10 Easy Steps To Become a Successful Freelancer on Upwork

10 Easy Steps To Become a Successful Freelancer on Upwork

I read many articles focused on the negatives of Upwork, while I agree that there are some negatives to the platform, there are also many positives.

What is Upwork?

Now, for those who didn’t know about Upwork, it’s the largest freelance site in the world. That’s what made me curious when I read other articles from people who said they were unsuccessful.

Maybe it’s how they’re being enforced and not a website bug.

You can create a profile, search and apply for jobs, and of course, earn money with Upwork. It works for both skilled and unskilled professionals. If anything about Upwork is extremely diverse in terms of the roles you can find on the site, it will come in handy for any freelancer.

How does Upwork work for freelancers?

Start by creating a profile, here: Continue with the general steps that anyone would follow to create accounts and profiles.

You will need to verify your profile via video call and provide a valid ID. This is a recent feature introduced to weed out scammers and people using multiple profiles.

Once everything is set up, you will be prompted to enter your tax information, which will be different depending on the country you reside in.

That is all!

Now you can start applying for jobs. When applying for jobs, Upwork uses something called “Connections”, which are basically digital tokens that are used to submit a job proposal that you want to apply for.

Before it cost 2 connections to make a proposal and you would receive 60 connections per month in the basic plan (free). The Plus account offers 70 connections but enables 40 a month, although it costs US$10 a month.

As of May (supposedly), Upwork has changed its policies and will no longer be free to receive connections. See the table below for changes.

10 easy steps to become a successful freelancer on Upwork

Although I do not agree with this, at the same time I understand that it will eliminate time wasters and fraud. So I also support at the same time, it’s still a relatively low price to pay.

After finding a job to apply for, write your “cover letter,” choose your rate, answer any questions in the post, and click submit.

You will not hear anything or the hired person will contact you to discuss, interview or just hire you. It is easy. You can filter jobs by location, skill set, and keywords.

Once you start working on a project, you will be paid for an entire project or milestone, which is usually for one-time jobs.

Or you will need to use the desktop tracker. The desktop tracker logs the time you press “on” and is now officially working. A general tip for you, this timer also records screenshots, between 4 and 9 per hour, and continuously records your key activity.

So if you think you can log in and watch Netflix, you’ll be caught.

Make sure you understand that Upwork charges fees and VAT on the amount you earn. See rates below. As for the VAT rate, it depends on different factors and you should check with Upwork about it.

10 easy steps to become a successful freelancer on Upwork

What is the best way to get hired on Upwork?

Now the important part. I read articles where many people complain about fraud and never get contacted when applying for a job. I think it depends on the individual, not the platform.

In life, you can blame a lot of people and wallow in self-pity, or you can stand up and say, ‘Listen, I have to be responsible for myself.

Howard Schultz

Step #1 Your profile matters

Let me put it this way: You wouldn’t go on a dating site and message someone without a photo, even if they say it’s Chris Hemsworth or Margot Robbie, right? If you answered yes to that, it’s concerning.

Your profile is basically your resume and that’s exactly how you should treat it. Take a professional photo to use as your profile picture. I’ve seen profile pictures with a plant or a cat, that’s a no-no.

You also have the option to add items to your portfolio, which is obviously not necessary unless you’re creating logos or need to show off your skills in some way.

Step no. #2 SEO Up

On Upwork, clients can also invite you to apply for a job. When they do that, they search Upwork for the desired skill; therefore, you need to maximize your profile to appear in search.

Just because it’s not a search engine doesn’t mean you don’t have to optimize text on the platform, it just applies to any website you use. Don’t waste time listing skills you don’t have or you’ll get invited to jobs you can’t do.

Step #3 Don’t mess around with anything after page 2

When searching for a job, unless you stand out with a broad skill set, you should never go past the second page of results. Instead, go back to page one and refresh. Let me explain why.

There are hundreds of candidates from various countries who will apply for jobs that don’t really require a lot of skills, even if they can’t. Therefore, after about 15-30 minutes, jobs will have so many applicants that they can be overwhelming for the employer.

After someone posts a job, they usually stick around for 10-15 minutes to check that everything is working, or if they want, they’ll hire you quickly. Therefore, it is vital to be one of the first to apply.

Step #4 Use extras on your profile

Your Upwork profile plays an important role in your job applications and also when clients search for candidates (which is why SEO is important here).

In the last 4-5 months, Upwork has added some new features to your profile, which can be extremely useful.

You can now create a “specialized profile” that allows you to focus on specific skills separately, rather than all in one.

This means that when a client searches for freelancers, you will appear in that specialized profile.

10 easy steps to become a successful freelancer on Upwork

This allows you to add a personalized portfolio and specific details related to your skill so that the client can easily assess your profile. Make sure you fill in everything in detail and focus only on the skills you are really good at.

The other section that has been added is the “popular projects” tab. This tab allows you to detail a custom project that you can offer and set a specific price for that project. This is more beneficial for customers as they can view your profile and see a specific service you offer.

You should highlight three of your best projects, something like “create a 500-word blog post” or the project that you know you can do easily and that is the most requested.

So don’t put something like “create a custom app that filters blue M&M’s from other colors” because, as cool as it is, there’s probably no one in the world looking for it.

Step #5 Write an amazing cover letter

10 easy steps to become a successful freelancer on Upwork

If you think that because they have a profile, the person hired wants a two-sentence cover letter, you are wrong.

It is here that many people are disappointed. The cover letter is your opportunity to show that you are better than the competition.

Although this may seem contradictory, you should also go straight to the point, avoiding fluff. This is especially applicable to short-term or one-time projects.

Employers don’t want to read about your background and why you’d be a good addition to the team. They want to know that you can get the job done.

how to write an effective cover letter for upwork

  • Introduction: One or two sentences explaining your current position and how long you have been doing it.
  • What are you good at: This is your chance to showcase, write two to three sentences about successful projects, jobs, or anything else relevant to the job you’re applying for.
  • Tell them you can do the job: the person hired wants to know that you are confident that they can complete the task you want. Write a sentence or two with confidence and explain how you will do it.
  • End with an action plan: Write something like “Contact me to talk more about my skills.” This encourages the person hired to know more about you.

Step #6 Do not do free trials

There are people who will text you before offering you a contract, asking you to complete a quick test and they will hire you if your work is better than the rest.

Just don’t do it.

Unless you get paid for the evaluation, don’t do any work for free. Think about it: If the person you hire has 100 candidates and you get 70 of them to do free trials, you could practically get the job without hiring anyone. No matter how legitimate the person seems, don’t do anything for free, believe me.

Step #7 Communication is key

Before being hired for a contract, it may be necessary to speak with the client, either through messages on Upwork or through a video interview.

You must treat this in a professional manner and maintain a business tone at all times.

Employers call me “colleague” and “friend”. I will continue to respond in a business manner to maintain a professional image.

Try to respond to messages in a timely manner. Demanding employers want to hire quickly, and if you take a day to respond, that job is likely to end.

You should also discuss with the employer the requirements and what they expect to be done. Especially if there is something you are not sure about in the contract. Don’t be afraid to ask, it’s better than making mistakes.

Step #8 Double check the contract

The contract can be changed from when you request it and when you receive the offer. As with any contract in life, read the offer carefully and make sure the rate you agreed to is the same. This is really obvious.

Step #9 Don’t give up

You can apply for 10 jobs before getting a response of 1. But what you hear may mean you’re employed next year. This applies to anything in life and not just Upwork, never give up.

Permanence, perseverance and perseverance despite all obstacles, discouragements and impossibilities: This is what in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.

Thomas Carlyle

Step #10 Hard work pays off

You may think that because you’re working from home, you can relax and do things at your own pace. Get that thought out of your mind.

If you agree to a project completion date with a client, complete that project the day before and submit it.

A successful project can always lead to more projects from that employer or a 5 star review which will look good when you apply for your next job.

Work hard on all the tasks you do, because you never know what opportunities it will lead to; This is not a date, I just made it up.

I started writing for a company and within 2 months they were satisfied with my work, increased my hourly rate and was managing a team of 4 freelancers.

After that, the company helps me develop in other areas and pays me to complete other tasks.

I know people may have had bad experiences on sites like Upwork, but there are positives to take. I think with any bad experience, there is 95% misunderstanding or lack of knowledge.

Do not hesitate to ask any questions.

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