As an independent contractor, building your client base takes time. You have to learn to market yourself and your services effectively while taking on work and growing your list of satisfied customers. Keeping a list of prospects in your pipeline will help you generate new work and grow long-term relationships that can help keep revenue flowing in. 

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One way for independent contractors to attract clients is to ensure your worker profile is up to date across all platforms you use to market yourself. Prospective clients are searching for your skill sets and location. Depending on your industry, such as IT field services, they may also be looking for specific certifications and licenses. If they come across your profile but don't see all your expertise displayed, they may move on to someone else.

How to optimize your profile (and perfect your elevator pitch)

Crafting your worker profile is a good exercise in creating your elevator pitch. Think about the main things you want prospective clients to know about you. These may include your work ethic, leadership qualities, industry specializations, key skills and other areas of expertise. Write a couple of succinct sentences to summarize these capabilities.

Make sure to incorporate keywords and phrases prospective clients might use to search for candidates and include them in your profile.

Sample profile on WorkMarket (200 character max):

Reliable, professional IT consultant, project manager and team leader with 10+ years of experience working in high-security environments (finance, health care). Specializing in wireless networks.

Certifications and skill sets

Be sure to include all the skill sets, product specialties and industries that match your areas of expertise and fit the types of assignments you'd like to receive.

IT field services professionals may have skills like:

  • Computer systems

  • Cisco IP phones

  • Dell laptops and tablets

  • Network connections

  • Samsung monitors

Do you have certifications you wish to display? Examples include:

  • Google Data Analytics

  • Teaching English as a Foreign Language

  • Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

  • Microsoft Fundamentals

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud Practitioner


Does your line of work require certain types of licensing? Independent contractors should indicate any types of licenses they hold that pertain to their field of expertise (e.g., license to carry firearms, driver's license, nursing license). Having this visibility will improve the chances of a business choosing you over another candidate who doesn't readily display these qualifications. Don't make a prospective client guess whether or not you are qualified for the work.

Work history 

Starting with your most recent work experience, describe the kinds of work you've done and any results produced. Here is an example of how to write this: 

  • Helped improve ABC by [insert number] % by providing 123

If you don't have actual data to display, it's fine to write something more generic while still conveying how your work enhanced the business:

  • Supported ABC by providing XYZ and implementing123 

Compare this way of talking about your experience to the standard bullet list of duties:

  • Did ABC

  • Supported XYZ

  • Updated 123

For work history older than five years, keep it brief and high level, emphasizing the skills and breadth of experience you bring based on your years in a particular (or multiple) industries.

Background checks and drug tests

These are not necessarily "one and done" tests for some companies that use independent contractors. Some prospective clients will want these up front, before you start working, and may require them again down the road.

Keep an eye on your independent contractor profile to see when you had your last background check. Has it been more than two years? Some companies want a background check every two to five years so you may want to consider having a new one done if it might help your chances of getting work more quickly. 

Are drug tests mandatory in your field? Be proactive by knowing the ins and outs of drug testing for the industries in which you specialize.

How to make sure you're getting paid what you're worth

If you’re an independent contractor just starting out, be sure to research going rates for your field and level of expertise. Also, remember to consider your location. Talent in New York City, for example, generally commands more than talent in a small city in the Midwest. This doesn't mean you can't command more, however, especially if you're a remote worker taking on client projects from around the country or the globe. 

If you're an on-site IT field services professional, it pays to check rates for your location while also reading up on the value of the certifications you hold and any specific skill sets you bring to the table. You can also join groups on LinkedIn and ask other independent contractors in your field and region what they're charging. 

Ultimately, you'll want to come up with an hourly range that is comfortable for you and competitive in your field (e.g., no lower than $50/hour and as high as $75).

Independent contractors who generate all of their own business on a regular basis must weigh their options. For per-project work, you’ll generally get paid a higher hourly or fixed, flat rate. However, if you foresee doing business with a particular client over the long term, or they’ve indicated more work is coming your way, you may wish to negotiate a slightly lower rate since you’ll benefit from the steady work flow. 

How to attract more clients (and potentially get more work)

Of course, the best way to attract more clients is to do great work. Going above and beyond, being a good team player and communicator, and completing projects ahead of schedule are all great ways to get the attention and favor of existing clients. Plus, they will be more likely to recommend your services to others in their network. 

Here are some additional ways to continue attracting more clients:

  • Leverage ratings. 
    Always ask clients for satisfaction ratings, skills endorsements and testimonials when you know you've done good work. Third-party ratings and endorsements help others decide whether they wish to engage with you.

  • Keep your profile current.
    As already stated, having an up-to-date profile shows that you’re "in the game" and ready for work. An updated profile should showcase all your best skills and expertise and latest professional accomplishments.

  • Continue building your skills.
    Show that you’re an avid learner committed to professional growth and development. Take a course, earn a certificate, participate in a program - anything that demonstrates your skills are constantly being developed.

  • Join a Labor Cloud. Once you're part of the WorkMarket community, you can apply to public Labor Clouds which are groups of workers based on certain criteria, such as skill sets, certifications, background checks and more, created by companies using the WorkMarket platform to attract talent. While applying and being accepted to a Labor Cloud doesn’t guarantee work, it does help you become more visible to prospective clients.

Independent contractors have a plethora of opportunities in a diversity of fields, from translation and transcription to creative services, private security, courier and logistics services, IT field services and many more. With increased opportunity comes increased competition as more people become independent contractors and enjoy the freedom of having their own business. 

Don't be deterred! Prospective clients want what you have. You just have to make yourself stand out from the crowd. Optimizing your worker profile and adhering to the guidance provided will help you shine - and grow your business.

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Why WorkMarket for independent contractors

As an independent contractor, you’re usually a team of one. But with the power of the WorkMarket platform, you’ll feel like you have an entire administrative team behind you. Enjoy fast, efficient payments. Choose how you want to be paid. And reduce your administrative burden. Your first work assignment is just clicks away.

Realize the full potential of independent contracting. Join WorkMarket.