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According to recent statistics from Upwork, 36% of the American workforce are freelancers.
That means over 53 million people in America have established their career and are enjoying their life as a full-time freelancer.
This industry is growing along with modern technology, and you can use it to your advantage to start your own freelance business.
Building a professional career in this industry takes a lot of hard work, but platforms such as Upwork is a great place to start your freelancing career.
Upwork is one of the largest freelancing platforms in the world with over 12 million registered freelancers. In this article, you will learn how to create an impressive profile, cultivate your skills, and become a top freelancer in Upwork.
How Can Succeeding On Upwork Kickstart Your Freelancing Career?
Upwork is a very well-known freelancing platform with over 5 million registered employers that can potentially be your client.
Succeeding on this platform will kick start your freelancing career in many ways but most importantly it opens many doors if taken advantage of the opportunity.
Becoming a top-notch, highly rated freelancer in your field on Upwork naturally attracts clients as ratings build your trust with potential new clients.
You will find that many clients will be interested in your profile and will be coming after you for job offers.
Being a successful freelancer on Upwork means that you are at a point where you have gained enough knowledge and experience to feel confident within your niche, accumulated enough projects to showcase on your portfolio (both on Upwork and portfolio website) and have gained many other skills to run and manage your freelance business.
All those conquering of small steps are the path to progression of your freelance career.
Whether you want to continue pursuing your freelance career on Upwork or off it, if you did a good job with projects and clients, you are most likely a go-to for a few clients and have enough experience to attract new clients more naturally and consistently.
Upwork is a great platform to gain experience as a beginner since there are so many opportunities for all experience levels.
The rating system on Upwork reflects your effort as projects are being rated by clients.
Provide quality service and form relationships with clients and you are on the right path to building a successful freelance career that can be translated to attracting your own clients outside of Upwork.
Repeat your success with your previous clients and you will be in demand freelancer on Upwork in no time.
Sooner or later, you will find yourself choosing from different job offers instead of sending out dozens of proposals to different clients, it is just a matter of staying consistent and working hard.
Finding Your Specific Niche
Your first step in becoming a thriving freelancer on Upwork comes down to knowing what you really want to do.
Finding a niche within your industry will give you a clear sight as to where you are heading and consequently how to achieve it.
In order to do that, you must answer the following questions:
What Are Your Skills?
Think about the technical skills you have. Are you good at graphic design, writing and editing, web development, or bookkeeping?
Whatever skill you think you are capable of doing is completely up to you, it’s just a matter of sticking to that skill, cultivating it and gaining more knowledge and experience as you go.
Finding and cultivating the right niche will make you stand out among the competing freelancers in Upwork.
What Are Your Passions?
Your passions are the things you enjoy doing, the things that light you up. Choosing passion for a job not only motivates you to perform projects better but it also is more sustainable for the long run.
For example, if you are a freelance writer with a passion for writing about sport, you are more likely to give your best doing so rather than writing about fashion.
You are the drive to your success, make sure you are setting yourself up for it.
Specializing in a niche will give you more chances to get a job in Upwork. Here’s why:
If you are a client that is looking for a graphic designer to create a design for your upcoming fantasy novel, which of the two illustrators will you choose: A graphic designer that focuses on creating fantasy art or the one that focuses on creating banners for Facebook ads?
Of course, you will hire the one who already has the expertise with fantasy arts because that is exactly what you are looking for.
Will A Client Be Willing To Pay You For It?
Once you have figured out what your passions and skills are, it is time to consider if you can find a job that will let you do those things.
The best job you can ever get lies in the area where your passion and skills overlap.
Being able to find exactly what you can do for a long time and be paid for it, will be your key to become a successful freelancer.
Building Your Skills
One of the most important aspects needed to be a successful freelancer on Upwork is offering a valuable skill.
At the end of the day clients are paying for your skills, expertise and knowledge so getting this right will be a good start to paving your progression.
Start Off With Your Previous Experiences
It will be easier to start with the skills you already got paid for, regardless if it was part-time or full-time.
If an employer agreed to pay you for it, it means you deliver quality work in that field. You can use it as a leverage to start a freelance business.
Take Online Courses And Certifications
It is never too late to gain additional knowledge in the skill you want to build. With the rise of modern technology, you are provided with limitless resources to help expand your skills.
Since the services provided as a freelancer are based on your skills, it is crucial not to overlook the importance of investing in yourself and essentially your business.
To get you started, here are some of the best trusted online training websites for freelancers:
Once you have the right skills and knowledge for the job you want, the next step you should do is to put it into practice.
You can accept small projects to work on before looking for major projects from bigger clients. That way, you will be able to cultivate your skills from lowkey projects and work your way up.
Learn From The Best Freelancers
You can start by learning what the highest-paid freelancers in Upwork do.
It is as basic as looking at what other freelancers in your field on Upwork are doing. What does their portfolio look like and what are clients rating them for.
Another good way is to research other freelancers on Upwork, if they are succeeding on the platform they must be doing something right.
Building A Strong Account
In order to make all this happen the next step in your journey is creating your account on Upwork.
Your goal is to build a strong account that showcases your skills and experiences in order to be approved by Upwork but also attract potential clients.
Treat your account like your business card, your profile could be a make or break for you landing a job instead of another freelancer.
Here are some tips you need to know when creating your account:
1. Know The Skillset Needed For The Role You Wish To Apply For
At this point you will have an idea on what you want to do as a freelancer. Once you have a goal in mind, you can do some research on what skills will be needed for the job.
Pick a specialty or a specific skill set and add those skills in your profile.
That way, your future clients will easily find you when they search for a freelancer with that same specific skill.
2. Include Detailed Information About Education
It is important to put all details of your education to your profile.
You must include all the projects you did in school as well as the training you have attended. Add all the skills you can provide so that you will have a strong and established profile.
3. Provide Details About Your Previous Experience
It doesn’t matter if you have no experience in freelancing, adding all of your employment details will give an edge to your profile.
You can be creative with your past experiences and make it relevant to the job you wish to apply for as a freelancer.
Creating An Impressive Profile
In order to create an impressive profile, you should treat it as your resume.
Keep in mind that your profile will be the first thing your future clients will see, and it is really important to set up an eye-catching profile that will stand out among your competitors. Every impressive profile includes:
Choose A Great Profile Picture
Upwork provides a specific set of guidelines on how to choose a profile picture.
You should have a clear picture with a plain background so your clients will see you clearly.
Write A Concise Summary Of Your Profile
Write a short description about yourself and what kind of services you offer.
Be direct to the point and clear about your pitch, this short summary of your profile will provide a glimpse of your personality.
Include the details of your educational background because so that your future clients will know the depth of your capability as a freelancer.
There can be some skills you will forget to include in your profile that will be highlighted in your educational background.
This is one of the most important things to highlight in your profile.
Try to be detailed in listing down all of your experiences and employment history in the past. No experience can be too small and irrelevant when it comes to building an impressive profile
Add Skill Tags
Linking your profile to specific keywords that highlight your skills can be helpful as you establish your presence in Upwork.
Make sure to add all the skill tags that are applicable to the job you want to have so that you will be more visible to your future clients.
Provide Relevant Items For Your Portfolio
Including your past experience and employment history is important, but it is not enough in building your profile.
You must provide proof of your skills with a portfolio.
Upload some of your best works to provide your future clients a glimpse of what you are capable of providing for their business.
Having an impressive portfolio is the key to attracting the clients you want to attract.
Let them know about your successes as a freelancer, and you will get the results you want.
Writing A Job Proposal
Once your profile is approved by Upwork, you will be given 20 free connects you can use to send your first proposals. It is important to use your connects wisely and choose the appropriate clients you are going to apply for.
Once you have used all of your free connects, the additional connects you will use to send a proposal will cost $0.15 (USD) each. You can also purchase it in bundles of 10, 20, 40, 60, and 80
Since you are given a limited number of connects, there is a possibility that you might not get your first client within the first 20 connects.
You must follow a criteria in order to create a proposal that kills.
Here are the things you need to consider when writing an effective job proposal:
Keep It Customized
Clients are used to receiving generic templates for job proposals and might reject your proposal when you send them a generic message.
Read the job description carefully and draft a message that makes your client know you understand the project.
Clients want to know why they should pick you over someone else, let them know what they will get out of choosing you, why are you the best to complete their project.
This step should not be overlooked as it could be the reason to not landing jobs.
Keep your message short and sweet, it can sometimes turn the client off when they are sent a very long message.
Focus on the important parts in your application, and keep your message to about 200 words.
Provide Links To Work Samples
Although you can put your work samples in your portfolio, it is still important to highlight your success in your job proposals.
Provide the link to some of your best works as you send your proposal so that your client will be able to check out your skills and capabilities right away.
Answer Questions From Clients
You might find job descriptions to be unnecessarily long, but keep in mind that the client wants the applicants to know that all the details about the job so try to read the whole job description to know if the client has any questions or concerns.
Answering the client’s question in the job description can be an advantage for you as it shows your attention to detail and seriousness about the job application.
Researching The Client
Aside from sending a killer job proposal, you can level up your relationship and personalize your communication by researching them (if it is a company or has an online presence of some sort).
Try to refer to them by name in order to encourage familiarity and show attention to detail.
Letting the client know you are interested in working with them will help you build a harmonious relationship with them early on.
Things To Keep In Mind On Your Journey With Upwork
When you finally do all of the above-mentioned ways of becoming a successful freelancer in Upwork, you are on your way to being a top freelancer in your field.
But before jumping into the water, here are some things you need to keep in mind:
- Once you have accepted and signed a contract for a project, don’t rush into moving away from the platform.
It is safer to stay on Upwork throughout the completion of the project in order to avoid a scam and to make sure that your client will pay you the agreed amount.
Never do free trials. Always remember that whatever you need to do for a client must be paid accordingly.
- Clear communication with the client is the key to a harmonious and long-term partnership with them.
- Clarify the expectations you have set and always stick to the deadline, this will keep your clients happy and satisfied with your work.
- Regularly update your portfolio and profile whenever you completed jobs and leveled up in your skills.
- Keep yourself informed and updated with the new trends concerning the skills or training needed in your field.
Job platforms like Upwork provide endless opportunities for remote and online jobs in many industries and it is up to you how to make the most out of this platform.
Starting a successful career as a freelancer on Upwork may not be an easy task as it requires hard work, dedication and persistence to land the first few jobs.
Many other freelancers like you have the same opportunity to start freelancing on Upwork.
However becoming in demand freelancer means you are in need of doing many things right, starting from optimizing your profile to the way you interact with your clients and complete your projects – every step is important to help you be the freelancer clients want to hire.
Starting a freelancing career on Upwork will give you the advantage of reaching and working with a pool of clients all in one platform, gaining more knowledge and experience in your specialty while also building your reputation as you complete more projects and meet client’s expectations.
Focus on creating an impressive profile and building your skills (the services you offer) to become in demand freelancer on Upwork.
Remember that patience, consistency, and discipline lead to success.
All your research and planning in becoming a freelancer will pay off. All the information you need to become successful is right here.
There are a lot of freelance success stories out there, learn from their journey, be confident in yourself and start working on your own success story now.
If they can do it, so can you.