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Ah, the dreaded freelancer profile. The profile freelancer nation cringes at the mention of. The one that makes even skilled freelance writers want to run and hide.
Why? Because the freelancer profile is supposed to get you more clients. It should showcase all your talents, even the ones you don’t think you’re so great at. Your profile opens you up, makes you vulnerable. It basically says, “Here I am. Here’s what I can do. Now hire me!”.
And it can be quite intimidating, honestly.
So, here you are. Stuck with needing a freelancer profile, but not knowing how to make a good one that will attract potential clients. Lucky for you, I’m going to teach you how to create a magnetizing profile that will make clients want to work with you.
These tips are based on my own successful experiences with Upwork and Guru, two places that helped get me my quick start as a freelance writer. Literally, within 2 months of signing up for these freelance marketplaces, I quit my regular, 9-5 job and started my own writing and digital media business.
You can do that, too. But it all starts with the profile freelancers need to have to get moving. Read and utilize these steps, and you’ll have an irresistible freelance profile that will get you noticed.
Creating A Killer Freelancer Profile
First off, use your real, full name. This should be a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people use a fake name or initials. Clients want to learn about you, not a fake you. And, you want your name to be consistent across the internet for potential clients to find you. So make sure your freelance profile reflects that.
Now that that’s out of the way, we are ready to spend time on your profile. Seriously, take the time you need. Additionally, be prepared to adjust your profile as your qualifications and portfolio changes. This is an important part of your growing business, after all.
Step 1 – Work Your Headline
Your headline is the first thing potential clients will see, so you should put a lot of focus on it. Make it specific, short, and catchy. And, it should also relate to your niche.
So, for example, you’re a freelance writer who writes mostly business and financial articles. Make your headline something like “Small Business and Personal Finance Content Writer”, rather than just “Freelance Writer”. Clients won’t have to guess what you write about, right?
Here are some examples of freelancer profile headlines that totally win on Upwork:
- 2D and Traditional/Classical Animation
- Senior IT Consultant/Professional IT Advisor
- Professional Wedding, Portrait, and Event Photographer
- Technical Translation, Medical Translation, General Translation
- Jazzy Resumes & Effective Cover Letters
See? You don’t have to guess what any of these freelancers specialize in with these headlines.
Step 2 – Add A Professional Photo
Sure, selfies are fun. But professional, they are not! If you’re starting your own business as a freelancer, it’s time to upgrade to a professional headshot.
And no, there is no need to shell out hundreds of dollars for professional photos. You actually can take a professional-looking headshot on your smartphone.
Make sure you love your headshot because it’s what you’ll use on the internet, too. Blog comments, your Facebook page profile photo, your website, guest posts, etc. can – and should! – all use your headshot for consistent branding.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating your headshot:
- Use a timer and set up the camera position so you have plenty of space around your head and shoulders. This way, you can easily crop later if needed.
- Use a light, plain background with contrasting clothes to stand out.
- Make sure you’re not in an area with too much light, not enough light, or too many shadows.
- Strike a casual pose. Look like yourself!
Step 3 – Write Your Bio
People get cheesy in bios. Seriously. Look up a couple on Upwork and you’ll surely see a whole bunch of smelly cheese.
“I have a degree in programming and I’ve been programming for 8 years and my clients all love me.”
The thing to remember is not what you’re awesome at doing, but more about what you can do for your potential clients. Clients don’t want to hear about you; they want to know what you can do for them.
This is the part you’ll also want to refine to target the things that make you stand out from the pack. For example, if you’re a writer, hone in on your target niches rather than saying “I’m great at writing everything under the sun.”
Your first two lines of your bio are what matter most, because these lines are what will show up in search results. So, for the love of all things freelance-worthy, make them stand out!
It’s okay to use a little bit of humor. In fact, I encourage it.
Then, of course you want to include some facts about yourself that can help sell your services. Just don’t overdo it.
Spend a couple of sentences focusing on what you do and what sets you apart, and then focus solely on your client. Think of your idea client and what, specifically, you can help him or her do that makes you worth your rate.
Finally, the last part of your bio should include a call-to-action. Don’t forget this! This seemingly insignificant piece could be what makes your client decide to give you an interview.
Your call-to-action can be as simple as “Don’t wait any longer. I’m available on Skype on [insert preferred days and times here] to discuss your project. Or, send me a message – I can usually respond within 24 hours!”.
The point is to get your potential client to take those first steps to getting in contact with you. That at least shows they’re interested and you’ll have the opportunity to sell them even further.
Step 4 – Include Academics
Academics are important to add to your profile, but you don’t want to bombard your whole bio with them. The truth is that some clients simply don’t care about your degree in English and will skip right over that if you brag about it in your bio.
But, others look for specific academic criteria, so you’ll want it on your profile in its own convenient little spot.
If the freelance site you’re using doesn’t have a defined area for it, put it toward the end of your bio or simply keep it in your resume. Some freelance websites will let you upload your resume to your profile.
Of course, your degree in English won’t have anything to do with your photography skills, if that’s the type of business you’re setting up. So, a good rule of thumb is if it’s not relevant to the skills you’re selling, don’t include it.
Step 5 – Make Your Portfolio Stand Out
First of all – and I can’t stress this enough – get permission from past clients before posting any work sold to them in your portfolio.
I’ve heard of designers, writers, and other freelancers getting themselves into hot water because they sold the rights to their pieces to a client and didn’t ask for permission before posting them as samples. Not good at all.
If you’re a ghostwriter – someone who writes something for another person and that person gets author credit – you can’t just assume you have the right to place something in your portfolio because you wrote it.
Some clients won’t have an issue with you at least getting a testimonial from them, but others do. After all, it lets the cat out of the bag about the whole “ghosting” thing, right?
So, I’m going to assume you’ve been a good little freelancer and got permission to place things in your portfolio.
Now, it’s time to make it all stand out.
How can you do that?
Testimonials are probably the best way. Samples are great because they let someone see what you’ve done. But, people love a good reference. It shows that, not only do you know what you’re doing, but you also deliver on time and make your customer happy.
If you’ve had at least a few successful jobs, try to grab as many heartfelt testimonials as you can to include as part of your portfolio.
Then, choose samples that best highlight the services you’re selling. Make them as specific to your skills as possible.
If you’re selling yourself as a business writer, for example, all of your health articles aren’t going to matter much to potential business clients.
In other words, don’t add things just for the sake of adding them. Your profile should be precise and highly-targeted to your ideal client.
Is Your Profile Going to Be a Winner?
I hope so, but it’s up to you to implement these tactics and make it work!
These 5 steps are the most important things to remember when developing a winning freelancer profile. There’s always more tweaks you can learn as you go along, but if you stick to these rules, you’re off to a great start.
What’s the first step you’re going to take to overhaul your freelancer profile? What tips would you add to the list? Connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram and keep the conversation rolling!
Amy is a mom of two, freelance writer, and blog manager who works with family-focused businesses to improve their content strategies. You can find her published work on Reader’s Digest Online, MSN, Niche, Frugal For Less, and other lifestyle publications.