Freelancing: How to Make It To The Top

   

Back in 2008 when I first started freelancing, it took me over 2 months until I landed my first job, and as small as that job was I was flying high with happiness. A few years later, I started to get a lot of young men and women coming to me asking how to get started.

And what started as just sharing my personal experience in a few sentences developed into a full-blown course that’s available online on Udemy, and as a week-long training that’s offered in some training centers. It covers everything I know about the secrets of Freelancing.

Today, after 9 years in the field I ask myself, why do some people succeed in freelancing and others fail, although most of them have the right skills that are needed in the market?

I would say I found three main traits that separate those who did it from those who gave up too early:

1. Perseverance

Never Give Up - make it to the top of the freelancing scalesThis is the single most important trait that I found made a whole lot of difference for anyone starting freelancing, or any other new field or career; it won’t be easy at the beginning. Some will be patient and try harder and give it more time while others will simply say “It’s not going to work!” and give up too early.

So, which group are you in?

If you’re new to freelancing or think of getting started, keep this in mind and keep asking yourself this question from day one.

2. Uniqueness

This I found to be the second most important trait in those who made it all the way to the top; are you unique? In other words, do you know what makes you different from others? Or like you would be asked in a job interview, “Why would I hire you?”

This is something you need to think about a lot and try to make it your focus when communicating with clients or offering your services to them.  You need to be very clear about what sets you apart and why are you the best person they need to hire or work with.

If you fail to see this clearly yourself and then sell it to clients, there is a very little chance that anyone would want to hire you – so always keep that in mind.  What makes you special?

Here I would like to tell you about the story of one of my students who specialised in creating animated videos intros; after attending my course, she created her profile on one of the freelancing marketplaces.  One day I needed to create an intro for a startup I was part of, and ordered her service, which included providing an intro video with my logo. Next day I woke up to find a delivery and was really surprised to see that she provided me with 4 intros and 3 outros for my videos for the price of one – all were of a high quality.  Since then she’s been my absolute go-to person whenever I need to create similar work and I have even recommended her to a number of my clients.

So, as you can see she put in her personal touch and managed to gain a lifelong client from the first encounter!

3. Clear Communication

Clear communication - make it to the top of the freelancing scalesMost of the time I would hear clients complaining about a failed job or a bad relationship with another freelancer.  They would be complaining that he didn’t listen to what they said or that he didn’t communicate clearly or as often as they would expect!

So, always make sure to stay in touch with your clients, ask them questions, reply to theirs even if you don’t have the answer they want – just let them know that you got their message and will get back to them as soon as you have the answer.  This even gets more important as your work grows and you start taking care of multiple jobs at the same time.

Always be sure your client knows what you’re doing with their job and that they like what you’re doing, so get frequent feedback on your work – don’t wait until the end. Of course, there are lots of other important things that you will need to learn how to do and practice well to be a successful freelancer, but keeping these three in mind will make a great difference in your career and set you apart to be one of the few who make it to the top.

If you have other ideas, comments or even disagree with some of my points, I would love to hear back from you.

About the Author:

How to make it to the top - Mamdouh

Mamdouh Kaldas is a web designer, WordPress expert, online instructor and Adobe Education Trainer.  He’s been freelancing since 2008 and he’s currently teaching freelancing to new talents in both English and Arabic.

He enjoys writing about WordPress on his blog.

Check out Mamdouh’s profile on PeoplePerHour

 

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2 Comments

  • Scott Andrew

    Hey there, great article for those looking to get started! I’m currently cert 5 and recently passed 40 clients worked with. Next week I’ll be starting my largest ever project on PeoplePerHour and I’m quite excited to be getting into it as I think it will push me into the top cert. Here is hoping!

    I was interested in what you wrote about getting started. It took you two months to get your first job. I was quite curious about it. Can I ask how you got it?

    When I first started on the peopleperhour I was offering my normal rates and what not. The thing was, I didn’t have any reviews, cert or anything. It’s hard to get people’s trust when you start off. Much like yourself, it took me a few months to get my first job. I think I got it by undercutting people, just to get my foot in the door. Once I completed my first job, I had another one come through almost right away. Was it the same for you?

    Thanks,
    Scott

  • Gadi Bizinyan

    As a beginner freelancer, specifically referring to those who start their way in PeoplePerHour which is a very competitive platform. The most important thing is to know how to bid against the competition, and be aware to thea large crowd of the buyers, more than anything else is first of all price-driven. If you are bidding significantly above others, you are lowering your chances of winning to zero.

    In order to charge normal rates, you would need to establish yourself in the platform. The key is to be able to land the first few projects which would assist you in gaining the initial credibility. Consider this with utmost importance. To win the first projects, you need to “break” the market price and undervalue your skills, sad but true, I see know escape from this. Otherwise it may take you ages until you would start taking off, no matter how persistent you are.

    As for uniqueness, I would support the writer in that regard – This is very important. I always try to offer freebies wherever possible while at the same time I’m putting efforts in upselling my service. Clients LOVE freebies and it does help retaining them on the long-run.

    Last point which is related to clear communication – I would say that if you don’t have it by default, forget of ever becoming a successful freelancer. It’s either you have it or you don’t. Unfortunately it’s not a skill you can acquire over a short amount of time.

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