UpWork is the first place freelancers come when they’re looking for an online job. I can definitely relate to that. When I wanted to freelance online, from all the places, I started on UpWork.
When I first started, UpWork was the first place that showed in search results that would point me to the “dream” of landing my first online job.
I must admit I’ve searched for a lot of other websites that could point me to “more opportunities”. I was wrong.
“Maybe, if I gather all these websites I can land more jobs, huh?”. What a brilliant plan. Except it was not.
I had a belief that the perfect opportunity was always onto the “next” thing. I was searching for jobs on UpWork and telling me I would never be able to get a decent job there. “Maybe on another website”.
Truth is: I lacked focus. And it harmed me A LOT at the beginning. Thank god I changed that.
First of all, let me begin by saying that I’m not saying UpWork is the best place for landing gigs and you can definitely use these techniques at any website you want. However, you should be focused and try not to jump from strategy to strategy.
The strategies I’m going to outline here are strategies I’ve learned along my journey that really made me understood how clients look for employees and what you can do to get inside your employer’s mind and close the best deals of your life.
A Brief Story
When I started on UpWork I had ZERO experience.
And when I mean ZERO experience I mean it for real.
When I started searching for a job on UpWork I had no previous experience and I kind of freaked out.
How was I going to be able to get a job without even working before? How was I supposed to compete with hundreds of experienced freelancers?
I really thought about quitting but I just kept going. I had to figure out a way to get a job without experience, at least to get started.
So, I started looking for lots of strategies I could implement that would help me land my first job on UpWork. And, after that, I would be able to close more gigs than I was able to when I had no previous experience.
Now, I’m On Both Sides. But business has been growing since then and I was able to wear both the employee and the employer’s hat. I’ve used UpWork to hire people whenever I needed, so I also watched how things work on the other side.
Being on both places, especially wearing an employer’s hat, gave me some pretty good insights about what employers really look for when they’re hiring.
What Really Matters?
Before we dive into the REAL strategies for landing the perfect job on UpWork, there are some stuff I want to say first.
As employees, we believe that technical skills are the only things that matters. A shock to us when we discover that this is not true.
Technical skills do matter, but this is definitely not the only thing your employer will look like when they’re looking to hire someone.
When I needed to hire a person to work for me I did look for technical skills, but what really made me close the deal was the whole package.
I would go further and say that the this was the list I had in my minds when I was looking for someone to hire:
4- Technical Skills
5- Previous Experience
Fortunately, I had a mentor in my life that taught me A LOT about the hiring process. And he said that he could teach someone technical skills, but he couldn’t teach someone the “Mommy Skills”.
Basically, work ethics do matter in a big way most people don’t even imagine.
One of an employer’s biggest fears is hiring someone that they feel it won’t work. The hiring process is a complicated one.
You’re looking for a person that will work in the company you’re trying to build. You definitely want someone that can make it work. Someone that is committed. Someone that will be able to meet deadlines, will not do ghosting with you.
This was definitely an X-factor when it came to picking the right candidate for me.
So, have that in mind when applying for new jobs. Your employer wants someone who will stick with him and make the company (or project) grow.
Said that, let’s dive right into the strategies you can use to close the perfect deal on UpWork.
1- Build Trust
2- Earn The Client In The First Line
3- Sell Yourself
4- Build A Good Reputation
5- Build a Good Technical Reputation
One of my greatest fears, when I was searching for a person to hire, was to find someone in which I couldn’t trust.
From all of people that have sent me proposals, I always questioned myself “Can I trust this person?”, “Will this person do the job correctly and not overbill me?” or “Will this person commit to its assignments?”.
Hiring a person to work for you is a HUGE process. It takes time, it takes commitment and your employer hopes that everything goes right. This is why one of the biggest factors that comes into play when hiring a new person is making sure he will, at least, commit to the job.
Imagine how much time he would have to spend again when searching and training a new employee or freelancer. This is definitely something they want to avoid.
So, when applying to jobs on UpWork (or any other place) make sure to build trust the best you can. Write a quick paragraph and showcase some previous works or make sure you’ll build a no-lose situation for your client.
Earn The Client On The First Line
I can’t say people haven’t warned me before about that. I’ve done several courses on negotiation, especially on UpWork and people always said that the best way to earn a client would be by earning the client on the first line.
However, I could only feel that it was really true once I could experience that.
First of all, it all comes down to UpWork’s website design. This is how a client sees your proposals:
This is everything your client will see before he decided to open your proposal and read everything you’ve written for him.
You need to make impact on this first line. This will be your first chance of impressing your client.
Don’t be afraid to sell yourself. But know how to do it.
One of the best ways to sell yourself when writing UpWork proposals is to always write what is relevant to the job.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve invented a new rocket that will discover water in mars (although, in this case, this might be a good idea) if you’re applying for a video editor position.
We tend to believe that showcasing everything that we’ve done might make a good impression for our client. But it won’t. It definitely won’t.
Writing about ALL you’ve done, especially if it’s not related to the actual job, will only make you look desperate. And inexperienced.
Let’s say you’ve been accused of murder and now you’ll need a lawyer to show that you are innocent. Which kind of lawyer would you prefer? A real estate lawyer or a criminal defense lawyer. Guess you got the point.
Build A Good Reputation
Good reputation is a must when searching for jobs on UpWork, especially the ones that really matter and pays well.
Your UpWork profile should be used to showcase your previous work experiences and to build trust if clients decide to visit it.
A good reputation is what is going to make your career skyrocket. Inside or outside UpWork.
A reputation is like a track record. Is what makes people see you’re a good employee.
Do you know when you need a service and you always do a quick search on Google to check if the company does the work in the way you want?
Building a good reputation works in the same way.
You need to showcase your work out there. You need to put your name out there. Build trust. Show them how awesome you are.
If you do it right, you won’t have any problems if people want to hire you. They’ll already know that you do a good work and that you’ll commit to whatever work you’re hired for.
Build a Good Technical Reputation
So far, but not least, your technical skills do matter.
So far we’ve only been talking about soft and marketing skills. However, you can’t expect miracles if you suck at what you do. Sorry bout the words, but it’s true.
You need to build good technical skills if you want to succeed, especially in the creative world.
Use your UpWork profile to showcase the best works you’ve done. Don’t worry about quantity, but about quality.
The more impressive your work is, the better it will be.
Spend money on workshops, online courses, etc. You can’t stop learning.