Freelancing has become an increasingly popular career choice, offering freedom, flexibility, and the ability to work on diverse projects. However, one aspect that many freelancers grapple with is the arduous process of landing regular jobs. To explore this thorny subject, we will take a look at the data we've gathered over the years on Freelancer Club and delve into the info. From the average number of job proposals it takes before a freelancer secures a project to the pricing and the which proposals get the job.

Statistics on Job Proposals and Success Rates

Obtaining comprehensive data on the exact number of job proposals required to secure a project can be challenging due to the vast range of freelance professions and platforms. However, we have crunched the numbers on the Freelancer Club and combined these with various studies and surveys to provide valuable insights into this aspect of freelancing.

Based on our statistics, freelancers across all disciplines need to submit, on average, 18 job proposals to secure a single project. This statistic highlights the competitive nature of the freelance marketplace, and the need to persevere. We also found that many clients would reconnect with freelancers that applied for jobs in the past and hire them for future jobs unrelated to the job they applied for. 

Of the freelancers that landed jobs, 98% had completed their profile ie: uploaded a profile photo and examples of their work (portfolio). 

The average length of a job proposal by freelancers that secured work on the platform is 162 words. We noticed when analysing these proposals that the successful freelancers tailored their job proposal to each project. They frequently referenced past work that was similar to the project they were applying for. 

I will always try my best to arrange a phone/video call which is much more personal and this will generally lead to securing the job. - Mike Hogan, Photographer

A study by Upwork, a freelance marketplace, revealed that freelancers with higher earnings tended to submit fewer proposals to land a job. This indicates that as freelancers establish a strong reputation, develop a robust portfolio, and build client relationships, they can secure projects with relatively fewer applications.

Timeframe to Land a Job

The duration it takes for a freelancer to land a job can vary significantly based on factors such as industry, experience level, niche, and networking capabilities. However, it's important to note that patience and persistence are key elements in this process. 

On the FreelancerClub, only 9% of freelancers that applied for multiple jobs (more than 5) in the same visit to the platform landed jobs. This statistic highlights that the older the job post, the less likely a freelancer is to land the job. Freelancers that reacted to new jobs within 24 hours and were amongst the first 12 applicants, had a 68% higher rate of success. It may seem obvious but so many freelancers simply log in, apply to multiple jobs and wait rather than react to new jobs as they come in. In short, the majority of freelance jobs tend to come and go fast. By setting up Job Alerts and applying with a tailored response as soon as they hit the site will dramatically increase your chances of success. 

Based on data from various freelancing platforms and anecdotal evidence, the average time it takes to land a job as a freelancer can range from a few days to several weeks. However, it is crucial to remember that this average timeframe is influenced by multiple variables, including the freelancer's expertise, the demand for their services, and their marketing efforts.

The Ratio of Applications to Landing Jobs

Understanding the ratio of applicants to successfully securing a job provides valuable insights into the level of competition faced by freelancers. While exact ratios may vary, it is common for the application-to-success ratio to lean towards the higher side. For example, let's consider a freelancer who submits 50 job proposals within a given timeframe. Out of those 50 proposals, they might only receive positive responses or secure contracts for a fraction of them, such as 5 to 10 projects. This indicates a ratio of 1:5 or 1:10, illustrating the reality that not all applications will yield successful outcomes.

The application-to-success ratio emphasises the importance of perseverance and continuous improvement in crafting compelling proposals that stand out from the competition. Freelancers should focus on honing their skills, optimising their portfolios, and refining their pitches to increase their chances of landing projects.

Tips for Freelancers to Enhance Their Success Rate

  • Tailor Your Proposals: Craft customised proposals for each job application, demonstrating a clear understanding of the client's requirements and showcasing relevant skills and experiences.
  • Showcase Your Expertise: Build a strong portfolio that highlights your best work and demonstrates your capabilities in your niche. A well-curated portfolio can help you stand out from the competition and increase your chances of securing projects.
  • Network and Seek Referrals: Connect with other professionals in your industry and leverage your existing client relationships to seek referrals. Recommendations from satisfied clients carry significant weight and can lead to new opportunities.
  • Continuously Update Skills: Stay abreast of industry trends, technology advancements, and new tools relevant to your field. Enhancing your skillset can make you more competitive and increase your chances of landing projects.
  • Practice Effective Communication: Communicate promptly and professionally with clients. Respond to inquiries and messages in a timely manner

Landing freelance jobs is an art. Simply signing up and applying for multiple jobs with an empty profile statistically does not yield results. Platforms such as the Freelancer Club (a membership platform) and marketplace job sites (Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer etc...) are designed to reduce the amount of time it takes for you to find work. However, they each require you to invest some initial time setting up your profile, to use the tools on each platform to receive alerts for suitable jobs, and for you to take action. They are not magic bullets that will automatically find you work, they require nuance and craft. Get it right, and you'll pick up jobs on a regular basis so you can spend less time chasing new clients, and more time doing what you love. 

Read our interview with photographer, Mike Hogan, one of our many members regularly picking up work on the Freelancer Club. 


Photos: Andrea Piacquadio, Anna Nekrashevich