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4 Reasons Nobody Applies to Your Freelance Jobs

4 Reasons Nobody Applies to Your Freelance Jobs
Lex DeVille
Written by Lex DeVille

Have you ever posted a freelance job but nobody applied? You expected a flood of freelancers, but that didn’t happen. So what went wrong? Let’s break it down with four reasons nobody applies to your freelance jobs.

1. Your Job Post is too Vague

You’re probably busy. You don’t have hours to spend on job descriptions. Or maybe you’re more of a 10,000-foot view kind of person; a real straight shooter. You give simple instructions and let people rise to their own level.

So when you’re asked to write a job description, you add like, two sentences. Something like this:

We need someone to build an amazing website for us. If that’s you then apply.

Since you’re the kind of person who runs with ideas, it’s natural for you to expect the same from others.

But not everyone thinks alike.



Some freelancers need details. They want to know if they’re a fit or not. They want to avoid clients that aren’t a match because it leads to poor reviews.

So that’s one reason nobody applies to your freelance jobs.

To get more applicants try this:

  • Add at least one full paragraph of description
  • Add a few bullet points that list specific job duties
  • Describe the qualities of the right person
  • Describe some of the problems you have right now

Your job post doesn’t have to be long. Two to three paragraphs are enough. But your job post should have enough details to let freelancers know what the job is, what you expect of them, and who would be a good fit.

2. Your Job Post is too Specific

Some clients have the reverse problem. Your job post is way too detailed. You list every skill under the sun. You try to cover every angle with a linguistic masterpiece of description.

But you have a similar problem to #1.

4 Reasons Nobody Applies to Your Freelance Jobs

Nobody applies to your freelance jobs, and it’s because they’re afraid they don’t qualify.

Or they’re afraid you’ll micro-manage them.

It makes sense if you think about it.

Why apply to a job if you can’t give the client what they need?

Why freelance at all if you’ll get treated like an employee?

So freelancers skip your gigs. Because all of those thoughts and ideas and specifics scare them away.

To get more applicants try this:

  • Limit your job description to three paragraphs
  • Limit the necessary skills to 1-5
  • Limit bullet point requirements to 5
  • Give people room to breathe!

When you write too much, and when you’re too specific, it makes freelancers doubt themselves. It also sends hints that you’ll hover over their shoulders while they work.

Don’t do that…

Instead, summarize, summarize, summarize!

Sometimes less is more. So start to notice when your words get carried away. Until you do, you’ll find freelancers in short supply.

3. You’re on the Wrong Platform

There are hundreds of places to hire freelancers. Platforms, websites, forums and even through social media. So how do you know where your job post belongs?

If you pick the wrong place (and by that I mean a platform that doesn’t have very many freelancers) then you probably won’t get many responses.

An easy solution is to go where the freelancers are.

For instance, you can find awesome anime illustrators on Deviant Art. You can get low-cost logo design on Fiverr. Craigslist sometimes has freelancers, but usually they suck (avoid craigslist).

Whatever skill you need help with, there’s a freelance site just for that.

But if you struggle to find one you can always check out our list of 100+ freelance websites broken down by skill.

4. Your Pay Rates Are too Low for the Work

Some job posts are the exact right length. You describe the work with enough detail. Not too long, and not too short. But nobody applies to your freelance jobs for another reason.

You don’t pay enough.

Ten years ago low-rates were the norm, especially for non-U.S. freelancers. Today freelancers from all countries expect to be paid fair wages based on the work you want them to do.

Question is, what is a fair wage?

It’s hard to know.

Is it fair to pay someone who isn’t fluent in your language the same you’d pay a native speaker? Do you owe someone whose cost of living is 10x lower the same rates as those from your own country?

I don’t have a perfect answer. There is no “ideal” rate.

Instead, I’ve found success at all pay ranges.

The key to attract freelancers when you offer low rates is to increase the benefits of the job. Here are some ways you to do that:

  • Decrease the workload for the price
  • Simplify the work to be done
  • Offer a 3, 6 or 12-month contract instead of one-off jobs
  • Offer to pay upfront after the first job is done
  • Give the freelancer a unique title/role
  • Find other reasons (besides pay) the freelancer should want to work with you

It all comes down to benefits.

When you make someone an offer that is too good to refuse, they won’t refuse it.

For example, when we launched Notorious [F] we had a strict budget for freelancers. We offered just $5 per published article.

Instead of asking for 1,200 words, we only asked for 600. We also offered all of our writers a free directory listing, author portfolio, and an author box that links back to their freelance profile or website.

Our rates were low, but we had tons of applicants.

In exchange for low pay, freelancers would get their name out there. They’d build a portfolio and credibility; benefits that help them earn future clients at higher pay.

When your budget it low, you have to find other benefits. List those benefits in your job post so freelancers know you’re not just a low-baller. You’re about value creation.

Do You Make These Mistakes?

If nobody applies to your freelance jobs, there’s usually a reason. Review the points above and make some of these changes.

Once you learn to be valuable for freelancers, you’ll make them want to work with you. That means you’ll get more applicants for all of your gigs.

Now it’s your turn…

If you’re a client, let us know in a comment if you’ve ever had these problems. And if you’re a freelancer, comment below to let us know what else stops you from applying to gigs!

About the author

Lex DeVille

Lex DeVille

Lex DeVille is a copywriter and freelance instructor who has trained more than 10,000 freelance students across 133 countries to start and grow profitable freelance businesses. If you'd like his help with that, then click the link in the bottom right corner to visit his website.

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