business planNot everyone’s dream job is working in a large corporate office. Some people aspire to a career in freelancing; that is, pursuing projects within a certain skill set from companies that are in need of work but are not in the market for a regular employee. This work format is ideal for certain types of workers, including writers, graphic designers, web builders, and editors. And nowadays, more than ever before, people are looking for flexibility on the job, especially when it comes to working remotely or telecommuting.

According to the 2012 Global Workforce Survey by Towers Watson, nearly half (47%) of the study’s global sample worked remotely or in some kind of flexible arrangement. And this percentage is only going to increase in the upcoming years.

While some companies will advertise their need for freelance providers much like they would any other position, most freelancers find the bulk of their work by either creating an independent company or becoming a part of a freelance network. These networks generally involve listings of available projects on which freelancers bid. The owner of the project is then able to select the contractor that is most appropriate for his or her needs.

Depending on your specific skills and the types of projects you are seeking, you may encounter a tremendous amount of competition. Being hired for freelancing positions is also quite different than being hired for a regular position—the process is generally much faster and less personal. You may encounter a client that will perform an interview over the phone or use video chat, but most likely you will need to make your impression based on your application and work samples.

If you are eager to become self-employed and develop your freelance career, here are a few tips for getting more of the projects that you want:

1. Create a Selling Profile

Your profile will be where prospective clients go for the bulk of information about you. It is essential that you include your most important selling points in your profile. This means choosing the skills and characteristics that are most important for the types of projects that you want to complete and emphasizing them on your profile.

Avoid including personal information in the first few sentences, and, instead, focus on what you can offer a client in terms of your services.

2. Make Your Proposals

The proposal that you make for a project is the first impression a client is going to get of you unless he or she has sought you out specifically based on your profile. Make sure that every proposal you write is specifically geared toward the individual projects. This means avoiding the temptation to write up one proposal and copy-and-paste it into every bid. Pick out specifics about the project and highlight how you are able to solve the problems facing the client and fulfill the needs of the project skillfully.

Do not add in sweeping statements about how fast you can complete the project or that you will beat any other competitor. Rather, present yourself as a dedicated professional that is serious about that specific project.

3. Don’t Delay

As soon as you see a project that interests you, bid on it. Develop a proposal that is high quality but don’t take too long in your preparations. You want to be one of the first bids that the client sees and give the impression of being proactive.

4. Develop Relationships

It is easier to continue a working relationship than it is to start a new one. Pay attention to communication and ensure that you provide the high quality of services in hopes of developing long term relationships, as well as building a network of references.

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