Interesting question and yet a tough one too. Here’s mine.
1 - Marketing. Freelancer don’t have a dedicated sales/marketer people so you need to be it your self. Build your soft skills in presentation, scope agreement, customer response, documentations, budget/costing calculation.
2 - Competitor. Yes, you’re a freelancer, usually do not have a strong background/portfolio in getting big/medium projects. So, focus on the small market first.
3 - Relationship. Build good and smooth relationship with the potential customer/client even our proposal was rejected by them. Make friend, do not make business. When they remember how good we are in term of handling a relationship, they’ll vouch us to their friends.
4 - Subcon. Sometimes as a freelancer, you’ll be proposed by some company to do the job on their behalf. Make a proper costing to them and again, build a friend relationship plus look back at point 1, good soft skill. People like person with a good soft skills.
5 - Technical. Soft skills + Technical skills + awesome = you’ll nailed it.
6 - Costing. This is the crucial part. How do you put your rate? Since you’re a freelancer, your cost might not require building rental,utilities,hot PA,etc…so you can cut too many costs here. But, by providing a low cost to the client, it’ll affect the current market rate and most of the times, people in the same market field would not like it. Do some research on your local market, what is the best rate, and how you can make sure your cost will not affect the market.
I believe costing is one of the main criteria that ensuring you can easily obtained a project. Most of the clients are require pentest project because ‘they need’ not because ‘they want’…Every countries have their own regularities for govt/financial/ organisations to perform pentest. So, these organisations usually will look on company/people that able to provide the service at a low budget. Here’s the tricky part, once you quoted them at a low price, high chances that the price will not go up high anymore in future. so that’s a gamble.
To have consistent incoming freelance work:
1 - Broship relation with your subcon provider,clients,potential customers
2 - Awesome softskills and cool documentations that is suitable for both tech and mgmt people
3 - Awesome tech skills + response in providing recommendation.