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What Clients See on Upwork (My Tips to Stand Out)

As freelancers navigating the competitive landscape of platforms like Upwork, it's crucial to understand what clients really see and want. Here's a breakdown from the client's perspective that can help you stand out and land those coveted gigs:


Make Those First 2 Lines Count: Clients only glimpse the first two lines of your proposal before deciding whether to click "more." Avoid generic sales talk; be genuine and engaging.


Emojis ≠ Attention-Grabbers: Recently, emojis in proposals have become a trend, but they often backfire. For many clients, they're a turn-off.


Be Insightful and Focused: Most proposals are copy-paste or AI-generated. Set yourself apart by demonstrating genuine insight into the job and how you'd tackle it.


Navigate Through the Spam: The competition is fierce, with 90% of proposals being spam. Boost your visibility, but be wary of falling into the spam trap.


Focus on Understanding the Job: Instead of boasting about yourself, demonstrate your understanding of the job and how you can add value.


Ask Insightful Questions: Standing out is about engaging the client in a meaningful conversation. Ask thoughtful questions to demonstrate your interest and understanding.


Ratings and Badges Matter: Clients may not see your overall rating, but they do notice your job success percentage and hours worked. Build trust through your track record.


Beware of "Rising Star" Labels: Don't rely solely on badges like "rising star." Clients value genuine experience over flashy titles.


Show, Don't Just Tell: A good portfolio speaks volumes. Describe not just what you did but how you did it, showcasing your authenticity.


Portfolio Matters: Your Upwork portfolio is your first impression. Make it count before expecting clients to click external links.


Authenticity Trumps All: Your experience and authenticity shine through in your communication. Genuine freelancers stand out from the crowd.


Avoid Off-Site Applications: Spammy emails and off-site applications feel outdated and spammy. Stick to the platform's communication channels.


Timely Responses Matter: Prompt responses signal reliability and professionalism. Dead accounts are a common frustration for clients.


Exceed Expectations: Deliver exceptional work, and clients will keep coming back. Build long-term relationships based on trust and quality.


Offer to Connect: Suggesting a call can be a game-changer, demonstrating your commitment and professionalism.


Highlight Relevant Experience: Showcase similar work in your proposals, providing tangible evidence of your capabilities.


Set Boundaries Early: Communicate your working preferences clearly and respectfully, instilling confidence in your professionalism.


Earn Trust Before Going Hourly: Hourly contracts require trust. Prove your reliability before expecting clients to commit.


Navigate Through Scams: Clients are wary of scams. Build trust through video interviews and genuine communication.


Earnings Build Trust: Earning over $10K on the platform can significantly boost your credibility and attract more opportunities.


Use Lists in Your Bio: Lists are easier to scan than paragraphs, making your skills and experience more accessible to clients.


Timing Is Key: Be among the first to apply to maximize your chances. Clients are more likely to notice early applicants.


Boosting Isn't Always Worth It: Boosting proposals may not yield significant results, especially with fewer applicants. Invest wisely in your proposals.


Profile Picture Matters: Choose a realistic photo to assure clients of your authenticity.


Balance Your Workload: Clients pay attention to your workload. Avoid taking on too many projects to maintain quality and availability.


Avoid AI-Sounding Proposals: Clients can detect AI-generated responses. Keep your proposals genuine and human to stand out.


By understanding these insights from the client's perspective, you can tailor your approach to stand out in a sea of competition and secure valuable opportunities.


Additional Resources

Captivating Clients with Storytelling

Client Onboarding Best Practices

Working with Clients