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Canadian freelancer in the Carribean.

Community Guru
Mariska P Member Since: Apr 27, 2015
1 of 14

I am a freelancer with not a lot of eduction in all things computer, but I have alot of heart and the desire to learn. I'm very good at messaging and also talking on the phone which I did at a call centre and also as a subcontractor working from home. I understand that I'm probably not going to be in high demand because of my lack of skills, so I apply for entry level positions that don't require alot of education with things like microsoft office etc.  Thing is, even something I KNOW i'd be qualified for I'm not getting. That could be because someone else has a feedback score, or more hours, sure. What I'm kind of thinking is it's because I'm Canadian and people offering work don't think I'll work for the Upwork minimum wage. I will actually and I have. Right now there is no work available on my contract so I had been looking for a couple of weeks for something to fill in my time. Another reason is maybe that my contract was paused by Upwork so people might think I'm still working? Am I being paranoid? Possibly, but how am I going to get more hours on here if people won't give me a chance? It's like how it is in the real world when you don't have a lot of experience! lol. If someone could tell me if I'm just being overly sensitive or I might have a point, that would be great. 


**thanks SO much for all the valuable advice, you all are amazing! **


**one more thing... i  don't like this messaging system much it hurts my eyes. lol** 

Community Manager
Lena E Community Manager Member Since: Apr 7, 2015
2 of 14



First of all, Welcome to the Community. I hope that you will find a lot of useful knowledge and feedback here. I would suggest that when applying for a job, on your personal proposal you should disclose that you don't have a lot of work experience on Upwork but list your work history that is relevant to the job you are applying for and any skills or relevant experience you may have. Proposals and cover letters that are unique and personalized for the job you are applying for may garner you a better response rate.



Community Guru
Mariska P Member Since: Apr 27, 2015
3 of 14

Hi Lena, 

Thanks for the advice! 

Community Guru
William H Member Since: Dec 2, 2013
4 of 14

Hi Mariska (from a fellow Canadian),

Who knows why clients do things. I don't, though there are good ones (and jobs) out there. You'll just have to keep trying. It might also help to make your profile public so we could provide feedback on how you are advertising yourself...





Community Guru
Mariska P Member Since: Apr 27, 2015
5 of 14

Hi William,

I did check to see if my profile is public and it is so that's one thing off my mind to do. Smiley Happy 

Thanks for the reply, I guess I should know enough about people to know that everyone isn't the same and everyone has their own reasons for hiring or not hiring.  


Community Guru
Tony H Member Since: Nov 10, 2011
6 of 14

Howdy & welcome!

When someone applies for a contract, or when a client searches freelancers, the client will only see the first line or two of your overview or cover letter. In your case, they will see approximately this:


"Hello, I am looking forward to working with you. I am currently committed to another project with an amazing employer"

That doesn't really grab their attention. It kinda actually says you're too busy at the moment. Consider this when you write a cover letter as well.


That aside, when reading your profile a client is going to want to see confidence. Perhaps an area to consider as well. try not to take my to-the-point wording the wrong way.


Your message reads as though you don't feel you have any value to offer. You gotta know what you're capable of, be confident, and be more than willing to back up your words. But remain humble or the client will expect too much from you and you may end up with bad feedback.

Also, timid people are more susceptible to fraud.


You need to charge a fair rate. $6/hr is too low unless you can afford to work at that rate now and two years from now. You need to establish yourself with quality. The problem is, when you drop your rate, you also open yourself up to a world of trouble with lower quality clients or scammers. Those guys will ruin your profile and you'll have more trouble in the future.

As for finding work when you don't have many technical experience, there are many opportunities to telemarket for real estate agents and charities. Call centers have been hiring home based workers more and more often the past few years. Even if it's commission based, it's still an opportunity that you didn't have before. I've done this in the group buy industry before and loved it. That was my first taste of freelancing, although it was not through a platform like Upwork etc.

If I were in your shoes, I'd use call center work as a back-up plan in a heart beat.

Finding decent clients here can take some time, especially ones who will hire for the long term. It takes time... months even. Keep plugging away and be confident. Never point out your weaknesses in your marketing material (overview etc), that will turn a potential client away long before they consider interviewing you. When it comes time to talk about weaknesses, I do during the interview to ensure the client does not have expectations I can't live up to.


Hope that helps a little.

In short...


Re-write your overview

Add work samples

Take tests (this helps mostly for client search within Upwork)

Complete as much of your profile as you can.


There are other little tweaks you can do as well, but for the sake of keeping this reply kinda short.. that's a good place to start.


My profile is far from amazing, and honestly I'm not sure I want to put the time into making it the best it can be. However – have a look to see what I've done. I only use mine as an example because it works. Even incomplete it works. I get interviewed at the highest level in my category (Sales & Marketing), and offered jobs far more than the average as well.

My English isn't great and I make typos all day long. I do not have university education outside of an IT diploma and an old financial planning license. I win bids against MBA's, professional accountants and other with respectable degrees. Not because I undercut them either, more often than not I charge a much higher rate.

So ask yourself why? My profile has all the bells & whistles now after a couple years of positive feedback... but it wasn't always that way right? I started at zero too.


Anyways... it's possible. Just be uplifting, exciting to be around, and write in an inspirational way to your niche market.

If all else fails, grab a commission based call center job where you can make decent money instead of the usual hourly rats offered. Charity fundraising is a great market for that, and always hiring!


Cheers Smiley Happy


Community Guru
Tony H Member Since: Nov 10, 2011
7 of 14

Oh and also...


Some people may say location matters, but it really doesn't. This Canadian spent 6 months living on the beach in cancun while working through oDesk. Established clients will pay you the same regardless of where you live. It's the value you can offer that matters. Sometimes that value comes from simply speaking their lingo rather than a degree or asking rate.


For myself, living abroad actually helped build trust in teh eyes of teh client. I walked the talk. Serious clients will appreciate that. Be who they wished they could be themselves.

Community Guru
Jean S Member Since: Oct 22, 2007
8 of 14

I'm also Canadian and lived in Mexico for 11 years. I started in Odesk during that time. 


The above suggestions are great and your overview definitely needs to be changed.


Take a look at other successful people in your field and review how they've written their overview and profile. It will give you a lot of idea. If you'd like other advice send me a private message and I'm happy to contact your and help another fellow Canadian.

Community Guru
Mariska P Member Since: Apr 27, 2015
9 of 14

Hi Jean, 

I am definitely going to be taking another look at my profile, I knew it wasn't that great so I have redone it a couple of times. The last time I did redo it, I was not sounding to upbeat, totally feeling like I'd never even get a copy paste job so I was a bit of a downer. 

Even though my current contract is supposed to start up soon, I'm still going to be revamping it so yes, I'd love to take you up on your offer of giving me advice. I will still want to do some types of temporary jobs at least while working full time and, if for some reason this contract doesn't continue, then I can feel confident in applying for other jobs. 

Community Guru
Mariska P Member Since: Apr 27, 2015
10 of 14

nice that you were able to be in Cancun all that time!!! I'm hoping to fly over to Barbados and hang out there for a while, and hopefully be working as well! I'm feeling much better with your advice and everyone's input, this certainly is a very friendly atmosphere! Don't know why I didn't get here sooner!!! but I'm kind of a loner, and I'm independent so getting help from people isn't really my thing.. but life is about learning and changing, so i'll get into some changing!!! Smiley Happy