• Advice

Why freelancers shouldn’t avoid micro projects

This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send your blog post to us here.

If you frequently check websites and social media for remote work, you’ve probably come across micro projects that require 1–2 hours of work.

For example, people frequently request help setting up a plugin or tweaking front-end design.

If you are an experienced freelancer, you probably completely ignore these jobs and focus your efforts on landing a large project.

However, these seemingly unprofitable jobs can actually offer tremendous value.

Improve their network

Clients need to use social media, blog posts, and online job boards to find help because they don’t already have access to someone with the required skills.

A small project doesn’t necessarily mean the client is cheap, but that they only had an existing need for help with a smaller task.

Getting your foot in the door with an initial small project gives you the opportunity to provide higher-priced work in the future. Finding competent freelancers is a massive headache and clients don’t want to post an RFP every time they need help with something.

The client will likely accept a higher rate in the future after assessing the trade-off of searching costs. By handling a small project, you are now the technical go-to for your client. If you are a persuasive and likable communicator, you’ll turn an unprofitable client into a valuable connection.

Consult the client

In many cases, clients will request help with a bigger project (like building a website) at an unreasonably low budget. Sometimes, the client isn’t necessarily cheap, just unaware of the actual cost of the work or the potential value produced by what you can build.

Respond with a much higher quote range and a slightly personalized pitch with relevant case studies showcasing the value of your work. Communicate like a consultant to showcase your ability to improve an overall business.

You’ll differentiate yourself from other people who accepted the client’s original budget and focused on their skills in their pitch. Proposing a different price range means that you actually thought about the client’s problem. This sets you apart from 99% of copy/pasted responses.

Help the unqualified clients

After initial discovery, you might see that a project clearly doesn’t have any potential. However, you can still offer some free advice and recommend a complementary service that the client will probably need.

A client who lacks existing technical contacts and is still in the early stages of a web-development project will likely accept expert advice.

In many cases, the client still needs related services like web-hosting. You can quickly earn $100-$200 or even monthly revenue by including an affiliate link in your response.

Ignore low-quality clients

Some clients clearly just want cheap work and they’ll never offer you more value in the future, so don’t even bother drafting an email.

As a freelancer, you can’t afford to give away your time or sell it at a low rate. Don’t bother trying to convince a prospect, who requests an absurd low hourly rate in the project description, that your time is ten times as valuable. These clients are clearly looking for cheap work and are not worth connecting with.

Based in Washington, DC., Ben Bozzay works with brands like Dell EMC and Curefest USA to build and promote their brands online. When he's not rock climbing or writing, Ben is coding, designing, or implementing an online promotion strategy.