Upwork often gets a bad rap and. in my opinion, it’s justified: a quick scroll through recent job postings shows a slew of “clients” who want a 1,000-word blog post for $5, or worse. But recently, I discovered it is actually possible to find real clients on Upwork. Here’s how I did it…and how you can, too.
First, I tweaked my Upwork account. I took a look at my profile, and made sure the copy was up-to-date, well-written, and reflected my current skills. I also verified my location. If your location is verified, you can apply to jobs that are earmarked: “Only freelancers located in the United States may apply.” These jobs are typically posted by clients who run thriving companies and they offer higher pay. The verification process is simple and immediate–just upload a photo of your driver’s license. A couple of days after I verified my location, I had three bites from genuine clients…and one of them wanted a 1,500-word article at $0.40/word.
Second, I changed up the way I write my cover letter. Before applying to a job posting, I scroll through feedback from other freelancers to see if I can find the client’s name so I can get their attention at the beginning of the cover letter. I make sure I match the tone of my cover letter to the tone of the job posting. One client mentioned over the phone how much she’d loved my cover letter. “It was so fun and full of personality…and we’re a fun company!” I also try to say something that establishes my credibility. For instance: “I love that you’re adding a blog to your website. As you know, companies with blogs have a much higher conversion rate than companies without.”
Third, I carefully choose the jobs I apply for. Some “red flags” you may find in job postings are:
- The client’s payment method isn’t verified
- Past freelancers have left bad reviews
- The job posting is rambling and it’s unclear what the work will actually consist of
I also changed my mindset. Upwork is not my entire income. It’s not even half of it. That means I only spend my valuable time applying to jobs that match my rates and skill sets. I remind myself that I’m not a desperate freelancer. Instead, I’m a professional and an often fully-booked one. Now, I take a quality over quantity approach to Upwork job applications.
Today, I was on the phone with a client from Upwork, and she asked if $60 an hour was my going rate. I said yes and she accepted that without batting an eye. When I have a slow week, it’s nice to know that Upwork is always there, and it’s easy to hop on and find some fill-in money while I wait for things to pick back up.
By getting your location verified, being a little more creative in your cover letter, and being selective in which jobs you choose, you, too, can boost your income potential on Upwork.
Do you have any “hacks” that can make you more money on freelance job sites? Please add your comments below!
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Hailey Hudson is a full-time freelance fitness, music, and education writer based out of Atlanta. She is available for hire. Learn more at her website, The Hardworking Creative.
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