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I'm trying to enter the freelancing world while finishing my degree, in order to get more experience in my field and make some money.

How can I compete with people on the freelancing sites, since they have a lot of experience (I see people with 3-9 years)? I'm only a student without any experience.

How can I build a powerful profile and a unique portfolio / CV? are there any key elements that I need to know about exactly to get featured or get any jobs?

I'm a game developer and experience is a big thing in the industry.

  • You said it... You need to build up experience, the more you are experienced the more you will be competitive. Start with helping some friend or relative for free, offer your services as volunteer for local non profit organization, church, charity, etc. Make your own project like a tourist info point on the Web for your city, etc. You can use those works as portfolio too. – Mario Aug 13 '16 at 12:03
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    Don't focus on "competing". Just focus on marketing your skills and abilities. You'll never overcome experience gaps. But you can easily market yourself well enough that experience becomes a non-factor. Good work is good work... years of experience don't ensure good work. (Disclosure: I don't use middleman freelance sites, never needed them.) – Scott Aug 14 '16 at 17:17
  • Very close, but not quite duplicate: freelancing.stackexchange.com/questions/707/… – Canadian Luke Aug 15 '16 at 15:54
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    Always the same: do not compete. Don't. Leverage on your specificities, don't try to "beat" others, be different, be incomparable. – Harry Cover Aug 25 '16 at 19:29
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I'd suggest looking for other potential leads for work. Two of which have worked very well for me in the past.

1/ Networking events. Get yourself on meetup.com or similar and join local entrepreneurs/business start ups groups. You may find people starting or running small businesses who need design work doing.

2/ Facebook Seriously. I don't just mean setting up a page for yourself. Join local groups, like design-related pages (or even non-design related) and keep your beady eyes peeled for people who are either asking for, or you suspect might need design support.

The advantage of these when you're starting out is that you're not necessarily competing against other designers (or not as many as on freelancing sites). You may be the only designer in the village, so to speak, and at the start you'll never get over the gap in experience, so make yourself the only choice in that area.

Once you start getting small jobs, you can put that work on your website or freelancing sites if you wish, and use it to get yourself more, and better work.

Good luck. It's a tough path but rewarding.

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  • You could probably add LinkedIn to both of those. It was invented for networking, and it has lots of Groups. – Shawn V. Wilson Aug 29 '16 at 18:28
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wow, game development is one industry where you are what you have done. But as a freelancer, my advice would be to pitch yourself as new, fresh, up to date, with a new look on things, as cutting edge as you can get. Do not try to deceive people about your level of experience, but turn it into an advantage. They are getting enthusiasm, up to date techniques from a fresh but well qualified young person who is keen to impress. 'Been doing it for 12 years' is not always the best selling point, or the biggest draw.

My first project was a freebie for a charity. That brought in my first paying client, but I was very cheap. Both of those on my portfolio brought in a nice project, and I was on my way. Your aim should be to collect written references from people saying how keen, motivated and competent you are and that they would gladly do business with you again in the future. Three good recent references and you can compete with anyone!

Good luck,

Paul.

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Good for you to get experience while still studying, many people seem to wait until it's too late. If you're really set on using freelancing websites, I can share what works best for me as someone who hires from UpWork regularly.

In a nutshell: You can't compete on experience or volume of bids. But you can compete on customer service.

The bids that always stand out:

  1. bid under the total fixed price
  2. clearly describe the problem + suggested solution in the cover letter (must be a custom cover letter!!)
  3. already do some of the work up front (this is often the most powerful tactic on fixed-price jobs. I almost always hire the person who goes the extra mile + shows they are passionate about solving my needs)

Judging by the responses I normally get, you will stand out like a golden, shiny star when you behave like that.

This might seem like a good way to do lots of hard work for no reward. To put that into perspective: The last person I hired quoted at 25% of the fixed price, sent a detailed, friendly cover letter and did half of the work already. I paid them the full amount as a bonus, left a gushing 5-star review and would immediately hire them again. Good luck with your search!

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