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Upwork Tips for New Freelancers (from an Upwork Pro)

So, when I first started freelancing, Upwork (then called Elance and Odesk) was my go-to spot for finding jobs and making money. Equally as important, Upwork was a good place for me as a new freelancer because I could find clients who were okay with me learning as I went (aka getting paid to learn new stuff). It’s been several years since I was a regular Upwork provider, so I reached out to April to have her give you ladies some actionable Upwork tips. She’s going to give us the rundown on how she’s been able to land more than 1,000 jobs, earn more than $300K ? on the platform, and even start her own content agency! ?-Sorilbran

Penned by April Ann Q

If you have skills in writing, web design, web development, translation, transcription, or even data entry, there’s a plethora of opportunities that you can grab on a number of different gig platforms. Perhaps the most well-known platform for freelancers – and especially new freelancers – is Upwork.

I have been on Upwork since 2014 (way back when it was still oDesk), and it’s been more than enough to not just feed my family but build wealth as well. Today, I’m going to share with you my experience with Upwork, how I reached over $300,000 USD in total earnings over the years, and how you can, too.

Upwrok tipcs for beginners - completing your profile

How to Set Up Your Profile on Upwork

Sign Up – Just register and add your personal information until your account is ready.

Create a captivating profile- Before you can start applying for jobs, your profile should be at least 60% complete. The basic requirements include:

  • A picture of yourself

  • Your title

  • Your profile overview

  • Work History

  • Add a minimum of 1 skill tag (choose many skill tags relevant to your actual skillset for better results getting found on the platforms by employers/clients looking to hire someone with your skills)

If you want to start off great, strive to complete your profile 100%. Upwork has a really great interface, and it’s very easy to use and navigate.

Completing your profile should look something like this:

tips for completing your Upwork profile

Submit winning proposals – Now, once your profile is at least 60% complete, you can now start submitting proposals or applying to projects you are interested in. Just go to the home page and you can readily see the job posts available relevant to the skills you’ve tagged.

How Connects Work on Upwork

To apply for jobs, you need to spend “connects”. Free accounts get 10 free Connects each month. Every job costs 2 to 6 connects depending on the nature of the job. If you run out of Connects or you want to apply to many jobs to increase your chances of scoring big or many projects, you can subscribe to Upwork’s Freelance Plus accounts that costs $14.99 per month. You can also buy connects at $0.15 each.

My best advice for using your Connects wise is to apply for jobs that are:

  1. Ongoing- Freelance projects come and go, but there are certain freelancing jobs that are more consistent, and you want to score such gigs. Some clients will state in the job post whether the job is ongoing or not. Some clients will also mention straight off the bat that it’s just a one-off task.

  2. Doable according to your skillset- Make sure that you only accept projects that you actually can pull off. If not, your profile, completion score, and Upwork reputation will get tarnished. Build your Upwork credibility well by only sticking to tasks that you can complete successfully.

Landing Your First Client on Upwork

At this point, you should have a complete profile that includes searchable tags to help potential clients find you by your skillset. These tags will also help Upwork find you so the algorithm can recommend you as a Rising Talent when clients are looking for freelancers with your skillset and have indicated that they’re willing to hire new freelancers.

Personalize Your Proposal

Crafting your proposal is about more than just sending your freelancer resume and writing a cover letter once that introduces you. Each time you respond to a job posting, you need to tailor your cover letter or introductory message to the job you seek. Below is a screenshot of the short job posting Sorilbran published seeking a writer for this particular article.

screenshot for an article on Upwork tips -

When bidding on the job, Upwork provides freelancers with information about the client as well as an approximation of how much competition there is for the job. For this post, there were already between 5 and 10 proposals submitted before I sent my bid, the first part of which you can see below.

screenshot for article on Upwork tips for newbies

t’s important to note that most employers will make their decision on whether to shortlist you as a candidate based on the first few words they see in your cover letter because they would have to click your proposal to see the rest of your cover letter.

You will notice that in my response to Sorilbran (above, the section with the pink bracket), I used the first paragraph of my response to address her needs. Doing this let her know that I read and understood her proposal and I also provided proof that I have the skills needed to deliver on the job.

Wait Patiently, but Be Ready for the Client Follow-Up

In general, after submitting a few proposals, wait for clients to reach out to you, and if a client does respond to your proposal, make sure to get ready for the interview either via call or via chat. Be responsive and help clients meet their needs the best way possible.

Don’t Forget to Set a Competitive Hourly Rate

Make sure that before you submit proposals, you have set your hourly or fixed-rate pricing model. Research online about the going rate of your freelance services, so you can have a benchmark.

** If you are just starting out, you may do what I did—offer really affordable services. I offered a super-low rate because I wanted to get clients fast and build my profile fast. If you want this approach too, I suggest you apply for one-off or short projects initially. That way, you finish them fast and you get the review or rating fast to quickly start establishing your profile and reputation on Upwork.

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