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On Upwork for Months and Still Can't Land a Client (Creative)

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Active Member
Tara K Member Since: May 3, 2017
1 of 10

I guess I'm not technically "new", because I've been on Upwork for a few months now and have submitted well over 100 proposals at this point. Honestly, I find it easier to get full-time W2 job offers (and I work in the competitive creative field). 

 

I've done my research and followed all of the advice. I personalize every single proposal and even offer tips about how I might tackle a project. My profile is 100% complete and has been for awhile. I've uploaded examples of my portfolio. I've lowered my hourly rate to be more competitive - many times. I've got over a decade of experience in video production, graphic design, and content management with successful results (which I've shared) 

 

Still, the most I've gotten is a few interviews that end up going nowhere. One client wanted to hire me, but then disappeared. 

 

The only thing I can think of is every client wants a reputation score of at least 90% and so many hours worked. But it doesn't seem like anyone is willing to give us newbies a chance, even with a well-targeted proposal and a complete profile with work to show. 

 

So, if anyone is willing to look at my profile and give me advice - I'm all ears. There may be something I'm missing or something I can do better. How long did it take you to land your first client? What seemed to work for you? 

Ace Contributor
Michael S Member Since: Aug 29, 2017
2 of 10

The only advice I can give is to just keep at it.

 

Going a little further, I'll say that graphic design and content management are full of people who think that because you make it look easy, that it is easy, and therefore should be cheap. And once you go outside of the US, that way of thinking seems to dominate. 

 

What you don't want to do is sell yourself short. You know what your skills are, and you know what they're worth. Don't lower your rates just to get an edge, because all that does is create a race to the bottom. If a client is more concerned with how cheap you are than the quality of your work, then you probably don't want them as a client to begin with. Those are the types that end up nitpicking every little thing because if they know you're willing to lower your prices, they think you're willing to put up with whatever they dish out for fear of losing the contract or getting a bad review.

 

Unfortunately that does sometimes put US freelancers at a disadvantage in an international market. But if your quality is better, then a lot of clients will still choose to pay more because they know you value your skills, and are more likely to be available in the future.

 

Basically, the short of it is: keep plugging away, and charge what you're actually worth, not what you think will undercut the competition.

Active Member
Tara K Member Since: May 3, 2017
3 of 10

Thanks, Michael. I really appreciate this! I definitely know the types of clients you mean - they want the sun, the moon, and revisions for days, all for the low price of.... I think you are very right that I should keep my rate marketable for my skill set and experience. 

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
4 of 10

Tara:

I think you have a strong profile page and portfolio.

 

Your biggest problem is that you have zero Upwork work history.

Active Member
Tara K Member Since: May 3, 2017
5 of 10

Thank you, Preston! 

Community Guru
Pat M Member Since: Jun 18, 2016
6 of 10

Tara, I agree with Preston and would like to add that we were all "new" once.  We've probably been successful on the platform due to our skills and due to luck; however, I'm a huge believer in we create our own luck.  

 

The following may assist you in putting everything into proper perspective but PLEASE don't allow it to discourage you.  If others have become successful in your fields on this platform, you can too!

 

 

Upwork Freelancers:

                                                Any Amount Earned    No Earnings Yet

 

Video Production                   Over 59,000                  Over 46,000

 

Creative Director                    Over 13,000                   Over 10,000

 

Author                                     Over 16,000                   Over 10,000

 

 

 

Best of "luck" to you, Tara!

   

 

 

 

 

Active Member
Tara K Member Since: May 3, 2017
7 of 10

Thank you, Pam! This chart is actually very helpful. I'm thinking "Creative Director" may be too vague for people, and I should specify more speciific roles in my title. 

Community Guru
Kathryn B Member Since: Jul 22, 2015
8 of 10

Tara K wrote:

Thank you, Pam! This chart is actually very helpful. I'm thinking "Creative Director" may be too vague for people, and I should specify more speciific roles in my title. 


 Definitely, clarify that role.  I was a Creative Director at a Nursing Home for Alzheimer's patients for over a year.  I highly doubt that any of my tasks were related to your field. Smiley Wink  

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Get the Map off of my profile!
Community Guru
Pat M Member Since: Jun 18, 2016
9 of 10

Rene should appreciate this.  Who's Pam?

Active Member
Tara K Member Since: May 3, 2017
10 of 10

Haha - sorry, I meant Pat! I swear Smiley Happy 

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