LinkedIn ProFinder Actually Sends Legit Leads to Freelancers
It’s not every day that a total stranger messages you and says, “I’d love to learn more about your work. When is a good time to chat?”
Thanks to the LinkedIn ProFinder marketplace, I expect this kind of serendipity to happen more and more often. But before you roll your eyes, write me off as a fanboy, and move on to the next post, hear me out.
I’m a recovering skeptic. In fact, I’m typically the one hiring freelancers. Last time I checked, I had spent well over $100,000 hiring vendors in a couple dozen countries through Upwork to do everything from iOS programming to video editing.
The need for talent never ends with my three current ventures:
- Closeup.fm — We help content creators like musicians better connect with their core fans using cool campaigns and text messaging apps. 2016 has given us some incredible case studies, and my co-founder and I hope to do a Series A next year. “Good luck with that,” you’re thinking. Thanks!
- Wunderbar LLC — We help tech consultants and SaaS companies use blogging and content marketing to get new customers.
- AustinLChurch.com — I help freelancers and consultants build profitable businesses they love. I publish at least a post a week to support several info-products, including a short book entitled Earn What You’re Worth.
Now, to connect all of this to ProFinder…
Earlier this year, I sent out a survey to my network of freelancers and creatives and asked, “What’s your biggest challenge as a creative & business owner?”
I’m always looking for relevant topics to write about on AustinLChurch.com, and the answer came back as some variation of “keeping my pipeline full.”
My findings agree with those from a 2015 survey from Contently, entitled “The State of Freelancing in 2015.” The biggest slice of respondents (34.1%) chose “securing enough work” as their biggest challenge whereas the second largest group (26%) chose time management.
In my experience, securing enough work and time management are inextricably linked. My colleagues’ answers also connect the two:
- “Finding the time to hustle for new clients”
- “Juggling production work with business work”
Even more answers confirmed that keeping the pipeline full is the nagging problem:
- “Getting qualified leads consistently”
- “Finding clients (finding my own niche)”
- “Creating a predictable flow of leads and sales”
- “Creating a marketing strategy that provides a steady stream of leads instead of random one off leads or referrals”
The pipeline problem is so common that mentioning it is like saying that cars give off exhaust. “Yeah? Who cares.” I get it. Getting enough incoming leads will always be a challenge for most small business owners.
Yet, when ProFinder popped up on my radar back in May, I was intrigued.
Could ProFinder represent a solution?
Even one new lead a month would be important for most freelancers.
I filled out my profile, and to be honest, I did the minimum. “We’ll see,” I thought. Like I said, I’m a skeptic. A week or two passed and the first opportunity popped up in my inbox. Interesting. The same thing happened with Thumbtack back in the day. After I followed up on a couple of leads that went nowhere, I set up a new email filter and haven’t paid attention since.
My experience with ProFinder has already been better.
For starters, ProFinder only accepts five proposals per opportunity.
I was slow on the draw for an opportunity that actually fit Wunderbar’s niche, so I decided to make the next one a priority. In late September, another ProFinder email popped up, and I submitted a proposal, which took maybe fifteen minutes.
If my memory serves, my proposal was the third, and I got a message back the same day. Things progressed rather quickly from there. A quick phone call turned into a paid Roadmapping session, which led to a six-month engagement and $9000 in revenue for Wunderbar LLC.
What’s better is that the project is 100% in Wunderbar’s wheelhouse. Budget aside, the fit is right. I like my client. He is a successful entrepreneur, investor, and advisor, and we both care about where software development meets social justice.
Right now, I’m batting 1000. Sure, my first lead-turned-client could be a false positive. The skeptic in me must entertain that possibility. But I hope I’m wrong.
My advice? Let’s all agree to be optimistic for once.
If you’re looking for legitimate leads, give ProFinder a try.
Here are a six pointers from a guy who is a mere one lesson ahead:
- Don’t oversell yourself. There’s something about filling out fields on a web page that causes people to slip into the worst kind of self-promoting business jargon. Treat your proposals like speed dating, and instead of rattling off accomplishments, be the one who asks good questions.
- Give away a little bit of your time for free. You can only communicate so much through a written message, but hop on the phone and you gain more insight into the other person: needs, budget, urgency, and most important of all, reasonableness.
- Have fun with it. A little personality goes a long way, so don’t be afraid to sprinkle in a few personal details that show you care about more than dollar signs. You’ve got nothing to lose but a project you might not have gotten anyway.
- Stick with it. My quick-win experience will probably prove unusual. ProFinder gives you ten proposals before they ask you to upgrade. Use all ten. Even if you only land a single new project, the effort will be worth it.
- Repeat stuff back to the potential client. The best way to sell people is with the language they use. Color inside the lines. Make it clear that you can do exactly what the person requested and that the project seems interesting. Show attention to detail and move on to your call-to-action: “Will a quick call tomorrow at 11am ET work for you?”
- Be expensive. After all, pricing is branding.
In coming weeks I’ll be using up my other nine proposals, and I’ll be recommending ProFinder to my pipeline-challenged freelancer and consultant friends.
To get in on the action, Google “LinkedIn ProFinder” or click here. Then, promptly go brag to your network that you’re an early adopter.
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Originally published at Austin L. Church.