You are just starting on Upwork Freelancer, or maybe you’re not, but you’re still struggling to get more jobs. It’s probably because you’re making at least one of these five mistakes that I keep seeing people make again and again. if you want to know more about how to get more jobs on Upwork, and really, what’s keeping you away from being more successful on the platform.
1- Niching down
I cannot stress this enough. Niching down is key. If you advertise your services as too generic, you are going to blend in and it is going to be very, very hard for you to stand out for any of the jobs that you bid for, or for any employers or customers, that are looking to hire freelance talent, because you could very easily be spotted by somebody and invited to apply to a job if your profile really stands out, but unless you niche down and you make it very, very specific on what is it that you do and what pain point and what customer needs you’re serving or you’re solving, you will not be able to stand out.
So, what you need to do is first, in your profile, make sure that you make that very clear, but also when you apply to jobs, make sure that they are very, very aligned with your niche. For example, if you are, a video editor, and you are amazing at what you do, I would suggest that you pick a niche, or you look back at the kind of work that you’ve been doing, and you try and niche down. It could be that you are very good and you specialize in education video, or animation videos, or action videos or tutorials, but you need to pick your niche and the narrower you can go, the better, because then you will be able to really address a very clear customer profile, and with that, you will be able to really understand them and serve their true need.
There are a couple of important things. Number one, make sure that whatever you choose to include in your portfolio not only is really your best quality but also very, very specific to your niche. First, you want to make sure that whatever you choose to include is top-notch, you’re best, best, best quality work, because some people seem to feel that they want to include everything to kind of show how much they’ve worked in this space. what that does, it just shows average work. What you want to do is really pick those two or three things that are so, so great quality that your future customer will click on them, make it very specific to your niche.
So, let’s come back to the example of the video editor. You do not need to include in your portfolio other types of videos you’ve edited other than the ones that are very specific to your niche, so if you are niching down on animation videos, you only should include those or if you are niching down on educational videos, you only should include those, because if you start including different bits and pieces from different types of categories, your customer will be like, “Hmm, what do they actually do ” where are they actually best at?” So it’ll just make it a lot more difficult for your customer to understand the type of services you offer and the level of expertise and quality you can offer to them.
Now also, what you want to make sure is that if you’re new to Upwork or new to this whole freelancing thing and you don’t have a lot of projects that you can include in your portfolio, you should create some. Yes, you heard me right. You should do the work and create some pieces that would be speaking to the level of quality that you can offer your customers, even if nobody asked you to do that because once you do that, you have something to showcase the work that you can do for your customer. So don’t waste the time and wait until you get your first gig to create something that you can add to your portfolio. Do that ahead of time, do the work before you start so that the customers already know what to expect when they hire you.
3- Your Testimonials
Those are so, so critical because they allow your customers to see what others say about you, what others think about your work, and really, it’s letting others promote you, so you want to make sure that you have enough really, really strong testimonials included on Upwork, and if you’re new to the platform and you don’t have a lot of jobs that you can refer your new potential customers to in order to get that feedback, then make sure that you either bring testimonials from other platforms that you might’ve worked on or if you’re completely new to freelancing, make sure you screenshot different types of feedback or testimonials that you would’ve received in your corporate job or any other type of job that you would’ve had before.
Even if you are a student or you’ve just graduated and you had no job before and you are going straight into freelancing, you must’ve received some feedback from your professors, your teachers, your coworkers, your teammates, somebody must’ve given you some feedback that would be relevant to your potential customer. So, make sure you bring that into the picture because they will really help you secure more jobs on Upwork. Once your customer sees what others think about you and your work, then it will be a lot easier for them to trust you as well.
4- Your Experience
I am seeing so, so many profiles on Upwork that have nothing in their past experience section. That is totally empty, and honestly, I think it’s a missed opportunity. That space is there for a reason, so why not use the real estate? It would definitely help you to tell a much better, more cohesive story about yourself and about your capabilities. So why not leverage it? No matter if you are just starting on Upwork in which case this is really critical, or if you’ve been on Upwork for a while and you already have a few projects under your belt, I think it’s important for you to take advantage of that real estate. And there are a couple of things to mention here. First, do not include everything under the sun.
You want to make sure that whatever you put in your past experience section is directly relevant to your selected niche, because unless it supports to tell that story of the value proposition you can offer to your niche, it should not be included on your profile, so obviously not included in your past experience either. Now, second of all, if you are just starting and you let’s say are a student or you have just graduated and you have not worked before, and you’re wondering what do I put there, I have no past work experience, I’m sure you do.
There are certainly some projects that you worked on in your high school years or in your college years that are relevant to your niche, to your target audience. If that is not the case, then maybe you’ve done some pro-bono work, some summer internships, or some work that you might’ve done in the past that maybe you didn’t get paid for but is still relevant to your target audience. So make sure you go ahead and include that in your past experience section, and if you don’t have any of that either, maybe you want to reconsider whether this is really your niche, or if that is still the case, maybe you want to start considering doing some of those pro-bono projects that would allow you to tell the story about how amazing you are and how you can solve that particular need of your target audience.
5- Right Proposal
which is your price. And really, I think this is a false friend. And oftentimes, getting the right price will mean making or breaking the deal, and what I mean by that is you should not always go for the lowest price, because while customers are price-sensitive, of course, and probably even more so nowadays.
you want to make sure that the price you quote also speaks about the level of quality that you are offering because if you go ahead and quote very, very low, many times customers will associate that with low quality as well. So, you want to make sure that the price you’re quoting is not too high but also not too low. You want to find the sweet spot for the level of quality of work that you’re offering and for the level of expertise that you have so your price is a very good reflection of this.
I’m not going to use the time in this blog to talk about that, because as I mentioned earlier, I’ve done a whole video where I walk you through what I think your proposal needs to include and what I think it should not include in order for you to land more jobs on Upwork, I truly hope that this was helpful and I hope it brought up some new ideas or areas where you might’ve been making some of these mistakes without even noticing.