The Freelance Cookbook

Learn the steps I took when I applied for online freelance jobs, and ensure you will get the work you deserve, without sending proposals to countless projects, we’ll aim for a ratio of minimum 3 / 10 jobs taken.

The key element is the authenticity in your proposal, and making your employee feel familiar to you, in a non-intrusive way.

The Completion Level of Your Training.

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Job Analyzation

Does the project include my skillset ?

If you do not have the experience to clearly execute the job, you should not apply, it would waste both your time and the time of your client, even if you’ll learn a bit, it’s not a good idea to leave angry people behind.

It’s not mandatory for you to have experience to apply, but only if you manage to both learn and execute the job at the same time, this is the most attractive projects because you’ll both learn and earn money at the same time, and you should try to aim for projects where you know at least 60 – 70% of it, you cannot learn entire new things in a timely manner and gain experience just from reading tutorials.

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Do you have the time to finish the job ?

It’s important that you clearly define a deadline and a work-map for the job you are taking.

In general, you should calculate your time like this, as an example we’ll segment an 10 hour job :

  1. 1 hour for talking with your client, you want to understand all the details before starting the job.
  2. 6 hours for the work needed as per the job description
  3. 1 hours of re-touchings and client talking
  4. 2 hours as backup for eventual changes, you can either win some extra money, or you’ll just tell him small re-touches are on the house, this helps you establish a better relationship with you, and he’ll value your services better, you should clearly respect this schema, and not offer too much free work, because in the end this will cause problems between you and your contractor.

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Can you properly communicate with your employee ?

It’s important to talk easily and fluently the language of your employee, this is one of the biggest pluses, because communication should never be a barrier, it’s one the most tricky ones, because you’ll not be able to understand his needs and clarifications.

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Are you connected already ?

In some cases your current project may be created by someone connected with your friends or previous employees, it is important to use this as an advantage, but it can also be an disadvantage, so try to use the situation in your own interest.

It’s also good to know that, if you’re very good in your field, and you’ve already worked for his competition, he’ll most likely aim to hire you, because you could prove an valuable asset, and both a good marketing move.

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Is this a long-term or short-term client ?

You want to identify if this is a long-term or short-term client, you want to offer him a small discount or extra free value in your work if that’s the case.

For short-term work

  • everything you need to do needs to be on paper, it’s very important that you make him favors over and over again, because people are greedy.
  • do not talk anything apart from the work you’re doing, completely avoid personal things if you don’t think this can be a possible long term relationship
  • do not work without receiving money in advance, with the exception if you trust him or he’s very rich and doesn’t mind paying you for the work you’ve done, it’s often the case that even if you’ve done everything properly, the client will avoid paying you.

For long-term work

  • ensure the work you do is solid, because you may need to revisit it.
  • make sure you establish a relationship with him, it’s a very important aspect
  • always ensure he’s happy with the direction things are headed
  • avoid hiding the truth, it’s best to be honest, not mandatory, but recommended.

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Job & Task Planning

Job Selection

Avoid small jobs, it’s best to stick to a batch of tasks

For example 5 tasks that take 1 hour is not as good as a task that takes 4 hours, because you’ll always lose focus and time defining small tasks instead of working.

If you’re going to do a small task, charge more, if possible even double, this shouldn’t be always the case, but if the client gets used to the fact that he can take half an hour of your time anytime he wants, you’ll want to earn more, because comfort and flexibility cost money.

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Asking for a skype / phone call

It’s usually a great idea to take a skype call with your client / employee, because it makes them more familiar with you, this is usually good, but if your spoken english level is a really bad one, it can do more damage than good.

Ideally, if you speak great english, and people can understand you without any problems, it’s a big plus to establish a small relationship with the client by interacting via voice, it will also help him understand the tone of your voice, and if you’ll talk to him only in calm matter, he’ll almost never feel offended by you when you’re writting.

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Task Organization

It’s a good idea to organize ¬†your work in small effective tasks, and if needed be organize them by categories.

Your client will also appreciate knowing everything that you’ll do, and he’ll immediatly notice you’re the better choice compared to others that didn’t put so much effort into their cover letter.

If you’re familiar with terms like SCRUM, and work / task distribution, you can continue to the next lesson, as we’ll use more beginner friendly tehniques in this example.

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Task Organization Example – Article Writting

“Create a review about the newest iPhone 7”.

A great article takes time to create, it’s not like you could do it within an hour an expect flawless results.

  1. 1 hour for research, finding information about the subject.
  2. 1 hour for setting up the strong points and weak points, not going into detail.
  3. 0.5 hours for the intro, making sure we catch the attention of the reader.
  4. 2 hours for the pros and cons, making sure we cover everything.
  5. 0.5 hours for the verdict of the pros and the cons
  6. 1 hour to collect one line reviews from authorities that already did this.
  7. 0.5 hour for a final verdict and establishing a meta score.
  8. 1 hour for final revisions, spelling checks and ensuring everything is smooth and easy to digest.

That means in total we have 7.5 hours of work to be done, and when your client knows exactly why he pays you for 7.5 hours of work, and what value he receives, he’ll be more likely to chose you rather than an application that just says ” I can do this “.

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Job & Execution

End of the day reporting

A great factor in the quality of your work is letting your customer / employee know the direction where things are headed, sending him a short email at the end of the day shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes, and you want to keep it short and informative.

In case you feel like he enjoys “drafts”, you can send him working versions of your work, or for example scraps of your article, it’s an easy and important factor that makes him feel that you’re reliable, and someone he enjoys working with.

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Optional Start of the day reporting

You can also send him an email before starting the work, about the work that will be done today, it’s also great asking questions such a :

  • anything urgent that needs to be done ?
  • do you need me focus on something else ?
  • sounds like a plan ?

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Adapting to the situtation

If things are not heading in the right way, and you need more feedback, you should get it as soon as possible, but do not abuse this, when you’re doing a service, someone pays you do it either because he doesn’t have time to do it, or doesn’t know how to do it, it’s fine to ask questions or for constant feedback at the end of the project, but not while doing it or before, you should limit yourself if possible to one or two emails, or possibly a skype or phone call.

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Delivery

Always ensure that your customer / client is happy with your work, it’s one of the most important things out there, a happy customer is worth 10 times less than an angry customer on the long run, because it’s very rare that happy customers start shouting how awesome you are, and it’s almost always the case an angry customer starts going nuts about how bad you are, and criticize you on things such as social media, or your review of the work within the freelacing platform you may be using.

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