How to Stand Out from the Competition on Upwork


One of the most common reasons that people say they're not bidding on Upwork or doing so consistently is because they're worried about the competition. They psyche themselves out that there are plenty of other talented freelancers on Upwork who are likely to snap up the business.

In general, this concept is right.

You are competing against other freelancers on Upwork and you need to be prepared to show how you are unique or better positioned to complete the job than they are. If you psyche yourself out and allow yourself to believe that there are many other freelancers who will jump in and grab the business, you're absolutely right.

Prepare to Compete

In a sense, Upwork is a 'dog eat dog' world, however, every single person on Upwork starts without a profile, positive client feedback or experience working on the platform. That doesn't prohibit you from landing business on Upwork. It just means you have to think a little bit more strategically about how you're going to stand out from the competition.

Standing out from the competition is much easier when you know what it is you bring to the table that's different from others. While other freelancers may be able to promise a cheaper price or a faster turnaround time, perhaps your unique value proposition is your expertise.

You must be prepared to compete against other freelancers on Upwork in a way that shows your individual characteristics that make you the right choice.

Not every client on Upwork is going to be the right one for you. Perhaps if you don't want to compete on price, it's not even worth bidding on those jobs where the client is truly just looking for bottom dollar rates. You need to look for clues in the client's proposal to tell whether or not it's the right fit for you.

There are several ways that you can stand out from the competition on Upwork and you need to identify your individual leverage first.

Some of the ways to stand out include:

  • By offering the lowest price.

  • By offering the fastest turnaround.

  • By the high quality of your work samples which demonstrate expertise.

  • By the length of time that you have spent in a particular field related to the job at hand.

  • By the individual results you've been able to achieve with that particular item such as conversions you've been able to achieve with Facebook ads, if you're a Facebook ads specialist.

  • Profile feedback from other clients who are thrilled with your work.

  • Jobs you've had with big name brands or of substantial value (for example, I use the fact that I landed a $50,000 book editing job years ago as a tool to open the door with other clients. Someone who's willing to throw around that much money to a freelancer likely only does so with a professional. Never underestimate how much someone else's decision to hire you could influence future clients to work with you.)

  • Industry certifications or unique educational opportunities.

  • Previous individuals you've worked with directly who have mentored you in this area.

  • The finesse that you bring to the table that is different from other freelancers (for example, I used to share that as a native English speaker who had taught English as an educator, that I would be able to produce higher quality materials than someone who did not speak English as a native language).

There are many more examples of ways to stand out from the competition on Upwork but you have to know yourself well.

As a freelancer, knowing yourself contributes to overall confidence and your ability to close the deal. So spend some time thinking about what other people have had to say about you or your unique value proposition that can help you land more freelance business on Upwork.

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