10 things you need to know before freelancing with upwork

One of the ways you can reduce debt and start building wealth is to increase your income. There are many ways to go about doing this, for example freelancing with Upwork. I heard about Upwork through a friend of mine and I’m so glad I did. It has led to so many great career and networking opportunities for me and I’m pleased to share some of my tips with you.

Are you a freelancer? Then you need these 10 Upwork tips. These Upwork tips will help you land your very first job on Upwork.

Getting started.

  1. Your profile is your first impression. Ensure your profile is complete before you start applying to jobs. You’ll need a photograph of yourself and preferably a link to your LinkedIn page, website or other portfolio. You’ll also want to take a few of the Upwork skills tests to boost your credentials.

  2. Be prepared to start with low offers. My very first job on Upwork involved transcribing audio clips. It was painfully boring and the pay was low. However, it allowed me to gain some job experience on my profile. Within a few weeks, I started getting more interviews and better offers. At that point, I was able to end my contract with the transcription company and move on to other opportunities. 

  3. Be selective with the jobs you choose and the clients you work for. Personally, whenever I search for jobs via Upwork, I filter by Verified accounts and those that have hired before. I am also careful to read the reviews that past freelancers have left for clients. You can usually tell right away the difference between some one who is being vindictive versus honest in their feedback about the client.

  4. Dress up for your interview. Some clients will want to interview you via Skype, Zoom or some other video conferencing software. Treat it just like you would a “regular job interview.” I would also recommend doing a test call with a friend or family member especially if you haven't done video conferencing in the past. Be sure that your background looks neat and the lighting is good. No potential client wants to see loads of clutter in your background.

Understanding the structure and how much you'll earn.

  1. Be wary of “fixed price” gigs. These types of contracts can be hit or miss depending on how fast you can complete your deliverables. You'll come out ahead if you're able to finish the tasks quickly but you won't get paid extra if the assignment takes you two times longer than expected.

  2. Upwork is watching. Hourly contracts will take screenshots of your computer every ten minutes. Just a heads up about this one! Since most everyone on Upwork is working remotely, the screen shot is basically the client’s way of monitoring that you are working on what you were hired for.  

  3. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. Whenever you finish working with a client -- provided everything went well -- be sure to ask them to leave feedback on your profile. Remember they can only provide feedback once the contract has ended.

  4. Upwork charges a pretty big fee for new contracts. When I first started out, there was a flat fee of 10%. They've since changed to a sliding fee structure which is pretty steep when you're just starting out:

    • 20% for the first $500 you bill a client across all contracts with them
    • 10% for total billings with a client between $500.01 and $10,000
    • 5% for total billings with a client that exceed $10,000

Bonus tips.

  • Don’t take it personally. It took me several weeks of applying consistently before I got my first interview. I’ve heard of others who tried for 2-3 months before scoring impressive contracts. I’ve applied to dozens of jobs on Upwork and have only been accepted for a handful and that’s okay. In my case, 2 of these turned into long-term contracts!

  • Build up your arsenal of skills. Apart from earning some extra dough, you can learn skills that you had little to no experience in before. In my case, I learned that I could become a much more versatile writer through some of the tasks I've completed on Upwork. 

Overall, my experience on Upwork has been a positive one and I would encourage anyone interested in making extra income to check it out.