Giving Yourself the Best Chance of Success on Microlancer

As we recently announced, Envato (the company behind FreelanceSwitch) has launched Microlancer, a new source of jobs and income for freelance designers. In a previous post on FreelanceSwitch, How to Unlock a New Source of Design Income, we explained how Microlancer allows freelancers to spend more time doing what they love and less time on admin, marketing and pitching for gigs.

If you read that article and are interested in becoming a service provider, this post will explain how to create service listings that will pass the review process and go on to attract enthusiastic buyers.

Check Your Service List

In the previous post in this series we explained that the first place to start when preparing to become a service provider on Microlancer is to write down a list of services you may be able to provide. Once you have this list, it’s important to cross-check it with the categories and existing services on Microlancer to make sure your services are a good fit.

A Unique, Descriptive Title

Once you’re confident that your services fit with the categories currently offered on Microlancer, you’ll need to choose a descriptive title for each service.

The most effective service titles on Microlancer are those that accurately and succinctly describe the service without hype or embellishment. If there’s something about your service that makes it unique compared to other, similar services on the site, it’s a good idea to try to fit it in the title if you can. For example, ‘Detailed Manga Robot Illustration’ is a better title than ‘Character Illustration’ if all you want to draw is manga robots. ‘Hand-lettered Typographic Logos’ is a better title than ‘Logo Design’ because you will appeal to buyers who are looking for the type of logos you’re good at creating, and who use keywords like ‘hand lettered’ and ‘typographic’ in searches.

The more generic your service title, the more competition you will have against other Microlancer service providers.

A Description That Will Sell

Each service offered on Microlancer needs to include a text description. This doesn’t have to be long or flowery. The best descriptions describe exactly what the service is, exactly how you will complete the job, what makes your service unique, and why buyers should choose to work with you.

Most buyers will consider multiple service providers for any given job on Microlancer, and the choice will often come down to which service provider has the best presented services. Though visual examples of previous work are important, every diligent buyer will read the description for your service and it will help to inform their choice.

Here’s a simple, easy template to follow for a great service description:

A few sentences describing the service, for example:

I will design a customer email newsletter template featuring your logo, headers, content and breakout areas. I will include one alternate version designed to showcase a single promotional message or article.

A sentence or two describing what makes the service unique, for example:

My designs are minimalist and elegant, mainly black and white. Color can be used on request to match your branding. My designs aim to make your customers feel like they are dealing with a high-end, quality, boutique brand.

A few sentences describing how the job will be conducted, for example:

Final files will be delivered in a layered, well-organized PSD format, as well as PNG for previewing. Revisions will be delivered quickly and efficiently, if any are needed.

A few sentences describing why buyers should choose to work with you, for example:

I’m friendly, responsive, detail-oriented and would love to work with you to create an email newsletter design that you are overjoyed with.

Choosing Visual Examples that Buyers Will Love

Microlancer is currently focused on graphic design services. As such, every service needs some visual examples to demonstrate the skill of the service provider, and the kind of work that will be done.

It goes without saying that you should choose examples of some of your best work, since prospective buyers will be judging your skills based on these examples. It’s also important that the visual examples accurately demonstrate the work you will be doing for buyers who purchase your service. For example, a flyer template that took you several weeks to perfect may not accurately represent the flyer designs you plan to complete for clients in just a few hours. Though stunning work examples may net you more jobs, there’s a risk of buyers raising a dispute if they feel like the quality of your visual examples were significantly higher than the work you actually did. It’s best to represent the services you will offer as accurately as possible.

Finally, you should aim to strike a balance between the number of visual examples you upload with your service listing, and the quality of each. The more visual examples you have, the greater the chances that the client will see something they really like. But if the quality of your examples begins to vary, there’s a higher chance buyers will see something they don’t like. Just one work example that the buyer dislikes can make them afraid that you might do similar work for them. It’s best to include as many examples as you can while keeping the quality of each one high.

Selecting a Price

Service providers have the freedom to price each of their services individually, in increments of $5. When pricing each service, it can be helpful to consider your usual freelance rate, as well as the number of hours you want to spend providing each service. There are a couple of factors you should consider when pricing your Microlancer services:

  1. Microlancer takes care of marketing, pitching is unnecessary, and payment is automatic if the job is successfully completed. There is less unbillable time involved in completing a Microlancer job vs. a regular freelance job.
  2. Microlancer charges a platform fee of 30% to cover the cost of the staff, technology and marketing expenses required to run Microlancer and connect buyers with service providers.

Because of these factors, a possible model for pricing your services is as follows:

  • How long you expect to take to complete each job for a particular service.
  • Your usual freelance hourly rate for this kind of work.
  • Add a further 10 – 15% to help cover the platform fee. Remember that buyers are also saving valuable time by using Microlancer to get work done.
  • Because providing services on Microlancer involves fewer unbillable hours than regular freelancing, this model is likely to result in good compensation for each job you complete.

An example:

  • An avg. of 3 hours per digital portrait painted (remember to include time spent on revisions).
  • An hourly rate of $35 an hour.
  • An additional 15%.

Total in $5 increments: A service fee of $120.

Passing the Review Process

It’s important that Microlancer is a place buyers trust to get quality work done by reliable and honest service providers. For this reason, every service is thoroughly reviewed before it is allowed to be sold on the site.

Reviewers will look at the service’s title, description and visual examples. They need to verify that your work samples are good quality and that your service listings are descriptive, accurate and carefully presented (well-written without errors and mistakes).

Here are a few examples of well-presented service listings on Microlancer:

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Take the Plunge

By this point, you know what it takes to create an effective Microlancer service listing. I wish you the best of luck throughout the review process. If your service is appropriate, your work is good and your listing is professional, there’s no reason why your services would not be accepted to the site.

In the final article in this series I’ll share tips for how to join the ranks of Microlancer’s most popular and profitable service providers.

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