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Bridging The Gap: Our First 20 Hours On Upwork

ray-winkelman
Active Member
Ray W Member Since: Jan 18, 2018
1 of 7

For independent contractors, Upwork is an absolute gold mine. We log in, sip some coffee, do our work, and get paid. 

 

What we don't often enough talk about, is what we did during our first 20 hours logged in to the site, that got us the momentum we have now - to land new clients, and write proposals that get accepted. 

 

What's a valuable thread to start in our forums? A thread about the first 20 hours spent on Upwork. Provided we're already seasoned contractors and have the skills that we say we do: What can we expect - realistically? With no Upwork-specific projects on our profile, we have one certain option:

 

1) Come in low. (With our project cost estimations)

 

What else can we do?  Well, we can:

 

2) Take tests. (To showcase on our profiles)

 

Lastly, one more obvious move:

 

3) Reach out the community.

 

Which brings me to call our senior and junior members alike, to action: Let's give each other the not-so-obvious advice on how to spend our first 20 hours on Upwork efficiently, and effectively. We're independent proprietors, we don't have any time to waste!

 

What did you do on Upwork that you felt bridged the gap between being a newcomer, to landing those deals that have kept you moving forward? Be real. If it was working below minimum wage for 5 hours: So be it.

macollinsone
Ace Contributor
Marcus C Member Since: Feb 7, 2016
2 of 7

the gift of gab and backing it up with showing code that I can build whatever anyone needs

ray-winkelman
Active Member
Ray W Member Since: Jan 18, 2018
3 of 7

@Marcus C wrote:

the gift of gab and backing it up with showing code that I can build whatever anyone needs


 That'll do it, man! I've checked your profile out. We have very similar skills. We're even versed in the same programming languages. 

 

It's nice to see a fellow coder making a living! Robot Very Happy

ruth_bowles
Community Guru
Ruth B Member Since: Jul 22, 2017
4 of 7

1. Changing the way I wrote my proposals was a big one. Instead of talking about myself "I am qualified for this", "My degree is in XYZ.", I switched to writing about how my skills would help the client achieve their goals.

 

2. I got a niche. That helped me weed out clients I didn't want to work with, and helped clients looking for something more specific find me. It also helped me significantly raise my rates.

 

3. I stopped racing to the bottom, meaning I STOPPED bidding super low on jobs. Bidding low gave me nightmare clients, or one-off clients instead of ongoing contracts (most of the time, I did get one on-going contract with a client I really like).

richard_wein
Community Guru
Richard W Member Since: Jun 22, 2017
5 of 7

Wecome, Ray.

 

> For independent contractors, Upwork is an absolute gold mine. We log in, sip some coffee, do our work, and get paid. 

 

That's El Dor-upwork you're talking about. Not to be confused with Upwork. Smiley Wink

 

> What we don't often enough talk about, is what we did during our first 20 hours logged in to the site, that got us the momentum we have now - to land new clients, and write proposals that get accepted.

 

20 hours? It takes most of us a lot longer than that.

 

 

What got me started was sending demo files with my proposals. In the early days I was making tailored demos, to show the client something very similar to what he wanted. Eventually I built up a library of demo files, so now I usually have an existing one that's close enough.

 

ruth_bowles
Community Guru
Ruth B Member Since: Jul 22, 2017
6 of 7

That's a good point Richard. It did take me longer than 20 hours. It took me about 3-4 months to really start gaining traction. However, I wasn't an experienced freelancer when I came to Upwork, so I didn't expect immediate success.

felicedellagatta
Ace Contributor
Felice D Member Since: Jul 2, 2017
7 of 7
Great question and an exciting moment to remember.

- I signed up
- I set up my rate at what I earned at my last job (29 usd/hr)
- completed my profile 100% (didn't care too much about the overview in the beginning)
- Researched how to write winning proposals
- Created a proposal template customizing it for each job I was applying to
- Focused on searching small and quick jobs (small not low paying) that would not represent a big commitment for the client
- provided a small part of the job upfront in the proposal
- worked relentlessly to make those first few clients happy, lost money and sleep on their projects to overdeliver 1000x
- got all 5 star reviews

And here I am,
Looks like it worked!


--
"The truth is generally seen, rarely heard."
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