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I recently made the decision to “go back to work” which means I was wanting to start working more hours. While I spend most of my working hours on my own blogs, I have been wanting to help others with their websites too. That is when I decided to create an Upwork profile and start applying for freelance jobs. Here is how to land your first freelance job on Upwork.
My husband and I recently made a big decision to have me “go back to work.” I am laughing that I am even putting that phrase in quotes but I feel like I have to since many people think I am “just” a stay at home mom. I’ve always been working for myself by creating and maintaining my blogs and websites. What I mean by going back to work is that I am now adding more work hours and tasks to my plate.
I am also the childcare provider for my three kids 75% of the time, if not all of the time. Work-life balance is hard for me. Now that my youngest is almost old enough to attend preschool, I have been wanting to work more hours and really grow my personal blogging and freelance business.
How I Landed my First Freelance Job on Upwork
While blogging can definitely be a full time job, I am used to running my blogs on part time hours, since that is usually all that I have time for. My husband introduced me to Upwork which is a website for freelancers to find work. Instead of putting all of my time into my own blogs, I am trying to work on my own as well as other’s.
Upwork jobs include: content writing, blogging, web design, graphic design and my favorite one of them all – Pinterest marketing!
Setting up a Profile
Setting up your Upwork profile takes a lot of time and effort. Your profile is what potential clients see, so make sure you showcase your skills, experience and the services you offer.
Upwork has some great blog posts on their blog about creating your profile and how to navigate Upwork.
At first I didn’t have a profile video and I wasn’t really looking for work, so I just set up my profile in case someone came across it and had an opportunity for me. When I decided to go all in, I realized my profile was lacking. I used the suggestions on my Upwork account and on the sidebar to improve my profile, which included creating a one minute profile video.
I followed this tutorial on the Upwork blog and I am so glad I did! Not long after I added my profile video I landed my first Upwork job. A video really helps potential clients learn more about you and your personality.
Here is my Upwork profile video:
My video didn’t take me very long to create. I wanted to show off my authenticity while just “talking to a friend”. I feel like I succeeded. I had no idea a profile video was that big of a deal, but let me tell you, it is a very important piece.
The portfolio section of your profile is also important. I hadn’t added anything because I assumed this was for my Upwork jobs and since I hadn’t had any yet, I left it blank.
I soon realized this was a great place to showcase what work I have done, so I included links and screenshots of all of my blogs and published work. I mean, I know I am experienced but I didn’t know this was a place for showcasing my personal portfolio too.
Are you ready to start your own blog and gain experience needed for Upwork success? You must be genuine about your level of expertise when you list your skills, so make sure you have significant experience first before deciding to create an Upwork account.
Your portfolio is also a place to add in your previous Upwork jobs. Once you complete jobs, be sure to ask your clients if it is ok for you to share the work you did for them. If you have their permission, be sure to add this to your portfolio.
In addition to your general profile, you can add up to two specialized profiles. This is a great place to go more in depth about specific skills, your experience and related projects. For now, I’ve added content writing and search engine optimization as my specialized profiles. Other examples include social media marketing or copywriting.
Upwork Pay Rate
When you set your pay rate, keep in mind that Upwork deducts a 20% service fee. I actually don’t mind the fee, as Upwork offers amazing customer service and protection to ensure all jobs run smoothly for both the freelancer and the client.
Upwork also keeps track of the work you are doing when you are “on the clock” and logging hours. They will take screenshots of your work every few minutes or so to add to your work diary. This shows clients you are in fact working when you say you are and they can see how you are coming along with your current projects.
Think of it kind of like eBay, where buyers and sellers have certain protection but are also charged fees for using their service.
Land your first freelance job on Upwork with your pay rate in mind and always remember that 20% fee when you place bids for jobs.
Verify Your Identity
Verifying your identity is also important to land your first freelance job on Upwork. Upwork will soon be making this a mandatory task to complete in order to land jobs. This two step process includes uploading a picture of your ID and also video chatting with a representative to verify your identity.
How to Land Your First Freelance Job on Upwork
First and foremost, you need to write a proposal for each job you apply for. At first, I had no idea what I should include in my proposal because when I went to submit one, it showed a section for a cover letter and sometimes had other questions to answer from the client.
The cover letter portion of the proposal really isn’t as daunting or intimidating as it sounds. Once I realized how simple it was to create and submit my first proposal, it has gotten a lot easier to write them.
I came across this blog post about how to write a proposal on Upwork and really liked it! Michael is adamant about not copy-pasting your proposals, but rather using the same template for each proposal and personalizing it for each given job.
Since I implemented his proposal template, I have already applied for eight jobs and have had a few interviews so far. After my second interview, I landed my first freelance job on Upwork!
Do not get discouraged if you do not hear back from anyone right away. You will probably apply for a handful of jobs before you get your first interview or interested client.
With all the above suggestions, I think you will be able to land your first Upwork job too.