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cari-schaeffer
Community Member

I am new and curious!

Hello everyone,

 

I have been with UpWork for just under a week. I have completed my profile (please feel free to share any feedback for improvement there) and taken a few tests to prove competence in my chosen skills. 

 

I am clueless - what is the normal ratio of proposals to hires here in the writing sphere? I have submitted 9 proposals in total and been hired to do one job. I don't know if this is good, average, or pathetic. Perhaps my expectations are out of line with reality here.

 

The cover letters I submit with each job are specific to that job and are professional in nature. I am careful to answer all questions by the prospective client, too.

 

I look forward to hearing from any and all who are willing to help me.

 

Thanks a bunch!

Cari

ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Stacie and Craig,

 

I think Craig nailed it on the head with his response. I got my knuckles rapped by UpWork because I put the link to my personal website as an example of content that I can write. Oops on my part. I don't want to skirt UpWork policies in any way - they are in place for a reason and I want to honor them to the letter.

 

Thank you both so much for your help! It is exceptionally helpful to me!

 

Best regards,

Cari

View solution in original post

15 REPLIES 15
craiggabriel
Community Member

My guess would be that one hire out of the first nine proposals of one's Upwork career is good to very good.

 

Of course quality as well as quantity matters. One well-paying job in twenty proposals is better than five sub-minimum wage crappy jobs in ten proposals.

 

But when you consider that a sizable percentage of people who create freelancer profiles on Upwork leave without ever having gotten a single job, a one out of nine success rate out of the gate isn't anything to worry about, especially if the one job was a decent one. I'd wait for more evidence before deciding this isn't working out.

Thank you, Craig. I appreciate the feedback and the response.

 

Best regards,

Cari

smwhitaker
Community Member

Cari,

 

I joined Upwork in December and spent my first couple weeks in a panic. I landed my first job after about a week (I'm also a writer) but I was counting my precious connects and the ratio of proposals to hires thinking I'd never make it. In fact, I ran out of connects 10 days before they were set to be replenished. I'm currently swamped with Upwork jobs--which is exactly what I wanted--but it took me a few weeks to work out the kinks in my approach. 

 

A few pointers from another Upwork newbie...

 

Spend the connects carefully and pay close attention to the job posts. Look at the client information, reviews, number of jobs, hire rate, etc. As a general rule, I won't bid on anything that has a hire rate below 50%. Typically, I shoot for much higher than that, but it depends on the job. For clients with low hire rates, I assume they are posting jobs on multiple forums and taking the lowest bidder. I joined Upwork because I know what I'm worth more than a penny per word. That said, look at their previous jobs and pay attention to what they've paid writers for similar projects in the past. If a 1,000-word blog earned a writer $5, I move on. 

 

As for cover letters, I think you have to go with your gut here. My first couple weeks I followed all the traditional "rules" and submitted very polished, professional cover letters with almost no results. I think it's a bit trickier for writers because clients want to see some personality in the writing.

 

At first, I had a very clinical approach to listing my credentials and education assuming the client would be completely spellbound by my MFA, work history, and editorial experience. Yeah ... not so much.  Honestly, I've had better results when I've taken risks in my proposals and written something a bit edgy or funny (depending on the job ad, of course). My point is this: Cover letters should be personalized but they have to stand out. If you're a writer, credentials are important but the writing is key. If you're not showing creativity in your proposals, clients aren't going to be interested. 

 

Finally, I think you should add work to your portfolio. You've published 4 novels (with more on the way); you served in the Air Force (and write military stories!); you have a nursing degree, and you built a personal chef business from the ground up. You might be new to Upwork, but you've got experience. Showcase that work!!

 

I hope this helps! Let me know if I can clarify.

 

Stacie 

 

Hello Stacie,

 

Thank you so much for your great feedback - it is appreciated. I like the mention regarding researching the job posts/clients. I have done some of that "screening" as you mentioned, but I will be sure to do it more in depth moving forward. I have plenty of connects for the moment. I haven't applied for every possible job that may be a good fit. It's going to take time to feel my way around and discover my UpWork pathway.

 

Regarding my bio/work experience - I have a bit of a struggle with that. As you mentioned, I do have tremendous experience in my background in a variety of areas. But - I don't necessarily have anything to upload here to showcase that. I can't upload my novels for potential "bosses" to download and read, I don't have any food for them to taste (ha ha ha) nor can I access previous incarnations of my website when it was a PC and C site. I can't come at them with a stethoscope to assess them.... Do you understand what I'm saying? If you (or anyone) can offer specifics that you think would be helpful to upload to showcase my work here, I am all ears and smiles.

 

In my cover letters thus far, I have injected my personality rather than providing sterile, factual information. Still - only one small job so far. 

 

Personally, I think it's because I'm brand spanking new to UpWork. Perhaps job posters see that and prefer to go elsewhere for the job. I don't know. I'll keep plugging away.

 

Again, THANK YOU for your on point feedback. I am grateful.

 

Best regards,

Cari

First, add "writing" to your skills. It's what you do, and will let clients find you.

 

Next: "My name is Cari and I'd like to help you write content, ads, marketing materials, etc" Ho hum.

 

"My name is Cari, and I'd like to help your profits grow. I can turn your website into a winner with amazing content, I can create eye-catching and high-response ads, I can create compelling marketing materials for your great idea." Ho Hum?

Thank you for your feedback, Bill! I appreciate fresh eyes and perspectives. I will chew on this and perhaps spice up my profile.

 

Best regards,

Cari

Hi Cari,

 

Additionally to the excellent observations our friends have shared, you may review our tips on how you may enhance your profile for greater success, as well as how to submit winning proposals from our Hiring Headquarters.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Felix
Untitled

Cari, 

 

I would suggest capturing screenshots of your novels and displaying them in your portfolio. You can include links to your site (if you have one) or to a publisher's site, or even to a purchase page. In the description portion of the portfolio, you can show off your marketing chops by writing a short synopsis of the book.  You aren't required to include an attachment or even a link but simply having a visual and a written description provides some depth to your profile.

 

Have any of your short stories been published in lit mags/journals? You can link to those just to give a sample of your storytelling abilities since ultimately, marketing is about telling a story. Also, any marketing materials, press releases, promotional emails etc. you used for your business could be helpful if you still have those. I've seen freelancers who have included college papers in their portfolio as well. It isn't exactly marketing but it (1) showcases your writing and (2) increases the potential for business/article writing because it reinforces your research abilities. In your case, this could be especially helpful if you have papers in the medical field. I see a lot of job posts needing content writers for healthcare companies. 

 

To your final point, I agree that clients probably consider the number of active/completed jobs when hiring a freelancer. It's a bit of a catch-22 because it's more difficult to get hired when you haven't had many jobs, but you need jobs to show that you're capable. It comes down, I think, to 2 things: getting a client to take a chance on you, and having a portfolio that shows you are new to Upwork but not to writing. 

 

I hope this helps. Good luck!

 

Stacie

Hello Stacie,

 

Wow! EXCELLENT feedback and perfect advice. Thank you so much. I am so grateful! I have to say I felt pretty dumb that I did not originally include "writing" as a skill. That was a big hand to the forehead moment...

 

I will have to research and see if I saved any of the marketing materials I created for my PC business. I'm not sure that I did. I know all the content on my website has completely changed.

 

**Edited for Community Guidelines** 

 

Best regards,

Cari 

Thanks so much for asking this question, Cari! And thanks to everyone who gave great feedback.

 

I came to this blog to ask the same questions because I am struggling to get off the ground, too. I have gobs of experience but I've been in a corporate so long that 1) I don't know how to navigate the freelance world and 2) I don't have many samples (or results -- what I think prospective employers really want to see!) thanks to my former employer not being willing to share.

 

Lots of helpful advice in this thread so I guess I better get to work folding it in where I can!

Hi Joy!

 

It's always good to know we're not alone in our journeys, isn't it? I am glad that my questions and the wonderful responses have been as helpful to you as they have been to me.

 

Onward and upward!

 

Best regards,

Cari

Hi Stacie,

 

I think it was an "oops" - I added a link to my website and it was flagged by UpWork for posting a link for personal communication. So I had to take it out of my profile. ๐Ÿ˜ž

 

Best regards,

Cari

Cari, 

 

You can provide a link in a portfolio item. I think you just can't include it in the main portion of your profile. I don't have a personal website, but if you view my profile and look at my portfolio you'll notice that for blogs, video scriptwriting, and web content writing, the portfolio items are linked to the site where the content appears. Let me know if I can clarify. Sorry if I wasn't clear earlier. 

 

Stacie

As I understand it, you're not allowed to have your contact information in your profile, nor link to somewhere that has your contact information. That would include your portfolio. You can't have something in your portfolio that links to a site whereby someone could contact you outside of Upwork.

Stacie and Craig,

 

I think Craig nailed it on the head with his response. I got my knuckles rapped by UpWork because I put the link to my personal website as an example of content that I can write. Oops on my part. I don't want to skirt UpWork policies in any way - they are in place for a reason and I want to honor them to the letter.

 

Thank you both so much for your help! It is exceptionally helpful to me!

 

Best regards,

Cari

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