Upwork is one of the world’s largest platforms helping freelancers to connect with clients. Upwork is truly a giant in the industry, claiming 17 million registered users and over $1billion in annual freelancer earnings. This Upwork review will inform you on how to best use the platform as a freelancer.
- What’s Upwork?
- Why You Should Freelance on Upwork
- How to Get in as a Freelancer
- How to Build a Great Seller Portfolio
- How to Write a Successful Proposal
- Upwork Review: How to Work with Clients
- Three Strategies to Increase Your Freelance Business
- Five Things You Should ALWAYS DO in Upwork
- Five Things You Should NEVER DO in Upwork
1. What’s Upwork?
While upwork is similar to Fiverr as both are online marketplaces connecting freelancers and clients, Upwork’s marketplace functions in an entirely different way. On Fiverr, clients search for different services and then compare freelancers offering competing services. Comparatively, on Upwork, clients post job descriptions to which freelancers submit proposals.
This is actually very significant, though it may only seem like a small difference. On Upwork you spend more time finding and applying to clients than you would on Fiverr. However, you also have the ability to pick and choose which clients you work for. On Fiverr and Upwork, reviews can make or break your career. Therefore, being able to avoid a few bad clients can make a huge difference in the long run.
Here, we’ve put together an Upwork review with information on how you can get the most out of Upwork as a freelancer.
2. Why You Should Freelance on Upwork
As I mentioned before, Upwork allows you to pick your clients to a degree that other marketplaces, such as Fiverr, do not. The unfortunate fact is that some clients are going to be hard, and some near impossible, to work with. Luckily, a discerning freelancer can often tell these clients apart from others with ease on Upwork thanks to a couple things. This is hugely beneficial for freelancers and means that Upwork is one of the best sites for freelancers to find work.
The first way Upwork helps you distinguish between good and bad clients is their job description feature. Job descriptions on Upwork allow you to screen prospective clients. In fact, many good freelancers will often avoid otherwise lucrative looking jobs at the sight of a few red flags. A good way of thinking about this is as if it were a game of poker. Sometimes the best poker players will fold a seemingly great hand when they notice certain tells in the way the other player is acting. While not always indicative of a bad client, on Upwork, these tells include jumbled, nonsensical job descriptions, a very low budget for the job, immediate deadlines and many more. To get the most benefit out of the other tips included in our Upwork review, you should first learn to avoid bad clients.
Upwork also displays a variety of information on the history of clients that help freelancers pick and choose between them. For instance, seeing whether or not their payment is verified can prevent you from wasting time with potential scammers. The ability to view how much the client has spent on Upwork in the past can also give some insight into how familiar they are with working with freelancers. Most importantly though, Upwork allows freelancers to give feedback on clients and then displays this feedback on the client’s future job listings. This feedback is probably your best bet in determining which clients will be a hit, and which you’ll wish you missed.
3. How to Get in as a Freelancer
Signing up as a freelancer on Upwork can be harder than it sounds. Unlike some other sites like Fiverr, Upwork requires freelancer accounts to complete an application after creating their account to have it activated. There are, however, a few things you can do to increase your likelihood of being accepted, and luckily for you, we’ve included these in our Upwork review.
The first is to consider what kind of freelancing you’re most interested in, and which fields are most likely to get accepted. Some fields, such as web development, are currently so overpopulated with freelancers that Upwork denies almost all applications for freelancers in these fields. By considering which fields are least saturated with freelancers, you can tailor your application in a way that makes it more likely to get accepted.
Completing some of the tests available on Upwork, especially those relevant to your prospective field, is another way of greatly increasing your chances. You should also be sure to complete the “Upwork readiness test” to show that you understand how the platform works. By proving that you’re better suited to the job than your competition, you greatly increase your chances of your application being accepted.
Finally, you should make sure you complete a great profile before filing your application. Continue reading our Upwork review to learn more about creating a great freelancer profile on Upwork.
4. How to Build a Great Seller Portfolio
If you were to take just one thing away from reading any Upwork review, it should be how to create and write compelling proposals and profiles. For this section, we’ll focus on the latter.
On Upwork, your profile IS you. A normal day on Upwork as a freelancer consists of applying for jobs. The process for applying for these jobs may be a little different to the norm, but that’s essentially what it is. Your profile is what prospective clients see you as. You should dress up your profile for applications in the same way that you’d dress up for an interview.
One of the first things clients will see from your profile is your picture. It’s going to be worth your time, and possibly money, to have a nice, professional looking photo to represent you here.
The next thing they’ll see is your ‘title’. Here you want to briefly and accurately sum up what you do. Here you should be snappy, to the point and accurate. If you were a writer who specialised in writing for blogs, something like “Freelance Blog Writer” would be a great start. This part is really pretty simple.
The next part of your profile is your ‘overview’. You’ll want to spend a bit of time on this one. Most people aren’t going to read your entire overview, however, you still need to have one for your profile to look complete. In fact, you can really impress those that do read it by having a great overview. You should keep it relatively concise, but still go into enough detail to explain who you are, your education, your experience and your skillset. Show your passion for your field in your overview.
Be sure to include any relevant past work in your portfolio. As you become more experienced on Upwork, this portfolio will become a very major part of your profile.
One last thing to note is to always, always, always use paragraphs and proofread your profile. Even if you follow every other tip found throughout this Upwork review, if your overview is just a massive wall of text, or you spell your title wrong, you’re going to really struggle to get clients. If English isn’t your first language, you should even consider hiring a native speaker to review your profile and double check for errors.
5. How to Write a Successful Proposal
Earlier in this Upwork review we likened Upwork to a series of job interviews. To continue this analogy, if your profile is you, then your proposal is your cover letter and resume. I’ve read plenty of freelancing guides before, and one thing they always seem to gloss over is the writing of proposals. This review is different. By the time you’ve finished reading this guid you’ll be generating proposals well above the average, and likely securing more contracts than you ever have.
By far the most important part of writing a successful proposal is to read the job description. Read the job description, read the description over again and take notes, and then read over your notes. You want to make sure you understand exactly what the client is looking for before you begin to write your proposal. Not all proposals fit all clients. For example, some clients love freelancers that work independently and will take the job description and just get straight into the contract. However, this isn’t necessarily always the case. Some clients prefer to stay in the loop on progress, or how things are being done.
If, in a job description, a client states that they prefer freelancers who communicate, then you should include a reference to you as a great communicator in your proposal. It is also important to take these considerations into the actual contract, never make promises you can’t keep.
Other than matching up your freelancing method to that of the client, you should also try to provide references to similar contracts in the past. Being able to provide an example of a blog post you wrote in the past is a great way to secure another job writing for a blog. Having done a good job on a similar contract in the past can be immense benefit to securing contracts.
6. Upwork Review: How to Work with Clients
Working with clients on Upwork should be simple and pleasant. Almost any Upwork review will tell you the same thing. Communication and understanding the client is key. Always make sure you understand what problem the client is trying to solve. Asking for feedback on past work and aiming to improve for the future is also great. By doing this you increase your chances of getting further work with that client.
Overall, be sure to be polite and to do everything you can to make sure you satisfy your client’s requirements. On Upwork, reviews and feedback are incredibly important.
7. Three Strategies to Increase Your Freelance Business
Another thing I often see other Upwork guides miss is how to scale your business. In this Upwork review, we will cover three strategies to increase your revenue freelancing on Upwork.
Take Lower Paying Jobs When First Starting
Upwork is extremely competitive and a lot of it is based on past client feedback. By taking a few cheaper jobs at the start, and doing a great job on them, you can immensely increase your chances of being hired for better jobs in the future.
Ensure That You Use Your Time Efficiently
After you’ve got a few good reviews you should rethink your options. Instead of taking easier to get but lower paying jobs, it might now be worth searching for longer to find higher paying jobs. Usually, as you become more experienced, you should spend slightly more time looking for jobs to secure better contracts. This doesn’t work, however, if you don’t follow the first strategy of our Upwork review. Writers with no experience will almost never be able to secure these
Configure Job Searches Appropriately
Browse your searches regularly and make sure that they are looking for the right jobs. A great way to find the better jobs on Upwork is to check up on these searches regularly for any jobs that are especially well paid or relevant to you. A brief scroll through your saved searches every few hours can mean the difference between securing a lucrative contract or not.
By employing these three strategies with the other tips listed in this Upwork review you will be able to easily and reliably increase your revenue.
8. Five Things You Should ALWAYS DO in Upwork:
This Upwork review was written to give you an outline of what you should and shouldn’t do on Upwork. After reading this Upwork review, you should be able to efficiently use the platform to generate revenue as a freelancer. Here are some final suggestions outlining what you should do on Upwork:
- Ask the client to provide feedback. As this Upwork review has covered above, past feedback is key on sites like Upwork and is often one of the main metrics used to compare your proposal to that of other freelancers. At the end of a successful project, consider asking your client for feedback on your work. Do, however, note that asking for specific ratings or feedback is against the Upwork Terms of Service.
- Build a portfolio. Along with feedback, your previous portfolio is another part of your proposal that clients take very seriously. Therefore, you should, too. Spending some time at the beginning of your freelancing career building a portfolio can be beneficial in the long term. You can learn more about this in the above section of this Upwork review on strategies to increase your freelance business.
- Create and regularly browse custom searches. By doing this you’re giving yourself the best possible chance you can that you’ll spot that extremely relevant or well-paying job you might otherwise miss. This is also covered in more detail in the above section of our Upwork review.
- Tailor your proposals to the job description. Writing good proposals can be helpful, but writing great proposals that are tailored to each job description can be incredibly helpful. Read more about this in the section on writing a successful proposal, found above in our Upwork review.
- Communicate effectively and politely. Clients are busy, that’s why they’re hiring you and many will appreciate it if you attempt to save them time with communications. That being said, regardless of how busy they are, all clients appreciate polite freelancers.
9. Five Things You Should NEVER DO in Upwork:
With all this considered, this Upwork review is also about helping you to not make the same mistakes as many other freelancers. Here are five things you should never do on Upwork:
- Never take conversations to skype. Clients requesting to move conversations to skype are often attempting to scam you more easily by leaving Upwork’s monitored channels. Be very hesitant trusting any client that immediately wants to take the conversation elsewhere.
- Never work for free. Some clients will request specific samples of your work, and then simply use these samples, never contacting you again. Working for free on Upwork should be avoided as it is, almost always, just a waste of your time.
- Never lose your temper. Some clients are hard, even impossible, but you should never lose your temper with a client. Even a bad one. It doesn’t help the situation, and only serves to worsen the feedback that they may pass on. Politeness and understanding can often save even the worst projects. Consider reading the section on why you should sell on Upwork. This can be found above in our Upwork review, for advice on avoiding bad clients in the first place.
- Never over-promise. A sure way to receive poor feedback is to over-promise and under-deliver on projects. Be honest with your abilities. It is generally better to lose one client than to do a bad job and lose multiple in the future.
- Never undersell yourself. With a bit of experience and some good feedback, you should be focusing on trying to secure higher paying contracts. Many freelancers become quickly frustrated here as higher paying contracts are harder to win. However, with some experience and by following the above tips in our Upwork review, focusing on better contracts can be extremely more profitable (and much less emotionally draining) than underselling yourself on beginning contracts.