Know thyself (and how thine online freelancing shouldst work)

Good afternoon, my dear readers!

It’s been a pretty crazy time in the Great White North. I landed two big gigs and find myself editing one novel and ghostwriting another. On top of that, tax season has come and I’m taking a lunch hour to just try to catch my breath.

Finding work online (well, let’s face it, finding work in general) can be quite stressful. Figuring out a brand new job landscape like freelancing websites can add to the stress. Here are a few tips to avoid a few pitfalls as a beginning freelancer.

1. On Elance, make sure you’re posting as a freelancer rather than a buyer if you’re looking for work. I’ve seen a number of job postings that consist of an Elance user describing themselves and their capabilities. That’s all well and good, but since you’re posting as a buyer instead of creating a freelancer profile. You won’t be able to apply for jobs that way. Be careful and read the site thoroughly when creating an account.

three stooges reading instructions

Don’t be a stooge.

2. When sending an application, make sure you attach the documents you say you’re going to attach before you send it off to the prospective employer. I don’t know if this happens to everyone else or not, but every now and then I jump the gun and send an application without double-checking everything. Have a second or third look at your application before you send it out. You never really know – that could make all the difference.

undo button red press

You won’t find one of these, I’m afraid.

3. Don’t be discouraged by the amount of people who have already proposed for a job. Look at it this way. In the world outside the internet, unless you hold a fairly high position, you really have no way of knowing how many people have applied for a given job. Yet not having that number shouldn’t hinder you in the real world. Why should it stop you when you can see it online?

mine seagulls finding nemo

Oh, look, a job posting!

4. Don’t be afraid to branch out. Your prior work experience could come in handier than you might think. Let’s say you’re a freelance writer like me. You’ve written a few press releases in the past. Apply for a marketing position; they could always use your way with words. Perhaps you’re a poet. There is a market out there for creative writers and editors, some who specifically need a poem written or edited. It’s only a matter of finding the right people.

nonsense tree underpants

I couldn’t think of a picture for this number, so here’s a tree wearing underpants.

5. When you complete jobs for clients, remember to say thank you! I make it a custom to send every first-time client a thank-you note. It may not get me future work, but it just might be that one extra, considerate touch that helps me edge out my next competitor. Plus, it’s just the right thing to do! They’re supporting your skills, after all.

thank you post its

Oh, you’re so very welcome.

Freelancing online brings a grab bag of opportunities and you never really know where wowing clients all across the globe with your awesome skills can lead you years from now. So get out there, apply away and Happy Writing! I’ll talk to you all next week.

– Adam

What words of wisdom can you offer new freelancers? Discuss in the comments below!

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