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kalmoulani
Member

New to Upwork Question - How long does it take to get momentum?

Hello all, 

 

I am a new freelancer in Upwork and very excited about this experience. 

 

After one week of submiting over 100 proposals, I managed to get a project after undervaluing myself. Right now, I am back to submiting even more proposals to get exposure. I am technically in the negative financially (bought connects) I know its a long term investment.

 

Enough about me, I am really curious how did your journey go on Upwork? And is there a point where us as freelancers can get momentum (like stream of invites)? Or is the experience here is all about selling ourselves to potential employers and hope we get hired? I would like to know how the timeline of a typical freelancer journey works.

 

Thank you in advance ๐Ÿ™‚ 

ACCEPTED SOLUTION

I think it depends on the category/niche that you are in. I'm in a low-populated niche (cybersecurity, data protection) compared to the data entry/design, etc., highly populated categories. You know, if there is 50+ top-rated, 100% JSS freelancer in your niche, it is hard to get noticed, but I think if you apply for a job and your profile has 3-5 review, you will be considered for sure if I would be a client that would be the minimum. Because that means you have proven yourself with other clients for sure.

 

Personally, I don't count on invites as a steady flow of work (again in my niche), as the quality ones are rare.

What I can recommend for you: 

  1. Try to get done 5 jobs with excellent delivery to get feedback; after 5 jobs are done, your JSS should be generated. This means that you can't be too picky in the beginning.
  2. Aim for rising talent/top-rated categories (Rising Talent, Top Rated
  3. Create project catalog items and publish them; it takes time to get them right (images, text, etc.). I have ignored the project catalog until now due to the complexity of standardizing of my services, but one of them was published on Thursday, and I got my first order on Saturday. 
  4. Dedicate yourself to it; freelancing has its perks, but working only 9-5 is not one of them. I check Upwork for new jobs every 2-3 hours, and I do work 6-7 days a week. This can be hard, especially if money is tight and you have to worry about the day-to-day stuff. I know first hand.
  5. Diversify - I had no problem with being only on Upwork until like mid-April this year when the number of quality jobs in my niche is just dropped like 90%. There are several threads in the forums where top-rated, successful freelancers complain about the lack of jobs/gigs/ghosting clients, etc. I think this is related to a larger global economic context; there is a food price increase, war ongoing, and the US stock is falling, which I think is impacting the companies and clients; they might gonna post jobs but delay or cancel the hiring. So, recently I have started to look at other options to score jobs, and as you are starting now, I can recommend trying it too. For me Upwork is still is my main thing, but I'm probing other channels (and as I don't use social media [as being a security professional] its quite a challenge, but that is another topic).

Your profile and portfolio look great; I wish you the very best and success on this journey. It's not easy and takes a lot, but worth it. 

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12 REPLIES 12
luqman_mak
Member

Hey Khalid, 
Welcome.
First of, it might be a tiresome journey to begin so before you spend connects, i'd suggest reading on how to spot real clients from fake ones and somehow building your profile by filling it up  like a good CV (i cant seem to do that myself but it works)
My journey was a rather strange one, i joined this platform in 2017 or something like that - did what you are doing now, got exhausted after going all out to make my first 5 dollars, then i left. I got back in the beginning of 2022, met someone at a coffee shop - told me they freelance on Upwork for a living. Got back in, spent 100+ connects and did not get hired but then, i got my 10 free connects each month and i have been investing them lol. Any time i use a few, i try my best to land an interview so that i win some connects back. Its a process but three months later and after lots of reading on what works and what doesnt, the wheel is sort of moving.

There are many poeple who come in to the forums looking for answers after they have already fumbled, so kudos to you for being here this soon


Hi Luman, 

Thank you for sharing your journey, it is actually inspiring that you got back after 2017 and nailed it. 

 

I like seeing your type of journeys because it is more realistic compared to what most content creators on YouTube advertising how easy the platform is. 

 

I personally started now in applying with my second round of using my connects, but made sure I am laser focus on my niche and not over extend myself to be jack of all trades. 

 

As you suggested, I will keep learning how to spot the real clients and figure out how it works. 

 

Have a good day!

Khalid

raina5
Member

Your profile looks great! It can take a while to get traction on here, but if you don't quit it will get going. When I was starting here I made a plan to check in on the site two to three times a day and submit a proposal each time if I saw something that looked like a good fit for me (but only then - like I didn't just propose on anything/everything I could do). I would also tweak my profile, add or move around a project, add more key words, etc. Two - Three times a day felt sustainable for me so I wouldn't burn out or get discouraged. I learned (the hard way) that I only want to work for good, professional, quality clients. I  learned (the hard way) to steer hard clear of any projects or invitations that use the words "simple", "easy" or "quick". If it is simple, easy and quick then you don't really need my help. People who write this will not value you or your work. Remember, you have skills and talents of value and you are interviewing potential clients for suitability as much as they are interviewing you. It's an equal exchange. I wsh you good luck here! There are many good clients looking for good freelancers.

kalmoulani
Member

Thank you for sharing your story Kate,

 

What you said was exactly what i was doing at the beginning!

I burned 200 connects for projects that want me to "remove background from image ASAP" lol.  I realised I get into a competition with dozen of people few seconds after the project is submitted and I do not feel that its how i should value my work. 

 

I looked at your profile. It is clear and concise. The range of portfolio you shared inspired me to do more in showing samples to employers. It really shows how you can adapt for their needs. I will also make sure I stay patient.

 

Thank you and have a good day. 

There are freelancers using bots to submit proposals seconds after a job is posted. these are spamming the clients with uncustomized, generic applications. And of course, it's against the ToS (scrapping the site).

 

It takes some time to get 3-5 projects and feedback but it's worth it. My first project was 50 USD... 

No wonder why they are really fast... And yeah the first is tough lol. I also got my first one at $10 (only one so far)

 

From your experience, around how long or how many reviews a freelancer need to achieve to gain the momentum of being invited to jobs or atleast get interviewed? is it the 3-5 projects that will make the momentum?

 

I think it depends on the category/niche that you are in. I'm in a low-populated niche (cybersecurity, data protection) compared to the data entry/design, etc., highly populated categories. You know, if there is 50+ top-rated, 100% JSS freelancer in your niche, it is hard to get noticed, but I think if you apply for a job and your profile has 3-5 review, you will be considered for sure if I would be a client that would be the minimum. Because that means you have proven yourself with other clients for sure.

 

Personally, I don't count on invites as a steady flow of work (again in my niche), as the quality ones are rare.

What I can recommend for you: 

  1. Try to get done 5 jobs with excellent delivery to get feedback; after 5 jobs are done, your JSS should be generated. This means that you can't be too picky in the beginning.
  2. Aim for rising talent/top-rated categories (Rising Talent, Top Rated
  3. Create project catalog items and publish them; it takes time to get them right (images, text, etc.). I have ignored the project catalog until now due to the complexity of standardizing of my services, but one of them was published on Thursday, and I got my first order on Saturday. 
  4. Dedicate yourself to it; freelancing has its perks, but working only 9-5 is not one of them. I check Upwork for new jobs every 2-3 hours, and I do work 6-7 days a week. This can be hard, especially if money is tight and you have to worry about the day-to-day stuff. I know first hand.
  5. Diversify - I had no problem with being only on Upwork until like mid-April this year when the number of quality jobs in my niche is just dropped like 90%. There are several threads in the forums where top-rated, successful freelancers complain about the lack of jobs/gigs/ghosting clients, etc. I think this is related to a larger global economic context; there is a food price increase, war ongoing, and the US stock is falling, which I think is impacting the companies and clients; they might gonna post jobs but delay or cancel the hiring. So, recently I have started to look at other options to score jobs, and as you are starting now, I can recommend trying it too. For me Upwork is still is my main thing, but I'm probing other channels (and as I don't use social media [as being a security professional] its quite a challenge, but that is another topic).

Your profile and portfolio look great; I wish you the very best and success on this journey. It's not easy and takes a lot, but worth it. 

Thank you Attila for the time and effort you have put in advising me. It means a lot.

 

True, the design category is very crowded. It is a good point to keep in mind. As first step, I will have to brainstorm ways to niche down with my services, and aim to get these few first projects.  

 

I also submitted my project catalogue services recently and hopefully once its approved it will help out too. And did sign up to other two platform from the beginning to diversify.

 

I will keep note of your other recommendations as my next milestones post achieving my first 5 positive reviews.

 

Thank you again you clarify to me the journey and it seem motivating and exciting :)!

 

Wishing you all the best in your channel expansions too.

I've been a member here before this called Upwork but I never (and unsure if I'll ever) get the "momentum" as you described. ๐Ÿ˜€

 

I think it's mainly because I don't put 100% trust on platforms like this. Not mainly about scam, hacks, or ToS, but also because something like this that actually happened to my other business to some extent (not because facebook). Basically your entire good-and-very-profitable-business goes down because you depended too much to a website that changes something, that didn't actually meant to harm you. It's very frustrating. Something you build suddenly destroyed because of something silly but outside of your control. Happened here as well to many Russian-freelancers-with-the-momentum I believe.

 

That being said, I consider my profile bad and incomplete (never got the mood to improve it yet). But I can still get clients here.  My suggestions:

 

  • Keep browsing the jobs when you have the time. It's not 100%, but most of my accepted proposal are submitted early.
  • Try to put the solution, or unique sentence, as the first sentence. I think this gets the client's attention when they're viewing rows of proposals where most of its first sentence are "Hello Sir," or the "freelancer's introduction".
  • Try to hold yourself from sending too much proposals, unless you're okay with buying connects.

Hi Radia, 

Yes, I notice many are advising to diversify and not rely on one source of income to protect against alograthim changes or any uncontrollable situation that could influence a main stream of income. 

 

I will keep aiming for the early proposal submissions and try something unique in my first sentence. I am one of the usual "Hello there" people lol. Thanks for the tips much appreciated. 

 

abadullah
Member

Dear Khalid Bhi

You are right, its a continous process. You have be very patience and keep struggling, my profile is also week although i have 15 years experience, It is strongly suggested to write to the upwork about a plateform for newbies. I have suggested them that we may be given a chance to showcaes our skills.

Yeah I understand the struggle at the beginning requires soo much patience. Hopefully we get the momentum and follow the advise of the other fellow freelancers. 

 

Thank you Abad Ullah it was nice sharing your experience with me as we are on the same situation.