Remote freelance jobs are great – uncomplicated, doable from anywhere and on your own terms.
Trying to land enough remote jobs to make a living, however, often feels less than great. Don’t be disheartened by that feeling, it’s difficult for absolutely everybody in the beginning. I have had my current remote writing job for almost three years now and was out of work for months before finding it. Today, I can’t really imagine anything replacing this type of work.
In fact, a recent study among over 7,000 US adults revealed that 50% of the freelancers wouldn’t trade in their work for traditional employment, no matter how much it paid.
So first of all, congratulations on making the decision to become a freelancer! Don’t think of the beginning of your career as a side task. Looking for freelancing gigs has to become your dedicated full-time job. I’m here to help you. Here are my personal five tips that could help you find the remote job you’ll never want to replace:
1 – Don’t stop promoting yourself
Tell what you’re doing to your ex-colleagues, your neighbours, your mother – tell everyone. Don’t be afraid to go out there and promote your business, because believing in yourself is the first step towards being successful.
You absolutely have to know what you’re good at and how to best present it. Any projects and ideas you have are worth sharing – put yourself out there in any way you can. Many freelancers have had their first clients be friends or family, so don’t hesitate to do the same.
2 – Reliability is any client’s top priority
Most companies that have had little or no experience in working for freelancers fear one thing most – unreliable remote workers that they cannot manage.
Make yourself available through various channels of communication – phone, Skype, email, even Facebook. Answering quickly, professionally and to the point is the best way to prove you can be trusted. If you haven’t tried out an email program like Outlook, Thunderbird or Apple Mail, you’re missing out – they mean no more endless refreshing of your inbox. I found myself saving a lot of time when I first started using them.
3 – Use freelancing websites
Freelancing websites and communities are one of the most popular ways to find a remote job – for a good reason. They essentially offer databases with jobs where you can find the ones that suit you best.
It is important to find a site with good terms and conditions, proper customer support and low commission fees. Elance is one of the first places new freelancers go for work, but bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better.
Smaller networks often have the advantage of less fierce competition so they’re something you definitely want to look at. Also, don’t let yourself get dependent on freelancing websites only – develop your own site or blog to help your business grow on its own terms. For a comprehensive analysis of different freelancing websites, check out my guest post here.
4 – Analyze, measure and adapt
I already mentioned looking for a remote job should be pursued with the commitment that a full-time job requires. This means being organized and figuring out what works best for your own skillset and abilities. Think about why you get negative or positive feedback and use that to your advantage. Gather data.
I personally love using Excel Sheets when applying for new projects. This helps me gauge my success rate with different methods and understand the best way to connect with potential clients. Google recently added a neat new feature to Docs called Explore that automatically sums up interesting data from any sheet and I’ve been loving it so far. Once you have your data, use it to eliminate your weaknesses and put more emphasis on your strengths.
5 – Try, try and try again
Finally, be persistent. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was the career of successful freelancers. It takes a while to generate traffic and build up your client base and that can be really frustrating at first.
Pursue your passion with vigor and learn from your mistakes. The journey towards finding the perfect remote job is an extremely valuable experience for anyone, regardless of the outcome.
If you need some more advice along the way, I regularly post helpful career tips for freelancers over at Freelancermap. Good luck with your job hunt!