Want a freelance profile that helps you shine? Use this actionable 8-step process built for any type of freelancer.
You started your own freelance business for a reason: To work for yourself and build a business from the ground up. On that same token, as a freelancer, your survival in the gig economy relies heavily on your ability to market yourself—to rise above the competition, grab potential clients’ attention, and show them that you’re the highly skilled freelance they want to work with. If not, you run the risk of being overlooked by clients or passed over for yet another chance at the job, experience, and paycheck.
But there’s one marketing tool that can help you stand out and find clients: A freelancer profile. And it should be part of every freelancer’s marketing strategy.
Whether you’re a freelance writer, freelance consultant, freelance SEO expert, or offer freelance video editing services, making a freelancer profile—either on a freelance site like Upwork or on social media channels—can be a great way to connect with potential clients. Not to mention, you get the opportunity to show off your skills and services
But what, exactly, do you need to include in your freelancer profile? How do you create a profile that not only shows off your extensive experience but also helps you stand out from a sea of competitors? And how do you leverage your profile to market your business and land new clients?
Follow this step-by-step process to create a freelancer profile that helps you get noticed:
Table of Contents
Step 1: Write a Headline That’s Clear, Concise, and Effective
Your headline is the first thing a potential client will read when they visit your profile. So, if you want a strong profile, you also need a strong headline.
What does that look like?
Your headline should get straight to the point. If you can, keep your headline to a single line. You don’t get bogged down with jargon or superfluity—and you really home in on what, exactly, you’re offering potential clients.
(Don’t worry: You’ll have plenty of opportunities to showcase your relevant skills and experience elsewhere in your freelancer profile. More on that later.)
Your headline should also showcase your specific expertise or specialty. This helps potential clients immediately know what kind of freelancer you are and what kind of services you offer—which will draw the right kind of clients to your profile.
For example, let’s say you’re a freelance writer that works mostly on writing blog posts, eBooks, and other long-form copy for businesses. Your headline might read: “Freelance writer with 10+ years experience writing long-form business copy” or “Need a blog post for your business? Freelance business writer with 10+ years experience.”
Writing a headline that’s concise and specific is sure to grab the attention of your ideal clients—and can get them interested in your profile, where they can find more information about your specific skills, expertise, educational background, and other key information.
Step 2: Add a Profile Photo
As the old saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” And if you want your freelancer profile to help you effectively market your freelance business, you need a profile picture.
The right profile photo not only makes your profile look more professional but it can also help to foster trust with potential clients. Seeing your photo can go a long way in helping your clients see you as a real person—as opposed to a faceless entity on the internet.
When choosing a photo for your profile, make sure to choose a headshot that makes you look both professional and approachable. If you have the budget to hire a photographer to snap a professional photo, definitely do so. Luckily, there are plenty of photographers that specialize in business headshots to use on your website or freelancer profile. But if not, you can definitely snap a professional-looking photo with your smartphone or a high-quality camera.
Step 3: Articulate the Value You Bring
You have your headline. You have your photo. Now, it’s time to move on to the “meat” of the profile by showcasing exactly what kind of value you bring to your clients.
Rather than explaining the “what,” focus on the “how.” If you were able to boost your client’s business sales by 110%, how, exactly, did you do it? For example, you might write something like, “Developed and implemented a Facebook advertising strategy that boosted client’s business sales by 110%” or “Wrote a series of email marketing messages that drove 10,000 clicks and increased sales by 110% month-over-month.”
People are much more intrigued by your ability to solve problems and drive results, rather than the granular details of what you do. So while you, of course, want to showcase what you do on your freelance profile, you also need to prove how you’re going to add value to prospective clients.
Step 4: Share Your Qualifications and Experience
Aside from the value you can bring, clients will place a lot of importance on your background, skills, and expertise—which is why these areas need to be the focal points of your profile.
While the information you include will depend on the platform where you’re building your freelance profile, some key elements that clients will be interested in—and you’ll definitely want to highlight—include:
- Your title (e.g., senior graphic designer or video editor)
- Years of experience in the field
- Educational and/or professional degrees or certifications
- Areas of expertise and/or specialty (e.g., website design or freelance writing)
- Technical skills and/or software proficiencies (e.g., Adobe Illustrator)
- Industry expertise (if applicable)
- Employment history
Bottom line? Your profile is the opportunity to showcase your background, experience, and most relevant skills—all the information prospective clients will need to make a decision on whether you’re someone they want to work with. So make sure to include all the information they need to make a decision (and ultimately, to hire you!).
Step 5: Include a Portfolio and/or Examples of Your Work
A summary of your background, skills, and experience is extremely important. But clients also want to see that you can produce high-quality work—which is why linking to your portfolio and/or examples of your work on your freelancer profile is an absolute must.
Depending on where you’re creating your freelance profile, you may be able to include examples of your work directly on your profile. If it doesn’t offer that capability, you’ll want to include a link to a digital portfolio of your work—or a link to your own website if that’s where your portfolio lives.
Clients want to see what kind of work they can expect if they hire you. So make sure to give them what they want. Start by using your freelance profile to showcase lots of examples of your work.
One important thing to keep in mind: Before you add any client work to your portfolio or freelance profile, make sure to get permission from the client. Some clients would prefer to keep their working relationships with freelancers (and the work you do together) private. Others have stipulations in their contracts that explicitly restrict freelancers from sharing their work after they’ve been paid. While many clients will happily allow you to share your work on your portfolio, you always want to ask them first. Better safe than sorry!
Step 6: Show Some Empathy
Empathy is hugely valuable as a business owner. Why? You need to be able to give your clients what they want, need, and value. What’s more, it needs to come from a genuine place. Showing empathy directly on your freelance profile has the potential to place you leaps and bounds ahead of your competition. It shows you care and that you’re human.
As you put together your profile, write for your target client. Speak their language. Call out their pain points and address how you can help fix them.
For example, let’s say you’re a freelance digital marketing consultant—and you’re targeting small business owners. In your profile, show that you understand the challenges of a small business trying to build a presence online (and on a budget!)—and that you know how to improve their website performance and connect with new customers.
Or let’s say you’re a graphic designer—and you’re targeting brand-new businesses that need branding and logo design support. In your freelance profile, make sure to speak to the challenges of visually defining a new brand—and showcase your experience in a way that shows potential clients you can help them solve their branding and logo issues.
Remember, a little empathy and understanding go a long way. So use your freelance profile to show prospective clients you empathize with and understand their challenges (and you have the skills to help them overcome those challenges).
Step 7: Make It Simple for People to Contact You
If a client wants to hire you, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to do so. So don’t make people jump through hoops to contact you. Make it as simple as possible to get in touch.
Clearly state on your profile how clients can get in touch to discuss project work. If you want them to message you directly on the platform where you have your profile (like Upwork and LinkedIn), say so. If you want them to email you (and if that’s allowed on the platform), tell them—and include your email address. If you want them to connect on social media (and again, if it’s allowed on your platform), include links to your social media accounts—and let them know which are ideal for getting in touch.
Also, make sure to include your location information! No need to include an address; your town or city will work fine. Many clients choose to hire local talent, whether it’s for proximity reasons or to support the local community. By mentioning where you’re located—if you check all the qualification boxes—you could get the upper hand in local projects.
Clear and complete contact information makes it easier for clients to get in touch—which makes it easier for you to get hired. And there’s another benefit! From a client’s perspective, the easier you are to contact, the more reliable you’ll appear—and reliability is one of the most important factors for clients when hiring freelancers.
Again, before you post your contact information, make sure to review your platform’s terms. If you’re adding your freelance profile to a job network or freelance network, their terms may require you to communicate within the platform. If that’s the case, don’t include external contact information. You could get penalized (or worse—banned from the site.)
Step 8: Create a Maintenance Plan
Your freelance profile isn’t a one-and-done kind of asset. If you want your profile to actually drive business, it will need some regular maintenance. Think about it this way: Just as you would update your resume as you gain more experience, earn another certificate, or complete projects with another big-name client, you’ll want to do the same for your freelance profile.
Set a reminder on your calendar to revisit your profile every few months to refresh the copy or add any new credentials. When you wrap up a project, make it a point to add it to your profile or your portfolio so new clients can see your most recent work. (With the client’s permission, of course!)
Ready to Build a Freelance Profile That Gets You Hired?
For freelancers, your digital profile is your resume. If you want to get paid, you must have a freelance profile to back it up. It’s what makes a good first impression, gets you the interview, helps you stand out from the competition, and, ultimately, helps you get work. So dedicate the time and energy necessary to make your freelance profile amazing—and watch your business grow as a result.
What can you add to your freelance profile to make it stronger? Do you have any other tips that you’d like to add to the list to help your fellow freelancers? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to share in the comments below.
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This post was updated in December 2022.