🐈 Community
» Forums » Freelancers » I'm A Rookie!
Page options

I'm A Rookie!

Hello everyone! I am brand new to this program and am so excited to try to get on my feet. I am mainly looking for work in administrative support/customer service/data entry and jobs along those lines. I have never done freelance work and to be honest it is a little intimidating and I am just wondering if anyoe who has been succssful at this has any advice to offer to someone who is just getting started and does not really have a specific "specialty". Any information or tips provided are greatly appreciated!!




Allison Smiley Happy


My first piece of advice would be to get a specialty. I'm not being flip--people who offer too many different services rather than presenting themselves as the go-to person for one thing don't tend to do very well here. There's always someone competing for that job who has presented himself as an expert in exactly what the client is looking for.

Thank you! I truly am going to take all the advice I can get and will do whatever it takes to make this successful.


Hello from Michigan! Welcome! And good luck!


A few things:


1. Absolutely start off with one (maybe two) specialties and stick to them. Clients are looking for specifics. If you try to be a "Jane of All Trades" you'll diversify yourself out of contention. If someone is looking for a plumber, they want a plumber. They don't care if they also do painting and electrical work. So focus on one area and once you have a relationship with a client you can have the conversation about how there's more you can do for them. 


2. Treat your profile like it;s a professional resume. One of the worst things Upwork does is call it a "profile" and not a resume. Keep it short and professional. Use bullet points to highlight skills. Get rid of the "I'm so excited to do this" and "I'm thrilled" to do that, etc. No fluff! 


3. Take more tests and post them to your profile


4. Heads up- there's a LOT of scams around here. If any job seems too good to be true, it probably is. If a client asks you to do something that seems like it's shady- it probably is. Never agree to get paid outside of Upwork, don't send personal information such as social security numbers, bank accounts, etc. Don't send them a picture of your ID or anything like that. And DO NOT start working until you have been formally hired and your contract has started. And don't hesitate to report scammy activity. If you're unsure if it's a scam or a violation of the terms of service feel free to ask us here.


5. Read up on the platform. Use the knowledge base and read the articles, advice, hints, tips on writing a good proposal, applying to jobs, etc. The more information you arm yourself with, the more you understand the terms of service and the rules of the platform, the better off you will be.


6. I see you have experience in the medical field- perhaps focus on that? There are quite a few medical-related jobs on here. 


7. As you know, it's summertime so things are a bit slow around here but that should pick up in a few weeks. Don't get discouraged. 


8. You have a limited number of connects each month, try to make them count and only apply to jobs you are qualified for.


9. Do not feel pressure to lower your rates. There are a lot of admin/VA's on here who charge bottom of the barrel rates and there are clients who are willing to roll with it. You don't have to do it. The debate rages on in here on almost a daily basis regarding the low-cost freelancers. At the end of the day, decide what your time is worth and stick to it. You have a skill, value it appropriately! 


That being said, I got my first job on here by underbidding on a one-time project. I specifically told the client that I was new and needed the work to get started. They took pity on me and we still work together today. This may not work for everyone and it may seem counterintuitive to what I just said up there in #9. The difference is, it was a one-time project, it was a project I knew I could complete quickly, and I did not stick to working those low-paying jobs. I quickly moved up, the client moved up with me, and we have a great working relationship today. 


I say all that to say this: It may seem to make sense to underbid when you're starting out. And it may work, but be careful about how you do it. If you set a standard for working low-paying jobs and having low rates you will have trouble attracting higher quality clients in the future. in short, remember to value yourself. Compete with other freelancers based on your talent and not on the lowest prices. For every 100 freelancers who charge $3/hour there's another who makes their living on Upwork. So success can and DOES happen!


10. Always be polite, realistic, and professional. Vent on the forums, not to the client!


I hope this helps. Welcome again! And Good luck!

Community Manager
Community Manager

David and Tiffany have covered the basics already, Allison. But you may also want to check these helpful articles, blog posts, and videos to get you started on the platform. 


To help you work safely on Upwork, please have a look at tips and warning signs shared in this thread and Upwork Trust & Safety FAQ.


You can find valuable information in the Getting Started as a Freelancer section of the Help Center and in our Freelancer Guide. Good luck, Allison!

~ Avery