Daryl George is here to share his tried and true tricks of navigating the world of freelance bid sites.
He’s broken it down to nine specific steps that you can take to attain well-paying gigs using freelance bid sites.
Take it away Daryl!
Take a second to think about this question:
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What is your biggest challenge as a freelance writer?
Got an answer?
For many aspiring or new freelance writers there is one answer that stands out: Finding good freelance clients. After spending hours and hours trying to attract freelance clients, it just doesn’t work. You feel like you’ve done everything, but still, no clients.
You’ve honed your skills. You’ve put up the most awesome and shiniest website. You’ve SEO’d the heck out of your content. But your client roster is dustier than Death Valley, only without those cool tumbleweeds.
If this describes your freelance writing business, and you’re looking for a solution, then bid sites may be the answer. Don’t worry, if you’re not familiar what I mean by bid sites, I’ve broken it down for you AND outlined the necessary steps you need to take to start making money from them. Are you ready?
What are Freelance Bid Sites?
Freelance bid sites are websites where potential employers post a job and associated description that they have available and allow for freelancers to place “bids” for the jobs. These bids normally consist of a specific price that the freelancer feels comfortable charging for the specific job, along with an explanation of why the freelancer should be picked including their background, resume, and samples.
What’s in it for the bid sites? They get a cut (usually ranging from 8-20%) of the fees paid by the client.
Should I Consider Freelance Bid Sites?
There are a number of reasons why freelance writers may want to consider bid sites. They include:
- Large number and categories of jobs and clients available – Depending on the site, there may be hundreds or even thousands of jobs available in numerous categories such as Writing, Marketing, Graphic Design, etc.
- Jobs become available quickly – There are often dozens, or even hundreds of jobs posted every day. So if you don’t snag the one you were looking for, you can be assured that another job in your specialty area will be available soon.
- Payment protection – Most bid sites offer some sort of payment protection to ensure that when you complete the work, you get paid. This includes things such as escrow protection, which places the funds in an account as soon as the job is awarded to ensure that the client can’t change their mind, as well as dispute resolution processes in case you and your client have a disagreement.
However, bid sites aren’t all good. There are a few reasons that freelance experts don’t recommend bid sites. They include:
- Low pay – Bid sites are notorious for low pay. Many freelance clients come onto bid sites specifically because they know that they will be able to find someone to complete their job for low pay.
- Competition – You may face heavy competition from other freelancers who may have more experience or may be willing to significantly underbid you.
With the above being said, there are many people who make a decent living from bid sites. In May, I made over $1,400 from gigs I obtained from bid sites, working only part time hours.
So how is that possible, you ask? Here’s my nine-step guide to making money from freelance bid sites, separated into four sections for easy implementation.
Setting up Your Freelance Bid Site Profile
Step 1: Specialize/niche – Before you create your bid site profile, you should come up with at least one (but possibly 2-3) specific areas that you have specialized/specific knowledge in. Don’t think too much about your niche as you can always change this in the future.
Selecting a niche doesn’t mean that you have to have a PhD in that subject area (although it probably wouldn’t hurt). Simply having one area that you know enough about will help. For example, one of my niches is my home country, and much of my work has come from clients who need someone who has simply lived in my country.
Step 2 – Create a kickass profile – You need a good profile. Some of the things in a good profile include:
- A picture – People want to know what you look like. It helps to build a personal connection and differentiates you from the other freelancers who hide behind a logo or a blank profile. Put up a nice, professional, yet casual picture of yourself for your profile.
- A description of your skills – Your skills pay the bills. Let clients know exactly what areas you have experience, training, or certification in, and if possible let them know the specifics on each, in terms of what institution has certified you, how long you’ve been working in the business, etc. Make sure you toot your horn loudly if you have any special qualifications or skills.
Step 3 – Do some tests – Tests give you something tangible that many clients use to assess your initial adequacy for the gig. You should go for the “easy” tests first, prep, and give yourself adequate time to focus on doing the best possible job. After completing your initial tests, move up to the more specialized and relevant tests to continue displaying relevant experience to your clients.
Bidding for Jobs
Step 4 – Be selective – One of the mistakes freelancers make is not being selective enough of the job requirements. Here are the three elements you want to be most selective in:
- Previous client history – One of the best features of bid sites is that you can often see your client’s previous history, including feedback and payment history. How much did they pay previous freelancers? Do they have good feedback? Who did they work with before? This will quickly tell you whether or not this client is worth working for.
- Topic – While you may be able to land a job writing articles on the various pests in the Southern US (my very first bid site gig), unless your niche is pest extermination, writing this article may not pay off in the long run. As much as possible, you should concentrate on writing on topics within your niche in order to build a portfolio that will develop your experience for future gigs.
- The competition – Another great feature of the bid sites is that you can view the profiles of the other people who are also bidding on your job. If your job is on the topic of quantum physics and you’re the only one with a relevant degree and experience, chances are you’ll land the job. On the other hand, if there are a number of other freelancers with significantly more experience or knowledge in that field, then you may want to look for other jobs where you’re more competitive.
Step 5 – Write great pitches – You’ll definitely want to ensure that you write a good, comprehensive pitch. What’s important with a good pitch is that you stand out from the other pitches. A few of the important things to point out in your pitch include:
- Relevant experience/knowledge
- Examples of similar work you’ve done in the past
- A personality
- What you offer that other freelancers can’t
- If possible, a short sample of the work you’d like to do for them
Step 6 – Do a good job – This should be a no-brainer, but for many people it’s a lot harder in practice to carry out! Here are a few things to do in order to ensure that you do a good job on your bid site gig:
- Deliver work ON TIME
- Deliver work to the specification requested by your client
- Ensure that you are in constant communication with your client
- Over deliver and do a better job than asked (if possible)
After the Job
Step 7 – Leave feedback – Feedback is a massive part of how clients select potential freelancers. The better the feedback you receive, the more social proof you have and the more likely you will be to be hired! Leaving your clients with good feedback (once warranted) will also encourage them to return the favor and leave you with positive feedback as well, significantly boosting your selection chances for future gigs.
Step 8 – Follow up – You should always follow up with clients after you’ve finished your job. I’ve received a number of gigs simply from following up with clients after I’ve finished a job, including my most lucrative gig.
You are far more likely to get a gig with a client that you’ve already worked with than with someone new. Following up is pretty simple – just shoot your client a message/email a few weeks later asking them if they have anything else that they need help with. Quite frequently they will have something available and boom: you’ve just got a new gig!
Step 9 – Continue improving your profile -Your profile should follow the Japanese philosophy of kaizen: always improving. As you increase your freelance experience and accomplishments, don’t forget to update your profile to reflect this.
You may also change direction in your specialty or niche, or you may simply have a better grasp of what to say to clients to attract them, so your profile should be something that you should review regularly (at least 3-6 months) in order to ensure that it is optimized for client attraction.
Freelance bid sites are like a McDonald’s cheeseburger: you shouldn’t have one every day, but they sure do come in handy when you’re hungry! In order to improve your quality of clients and advance your freelance career, you should be looking to be continually honing your skills and looking outside of bid sites to attract clients.
Courses like 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success can help you to diversify your client base and make the income that most freelance writers only dream of.
Do you have any other tips for success on bid sites? Fire away in the comments section below!
Daryl George is a freelance writer and business blogger dedicated to helping freelance writers build their careers and businesses connect with their customers with proven results. If you’re a freelance writer who wants more information about your freelance writing career, you can visit him at Freelance Writer Startup. If you’re a business that wants to turn your blog into a client attraction machine, then check him out at DarylGeorge.com.