Optimizing Your Searches and Limiting Your Pre-Bid Investment
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Use Feeds and Notifications
I mentioned in my look at search methods that freelancing sites offer a variety of alternatives to on-site searches, such as feeds and notifications. Use them! Especially if you scan for work often or use many sites, they can save you a lot of effort.
Pre-bid questions can be a good way to size up a client, get a feel for how he or she communicates, obtain more information about the project, and possibly start a working relationship. If the project description indicates that it has potential, but there aren’t enough details, it can be worth sending a pre-bid message to the client to ask for more details. Pre-bid questions have their own nuances and issues; again, they are explored in more detail in the following chapter.
Sometimes you’ll be discussing a project with a client before putting in a bid, and you’ll realize that either the project or the client are not what you thought they were. Sometimes this won’t even be completely clear: it will be more of a hunch or a feeling. When this happens, it is usually wise to respect these feelings and decide not to pursue the project. Sometimes you’ll miss out on a good project that you might have won if you had persisted, but usually these warning signs will end up protecting you from a bad experience.
Be especially careful about trying to sell clients on solutions different from what they originally asked for. I have in the past won projects by showing employers that I had a better way to get a task done than even they realized was possible. However, this is an aggressive strategy, and the odds are higher than normal that the client will chat with you for quite a while, and then award the project to someone else who is offering to do the work in the way the client is familiar with.
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Last Site Update: February 1, 2012
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