Are you a freelance creative considering the Upwork, Freelancer, O-desk, etc. route. Don't do it!
If you've read my blog post on Upwork and other related platforms then you know exactly how I feel about bidding sites.
And I'm not all that eager to be too repetitive.
If you haven't already read that post and you're curious about why I don't approve of the UpWork system, then click on the link in the opening sentence to find out.
The Freelance Life & Upwork
Chances are you've heard success stories about Upwork users, however, you have to be willing to dedicate a lot of time to building up relevant skills, and face the gamble of competing in a bidding war to succeed.
There are far too many on catches UpWork, you're not respected as much as you should, and the site takes a massive chunk of your pay.
So what can you do instead? Today I'm going to share my point of view on how you can find your next opportunity.
Consider your network
My first freelance gig came from a family friend, who had also worked with me before.
It wasn't the most exciting project, but I needed the money and was eager to build up some relevant experience, so I never complained, not even once.
If you've ever browsed my website before, you'll probably notice that I do copywriting work for Kijiji. Do you want to know how I got that position?
A Kijiji employee read my blog post that I wrote for BeFunky Inc, which showed users how to use the BeFunky software to create a Kijiji ad.
They loved it so much that they reached out to the marketing manager that I worked with, and said that they were interested in working with me.
Then my client said nice stuff about me, gave the Kijiji employee my contact info, and then next thing I knew I was reading and signing a contract.
I'm not the only one either. Freelance writer, Elna Cain for instance, found a gig at OptinMonster via some of the clients that she's had in the past.
Networking works wonders. Don't immediately resort to Upwork. Instead, be creative about who you know, and who they know.
Finding work on social media is about thoughtful personalization.
But what do I mean by that? Start by using social media as a tool for providing informative content that people can actually learn something from.
At the end of the day, it's about engagement, so focus on providing status updates that relate to stuff that your target audience is interested in.
This will grow your number of followers, bring your SEO up a few notches, and get people's attention.
Directly engage with relevant companies. Tell them about your services.
Comment on their work on social media. Don't self-promote without promoting the work of others. This will pay off over the long-term.
Not even kidding! That's the main reason why Twitter is my main social media platform. People actually message me about my services on their sometimes. People that fit the bill of my ideal client.
Not to mention, my SEO stats are showing that Twitter gets me additional web traffic on a regular basis.
I don't recommend making these sites your main source, but you can sometimes find fantastic opportunities if you write a killer pitch.
Relevant events and courses
This for sure relates back to the whole networking thing. I'm extremely introverted so for years I found in person networking super stressful.
However, I found courses and special events were a great way to force me to actually talk to people.
Why? Because at least the people have relevant interests, and I know that might actually be interested.
Parties have worked well too because let's face it: it's a captive, friendly audience.
If you don't have a website, you don't have an excuse. I know that sounds super harsh, but you don't have to be a computer genius to use platforms like Weebly, WordPress, Wix, etc.
That's the good news at least!
All these platforms are click and drag interfaces.
In other words, the only coding you have to do is copying and pasting pre- programmed code into a box.
Set up a website, and you'll have a 24/7 networking tool at your disposal.
Notice how none of my suggestions are talent-based? There's a reason for that. People don't just discover you in this industry.
You have to work your ass off, promote the shit out your work, and tell people that you exist until it produces results.
There are no instant results, no matter who you are or how talented you are. I've been doing this for two years now, and that's the most important lesson I've learned.
Over to you: where do you find your freelance work? Any additional suggestions you want to share?