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Community Member

How did you get your first customer on upwork?

Currently I'm not panicking, but it's starting to get long. I started a week ago and I still haven't had a single client.

I would like to know how it was for you when you started.


And if you have any advice, I'm all ears.

Community Member

Hey, Doudely,

Well, first of all a week is ... in the grand scheme of things -- nothing. It isn't even a blip -- the definition of insignificant.


I haven't looked at your profile, but the keys to success here include be confident, friendly and be crystal clear about what you are selling. People don't like to spend money if they don't know quite what they are buying, so if you're not clear, they will certainly back away.

New freelancers don't have a string of positive reviews to give the next client confidence in you. As such, you have to supply the confidence yourself, at least in the beginning. Key words: I am a successful writer who ... (successful). Or "I am a professional voiceover artist ... (professional). Or "I am a seasoned translator with five years experience who will provide you with ..." 

And so on. Be friendly, confident, crystal clear. The Internet is cluttered and distant enough by itself, so you don't want to dance around your communications here, where you expect people to part with their money for your services. 

OK, I've looked at your profile. First, you have a blue slash across your face in your photo. People want to see a professional smiling directly at the camera, not some esoteric art statement.

Second, you start of with a long paragraph making the point that you are an artist. Nobody cares about that. What are you selling? When you get around (finally) to explaining what people are buying from you, you say you are here to provide "An opportunity to launch ..."

Have you ever paid money for an opportunity??? Maybe so, but how risky is that? People want to buy a sure thing, not an opportunity to launch something. Opportunities can fail. People want guarantees.


That's from spending 10 seconds looking at your profile ... Tell people in a friendly way with great confidence what they are buying ... right away ... not after a long paragraph about your egocentric view of the world ... 

Really thank you very much Antoine. After reading your feedback I have just realized that the problem is that by wanting to look good and be smooth in communication, I have moved away from the very objective of selling myself.

Community Member

I will take your criticisms into account to rethink all of this.

Community Member

Hey Doudely, I dropped by per hour rate to $50 until I got Reviews and slowly built up to $200 which is my normal billing rate. Discount in relationship to your skills to get started and offer top value. Have a great day!

William, this is a great tactic!

Community Member

Checked out your profile. 
I agree with Anthony. First thing you need to do is change your profile pic. I'm honestly not even sure how it got past Upwork in the first place. Typically, you need a full face shot, looking into the camera. Make it something professional looking. 

Second, clients may or may not be in a hurry, per se, but nobody wants to read a 3-paragraph identity statement for a prospective freelancer. Clients don't have time for that. Tell them what you do and what you can do for them and then show them some of your successes (the portfolio). Give them an idea of your actual experience, not your philosophy of design. Clients don't care that you're an artist; they want to know you can do the job. 

Community Member

Hi Doudely,

My experience on Upwork is that it can take a significant effort to land that first job.  I have managed to cultivate many clients who are repeat customers prior to using upwork so I was a bit taken aback when I failed so many times here.

There is quite a lot of valid criticism in Anthony's remarks.  I can undersand why you would elect to have your profile photo altered to be "more artistic" and perhaps that can be an example for your "portfolio"  but most people are uncomfortable working with someone who "sees themself" as more artistic than professional.  I just read your profile as Anthony's comments compelled me to (I couldn't help myself) and I am guessing that perhaps you took his advice here.

I would like to share and suggest a valuable book to read.  Personally, I learned quite a lot from it. "Building A Story Brand" by Donald Miller.  When I read his book I learned to present my clients with a different view of my service.  The person looking for me has a "pain point" and they are the "hero" of their own story.  My purpose for them is to guide them past their trial and onward to their goal.  I have my skills and experience but to pitch that properly, the client wants to see me as a guide, not "the hero"... It's not my story, it's theirs.

Hope you find this helpful.  I'm still learning after 25 years of working as a consultant "freelancing"


Community Member

I lowered my pricing to start and explained all of my years of experience prior to Upwork. I gathered more upwork reviews of my work that way and then raised my price to a typical price. I also spent time showcasing my work on my portfolio and organized all the samples of my work that I have based on different industries that way I could send out samples that are more specific to the clients industry.

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