How to Spy on Successful Freelancers and Learn from Them

how to learn from successful freelancers by spying on them

This is not a topic that you will find on other freelancing blogs and I am probably the first one to give you these tips. One great way to speed up your learning process and become better at winning jobs is seeing what successful freelancers are already doing and applying the same things to your profile and proposal. There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel if others before you found something that already works, right?

But how can you do this?

Of course, the first step would be to ask them for tips and suggestions, but they may not have the time or desire to help you. So, you’re basically on your own. So what’s next?

If you’re reading this article, it means that you are still pretty much unpopular, thus, you’re probably looking for freelancing jobs on freelance platforms, Warrior Forum or Craiglist. So these are the first places where you should spy on other freelancers and gain knowledge from them. Let’s take them one by one.

Freelancing platforms 

Most freelancing platforms follow almost the same principle, so it’s enough if you only apply the next trick on just one of them.

Posting a Job Advert

On Upwork, you have the possibility to create a buyer account and post a job for free. It takes just a few minutes to do both. It’s really simple. Just follow the next steps:

a) Post a job in the same niche you’re offering services in.

b) Try to make the job advert as professional as possible, but don’t make it sound like it’s a really difficult job to do, as this may drive people away.

c) Put a higher budget in. Your budget should be anywhere above $500, but don’t make it too high as the amount should also sound reasonable and as realistic as possible.

d) Make it easy for people to apply (don’t ask freelancers too many questions, because they won’t have the patience to respond to them).

e) Wait for about two days.

Of course, you won’t be hiring anybody, you’re just trying to take a sneak peak at the best freelancers in your niche.

Separating the Good from the Bad

After two days, you should have about 20-30 applications or even more. It’s now time to separate the good from the bad. Which are the freelancers you could gain knowledge from and which are the ones you should ignore? Successful freelancers are easy to spot and you should usually look for the following:

a) They worked a high number of jobs or hours

b) They have a high rating (4.50 +) or a high Job Success Score (90% +)

c) They have a high hourly rate (although this is not mandatory)

how to spy on successful freelancers

What’s next?

The next step is easy and the best so far. Once you’ve shortlisted the best applicants for your job, it’s time to gain knowledge from them:

a) Look at how they optimized their profile

  • How does their profile overview look like?
  • What’s their tagline?
  • How did they organize their portfolio?
  • What does their photo look like compared to yours?
  • What test did they take and you didn’t?

Compare all these profiles to yours and see what you lack, what you can improve and then optimize yours accordingly.

Of course, you’re probably wondering why you should create a Job advert if you will always have the possibility to see the profiles of your competition just by clicking on the names of the people that applied to the same job as you. Yes, that’s entirely true! But there’s also something extra you can learn from them that you will not have access to without posting a job.

The Job Proposal

Have you ever wondered how your competitions’ proposals look like? Have you ever asked yourself how successful freelancers apply to jobs? I know I did. And I eventually found out and it helped me a lot. Proposals are usually private. Or used to be, until now. The most important thing when creating a Job advert is that you will get access to an abundance of well-crafted freelance proposals which you won’t find anywhere else. Most of these proposals were tested many times by the people that created them until they got to a point where they became successful and started to convert applications into jobs.

All you have to do now is find that one that fits you best, compare it to the tips I offered here, and edit it in order to match your profile and expertise. It’s that simple!

Of course, you can do more, like answer the freelancers and try asking different questions in order to see how they respond and try and learn from that too. See how their customer service is, see what they do to negotiate the rate, take a look at the samples they send etc. There are unlimited possibilities for you to learn from them, from that point forward.

Warrior Forum and Craiglist

The other two best places that I know you can find freelance jobs on, apart from freelancing platforms, are Warrior Forum and Craiglist. You can apply almost the same strategy here, and see what approach people take. Of course, this time it will be hard to separate the good from the bad, as they won’t have a profile for you to look at, but you could ask for their resumes and just separate the most experienced from the less experienced.

Post an ad on Craiglist, mentioning that you are looking to hire people in your niche or go to the Warriors for Hire section on Warrior Forum and pretend that you’re hiring there. Pay attention to how people message you, or provide an e-mail address to see how their e-mail copy is shaped. Then, use the information acquired to create your own top-notch approach.

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