Freelance Success on Upwork

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I have heard from many freelancers who feel that finding good paying gigs on Upwork is an uphill climb. Interestingly, my story has been quite different as I have found that Upwork has been instrumental in my ability to generate a consistent pipeline of business leads. Today’s video will focus on two elements that will help you achieve success on the platform. 

You can also click the button below to download a FREE, detailed guide on how to:

  1. develop a consistent marketing plan to get your profile noticed

  2. determine if a client is a good fit for you, and

  3. create a profile that stands out from the crowd.

Full transcript:

Hey everybody! Today, I want to talk about freelance success on Upwork, how to get it, what that really looks like and what it means to really be consistently successful on Upwork. There's a number of different reasons that you want to do this in the first place. Having a pipeline of leads is super important and Upwork is a great place to land business from, and I know I'm super controversial in the freelance world for saying that but Upwork has been instrumental in my success and I love teaching people how to use the platform appropriately because it is different from other approaches to freelance marketing.

But freelance success on Upwork begins with a realization that you're going to be using this as a pipeline for your leads. And so, everything about you needs to be packaged appropriately to project that to clients.

That means you need to be prepared to have the best pitch sent down there, to have competitive work samples that stand head and shoulders above the crowd. That's even more important when you're first getting started on Upwork and you don't have feedback from other clients to rely on. You have to differentiate yourself in some way from all the other people bidding on this job.

Now this is different from if you were to attend a networking meeting and perhaps you're the only freelance writer or virtual assistant there sharing your services. That is a completely different situation because there's no one you're competing against directly. That potential client may go and get quotes from other people but 9 times out of 10, they're talking to you specifically and interested in learning about you.

On Upwork, it's different. You're competing against dozens or maybe even hundreds of other people. So how are you going to stand out? Your pitch and your samples are the way to do that and you can't compete if they are not good. I don't care who you are, if your samples of your work and your pitch are sub-par on Upwork, you're not getting any responses from clients. So, if you're the type of person who says, "I've been bidding and bidding and bidding and I get no response!" - there's something wrong with your pitch. There's no two ways around it. You've got something wrong with your samples or your pitch or both.

And a lot of times I'll see people who really have all the goods but they're missing something in their process and they're not able to tweak it just right on their own. But we fix it, we fix the pitch and we fix the samples, we go on with a new strategy and these people are landing business within 48 hours or less. It really is that simple most of the time and it's so unfortunate because I hate to see freelancers who are not putting their best foot forward and then they're not really able to figure out why that's costing them business; why they're getting declined or why they're not hearing a response at all, which I personally think is worse because when you're hearing nothing from a potential client, you don't know what you're doing wrong but you're definitely doing something wrong.

Now it could be also that you're way too expensive or even that you've underpriced your services and so the client isn't comfortable reaching out to you. But that's very much the exception. The rule is usually that there’s something wrong with the samples or the pitch.

I have looked at hundreds; I mean, 500-600 applications people have sent in on Upwork in the last several years on projects where I have served as the project or content manager. It is almost always the pitch or the samples. And I've shared in previous videos, even the email samples I've gotten as a project manager are often low quality. It's simply that low quality work, it's not a good pitch, there are spelling and grammar mistakes in the writing samples or in the email.

Your client is not responding to you. They are busy and they don't have time to write back to every individual person and say what you did wrong. So, I can't talk to you about any of the other things to do with Upwork - how to find the right jobs, how to tell whether someone is an ideal client, how to ask for feedback, how to build your portfolio - until you have an amazing pitch and amazing samples to show your work.

If you spend any time on building your freelance business and you want to be successful on Upwork, it's those two things. Nothing else. Not a fancy website. Not reaching out to people on LinkedIn. Not contacting your old college roommate who has a successful business now. You shouldn't be doing any of those things until you have the pitch and the samples to back up what you're claiming about yourself because you have the potential to blow it.

You could reach out to these connections you've been saving, send a subpar sample, send a pitch that's really unclear about what you do for people and then the client never responds. And you've blown your opportunity. So, invest the time in writing an excellent pitch, in creating amazing writing samples. They should be so good that when you share it with other people and when you have somebody proof your work; they should say, "This is amazing!" Pay somebody to edit your work, pay somebody to look it over, ask a friend to do it. I am always blown away how many people have mistakes - basic grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes - in their pitch or in their samples. Why?! You are shooting yourself in the foot. The client is immediately deleting or declining your proposal.

So please please, do not consider anything else about freelance success on Upwork until you have fixed those two things, until they are amazing, until you are communicating your value and what makes you different from every single person responding.

Now I've got a free guide to success on Upwork and you can learn a lot more about how I use Upwork to generate lots of freelance cash and amazing clients.

Check that out at


Hi, I’m Laura!

You’ll find all my best advice about building a fulfilling and sustainable business here. It’s where I’ll give you all the juicy details about building a strong digital team or using project management to stay on top of tasks.

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