j_decarlucci
Member

Previous Message Deleted - Advice on Getting Clients (PPC, Marketing, Design)

I just spent 10 minutes drafting a post here, which was deleted with no feedback, so please excuse any frustration in this message.

I've previously used Elance and O-Desk to some success, but since switching to Upwork I've had very little to no success building clients or getting any jobs through the platform. 

 

I customize my proposal letters for each job type, and respond directly to what clients are asking. I apply to jobs within my skill set, I've taken proficiency tests on Upwork, and I've even debated registering for the extra connects each month. I'm hesitant to do this however, if there's seemingly no chance of working with a high quality client in my field.

For the past 3 months, I've spent all of my "connects" on proposals within my expertise (PPC Marketing, Design, Social Media, Web Design) yet received very few clients, with small projects outside of my target market. I have yet to recieve a single marketing or PPC job, despite my qualifications and skill set, as well as real life experience in these fields. For the interviews I have recieved, I'm not converting into hires, and have no way to follow up with clients based on Upwork's messaging system.

I'm worried that my profile is being automatically sorted into "not matching qualifications" and am unsure of what to do about this. I'm also concerned that my proposals are being overlooked for other "best match" candidates, which I don't see how I can change - or optimize my profile to ensure I'm one of the "best matches." I imagine once I can track hours and build a higher response rate and job success score, I'll be a little more successful in getting my foot in the door, but I'm not sure how to improve this without clients.

You can view my Upwork profile here, and if it will help, I can provide a few of my cover letters as well. I'm struggling to find clients and it's pretty stressful - I'm not sure what the best practices are to change that, beyond what Upwork has already recommended.

18 REPLIES 18
petra_r
Member

If you used oDesk and Elance successfully, why on earth did you create a new profile and didn't merge your Elance and oDesk history together, or AT LEAST kept using your oDesk profile which still exists as an Upwork profile with all its feedback and history?

Neither was a main source of work at the time, and I'm not sure if there was a system in place to migrate clients to Upwork from Elance, which I used much more often than Odesk.

If there was, I must have missed it, or was not given the option, as I'm pretty sure my current Upwork account was switched over from that. Regardless, most of my work at that time was simple graphic design, and would not neccessarily have been helpful in my current field.

 

In my honest opinion, it's already next to impossible to make a real living doing design work through Upwork, as most of the positions are extremly low paying. That's why I diversified my skill set, which has been succesful outside of Upwork.

lysis10
Member

I'm never going to understand why people think it's smart to "start over" with a new account.

Jennifer - I've read plenty of your replies and have the understanding that as a "guru" you're very unhelpful and unprofessional. I apologize if I'm being blunt, but your response is both.

I'm asking for concrete advice on how to obtain quality clients through Upwork, and if that's an impossibility, or unlikely based on how the platform is set up, I plan to focus on a viable market instead.


@Justin D wrote:


I'm asking for concrete advice on how to obtain quality clients through Upwork, and if that's an impossibility, or unlikely based on how the platform is set up, I plan to focus on a viable market instead.


 It's not that easy. If you have an existing Upwork account (which is what your oDesk account is) then having two is a policy violation anyway.

 

Yes, there was the ability to merge your oDesk and Elance accounts, and you must have not logged in for a loooong time to have missed that.

 

Personally I think your profile looks OK, but it DOES take time and perseverance to gain traction. It's like building up any business, you have to invest blood, sweat and tears and go through the newbie stage before you start getting successful. It's not for the faint hearted.

It was definitely a while after the merger before I logged back in. I did not like oDesk as much, and like I said, neither was a main source of clients at the time. The only reason I've been using Upwork more regularly is because I relocated to another state, and lost a lot of local referrals in the process.

eLance and oDesk aside, I understand what you're saying - you're effectively telling me the same things I tell clients. Smiley Tongue. However, it's unreasonable to invest hours for proposals that are being ignored or automatically sorted as "unqualified," or to develop relationships with potential clients who, as we millenials say, "ghost" on freelancers without a retainer or job offer.

In maketing terms, accounting for the time spent on proficency test, proposals, and flaky client interviews, my ROI on Upwork is in the negative. There's smart, successful ways to run a business, and despite knowing there's potential quality clients looking for freelancers just like me on Upwork, I've had no success connecting with them.

kochubei_valeria
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Justin,

 

I wasn't able to find any older accounts of yours so I believe this is the only account you've had on oDesk and on Upwork. Unfortunately, It doesn't look like you merged your Elance profile over when it was possible. 

 

I can also confirm that your proposals are being delivered to clients. You may want to focus your portfolio on the category you are planning to work in. If you are applying for design jobs, you may need to add more portfolio items that showcase your skills as a designer. If you are planning to apply to jobs in marketing, you can add some portfolio items that show your experience in that field.

~ Valeria
Upwork

Hi Valeria,

I definitely did some work with oDesk previously, but as I stated, I greatly preferred Elance and had more success. At the time of the merger, I was working full-time elsewhere and freelancing locally, so I was not active on the site for some time. I'm not sure what happened in regards to my previous oDesk account, but I'd prefer this post not be derailed into a conversation about now-defunct freelancer platforms.

If it's a matter of portfolio, I'd be happy to update or optimize that aspect of my profile to increase my chances - however I strongly doubt that it's that simple, or if doing so would increase my rankings on the client side.

You mentioned that you can confirm my proposals are being delivered - yet you didn't specify anything about how they were being sorted, the "not matching qualifications" auto-sorting, or whether or not my profile was listed as a "best match" for jobs, specifically in my industry (PPC and Social Media Marketing).


Justin,

 

I won't be able to advise you on every proposal you've submitted but I just randomly checked one of your proposals and it was marked as a Best Match on the client's end:

 

Screenshot_27.png

~ Valeria
Upwork


@Valeria K wrote:

Justin,

 

I won't be able to advise you on every proposal you've submitted but I just randomly checked one of your proposals and it was marked as a Best Match on the client's end:

 


 

Great. Can you tell me which job that is - or whether it was based on being invited to the job by a client vs using my connects to send a proposal?

I won't be able to share those details, Justin.

~ Valeria
Upwork

Understandable. Just trying to get a feel for how "Best Match" is defined, so I can direct my proposals a little better. Any tips?

Justin,

 

A lot of experienced freelancer noted that they found more success when they started by specializing and focusing their profile on a specific set of skills. You may want to choose between marketing and design and adjusts your proposals and profile accordingly. 

 

I also agree with Petra that it may take some time and perseverance to get first few jobs and build up your profile.

~ Valeria
Upwork

Hi Valerie,

 

Let's be real. "Time and Perserverance" are fine, but if I'm investing time in a market that isn't going to pay off, that's not economical. If there's no quantifiable outcome, and I'm not seeing any ROI, why should I continue the investment?

I offer both marketing and design services, ie, marketing strategy and content. I design graphics, ads, web and landing pages, etc in coordination with PPC marketing. They're two sides of the same coin, and I have "specialized" my profile as such.

 

Again, I've heard these vague tips before and they do nothing to increase my ROI from null. 


@Justin D wrote:

Let's be real. "Time and Perserverance" are fine, but if I'm investing time in a market that isn't going to pay off, that's not economical. If there's no quantifiable outcome, and I'm not seeing any ROI, why should I continue the investment?
 

Again, I've heard these vague tips before and they do nothing to increase my ROI from null. 


 Justin, to be honest that is what building up your own business is about. There are no magic formulas, there are no "How To Make A Fortune On Upwork" guides (well, there are but they're essentially designed to make money for those who offer them.) I am not sure what you are expecting us to tell you...

 

Essentially you've been on Upwork for 5 minutes (in the overall scheme of things) so it's a bit early to decide whether to throw in the towel or persevere. The good thing on Upwork is that unlike most other business endeavours you get the chance to create and build up your business with $ 0 to invest. All you put in is, for all intents and purposes, your time.

 

There are no shortcuts, no guarantees, it isn't for everyone.

 

When I decided to give up my cushy full time job and move to a country where my chances of finding work in the employment sense were exactly zero, I had to make my freelancing business work or I'd have been up Sh*t Creek without a paddle in a BIG way.

 

It's amazing how that knowledge focuses your mind. It's "make it work or you're stuffed!" and not making it work was quite simply not an option.

 

You can't play at this if you want to really see it take off properly.

Petra, there's a lot of assumptions about my experience, and what I know of "building up [a] business."I'm curious what makes you think I'm unfamiliar with these practices, as obviously that doesn't reflect well on my profile. My post was specifically regarding Upwork, which is not as it seems, a viable or reliable source of clients in comparison to others that I've been using. 

 

If "nothing is guaranteed" - that's a bad investment, period. I'd rather invest my time and $$$ in a market that has guaranteed customers - or at least a way to reach out to clients on my terms, rather than be potentially wasting my time for no-hire listings or bad positioning on an app.

There are many discussions on how to optimize proposals and profiles here in the forums. If you want to make a go of it on Upwork, you should probably begin by reading through that existing information. It is entirely possible that the learning curve will not be cost effective for you. But surely, with your marketing skills,  you'll be able to figure out a plan. 

On that note, it's starting to look like I got exactly the answers I'm looking for. Nothing like a complete stranger being passive agressive and ignoring your inital post. *Cough Cough, Tonya.  Smiley Frustrated