This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send your blog post to us here.So, you’re a freelancer…No matter what is the reason for working freelance, you want to stay one step ahead of your competitors and get more clients, which means improving your gigs.Here’s the deal: More and more people quit their jobs to become full-time freelancers, and the niche is getting more competitive. In fact, 57.3 million people in the US are doing freelance work. Thus, standing out from the crowd is a must when it comes to creating an advantage for yourself.Here comes the list of ways on how to win your clients’ trust and get more freelance orders:Build Your Online PortfolioWhen you have no experience, it’s nearly impossible to get orders. Thus, you need to build your portfolio first. It’s an actionable way to demonstrate your skills and abilities.Although listing your works is important, don’t forget to tell more about yourself and benefits to work with you. Remember that potential clients want to delegate some tasks to make their life easier, so you need to show them what their problems you can solve and how. Thus, write down short descriptions of your works and include links.If you have a great list of samples, add the best ones to make your portfolio outstanding.Consult Your Client for FreeAlthough you work freelance to earn money, sometimes you need to invest your time and effort into getting your name out, and consulting potential clients for free can be a key. If you want to hook your clients’ attention, you need to show your professional skills, and consulting can help you a lot. It may interest clients in the collaboration and earn trust from them. Moreover, the word-of-mouth advertising is a great way for building awareness.Send Your Work in TimeIf you meet deadlines, that’s great. If you send your orders in time, that’s even better.When you send your work in time, you show your attitude toward the client and the project and perform as a responsible worker who takes care of client’s needs. The faster you complete your task, the better. However, never sacrifice the quality of your work as you need to deliver A+ tasks only.Stay ProactiveA good freelancer will complete the task according to the client’s guidelines. A great freelancer will stay proactive, suggesting his own ideas on how to make the most out of the task so that it can bring more value.For example, being a freelance copywriter, you can suggest topics that might be interesting for your client’s readers. Stay proactive to show that you take care of a client and his business.Be Honest with ClientsLet’s face it: clients can suggest crazy ideas from time to time, and it takes a lot of courage to tell them the truth about these ideas.Being honest with your clients helps to build trust, breed understanding, and organize a positive working environment. If you see that your client wants something that won’t be beneficial for the business, tell them the truth.Keep Up With Current TrendsNo matter what your niche is, you need to keep an eye on its trends to implement them to your work as fast as you can.How to keep up with the trends in your industry:Subscribe to popular trade journals newslettersFollow opinion leadersListen to your customersIf you know the trends, it’s easier for you to predict and satisfy your customers’ needs. Moreover, it’s a proof that you want to grow as a professional.Focus on Self-improvementTo stay one step ahead of your competitors and get more clients, you need to be interested in self-improvement as the more you know, the better it’s for your client and you. The modern world offers a great variety of activities for your growth (webinars, courses, news, etc.), and the only thing you need to do is to have a desire.Invest time into Building Business Connections43% of freelancers find work through networking.It means building great business connections is a must if you want to stay competitive on the market. The more contacts you have, the more projects you can get. Although your work day must include working on projects, don’t forget to invest your time into building business connections.Most freelancers find their gigs through freelancing platforms, previous connections, and friends’ recommendations. Maintain good relationships with potential customers and never forget to share your recent projects to show people what you’ve been working on recently.In a WordThe sustainability of your freelance business is essential, and you need to stay one step ahead of your competitors. Thus, having positive work habits is a must.Hugh Beaulac is an aspiring entrepreneur who runs MC2 project. He works freelance to keep a work-life balance. Get in touch with @HughBeaulac on Twitter.