How to stay successful as freelancer even after short term failure


Learn ways to handle failure in the freelancing business. You will get the tips to overcome it. If clients are constantly rejecting your job proposals, if you’re facing difficulty in finding projects and jobs then I hope this post will help you to overcome it.

When you start the journey towards converting your dreams into reality, there will be many hurdles in your way and you will face great difficulty. You set your goals but don’t know why you fail to attain them. It is natural that when our goals and dreams are not fulfilled we will get depressed and negativity seeps into our work and attitude. We don’t feel like doing anything with our own will and eventually, we start blaming our destiny and even God for our failures.

This way failure seems nothing short of a nightmare for us. We become afraid of taking the next step towards success because the fear of failure makes a home in our minds. In this manner, many people become accustomed to leading average lives and staying under the burden of being unsuccessful.

But there are people among us who became successful after thousands of failures. People who left the path of failure and stepped onto the road to success despite stumbling and falling many times. What did these people have that we don’t? After all, why is it that successful people always have destiny and fate in their favor?

The answer is that these people never give up, they manage their success or failures well and have the tolerance to accept failures as learning lessons. Yes, it’s almost decided that success will not come to us easily in freelancing or in any other thing in life, but what separates the achievers from quitters is that the achievers will not rest until they have identified the reasons for failures. They will then rectify the mistakes and try again and again until they get the desired results.

You will fail many times while freelancing. The clients will often decline your job proposals, especially if you are a novice in this field. It is a fact that getting jobs and projects is difficult in the beginning. There are several reasons behind it: Firstly there is lack of experience as a fresher, secondly fresher are not familiar about how things work in the online working environment and thirdly there is intense competition at an international level and the new freelancers are not prepared for it.

So it is natural that when you go through such a difficult situation while looking for work online you may be unsuccessful. But it is not right to become depressed or curse yourself when this happens. To overcome such feelings a freelancer needs to have an important skill the capability to handle failure and manage it without being pessimistic.

So let’s find out what may be the reasons that online or offline clients are not awarding your projects. Why is it that they don’t want to hire you? Why do they decline your job proposal? There can be several reasons behind it but here are the most common reasons for it:-

  • Before a client decides to hire you for a project, the first thing he will notice is whether or not your profile is 100% complete. If it is not, it leaves a bad impression on him and he feels negatively towards you, thus rejecting your job proposal.
  • If your profile does not have a professional photograph and profile title this can also be a reason why you may be declined.
  • If your Profile description is not to-the-point and there are grammatical mistakes, this also makes the client un-interested in hiring you.
  • If your profile does not have any samples of work added by you, the client is not able to judge your capabilities and can dismiss you as an inexperienced candidate and reject your proposal.
  • If you prepare and send a job proposal without reading and understanding the job description completely, it is a sure-fire way of getting rejected.
  • If you don’t write a good job proposal and don’t explain clearly how you aim to achieve the desired results for the client’s project, you will get rejected.
  • If you over-promise what you can actually deliver to the client in your job proposal, the client may decline your proposal or even terminate the assigned contract and give you negative reviews and feedback.
  • If you fail to answer the questions asked by the client in his job description.
  • If your hourly or working rate is quoted too high based on your experience.
  • If you are unable to pass one or more of the recommended skill tests and requirements to apply for the job.
  • If your communication style and personal image are not professional in front of the clients.
  • If your profile has negative feedback from previous clients.

Here is another post that was specially written for Upwork freelancers: Why clients decline job proposals on Upwork.

Keeping the above points in mind, you will have to analyze and search for the reasons why you are being rejected by clients. Anyone can fail. It’s not just about being a new freelancer. Even experienced freelancers who have done 10-12 projects successfully and have got 5-star feedback’s often get declined by clients. Sometimes it may be their own fault while other times it can be due to technical reasons. Whatever the reasons, the most important thing is to understand why you were declined and what you can do about it so that it doesn’t happen again. So let’s see what you can do once you have been declined and are aware of the reasons behind it.

What to do after researching the reasons behind failure to get projects/jobs:

  1. Rewrite your profile on freelancing websites after considering what might have gone wrong last time and keep updating this regularly. Here are tips: How to create a professional-looking profile on freelancing websites.
  2. Your profile title and description should be accurate. Avoid making grammatical mistakes.
  3. Upload some samples of your work in your portfolio.
  4. Try to be among the top 20% of people in the selected skills tests related to your field.
  5. Read the job description carefully before you start writing the job proposal. Understand the requirements put forth in the description and explain how you are going to fulfill them point-wise in your proposal.
  6. Update your profile photo at frequent intervals and ensure that it is a professional-looking photograph.
  7. During the interview, only say what you think is important. Don’t talk too much or over-promise so much that your words start appearing untrue. Also, don’t be too quiet and appear unconfident so much that your failure to get your point across to the client.
  8. Apply at different times to increase your chances of getting a project. You can apply during the early morning time if you are an early riser because the traffic on these sites at these times is less. You can apply during the late-night if you sleep late at night. Maximize your chances of getting selected for an interview this way by applying at different times.
  9. Try your best to get your job proposal within the top 10 people who are applying to create more opportunities.
  10. Practice writing customized job proposals and cover letters for different types of job descriptions. So that you are able to rapidly write any kind of job proposal with quality when the time comes.

Here is another article specially written for upworkers but also helpful for other freelancers: What to do after client decline job proposal?

Some other points worth noting:

  1. Your writing/communication style should be positive and confident. Here is more about it: How to improve freelancing business communication skills.  
  2. You should come off as a passionate, honest, and hardworking freelancer to the client during your interview. His impression of you should be that of a skillful freelancer who wants to get the job done to his satisfaction.
  3. If you are not very confident with your English speaking or technical skills, your first priority should be to improve on those at the earliest. There are thousands of tutorials and other resources on the internet you can use to become an expert after regular practice.
  4. Apply as often as you can for different types of jobs. You will have to use your creativity and imagination for this.
  5. Apart from this, you should always be ready to improve your skills and productivity with continuous practice.
  6. Keep applying for jobs without fear. Have confidence and a positive attitude that you will succeed. Keep applying until you get the job and don’t even think about giving up.
  7. Arrange for all kinds of necessary resources that are required for the freelancing business. For example, a laptop/computer is a prerequisite and so is a reliable internet connection. Having a microphone/video chat accessories and apps will further help you during the interview etc. Besides these, a good environment to work is most essential.

Here you can learn more about it: Ultimate tips that help beginners to become a successful freelancer

I am aware that it is not easy to achieve all these things in a short time. But if you seriously want to become a freelancer, you will have to get the tools necessary for it so that you can work properly. You should also market your skills and services offline to reach out to as many people as possible. It is not compulsory that you only become an online freelancer; you can become an offline freelancer as well.

If you ask me what my success mantra is, I would have to say it is a combination of the following things; “Learning + Creativity + Execution + Patience + Discipline. I mean think and act on possible things.

Thus, to be successful in the freelancing business you will need to keep learning more about this field, and you will have to work on new ideas and skills to stay in the game. Learn from other freelancers how they implement what they have learned recently by using creativity.  Consistency is another keyword here; you must follow through with what you have decided upon. It shouldn’t be the case that you do it for 4 days and then leave it. You will have to do it continuously.  Until you achieve what you have aimed for, you should work with your maximum capability and strength.

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