As a freelancer, you have the advantage of being able to choose the projects you want to work on. Yet, with so many options out there, it can be tough to know how to find the right project for your skill set. In this blog post, we’ll share some tips on how to find the perfect project for you.
First of all, let’s take a closer look at the problem. What are the main issues that freelancers face when looking for projects?
Freelancers are more than just a cog in the machine. They are passionate people working on their own terms. I am one of them, and I know that it can be difficult to find quality projects.
Evaluating the quality of a project takes time & effort, neither of which are in abundance when you are the one-man army for your job. In fact, it can be downright painful. You could spend all day reading contracts and working through proposals, and still land with a project that doesn’t give you thrills. Think about a frustrating situation like this. You’re putting your whole energy into a project, and out of the blue it gets cancelled or put on hold for long periods of time. What can you do about it? There’s no safety net if something goes wrong, so the only way is to jump into another project.
Moreover, many clients have unrealistic expectations. Have you ever ended up pulling an all-nighter just to be able to meet the non-negotiable deadline, or introduce the last minute changes? Unfortunately, the clients often lack imagination when it’s about how time consuming their requests are. And freelancers don’t stand up to them, fearing loosing the gig.
Many of the projects are low-paying. The jobs board is full of cheap gigs. Freelancers also share the blame for lowering market prices. We try to be competitive, especially when we are entering the market. A simple solution to it could be refusing the low-paying gigs to sabotage them. That should make the market more even, forcing the clients to pay more. Sadly, we often end up taking the under-priced projects: You never know when work will dry up. Also, there’s always the risk of being replaced by a cheaper or more convenient provider.
It can be difficult to find work that fits your skills and interests. And it can be tough to stay motivated, when you’re drown in a project that doesn’t appeal to you at all. When you’re a freelancer, it’s important to be strategic about the projects you take on. Unfortunately, there are times you cannot be too picky about the options that are on your table. Still, taking a project that doesn’t fit your skills can end up with a disaster. You may feel frustrated, lacking the necessary knowledge to complete it. Worst case scenario, the quality of delivered job may be so poor that it will leave an ugly scar on your reputation.
Summing up, finding the best projects can be a huge challenge. You need to find projects that match your skills and personality. You also seek projects that will help you build your portfolio and make you more attractive to potential clients.
How can freelancers overcome the challenges and find the projects that are right for them?
We have prepared 10 tips for freelancers, who want to select their projects with more confidence. Check them out and make sure that the criteria you are using are based on logical thinking and proven best business practices.
1. Get clear on what you want
Define your goals and the type of projects you want to work on. This will help you identify the right opportunities when they come up. For example, you can decide what is the size of the projects you like to work on the most. Some of us enjoy really big projects, where they can completely dedicate themselves to one topic for a long time. Others quickly get bored and prefer short engagements or juggling between many small gigs at the same time.
2. Research the client
Take some time to learn about the company and their needs before applying for a project. This will help you determine if the project is a good fit for your skill set. After all, it’s not only about the money, but also about a good experience. If you focus on projects from clients whose mission you can identify with, you will see that the whole experience can be much more pleasant.
3. Carefully check out the project description
Make sure you understand the scope of work and what is expected of you before committing to a project. It is vital for the high quality delivery to understand every detail of the gig. This is one of the hardest part of freelancing. You engage in projects with different companies that you are not familiar with. A thorough understanding of the expectations is a vital part of a successful cooperation.
4. Ask for clarification
If there is anything you’re unclear about, don’t hesitate to ask the client for more information. Don’t leave any gray areas, and don’t make assumptions. Remember, there are no stupid questions. In fact, you will only gain in the eyes of your client, as being meticulous and defining the details of the job are a sign of professionalism.
5. Review the contract
Once you’ve been selected for a project, be sure to review the contract carefully before signing it. This will help ensure that you’re protected and that all expectations are clear. Remember, that the contracts are for bad, not good times. Don’t leave points that you’re unsure about, believing in the client’s good will. After all, business is business, and in case of any misunderstanding or problem, both parties try will hard to prevail in the conflict.
6. Set realistic expectations
When starting a new project, it’s important to set realistic expectations with the client. This will help manage their expectations and avoid any surprises down the road. If there’s an unrealistic requirement in the project, speak up. It’s much more professional to discuss the issues that you foresee ahead of time. This way you avoid the situation, when poorly set conditions affect the quality of the job.
7. Manage your time
Time management is key when working on any project, but especially when freelancing. Make sure you keep track of your time and deliver your work on schedule. This will give both you and your client peace of mind and save you unnecessary frustrations. Not sure how to improve your time management techniques? Stay tuned to our blog! Make sure you don’t miss the tips for a professional and effective time management for freelancers that will be published soon!
8. Communicate regularly
Stay in touch with your client throughout the duration of the project and keep them updated on your progress. This will help build trust and keep the lines of communication open. If any trouble arise, don’t hide it – the quicker you talk about the issue, the bigger are chances that you’ll figure out a workaround together. Also, clear communication gives the client feeling of control over the project. It’s a good approach that can prevent misunderstandings. Depending on the project type, you should choose a right channel and frequency of communication. Short email with a project status, or a call, can be a very convenient way to keep your client satisfied and up to date with your work.
9. Deliver high-quality work
Your goal should always be to deliver high-quality work that meets or exceeds the client’s expectations. This will help you build a strong reputation and land repeat clients. Do not take the easy road and go with the minimum. In the long run, it pays off to put more time and energy where necessary: you will see that it helps to build up both your reputation and your skills.
10. Get paid on time
Last but not least, make sure you get paid for your work on time by setting up clear payment terms from the start. This will help avoid any misunderstandings or issues down the road. Be confident and straightforward when making the rules. Also, it’s a good idea to send friendly reminders when the payment date is approaching. This will make it easier to your client, who may have obligations with more than just one provider.
In conclusion, it can be difficult for freelancers to find relevant projects, but there are ways to overcome these challenges. Try out our tips and see for yourself the improvement in projects that fill your portfolio!