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Am I doing something wrong?

Hi everyone, 

So I recently joined Upwork and I've sent a couple of good proposals (in my opinion) yet I haven't gotten responses. Is there anything I should be doing different? I would appreciate your response and support. Many thanks!

Community Member

Your profile reads more like a résumé. Tell clients what you can do for them, what problems they can solve by hiring you. Also, your field is a very competitive one, so you need to try extra hard. 

Thank a lot for your feedback. I'll work on my profile 

Community Member

I would probably change the photo to something that looks more professional. You should also increase your hourly rate before you burn your profile. Don't offer low rates just to get hired.

Thank you Jennifer for your feedback. I'll work on your suggestions. As a newbie on Upwork, I was advised to bid for jobs at low rates for a start and increase it with time. Robert Y also pointed out that my niche is quite competitive, hence the need to bid at low rates.

Competing on price is always a race to the bottom. Compete on quality and customer service instead and value your work accordingly. 

Noted Amanda. Thank you!

Community Member

I agree with Jennifer, I'd change your photo and your hourly rate is low but the field you are in is crowded.

I'd revise this "I am readily available for services that includes:" 


"I am available to provide services that include:"


You may have to send many proposals to get off the ground and get some completed jobs, once that happens it should get easier.


Best of luck!

Thank you for your response and corrections. It's good to know that it gets easier with time. I'll keep putting in the work!

I like the changes you have made,  hopefully some jobs will come your way soon. 

Thanks for your help, Julie.

Community Member

The new photo is better but why do you not look at the client? When I get a proposal and the freelancer does not seem to focus on me but something else, I feel like my project does not receive the attention I pay for.

Community Member

I haven't had a chance to see the first version of your profile, but right now it looks really nice. The only issue I can notice right now is the hourly rate on your specialized profiles. It doesn't update automatically when you change the profile rate - you need to update it manually. 

Thanks, Valentina. I didn't know that. I'll update that.

That photo is great. 😃

Community Member

**Edited for Community Guidelines** It's not easy. Believe me, I asked a similar question in my early days here. The best thing is to not give up. Upwork opens up a world of opportunities for you. Just keep trying. Also, making LinkedIn your friend can benefit you a lot.


Before I landed my first-ever job on Upwork, I had written literarily hundreds of proposals that never get answered till they were archived and the jobs closed; I had almost blown up all my connects and nothing was happening. It was so frustrating, but this blog post like many others that I read online came to my rescue and gave me more insights into how to write better, winning proposals—ones that at least show the client that you understand the job they want to get done, that you know what you are doing and can handle their job.


After reading so many resources on how to write better proposals, both from Upwork's and other blogs, I discovered what I wasn’t doing right and decided to change my approach. Here’s what followed:



And here’s the proposal that landed me the job:




*Sorry, I can’t disclose the name of my client*


So, do you know what I did differently? Here it is: instead of being persuasive and overly-desperate to get hired, rather than wasting valuable time writing very long 'me-centric' proposals that only talk about me and my qualifications, I had focused the more on the client's need and provided value upfront—I proved to the client that I understood the job description and knew exactly what they wanted for the projectI did nothing other than show them that I’m resourceful.


I think that particular job would account for why I didn’t give up on freelancing. Yes, and the lessons learnt would open up more interesting job opportunities for me on Upwork. Currently, I freelance as an email deliverability expert, hoping to expand my skillsets and become a top-rated talent someday.


So the key takeaways are:

i) take time to read and understand the job description

ii) do well to hide desperation as much as you can—desperation makes the client believe that you are cheap and may not render a very good job.

iii) if you are a newbie, find a way to tell them how you are new to the Upwork platform but not to your field—all while still sounding very confident and professional.


Time may not permit me to continue writing, but I hope you got the idea, you can also read this post from Upwork's blog—for more insights.


Best of luck in your freelancing career!

This is mostly good advice, except the part about saying you are new to Upwork. They can see she's new to Upwork. There's no need to call out a lack of experience. Instead, just highlight that you are experienced, without mentioning your lack of experience on Upwork. It's also a good way to attract scammers, who target people who are new to the platform. 

Hey Joshua,**Edited for Community Guidelines** Thank you for taking the time out to guide me. It's less than a week I joined so I don't want to get overwhelmed by it all, I'm taking it one day at a time while putting in the required hard work. I'm glad I have a community for guidance and reviews. I am hopeful the efforts made would yield results soon. Thanks again!

Community Member

Hi, Adaora.


I've been active on Upwork for a few years and even after all that time I'd estimate only 1 in 10 or so of my proposals submitted results in me being hired by a new client. Different freelancers and different specialties here on Upwork no doubt have different success rates, but you can't really know if you are destined for long-term success on Upwork until you've submitted at least 50 - 100 proposals. I'd say you cannot expect to hit your stride on Upwork until after you have submitted at least twice that number of proposals with different cover letters, different pricing, etc. You've got to test these things to see what combination gives you the best mix of quality clients, quality projects, reasonable income, etc. There is no formula - it's hard work.


Early on, if your specialty is highly competitive it makes sense to submit proposals at pricing that is somewhat below where you want your pricing to be over the long-term. If you have already made a living doing elsewhere the type of work you want to do on Upwork, then you have some idea of what your pricing should be. If not, you'll just have to test different prices in different proposals and see what works. 


Once you build a reputation for quality work on Upwork, you can no doubt increase your pricing, but early on being somewhat aggressive in this regard is a good idea. On the other hand, the best clients often will assume low priced freelancers = low quality, so you have to be careful and not try to win new contracts based solely on being the cheapest bidder. 


Upwork will allow you to see the range of what other freelancers have bid on a project, but that is only moderately helpful. If most proposals on a project are in the, say, $20 - $30 range and one freelancer bid $5 and another freelancer bid $40, all you will see is a range of $5 - $40 with no information about the bulk of proposals submitted, which would be the most helpful information to know.


Good luck!

Thanks, Will! Insightful thoughts there. The issue with pricing is quite dicey, but like you suggested, I'll to keep trying various methods. The catch for me is, the more proposals I write, the better I get at it. So, I'll use this time to keep honing my skills and hoping for the best. Thanks a lot!

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