Why Am I Not Getting Hired on Freelance Sites?

Not getting hired is the one of the most common problems encountered by freelancers—especially at the start of their freelance journey. It can seem like you’re applying for hundreds and jobs and getting only rejections. It’s disheartening yes, but there are plenty of things you can do to get hired. As an experienced freelancer who’s been through this, I’ll tell you where you’re going wrong and how to get hired by clients. So let’s get started!

What am I doing wrong?

There are several reasons why you might not be getting hired by clients:

Problem 1) Your profile isn’t as good as you think it is.

Problem 2) Your bids aren’t as reasonable as you think they are.

Problem 3) Your applications or pitches for jobs aren’t compelling.

Problem 4) You’re expecting overnight success.

Problem 5) You’re limiting your pool.

To resolve these issues:

Resolution 1) Check that your profile is compelling compared to your competitors and successful freelancers.

  • Of course, check it doesn’t have any typos and that it’s well-written, but also ensure you’re offering something that your competitors aren’t, such as skills or experience they don’t have.
  • Make sure you have a clear USP compared to your competitors and aren’t offering exactly the same thing as them (especially if they have tons of feedback and you don’t).
  • Demonstrate relevant experience, by adding links to your previous work, blog, or portfolio to show how great your work is.

Resolution 2) Check your pricing compared to your competitors’ pricing.

  • Don’t under- or over-price yourself in comparison to them.
  • If you’re new to the site and are lacking experience, then you may want to price yourself slightly lower, but make sure it’s not so low that people will be suspicious or think you’re offering poor-quality work.
  • If you’re offering free work, people will probably be wary that you’re not offering great quality or that you’re desperate. Only offer freebies in the right circumstances.
  • If you’re new and you over-price yourself, clients are unlikely to bite, because there’s no evidence that you can deliver.

Resolution 3) When you apply for freelance jobs and submit offers, don’t just send a generic application. Buyers like freelancers who put a lot of effort into their applications, as it shows the effort they’ll put in when they do the work. Find out how to pitch here.

  • Make sure you tailor the application to the specific job you’re applying for.
  • Show your passion for the job and tell them why you want to work with them.
  • Make it clear how you can deliver what the client is looking for, and what value you can add.

Resolution 4) Be patient

As a newbie, it is difficult to get hired on freelancing sites, but perseverance works once you’ve got the pricing, pitching, and profile factors right. Someone will take a chance on you if you get those factors on point. But you have to keep applying, applying, applying, and applying some more. Don’t be put off if it’s been a few months and you haven’t taken the freelancing world by storm yet.

Many people who are new to freelancing expect quick returns, whereas successful freelancing is more of a long game. In reality, it can take months and more months to establish yourself as a freelancer. It took me 6-8 months before I had a stable workflow, and I’ve known others to struggle for 18 months or longer. Freelancing requires time, effort, patience, and perseverance. It’s not an overnight thing.

Resolution 5) Try other methods

When you’re competing against other, more established freelancers on freelancing sites, it can be tough to get your foot in the door. However, don’t forget that it’s often easier to start with your existing network for your first few jobs. Speak to people you know, advertise your services on your social media accounts, and go to networking events.

To maximise these jobs, invite the person to work with you through a freelancing site—as you can then gain feedback. And when you start building up feedback, you’ll start getting more buyers. You can also get freelancing work through other sources, such as word-of-mouth, LinkedIn, your own website, jobs boards, cold calling companies, sending direct emails, etc.

Keep at it!

It takes time to become a successful freelancer, but it’s worth it when you get to enjoy the freedom of the freelance lifestyle. If it’s what you really want, keep at it. If you need more help, check out my other guides, comment below, or get in touch.

Good luck on your freelance journey!

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