How to Outperform Veteran Freelancers and Land New Clients

Are you fed up with expert freelancers stealing all of the good jobs on freelance platforms? How come they get so many new clients while you have such a low success rate?

It’s time to take action and finally beat those 5-Star rated freelancers.

It may seem ironic coming from another expert freelancer, but I completely understand what you’re going through.

The competition for freelancers is fierce. I had a difficult time landing jobs in the first two years of my freelancing career because most clients prefer veteran freelancers with a lot of experience and a lot of 5-star ratings on their profiles.

It’s the same whether you’re on Elance, UpWork, Freelancer, or Fiverr.

It took me a while to figure out how to work around this system and learn how to get freelance clients. And I’m going to share it with you today.

Here are seven steps for stealing clients from veteran freelancers and increasing your success rate on freelance sites.

Step 1: Establish a Badass Reputation

No other freelancer stood a chance against my killer pitch because my reputation set me apart.

Get an article published in Forbes if you’re a freelance writer. Create a website for a well-known company if you are a web designer. Graphic designer? Assist a fellow photographer in editing his work.

If necessary, do some free work. Just make sure you have something solid to show off your skills to your clients.

Step 2: Pick Your Clients Carefully

“How can I compete for clients when Indian freelancers offer their services at rock-bottom prices?”

A common misconception among new freelancers is that they cannot compete with low-cost freelancers simply because their rates are low.

If a client wants to get their work done for a low cost, they will look for a low-cost freelancer. Forget about those customers. It’s better if you don’t work for them.

However, if a client wants high-quality results, the price is irrelevant.

I, too, am from a developing country. And, yes, the US dollar is more valuable in this country. Nonetheless, my rates are the same as those of a freelancer in the United States. Why? Because I understand the worth of my skills and knowledge.

So, set a reasonable price for your services and select clients who will appreciate your skills.

For example, you can look for the client’s budget limit to see how much they are willing to spend on a project, or you can look at their hiring history to see how much money they’ve spent on hiring freelancers in the past to get a sense of whether the client is cheap or not.

Step 3: Improve Your Communication Skills

“Focus on making me comfortable with your communication skills. I’ll pay 20x to work with a functional human.”

Ben Vaello, a regular client on UpWork, provided that brilliant piece of advice in response to a Quora question.

Your communication skills are more important than anything else. Don’t annoy your freelance clients by using overly complicated words and technical explanations.

Instead, exude confidence. Write your client pitch and emails as if you were speaking to another person. Be pleasant. Use simple language. Also, keep it brief.

Step 4: Create a Portfolio to Display Your Work

When pitching to a client, copy-pasting links and attaching large files to show examples of your work can be exhausting and frustrating for both you and your client.

Wouldn’t it be simpler for you to simply share a single link to a website where all of your work is neatly displayed for all to see?

There are numerous ways to accomplish this. You can, for example, create a simple WordPress website to display links and images from all of your previous work. You could also use an online service to create a portfolio.

Step 5: Continue to Improve and Learn New Skills

Learning something new will not only help you learn new skills and earn more money, but it will also give you the confidence to discuss various topics with your clients and demonstrate your knowledge and expertise.

Make your customers think to themselves, “Wow, this guy sure knows what he’s talking about.”

Step 6: Offer A Solution Rather Than Advice

Each client posts a job on a freelance site in the hopes of finding a solution to a problem. They end up on sites like UpWork for a reason: to find someone good to get their work done right, whether it’s for creating an eBook, developing an app, or writing articles for their blog.

Take a few minutes before writing your pitch to carefully read their project description and do some research on Google to figure out the best way to approach this type of job. Then you can craft a one-of-a-kind pitch describing your perspective on their project.

Consider the following scenario: a client has posted a project to redesign their website. If you’re a web designer, you can go to their website and spend some time looking for flaws and errors. Then you can write a pitch explaining how you intend to correct those errors.

This is an excellent way to demonstrate your enthusiasm and love for what you do.

Step #7: If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them

Expert freelancers are not all jerks.

Believe it or not, there are good freelancers out there willing to mentor new freelancers.

Send them a message or follow them on Twitter. Inquire about how they land big clients or if they can throw you an extra job they have. You’ll be surprised at how nice some freelancers are.

Most of the time, I’m too busy to take on new projects, so I decline them. However, if I know of someone who is qualified for the position, I will gladly refer my clients to them. I’m sure I’m not the only freelancer who feels this way.