When you enlist your services as an online freelancer in today's digital age, you have to go above and beyond to outshine the competition. With more than 35% of Americans participating in the gig economy to some degree, it's safe to say that you're competing against some top-tier talent out there.
That's why it is important to optimally present yourself and your skill set so that clients can be convinced of your worth. We are going to focus on your profile, which is the starting point for every interaction on ServiceScape, and delve into how to clearly communicate what clients want to hear.
Your ServiceScape profile contains the following information (in no particular order):
- Headshot Photograph
- Video Introduction
- Ratings and Reviews
The more effort you put into each and every one of these profile elements, the more successful you will be at attracting clients.
A shopping experience always begins with presentation. Think of it this way: when clients come to ServiceScape, their initial interaction is similar to going to a bookstore and browsing book covers that catch their eye. As design expert Sabrina Smelko puts it:
They say not to judge a book by its cover, but who are we kidding? It's undeniable that the cover of a book affects your decision to either read on or put it back on the shelf. In today's visual culture, this can be even more true for anyone who runs any kind of business, whether online or brick-and-mortar.
With so many visuals coming at us from our computers, phones and various feeds — let alone the world outside our doors — it seems we're almost expected to have a cool logo and visually-rich branded content in order to even be noticed. And regardless of whether you want to succumb to this fact or not, as exhausting as it can be, it's hard to deny that a first impression can have a huge impact and influence on your business; which, much like a book cover, can determine the number of customers who open the door.
Essentially, your profile is your book cover and is the first step for convincing clients to learn more about you and what you have to offer. We are going to break down each element of your profile, why it is important, and how to curate it to your personal advantage.
Let's get started.
Your description is the brief paragraph that communicates who you are, what you can offer, and what clients can expect from working with you. Equipped with a character limit, it's up to you to fit as much information as possible into a concise, witty, and informative blurb. If you are not a writer/editor, it's worth considering editing services to ensure your description reflects proper grammar, syntax, and spelling.
We recommend, at the very least, that you include the following:
- Three areas of your expertise
- What you can promise clients every single time
- Your own personal catchy tagline. Something like "Let's get to work."
After writing your description, you should reread it from the perspective of a client. Is the description written with enthusiasm and energy? Does it connect with you and what you need as an imaginary client? In other words, would you hire yourself? If the answer is "no," keep working on it until you are satisfied with the results.
Tip #1: Check out other professionals' descriptions. See what's working for them. Although you cannot plagiarize, there's no harm in getting a little inspiration from the other people in your field.
Next, although your description will communicate exactly what it is you can offer clients, your headshot photograph will be the first piece of media they glance over when they discover your profile. Humans are visually oriented, which means headshots can make or break your profile.
Here are our tips for what you should consider when picking a headshot:
- Every headshot must be high resolution; grainy quality automatically tells a buyer that you are unprofessional.
- Smile and look pleasant; relatability is important and no one wants to work with a grouch.
Although headshots may vary depending on your area of expertise, it's worth it to see a professional photographer and to get a real headshot taken. Blurry photos taken by phones and laptops will be noted, communicating to clients that you are not serious about how you present yourself or your freelance business.
Be sure to check out the competition. What seems to be the best headshot move for the most successful professionals? This is a good indication of where you should go with the headshot.
Tip #2: A little analytics testing is an easy way to find a photo that works best for you. Compare your inquiry results over a 3-month period, with a different photo each month. Which photo performed the best?
Now that you have a brilliant headshot and descriptive blurb in place, it's time to focus on what demonstrates your skills and expertise. Compiling a portfolio that accurately reflects what you can offer clients will take time. Be sure you have approval from past clients to include their works in your public portfolio – it's not always proper to go ahead and plaster business names from past projects.
Remember: people don't have a lot of time today. They are going to sift through your profile quickly before they decide to choose you. That means that quality over quantity is what you want to focus on here. If you provide three different types of writing services, highlight just one piece from each area of expertise. Obviously, spend time reading over the piece extensively to ensure that there are no typos before you use it in your profile.
Lastly, as time goes on, one, two, or three years can fly by while you're freelancing online. Update your profile to reflect your most recent work. If you keep showcasing work from a few years ago, clients will start to wonder if you are hiding something. Never get complacent!
Tip #3: Remember, humans are visual creatures. Try and make your portfolio "fun" to look at, with eye-popping color and contrasting fonts. You don't want to make freelancer shopping feel like a mundane chore for clients.
This is a great place to let your personality shine through. In many cases, buyers might skip over the portfolio and description and go straight to the video. Why? Because they are on the go, hoping that you will speak to them so they don't have to read about you. It's just the way of the digital world today.
Video introductions don't have to be Hollywood masterpieces. They can be you at a desk, providing a background on your services in just 30 seconds. Whatever you send over, we'll do our best to improve it on our end before we add it to your profile. We'll edit your video and add music so that it is entertaining and informative. However, bonus points for those who can edit their own videos to create a more professional setting.
At the very least, in your video introduction, try to include:
- A simple introduction: "Hello, and thank you for looking at my profile"
- What you can do for clients on ServiceScape
- How long you've been freelancing (only if you are not a new freelancer)
- A couple of interesting facts/tidbits that make you seem charismatic, funny, or interesting
It's definitely worth investing in video production services to get this video introduction just right. An impressive video can boost your profile popularity tremendously.
If a video introduction represents one side of the "selling yourself" spectrum in which charisma count for a lot, credentials definitely represent the other side. This is where clients will learn about what you have specifically done and how that specifically applies to what they need.
A ServiceScape credential contains just the name of a position/degree and the institution where you held that position/received that degree. Nothing more and nothing less. This allows a client to quickly glance though your experience and expertise without any sales pitch and to get to the core of what you do best.
You should select your credentials carefully, making sure that each one makes a case for why you are an expert in your field. The listed order of your credentials is also important. If you have a Ph.D., don't have your B.A. degree as your first credential.
Your username is the brand name for your freelance business. This is going to be the largest piece of text within your profile, so making it stand out is a priority. The catchier and more creative your username is, the more likely it is that you will capture the interest of potential clients. As Arun Bhati, CEO of Orahi, stated in Entrepreneur.com:
Good names, like good logos, evoke a strong passion for your brand, while bad names elicit distaste or worse still, indifference. A great brand name can be a solid competitive advantage for your company, especially when feature sets between two or more brands are roughly the same. A brand's value is what it offers its customers and what it promises to do for them in the long run and must convey its uniqueness in a way that the customer is drawn to use it just by the mention of its name.
Some professionals use their first names as their usernames. Though it does make your profile more personable, a username can also convey your professional capabilities. When deciding on your username, take a look at your competition first and see how they approach this issue.
Tip #4: Coming up with a witty username can be difficult. Even if you find a username that you like, the idea could already have been taken by another ServiceScape professional. The best thing to do if you are out of ideas is to try a business name generator. There are many generators out there that you can try. After using a few of them, you should be able to find a username that is a unique and memorable representation of your services.
Ratings and Reviews
This is where your client interaction skills will shine through, whether you want them to or not. That's why it's so important to practice proper customer service with every single client, no matter how you feel about them. At the end of the day, they get to review you publicly, and that goes on your profile. Other clients will be able to read it. Go above and beyond, especially during your first few projects, to impress your clients. A stellar review can easily grab you another five projects.
Review volume will give veteran freelancers an advantage. However, if you are new to ServiceScape don't worry. Building a client base takes time. With enough commitment and dedication, you can rack up the same number of reviews as those ahead of you today.
Lastly, your profile is where clients can mull over your prices. If you don't know how to price a service, we recommend the following suggestion:
Find five sellers in your field who seem to be dominating. Add up their rates and divide by five. Use that number as your initial rate for starting out.
As time goes on, you can always increase your prices. You never want to come in so high that no one wants to buy from you, though. But, do be careful of coming in too low and giving off the impression that your work is sub-par or that you are desperate for clients.
What you get out of your ServiceScape profile is entirely up to you
No, you don't have to cross your fingers and pray that a client comes your way. You can actually lure them to your services if you follow our tips for curating a professional profile. Spend some time, research the competition, and remember to never get too complacent! It's normal to fine-tune things every few months.
Need more help? Here are some great resources which I would recommend: