Freelancing requires a lot of courage. Organised jobs can remove the worry of having to wonder where your next paycheck is coming from. However, when you get established as a freelancer, you get to be your own guide and pick the job experiences you particularly want to have. Most freelancers have the skill that is necessary for the jobs they are applying for but most times also, they end up not getting those jobs. Realistically, you are one pitch away from that perfect gig and here are some steps that can bring you closer to that gig you have always wanted.
These tips are helpful to freelancers at all stages of their career, so take out a pen and paper and jot down what resonates with you, especially if you are just starting out.
1. Do your research
Before you run off to apply for that exciting looking gig, wait, take a few breaths and do some research on the company and their philosophy. Look at the kind of people they already have in their organization and find the commonalities between you and them. A recruiter can tell if your pitch is rushed and generalized and they will be less likely to give you a shot. Instead, find out what kind of company it is and what their writing style is and how much they are likely to pay freelancers.
2. Make inquiries
If you have any friends or professional acquaintances that are also freelancers, ask them for advice. It is also recommended that you know and can talk to someone that has more experience in freelancing. This would help you to avoid some pitfalls on the way and generally give you foresight on what the industry is like. You can also ask them to send you a sample pitch that got them the kind of job you are applying for. Now, this does not mean you should copy it word for word, but you can use it as a guide in tailoring your own pitch.
3. Specialise the pitch
This is a branch out of the last idea. After you have done your research, write a pitch that is specifically for that company alone. Write the kind of pitch that would be inappropriate if sent to another similar company. The recruiter or whoever that is reading your application should be able to tell that you put your creativity into creating that pitch for their brand. Mimic their writing style and infuse their philosophy in a natural way.
4. Link related experiences
If the application requires you to link past experience, make sure you attach the ones that are closely related or similar to the job gig you are applying for. Try not to link experiences that although good, is far off from the genre you are applying for. This would make your application look generalized and it might be a red flag for the recruiter. However, if you are a beginner you can either work on a new piece that is in line with what they are looking for but if they specifically ask you to link published work, link your best piece, whether it falls in that genre or not.
5. Be expressive
Your pitch should be impassioned and not a desperate plea for help. This is where most freelancers err. You should express yourself and how much you would enjoy working with them but it should never sound like your life would not go on if you do not get that particular gig. Be affectionately detached. Give them reasons to believe that you are the best fit for that particular role by highlighting your professional qualities and unique character traits.
6. Be truthful
In your enthusiasm to write the best pitch, remember to always be truthful. As a freelancer, your integrity goes before you. The internet has made it easy to find out the authenticity of any freelancer’s claim. Do not lie about a skill or embellish a characteristic that you feel would make you more appealing to whoever is reviewing your application. Surprisingly, some companies are specifically looking for beginners to work with. Don’t oversell or undersell yourself.
7. Be confident
Always state your reason for applying confidently. At the end of the day, you are a person with a skill that many companies need. Always remember this fact and you would make the best decisions in your freelancing career. Maintain confidence in your abilities and do not accept any terms that you know would not serve you. This might keep you from getting gigs as easily but it would also keep away terrible gigs that require you to do so much work at ridiculous rates.
8. Have standard rates
Every seasoned freelancer knows about the woes of bidding. They also have enough experience to know that some rates should never be lowered past a particular bar. Let each kind of writing you do have a fair price range that you stick to as this would help you to better organize your finances. You have to start a freelancing career that would afford you the lifestyle you want. Research what the price range for jobs in that category and what the company is likely to pay but also, use your discretion. Nobody knows your life and schedule the way you do, so charge accordingly.
9. Update your LinkedIn Profile
Most companies go first to your LinkedIn profile and may even require that you put a link to your profile in your application. Your profile should always be a reflection of where you are in your career. It should also be a reflection of who you are as a person. Keep it updated by reviewing your job experiences, attaching new work you have completed and by engaging with people professionally. Who knows, you might get that golden gig from a connection you made on LinkedIn.
10. Ask for feedback
It is important to ask for feedback. For one, it would keep you from wondering whether the company will get back to you or not. It helps you to be efficient and to keep your expectancy level at a good place. Some organizations send feedback without you asking for it and others do not whether you ask for it or not. It also helps to keep the line of communication open as you can ask them to reach out to you if they have a similar opening. Some recruiters will be nice enough to tell you why the company did not pick you for the gig, thereby giving you insight to what you can do better in your next application.
I hope these steps help you in creating a better pitch and if you know of any other tips and hacks that are helpful to freelancers, please leave a comment below. We all look forward to hearing from you.