Upwork (formerly odesk/elance) is a platform for freelancers to find jobs and get started in the freelancing world. Depending on who you ask Upwork is either seen as the devil incarnate or the messiah. As usual the truth lies somewhere in the middle and much more importantly depends on you more than that platform itself (and honestly what isn’t that true of?). There are those who make six figures on Upwork and then there are those who struggle for pennies on Upwork all depending on their skill and how they position themselves.
This “guide” is written out so that you can get a head start over the horde of wannabes that never graduate from the bottom ranks of Upwork and never make any appreciable money on the site. Look there is plenty of money to be made on Upwork, however just like the economy that money goes to the skilled (what butthurt losers call the 1%). Do things right, keep learning, and you’ll make it. You can easily make a decent living off the site while working from home and if you really drill down and bust your ass can be one of those next six figure writers.
Here are the tips
- Fill out your profile completely so that it reads 100% basic but there are plenty who don’t do it.
- In your profile make sure to list the benefits of working with you not the features. If you don’t know the difference then read this article.
- Do sample work in your portfolio if you don’t have any already. Clients just want to see that you have what it takes to get the job done doesn’t matter if it’s a sample or something you did for a real company. Skill is skill and talent is talent.
- Completely read over the job description. Again basic but half don’t do it.
- Be at least a decent copywriter. You don’t have to be Dan Kennedy but at least know what copywriting is.
- Niche your profile. Find a niche maybe it’s e-mail marketing or brochure writing and focus on it. At least in the beginning. This is how you get your start. You can later become a generalist if you choose.
- Don’t lowball. Don’t be a bottom feeder they get no respect and get crappy pay. Plus the bottom is ironically where the competition is fiercest.
- With that being said don’t be afraid to take 1-4 crap jobs simply to get some 5 star ratings on your profile. But don’t make this a habit.
- If you get the rising star badge don’t be a dumbass and ignore Upwork for a month then lose it (personal experience here).
- Being a native English speaker is probably you’re biggest selling point when you first start out.
- Set your hourly rate high. Again you don’t want to look like a bottom feeder and you’re going to be doing fixed price work in the beginning anyways.
- Collect testimonials and place them in the beginning of your profile after a one sentence headline of what you do.
- When writing proposals always remember the client is thinking what’s in it for me?
- Get a case study together as soon as possible and attach it as a file to all of your proposals.
- Don’t use a template for your proposals. You can use an outline but make sure to personalize each proposal, the client can tell.
- Be human and interesting in your proposal. Don’t be too formal. A proposal is no different than a sales letter or selling someone in a one on one position. Let your personality shine through while highlighting the benefits of working with you.
- Reference the job posting in your proposal so your client know that you read it.
- Again point out the fact that you are a native English speaker, this goes a lot farther than you’d think it would.
- Ask them questions about the project in your proposal. For example next steps, information you’ll need, and stuff like that.
- Show the benefits (end result) of working with you.
- The number one thing clients are looking for (other than expertise) is trust, they want to know they can trust you. Another reason coming across as human is so important.
- Fill your profile with keywords related to what you do. That’s how you show up in search results when clients look for them.
- Also make sure what you do is in your headline.
- Credibility is important. Usually the first thing I do in my proposals is link to examples of work that I’ve done in a similar fashion.
- When I didn’t have work done in a similar fashion, I created examples and submitted those.
- Proposals are a selling situation so make sure to sell yourself, this isn’t the time to be coy.
- Mention something about how they’ll get a bunch of lowball bids but how you’re the better choice because you’re the best for the job.
- Did I mention don’t lowball?
- Honestly after about 5 jobs (or whenever you get your job success store) I’d completely ignore everything in the “entry level” category. There are some exceptions but generally not worth it.
- Never set your rate under 50$ an hour. At least that’s what has worked best for me. My second job on Upwork was for 80$ and my third for 70$ because I positioned myself that way.
- Getting the rising talent badge, 90%+ job success score, and top rated status are all going to do wonders for the rate at which your proposals are accepted.
- Never list yourself as entry level, intermediate at the worst.
- A client would much rather have the person who’s right for the job than the person who’s the lowest bidder, but sometimes you have to remind them of this.
- Have a Skype account and know how to use it (I didn’t at first, was a mistake).
- While there is plenty of drivel out there read books related to Upwork, as always I educate myself about a subject and it always pays me back more than I put in. Big time with Upwork. Hack Upwork by Danny Flood isn’t bad.
- Might sound cheesy but have confidence in yourself you may have to overcome some limiting beliefs at first but it comes through in how you present yourself.
- Learn as you go and keep submitting proposals. There is a bit of a learning curve that can only be overcome through actually doing it.
And there you have it 37 tips to have better luck on Upwork.
Like I said above there is plenty of money to made on Upwork if you know what you are doing and stick with it. I would also encourage you to check out these two articles for advice on general freelancing.
If you have any questions you would like to see answered in a future post send them to me at charlessledge001 (at) gmail (dot) com. If you found value in this post then I would encourage you to share this site with someone who may need it as well as check out my books here. I appreciate it. You can follow me on Twitter here.