I recently had the opportunity to send a few questions over to Freelancer.com's Nikki Parker. This is a popular freelance marketplace that continues to grow year after year. I wanted to ask Nikki about the processes and policies in place and also for a few insider tips for landing bids.
What types of projects can service providers find on Freelancer.com?
With over 580 different job categories on the site and around 4000 jobs being posted every day, service providers have a highly diverse range of jobs to choose from. Freelancer.com has jobs that range from data entry, web development and design, right through to editing, marketing and sales – we even have had jobs posted in astrophysics and pure mathematics! The diversity of jobs available on Freelancer.com means that there is a job available for every service provider, no matter what her skills are.
For those new to Freelancer.com, what procedures are in place to protect freelancers from scams or clients failing to pay?
The security of users on Freelancer.com is paramount and a number of procedures have been set up to maintain the highest level of protection for our users. To protect freelancers during the payment process, Freelancer.com has set up a Milestone Payment system which will see the client and freelancer break the project down into measurable chunks. As each chunk of work is completed, the client will pay a percentage of the fee before further work is undertaken. This ensures that the freelancer and client are happy with the progress of the work and that payments are met. The milestone system acts in a similar way to an escrow service which ensures that the client has sufficient funds to pay for any work completed over the site before a freelancer begins working on a project. Additionally, Freelancer.com has 24 hour support 365 days of the year in the unlikely case that a dispute needs to be resolved.
How and when are service providers paid? Is there a wait period after completing a gig?
There are three different ways that a Freelancer can work with a client on Freelancer.com. Firstly, a freelancer can bid on a single project and have a set price agreed upon before commencing work for the client. Secondly, service providers can enter into an hourly agreement with a client where the freelancer will use a time tracker and bill the client for the hours worked. Freelancer.com recommends milestone payments for all single bid and hourly projects. These allow the freelancer to receive portions of the total fee over the course of the project, rather than taking the risk of completing the whole project before seeking payment. There is no waiting period after completing a gig and Freelancer.com will release the money to the service provider once both parties agree that the work has been completed.
Finally, Freelancer.com has a contest section on the website. Freelancers can submit their entries for a chance to catch the contest-holders eye and win the prize money. Contests are a fantastic way for freelancers to gain some international exposure and build up an online reputation. Often winning a contest will foster an ongoing working relationship with the client.
What insider tips do you have for winning proposals?
These are my top three tips for winning proposals.
- Read the project description carefully and tailor your bid to the specific needs of the employer. Whilst there are thousands of jobs being posted every day, each project is unique and the client expects you to treat it that way! It is important that you understand the project and that this comes across when you write the bid. Be clear, concise and to the point when writing your bid. Make sure you articulate your unique selling point and why you are the best freelancer for the job. Remember, if you have any questions about the project don’t hesitate to write to the client and ask!
- Samples and examples of previous work are great tools to get you noticed. Once you have entered your bid, follow up with a private message of some of your previous work. It is important that the samples are relevant to the task that you are bidding on and remember quality, not quantity is the rule of thumb when submitting samples.
- Know the market and be competitive with your pricing. By competitive, I mean bid smart not necessarily cheap. Clients are more often than not looking for high quality work as opposed to the lowest price. Clients will always look at freelancers’ reviews and recommendations and will be willing to pay more for a service provider who has a great reputation and has produced exceptional work.
Any other tips or words of wisdom for those new to freelance marketplaces?
For every project you are looking to bid on, always look at the employer’s profile and feedback first. While the profile information may be limited and there is no guarantee of accuracy, experienced employers will usually provide enough information to let the freelancers know who they are dealing with. It is important that you, as a service provider, feel confident and comfortable with the employer(s) that you enter into a working relationship with.
Just because you are operating on an online freelance platform, that does not mean the basics of business go out the window! Communication is key and you should make sure to utilise the email and chat functions on the site from start to finish when working on a project. Making an effort to talk with the client, discussing their business needs and offering your expert opinion is the easiest way to build up a rapport with an employer and hopefully get repeat business.
Freelancer.com is a truly global marketplace which means that we have to change some of the ways we do business and deal with clients. When you agree to work with a client from another country and often another time zone, it becomes increasingly important that you know their deadlines and work hours. Identifying this to the client will often put you ahead of the competition!
If you are new to freelancing in a global marketplace, it can sometimes be a bit daunting in the beginning. We always say that the hardest job is your first job but as your online reputation and portfolio grow, the world is your oyster!