These days, companies and organizations are starting to see the appeal in hiring freelancers and remote workers.
● In 2019, Google had more freelance and contract workers(120,000) than permanent employees (102,000).
● 70% of SMBs in the US have worked with freelancers at some point.
● 50% of Gen Z and 44% of millennials have been working independently.
Becoming a successful freelancer depends not only on the skills you offer, but also on how you present yourself to your clients and make yourself stand out.
Previous working relationships and referrals are still the top way freelancers find work in today’s marketplace.
Here are 4 tips that will help you build relationships with hiring managers and make your profile stand out.
1. Be honest
Being honest is essential if you want to build a long-lasting relationship with your hiring manager and clients.
One experiment showed that a dishonest team scored 20 percent less on a computer team than an honest team. Even if you get hired by a client, they will soon find out if you have lied about your experience or expertise.
Avoiding this is integral to a successful freelance career.
Referrals play a huge role in helping contractors get jobs and bring some form of stability. By showing your honesty, you will not only close more clients, but will also have positive experiences. Think of it as taking a more inbound approach to work.
If you don’t have expertise in doing a particular task, you should say so. But go one step ahead and say that you would be more than willing to learn and do your best.
Showing your willingness to learn new skills and adapt to the needs of the business will ultimately make you a more valuable asset for the organization.
Honesty shows that you are a person of character and that you will do the job and tasks assigned to you to the absolute best of your abilities.
While hiring managers want to get someone who has the skills to do the job, most would prefer to find someone who can be a long-term contractor.
2. Set realistic expectations
If you are just starting out as an independent contractor, it is not surprising that you might be lacking in some areas. That is completely acceptable.
Seasoned companies and organizations know that someone applying for an entry level or intermediate task would not be suitable for something more advanced.
A meta analysis in American Psychologist showed that setting specific goals led to higher performance.
Setting realistic expectations also shows that you are self-aware of your current skill set. Your skills and expertise will develop over time.
When applying for jobs, make sure you can provide the required deliverables. It is preferable to undercommit than to underdeliver.
Sure, you might miss out on a few jobs this way, but at least your freelance experience will be much more positive.
3. Show strong communication skills
Strong communication is essential if you want your freelance career to be long and prosperous.
89% of people believe that effective communication is extremely important, while eight out of ten people would rate their business’s communication as average or poor.
Being a good listener and speaker is important for conventional jobs, but it becomes even more important for remote workers.
When you can’t physically interact with a person, communication becomes a challenge. A lot of person-to-person communication is done by observing and using body language.
Your communication should be crystal clear when it comes to understanding project requirements, scope of work, your responsibilities, dependencies on other people, etc.
Deadlines, once communicated, should be respected by both parties. And the best way to do that is to have excellent written and virtual communication.
If you have any concerns, you should ask your hiring manager before saying yes to the proposal or contract. Ironing out these details will indicate that you pay attention to details and want to keep things organized.
Be curious and ask how you can contribute to business success.
Most clients just want someone to come in and solve a problem for them. Providing a solution or services becomes a lot easier when you can go into the finer details with the client.
“If you’re like us, freelancers are a core component of your content marketing team. Everything from web design to writing articles and social media falls on the backs of freelancers. Finding freelancers who are willing to ask questions and provide feedback are our favorites. If a freelancer turns in an assignment that’s way left field, and never asks questions leading up to the submission, we just don’t work with them again. The freelancers who ask questions along the way and provide relevant feedback are the ones we use again and again ― and ultimately end up referring to colleagues in our space,” explains Carter Seuthe, CEO of Credit Summit.
4. Commit to consistency
A common complaint that hiring managers have from freelancers is that they lack consistency.
Business owners are giving out work because they want to focus on other things. They don’t want to worry about the freelancer’s ability to deliver work on timeand with consistency.
How do you show potential clients that you are consistent?
Well, the easiest way to convey this is to have good reviews. Good reviews show that the freelancer is committed and consistent.
You can also do this when the client is in the hiring phase. Highlight your academic record (if relevant), work experience and how you make sure that assigned tasks are carried out without a hitch.
Avoid taking on too much work when you’re starting out as a freelancer.
Let’s say that you’ve had a good month and have a bunch of orders coming in. You might be excited and say yes to every job offer.
At the end of the month, you’ll most probably be exhausted and burned out.
In this state, you won’t be able to take on more work and still commit to prior deadlines. Your consistency will falter and your reputation will take a hit.
Flourishing as a freelancer or independent contract requires you to have a learning attitude. You will have a much easier time finding and retaining clients if you are honest, have great communication skills, and are consistent when it comes to work.