand well what the client is looking for. Identify their problem and offer them a solution. Tell them how your expertise will help in solving their problem.
Put in some thought in your pitches and remember to apply good grammar. Good pitches will show the client that you’re a professional and will make you stand out.
6. You make no time for marketing yourself
Do you spend all your time applying to jobs and pitching clients? Do you forget to see yourself as a business?
Every business needs to market itself – including yours. This could mean optimising your profile on freelancing sites or this could mean networking. As you continue to grow you need to improve your growth strategies.
How to fix it
The first thing you need to do is move from the freelancer mentality and begin seeing yourself as a business.
Marketing is an important part of a business that wants to grow. Just because it’s just you, it doesn’t mean that you can’t grow as a business. There are so many solopreneurs making it big just by themselves. You can too.
While freelancing sites are a great place to start, you need to make sure you’re doing more and not just limiting yourself to one website for clients. Start leveraging other ways to market yourself and get more clients.
Build a following on social media through a Facebook business page. Start a blog and promote your services on it.
For increased chances to find freelance work, join networking groups on Facebook and LinkedIn groups, and offer your expertise and where allowed, promote your services.
7. You don’t take your business seriously
Are you operating as an employee? Do you still rely on your clients to offer you direction?
If you think of clients as your boss then you’re going to get yourself stuck in a never-ending rut.
It’s time to shift that mentality.
How to fix it
Stop working for and start working with clients. Businesses don’t work for clients, they work with clients.
You are no longer an employee, working for a boss. You are your own boss and while you will still want to do your absolute best for your clients, you definitely don’t want them to have all the control.
Here are some ideas:
Think of clients as your partners and start running your freelance business independently.
Have personal goals for your business.
Think about where you want to be in the long term. Come up with smart goals and a plan on how to achieve them.
Take up courses that will not only make you more marketable but will also help you run your business professionally.
Invest in business applications and tools such as invoicing software, accounting tools etc. Get systems that will help you stay productive and accountable.
Develop contracts that will protect you and your business legally from any kind of exploitation by clients or service providers.
The deal here is to stop thinking small and start seeing the bigger picture.
7.5. You’re lazy
Yes, you read that right 🙂
Freelancing (like any business) is hard work – especially when you’re new and hustling to get work.
If you have totally dropped the ball and you find yourself doing most of the things we’ve discussed then you are honestly being a bit too lazy to really commit to freelancing and give it a real shot.
We don’t mean to break your heart but the truth is that you really have to put in a lot of work yourself if you want to succeed as a freelancer and sustain your business in the long term.
It’s not too late to turn your business around. Just shift your thinking a bit, put in the work and you will have a flourishing freelance business that lets gives you the freedom to work independently while making a good living out of something you love doing!
Have you had any luck trying to find freelance work? What have you found to be most helpful? Share with us in the comments section.
Fulltime Nomad is your passport to saying no to normal, and yes to a life of unlimited travel. Founded by Radhika & Johnny, this blog will help YOU take that big scary first step towards building your own freedom lifestyle. Are you new? Start here.
Wow this is so helpful. I have read each and every word. I’m gonna flow this advice till I achieve the best. Thank you
Really it is a great article…