Amazing Upwork tips
Though freelancing has been a dream career for many since years, the COVID-19 pandemic has made millions rethink their career. The great resignation is a great example of that. More and more people are switching to either working remotely or quitting their jobs altogether for freelancing. As more and more companies and organizations are switching to remote jobs, freelancing has become the answer for many. Self employed work brought in $1.2 trillion worth of revenue in 2020, with 33% of the population in the U.S. shifting to freelance work.
Based on the current trends in the market, an exponentially increasing number of professionals and engineers are opting for full time freelancing leaving their physical 9-5 jobs. As compared to 2019 data, an 8% increase is seen in freelance engineers and professionals exclusively offering their services at freelance platforms only.
Now this much could be enough for motivation and you might see your career very clear in freelancing but it still feels a bit risky to switch to freelancing full time, right? Many beginner freelancers find themselves in a difficult situation figuring out how they can start a successful career in freelancing so that they can switch their full-time job.
Whether you’re a beginner level freelancer yet or you’ve established and are now planning to switch your career to full time freelancing we have compiled seven amazing Upwork tips for beginners to achieve the freelance success they dream for.
You might already have a rough idea of what it takes to freelance on Upwork, but somehow, your freelancing career is still awaiting a boost.
We understand. It can be frustrating to earn low and slow in the beginning. To help give your beginning and fragile freelance career the boost it needs, we asked for tips from those who are top level sellers and earning more than their 9-5 jobs. We spoke with experienced freelancers who’ve seen the ups and downs, started from zero and now have that top rated badge and awarded a t-shirt from Upwork as well.
Directly from their experiences, here’re those amazing tips for beginner freelancers for your Upwork success:
#1. Complete Your Profile to 100%
When you have no reviews, your Upwork profile is the primary thing potential clients will use to evaluate if you’re fit for the project.
When building your profile, you should assume your client is making a split-second decision whether or not to learn more about you. If you don’t make your profile unique and convincing, they will move to the next one quickly.
Again, looking at things from the client’s perspective, your first impression occurs in the “Review Proposals” tab.
Here’s what your proposal looks like from the client’s view:
The client sees your profile picture, your name, title, location, Job Success Score and a snippet of your cover letter.
While we’ll discuss the cover letter (i.e., the proposal) later, there are two important things to note here:
#1. Profile Photo.
Think like you’re applying for a job with a big tech company. What would their immediate impression be based on your profile photo?
I don’t mean to say it has to be boring. For instance, if you’re looking for technical work (such as Engineering Jobs), your professional photo would be different from someone looking for Graphics Design jobs.
So what do you think about your current profile photo now, does it suit your profile?
#2. Profile Title
This is one of the most convincing yet underrated customization you can adopt for your profile. Your profile title should let your potential clients know why you’re fit for the job.
Your title should reflect your niche and skillset.
What you want to avoid is presenting yourself as jack of all trades. Since there is so much competition, experts in one specific field tend to be hired more on Upwork.
Pro Tip: There are so many applicants on every job, clients are skimming through freelancers. What can you say in the title to quickly convince them that you’re fit for the job?
#2. Look For A Small Project And Bid Low
With my first job on Upwork, I made $5 for what was apx 5 hours of work on a project.
It’s not good financially to work for less than you’re worth. But it’s a necessary evil when you’re a beginner on Upwork, at least if you want to get up and running as early as possible.
Pro Tip: My strategy in early used to be to bid way below the client’s budget and ask him to test me out against the experienced high charging freelancer they had previously hired. They appreciated what I did better than previous ones, and that was all I needed to kickstart my profile and get started as a successful freelancer. If you’re confident in your skillset, asking a client to hire you along with a more experienced Upwork freelancer can help you win that first job. It might not work in every case and in every field depending on clients, but still it can be used to get the first shot.
For the very first job, don’t put much focus on pay, you should just try to get it for the review. Your reviews in the beginning are your actual payment.
Make your mind as a newbie, that your few jobs are not for payment, but 5th, 6th and next ones are.
As a beginner, your goal is just to get established; to build that feedback profile we discussed earlier so that you have a better chance at winning more jobs later on.
This also means that starting out, you should go for short-term projects on Upwork to quickly get reviews.
A client is more likely to test newbies on a short-term project as compared to a long-term one.
This is a better strategy than bidding low on a long term project because:
- Your working hours will be limited and still get reviews and some pay as well.
- If the project is important in the client’s eyes, he won’t hire someone bidding cheap as it’d increase risk for him getting the job done.
#3. Quality Clients
Some clients are just picky and won’t be pleased with your work no matter what, that’s a fact.
Plus, not every client understands just how important reviews and rating is for freelancers. Some clients nitpick and point out the pros and cons of working with you as a freelancer, when in fact the market standard is to leave a five-star review unless there were some significant issues.
Fortunately, there’s an easy method to determine which clients are worth submitting a proposal to: just look at the feedback they’ve left for their previous freelancers.
Remember, your goal at the start is to get positive feedback fast. So, hunt for a client that consistently gives the freelancers they hire five stars.
These quality clients will not only give you good ratings, but they’re also more likely to be very clear on what they want from you. In turn, you can deliver the exact results they need.
However, if you see that a client regularly leaves mixed reviews, you might want to avoid those projects at start. These kind of clients are difficult to satisfy, and getting negative feedback on your first few projects can significantly lower your chances for next projects on Upwork.
#4. Initiate Conversation
First 3 to 4 lines of your cover letter are a kickstarter. Client won’t read more if he isn’t impressed by first few lines.
This is how your cover letter looks like to the client:
First you should make sure that you’re not submitting a template proposal.
Your proposal should be specific and relevant, directly address the client’s needs, and offer a concrete next step so that client gets the impression that you know the work.
Here are a couple of tips that can help you do this:
- Address clients by their name. Do some digging on who is hiring. Check the client’s profile. If their name isn’t on their profile and instead shows the company name, you can look at the feedback from other freelancers to find the client’s name.
- Make sure you quickly explain why your application is suitable for that position, as the first few lines of your application will appear on the application screen. An easy way to do this is to talk about your non-Upwork experience. Example: Hello John! I’m new to Upwork but have 5 years of experience with ABC company.
Remember, what you’re trying to accomplish with your proposal is to initiate a conversation.
Asking a client to hire you based on your proposal alone is a far-fetched idea. So, rather than just submitting it and praying that they hire you, make it easy by starting a conversation.
Ask a question at the beginning of the proposal to initiate conversation. Stay relevant and don’t ask random questions.
For instance, if it’s a freelance planning job, you can write something like this:
“I’ve been workinig as planning enginner in ABC company for 4 years. I plan and schedule projects on MS Project, which offers additional dashboard and data visualization features. Would you rather choose MS Project for this work or Primavera P6 is ok?”
Pro Tip: Make a short video on Loom, specifically telling the client who’re you, how you will solve his problem and share it in the proposal.
#5. Explain your Plan Of Action
A great way to establish trust in your proposal isn’t just telling the client you can do the work.Rather tell your clients in detail how you plan to get the job done.
Consider Freelance writing as an example, you should write how you would go about researching the topic, how you come up with subheaders, and how you get premium sources.
If you’re designing a landing page, talk about how you’d do the research for the text and conversion process.
Your understanding of the project is a way of building trust too.
I’ve hired a fair number of freelancers on Upwork.
The quickest hires are the ones that share a portfolio sample that’s specifically relevant to the type of work I need.
Or you can say, if I’m hiring writers for this blog, I want to see previous articles of yours about financial writing, not some random blog on a different topic. In short send your client, the most relevant work sample or two at most.
For example if you’re a graphics designer, here’s what I suggest: design some landing pages for your portfolio and share the most relevant one to the client and ask the client as an ice breaker, is this the type of landing page you’re looking for?
This helps the client verify that you actually have worked on some projects before or the company name you mentioned earlier.
As another example, if you’re a freelance writer, write some sample pieces of articles that you can share with clients.
#7. Satisfy Your Client At All Costs
It’s really difficult to overcome negative feedback early in your Upwork freelancing career. You’d need to struggle much more if your first feedback is less than 5 stars.
Make sure to input as much extra as you can to make the client, yet at the lowest price. Consider this as an investment, as this would bring in more clients for you.
If an Upwork client asks for revisions in the work just do it: the cost of getting a negative review will be much more than the cost of the effort put in revision.
For instance, if you get a project to design a landing page, offer your client extra options to choose from, even if you get paid only for one.
In case you’re a freelance writer, attach a SEO report along with as well, highlighting how much you’ve optimized the article for SEO.
Offer something extra that shows you delivered a little above and beyond.