If I were to ask:
What would you say?
Let me give you a couple of seconds to think this through.
Even if that wasn’t your final answer, I’m pretty sure it was on your mind nevertheless.
Job boards (actually, all kinds of publicly available job listings, forum sections for freelance deals, sites like oDesk, and so on) are THE obvious place to go for any kind of freelance-related work. It’s surely no surprise that many new freelance bloggers rely on them exclusively when hunting for their first gigs.
And don’t get me wrong, they are very good at getting you employed. However, in the long run, they are not that great of a tool to keep your career advancing.
Maybe it’s just my experience. Maybe I’m just not very skilled at getting the most out of job boards and making them my money machine. But when I look at my long-term client portfolio, it shows that I landed almost none of them by responding to a publicly available listing.
My best paying clients always either came directly to me (referred from my previous work), or brought me on board as a result of me creating a gig for myself (more on that later).
This is why I’d risk saying that the quicker you ditch job listings as your source of projects; the quicker you’ll grow your career. Bold words, I know, but please bear with me for the time being as I explain why publicly available gigs suck:
1. The pay is too low
People posting job listings don’t pay top dollar. And, honestly, why would they?
I mean, no matter what type of listing they post, some freelancers will always respond. This means that you’re basically lost right from the get-go unless you’re willing to work for scraps.
Which brings me to the next reason.
2. Zombie-attacks on every better paying gig
Every once in a while, someone will post an interesting job listing. A listing where either the pay is good, or the company is interesting to work with for some other reason.
If that happens, the listing will immediately be zombie-attacked by tens of other freelancers.
In such a scenario, you will have to go through a recruitment process requiring you to send a number of writing samples, negotiate the pay, and likely witness the details of the job changing at the very last moment…all due to the overwhelming interest in the job.
3. It can be very difficult to complete the job
Some freelance blogging gigs involve guest blogging. It’s a fairly common type of blogging work these days.
Now, being a successful guest blogger is in everyone’s reach. But the amount of money you can make doing it is very dependent on the way your client specifies the gig.
Companies that understand the nature of guest blogging and the limitations it imposes (e.g. the time it takes to get an article published, the uncertainty whether an editor will accept your post) rarely look for guest bloggers on job boards or post listings.
That is why most guest blogging job listings look something like this:
“We need X posts published on PR4+ blogs in a month. The posts need to reach page #2 on Google for their desired keywords. Each post needs to feature an SEO link in the bio box. We are ready to pay $100 for each post that achieves these goals.”
Getting $100 per post may sound good, but this type of job is nothing but a trap that’s completely undoable for most bloggers. You’ll end up getting paid for 2 articles out of the 10 you’ll send out.
4. The clients’ expectations are too high
Something that’s true for all kinds of freelancing (not only freelance blogging), is that the less the client is willing to pay, the bigger the expectations they’ll have.
I don’t know why that’s the case. It just is.
Let’s face it, we’re not freelancing just to be bossed around and have everything we do questioned. And if a client’s expectations are too high, that’s exactly what’s going to happen.
5. It’s difficult to differentiate your offer
When responding to a publicly available listing, you look exactly the same as anyone else who’s responding to the gig. There’s very little you can do to differentiate yourself.
I mean, the available budget is probably specified by the client, the task is described in detail, same with the delivery time, and it’s all topped with the credentials each person applying needs to possess. There’s no place to show what you’re made of.
(I’d suggest sending your proposal through a client proposal software like Bidsketch, but I’m biased. Wink!)
The “no competition” alternative
To be perfectly honest, I only used it twice, but the success rate is 100% so far, which makes me confident sharing this with you.
The “no competition” tactic is about creating a gig for yourself.
Instead of pursuing the gigs that are already out there, you are creating one for yourself that fits your persona hand-in-glove.
Three main benefits:
There’s no competition (duh!).
The client is aware of your expertise and knows you can deliver on the job.
This method isn’t prone to price negotiation.
Here’s how you do it:
On a personal note, the first time I used it, it got me hired as a blogger for a popular WordPress theme store. The other time, I landed a nice gig writing press releases.
Just give this method a shot.
Don’t ask to be hired, and don’t be pushy. Just provide a piece of valuable insight, finish your email with “have a great day,” and click the send button.
If done with dedication, great things will happen.
Win a Client Hunting Handbook
Today’s prize is a copy of Sophie Lizard’s The Freelance Blogger’s Client Hunting Handbook, created for students on her in-depth Client Hunting program. It used to be available only to students, but you can get your hands on a copy now!
For your chance to win, tweet the following message [click to tweet it now]:
“WIN the Freelance Blogger’s Client Hunting Handbook here: http://beafreelanceblogger.com/job-ads-suck by @carlosinho via @sophielizard #bafb”
We’ll choose the winner at the end of January 6th, 2014. Good luck!
Image credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/76657755@N04/7408506410/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/grmisiti/8149606441/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/jayneandd/4450623309/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/jennyellenbrown/5630220254/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/elescir/9709110047/