Upwork is a freelance marketplace where companies post jobs/projects and freelancers apply for them. According to Upwork’s stats, there are over million jobs posted a year, and 14 million freelancers from more than 180 countries are earning more than $1 billion a year through Upwork.
Actually, Upwork is a result of two platforms that merged together. Odesk and Elance. Both freelance marketplaces that I was using at that time.
I remember when both platforms merged in 2015. It was good for me because I could focus my efforts only in one site and build my reputation there.
I have both freelance and client account on Upwork. Having an account as a client helped me a lot to learn how clients are thinking, what they value in a freelancer, and even small things like what they see first when reviewing applications.
As I said earlier, you as a freelancer apply for the projects you liked. You agree with the client about all details like payment (it could be a fixed price or per hour), deadlines, and etc.
When you’re hired and the contract is started, the client sends the money to Upwork and the amount is hold on Escrow (if it’s fixed price contract). After you finish the job and submit the project, the client checks it, and if all is good he approves it, and releases the amount put in escrow.
Yes. There are many million dollar companies on Upwork who are looking for freelancers and they can afford to pay your rate. There are many freelancers who are doing pretty well on Upwork.
Freelancers are charged a sliding fee based on your lifetime billings with each client (across all contracts you’ve ever had with that client company). Service fees are the same whether the contracts are hourly or fixed-price.
In other words, the more money you make from the same client, the less fee you pay to Upwork.
If you bring your own client to Upwork, then you will not pay any fees! But you will need to send an email to BringYourClient@upwork.com with the The contract ID, and the fees will be removed.
There are plenty of negatives reviews about Upwork on the Internet. Most of them are written by freelancers who had negative experience with clients in the Upwork platform. I’ve read many of those angry review posts about Upwork.
Most of the freelancers have these complains:
Let me answer these complains:
Upwork is a legit site but there could be met some scammer companies who are looking for free work. Such companies are rare but still it’s good to be prepared and to know how to avoid scams on Upwork.
If you ever suspect a scammer on Upwork, do not forget to flag them.
The ideal Upwork profile consists of all elements: Good Title and description, photo, video, your portfolio, experience, certifications, employment history, tests that you’ve taken and skills. Let’s cover each one.
That’s a very important part of your profile which often gets underestimated. Go to a pro photographer and get a portrait headshot. Smile one the camera and make sure your clothes are not too shabby.
Use photofeeler.com to see what people about your photo.
Looks like I’ll have to grow some beard to look more competent. At least I look likable 🙂
Add a title that describes what you’re doing in a few words. A few rules to follow:
That’s a good description in my opinion. It should be short and to emphasize on your strengths. Do not forget to include a bunch of the keywords that you think clients are searching for. This will come naturally, just think about your skills and mention them in your description.
Add a strong opening sentence. First sentence is crucial and it should catch clients attention if you want to get noticed. See what clients are seeing when they search for freelancers:
Upwork gives you the opportunity to add an introduction video. It should be short and to describe who you’re, what you can do for your clients, what others say about you (testimonials) and anything that makes you look good in your potential client’s eyes.
For some professionals like designers the portfolio is a must. And designers know that well. Anyway, even if you’re not a designer, make sure you show some of the projects you’ve worked on or at least the results that you’ve achieved.
In my case I showed results that I’ve achieved for my clients.
My potential clients are interested in getting their websites on the top of 1st page and getting traffic to their site, so that’s what I’m showing them.
Do not forget to add your skills to your Upwork profile. I think it helps you because your clients can find you easier when searching for a freelancer by their skills.
That’s important especially if you’re just getting started. Also, there are some clients who require certain level of English language or other skills that can be proven by you if you’ve taken tests.
If you’ve acquired certificates that proves your skills, it’s good to upload them. For some specialists like for example Adwords experts it’s important to show that they have Adwords certificates.
Do you have an education that’s related to the service you’re offering as a freelancer? If “yes”, just list it there.
If your employment history has anything to do with the service you’re offering as a freelancer – list it there.
Add links to your accounts in other sites like Behance, DevianART, GitHub. In my case, I’ve just linked to my Twitter account because Facebook is too personal, and there is no Linkedin as an option. But if you’re a designer who has a profile on GitHub or a designer who has a profile on Behance – link your accounts, it will get you some credibility in your clients eyes.
It is entirely your choice and depends on your self-perception. Do not worry about that too much. You can change it any time. I began as an entry level, went through intermediate and now I switched to Expert.
Add your category or a few of them.
Get 2-3 small projects that are closely related to your service. Do not look at the price. Decrease your rate if needed. Your goal is to get good feedback. Finish the work in perfect timing, and with great quality. Ask your client for the feedback.
You can even hint your client about what you want written in the feedback.
And the result:
That’s the most important part from the whole article. You do not want to take just any Upwork job. You want to take Upwork jobs that are well paid!
Let’s consider that you’ve taken 2-3 good reviews on your profile. Now you’re ready to start looking only for top clients.
The problem is that there are thousands of job posts on Upwork. The good news is that you can easily filter the good from the bad.
Go to the Upwork Job Search field. And write a keyword which is related to the service you’re offering. (Again, test with different keywords to find the best results for you).
Then, use the filter and Upwork will show you only the best. Working per hour or fixed price is completely your choice but keep in mind that you can always negotiate with the client and switch from hourly payment to fixed and vice versa. That’s why I’ve ticked Any Job Type.
Can you guess why we tick Any Budget? That’s because there are clients who can afford to pay you what you want but they do not know what the price would be. When they post a job, they’re prompted to put a budget by Upwork. And they often put $5 or $20 like a placeholder budget. Of course, after you talk with them, they can change it to $2000. I have seen many job ads like that. One of them:
At the beginning I thought applying for jobs is a numbers game. I used to send 10 or 20 low quality proposals a day. And this tactic was not very successful.
It’s much better if you focus on a fewer job posts but really put efforts when applying.
Never send a canned proposal. It may save you some time in the short term, but it’s not good for you in the long run:
Always try to make your proposal personal!
I’m receiving between 50 to 100 proposal per job ad. And 95% of them are not personal. They’re just copy pasted canned response.
Let me give you an example. I was looking for bloggers who have their own blogs.
And a good example:
Your goal is to read the job ad and to come up with a custom (not canned!) proposal which shows them that you understand what they want. Your proposal should be more about them, and less about you.
26% of all job ads have screening questions.
Answer screening questions to the best of your ability. I dare to say that they’re even more important than your cover letter. Why are they so important?
Taking time to answer their questions shows that you’ve invested time to apply for this project and you’re serious. But also, when you answer questions, you cannot use canned response, you’re answering exactly what they asked about.
As you can see, I asked all applicants to answer the 5 questions above.
The first few words of the answer of the first question is visible for the client when they’re checking all applicants.
Believe me, most of the freelancers there are not your competition. The fact you’re reading this article shows that you want to perform better than average. You can easily beat them if you take freelancing seriously and put your heart into it.
A few things that will help you to beat the competition:
I spent two minutes to write an answer. The client is happy that they can rely on me. All clients have a fear that the freelancer can disappear. And when you’re answering their questions promptly it means a lot for them.
You can withdraw money directly to your local bank account. You have a few more options:
You can certainly make good money on Upwork. You need to put efforts in building your reputation, having the right approach when applying for jobs and communicating, and finally getting the job done on time and with perfect quality.
Let me know if you have any questions. Tweet it to @GeorgitTodorovBG