10 Ways for Freelance Providers to Give Themselves a Raise
The global economic downturn has everyone nervous. However, being a remote freelance provider means that you've already extended your reach beyond your local in-house position, and are ready to take advantage of the exponential increases in outsourcing opportunities in the global marketplace. More businesses are discovering the value of outsourcing to remote freelance workers, and you've already started establishing your reputation.
There's no better time than now to hone your competitive freelance edge, both to increase the volume of your work, and to make yourself even more valuable to your next outsourcing employer. Here are 10 ways to boost your freelance marketability - and your hourly rate - even in this economy:
1. Round up your rate so the outsourcing employer sees a flat number (consider the outsourcing organization's markup, any processing fees and/or tax rates: If your rate is $20, and the company is charged $22.22. Raise your rate to $20.70, and they will see $23).
2. Request feedback comments and recommendations from past freelance clients. Ask the outsourcing company for whom you've done your best work with for a quick blurb on your success in relation to their outsourcing project.
3. Study the profiles of freelance providers who have similar skills to yours but who successfully charge higher rates to outsourcing companies: What do these remote workers have that you don't, and how can you get it?
4. Expand your freelance skills based on those with the highest outsourcing demand - consult the oDesk Trends pages for real-time feedback on current project outsourcing priorities.
5. Take online freelance skill tests (such as those over at oDesk.com) and get top industry certifications through online outsourcing collaborators.
6. Add your rarest skills to your freelance profile. With the incredible number of freelance jobs posted by outsourcing employers, you never know when someone is going to want your expertise at VAX Mainframe programming, or your Arabic-English translation skills.
7. Increase your visibility and reputation to outsourcing companies: Establish solid freelance profiles not only on sites like oDesk, but also on LinkedIn and on your professional website. Then, link your expanded freelance portfolios to your oDesk and LinkedIn profiles, and your oDesk and LinkedIn profiles to your other sites.
8. Improve your freelance profile on all affiliated sites, especially if you haven't done so since you originally created them. Now that you are more aware of how outsourcing businesses think, you are better positioned to offer them what they're looking for.
9. Step up your freelance job search: scour outsourcing listings for things you know you're qualified to do, write a great cover letter for each application and be responsive when you get the call.
10. Don't undersell yourself and compromise your freelance rate. It's the outsourcing company's job to try to keep costs down, but it's your job to politely stand firm on the professional rate you know you deserve.
There will always be other freelance professionals with a cheaper rate than yours. Likewise, there will always be other freelance professionals with a higher rate than yours. Outsourcing organizations weigh costs against the freelance provider's reputation, skill set, and experience. Set an outsourcing rate that reflects your freelance talent and credible feedback and do everything you can to demonstrate you're worth that rate in your profiles, cover letters and online provider portfolios. Prove you're worth a premium freelance rate and you'll keep busy even during difficult times.