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Re: Senior Writer New to Upwork

Active Member
Rose M Member Since: Jul 28, 2016
1 of 30

Hi everyone:


I'm a copywriter with 30 years of experience in ad agencies and as a freelancer. I need to know how to present myself to prospective clients without an Upwork history. My hourly rate is what I make ordinarily, but I'm concerned that job posters will shy away from it. The quality and speed of work completely justify the rate, but how can I make that case in my proposal? 


Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
2 of 30

You'll need to focus on something you're an expert in. Focus on businesses, which is hard to identify until you get the hang of it. Avoid bloggers or people making MFA (made for ads) sites because they have no money. 


You can pull it if you are truly an expert in your field. If you do marketing, sales writing pays well since you're making the person money. Of course you have to avoid the people selling snake oil, cuz again they ain't got no money but there are clients here who have real products that need good copy.

Community Guru
Wendy C Member Since: Aug 24, 2015
3 of 30

Rose, along with Jennifer's advice I'll add my 2 cents worth.


There is nothing wrong - and a lot good - about your hourly rate.  Professional work doesn't come cheap; it 'comes' effective for the client needs.


As a writer it is basically impossible to work on an hourly basis.  Why? For starters:


- Thinking time is impossible to track w/ the system's tracker as it captures key strokes

- If you have any clients with a NDA in force it is invasive and negates the NDAs


If a job you want is posted as hourly explain the above and ask that the gig be converted to fixed. I've never had a problem (eLance; LI and other sites) and it is a much better deal for clients.


It is fine (and done by the professionals on a regular basis) to request partial payment to start work.  This keeps the client vested in the project amongst other reasons.


Write a dynamite proposal -



Active Member
Rose M Member Since: Jul 28, 2016
4 of 30

I'm so glad you brought that up, Wendy! I've been bothered by the hourly rate thought. Your solution makes great sense. Thank you!

Active Member
Rose M Member Since: Jul 28, 2016
5 of 30

Jennifer, how do you determine who's selling snake oil? Is it a matter of payment being verified?

Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
6 of 30

I don't come across snake oil salesmen because it's just not a huge issue in the IT sector at least for writing. In health, there are a lot of them though. Colonic cleanses and weight lost pills and whatnot. 


I took your marketing comment as a hint that you might be interested in sales style writing, and you might come across these types of people.


For hourly, I go against the grain a bit and don't have an issue with it. I do manual time though and that's risky that you won't get paid.  


At your rate, you will have to spend a lot of time sifting through junk. For me, I have a lot of repeat customers so I can be very picky, but I'd say in months where I really need to find some work I might find 5ish jobs I'll bid on a week. Maybe a little more. It's also summer so it's slow.

Community Guru
Walker R Member Since: Sep 30, 2015
7 of 30

Jennifer is correct.  Focus on a niche.  Otherwise you will get drowned bidding on projects with too many people competing with you.  Focus on both a type of writing an a target market.  Writing types are PR, business plans, marketing, proposals, and then what I do: high tech. Niche markets are like your profile says automotive, health care, retail and entertainment.  I think health care would be good for you as there is lots of work there due to the changing nature of that in the USA. Lots of RFPs here for retailing too.


There are no short cuts.  It will take you 6 months to a year to build up a job history. You will get 1 then 2 then 4 then 8 completed jobs then it will get easier to win jobs.


Also bid high.  It lets clients see that you are the best writer.  Watch out for fraud.  Don't bid on proposals with spelling errors.  You will learn the red flags which flush out the clients you want to avoid.


But to get started you can take some of these low-paying $5 per post spamming jobs.  Then leave those people.  At least that way you can get some jobs on your profile.


After that I would only bid on American jobs as you are an American.  That's the best market.  There's a reason Google and Facebook are there and not elsewhere.  Other freelancers might disagree with me but I would avoid certain Asian and Oceania and even certain European markets altogether and even Canada.  They either pay too low or they have too much fraud plus it's a different culture.  You will find people there will not understand the American approach to work.  So they will just get disappointed and maybe not pay too you.  Or they will string you along forever.  You need a defined end point.



Good luck.



Active Member
Rose M Member Since: Jul 28, 2016
8 of 30
Wow, so much great advice! So grateful!
Community Guru
Wendy C Member Since: Aug 24, 2015
9 of 30

To reiterate - do not take the $5 jobs - it's the kiss of death. 


I did a job yesterday to review a Beta site from a user perspective - all of 5 minutes for $15 .... and really considered saying "No thanks" b/c of the stigma of the price. The reason I finally agreed was the content was interesting, something I had dealt with in the recent past, the concept good and needed.  Whether it haunts me or not remains to be seen.



Active Member
Rose M Member Since: Jul 28, 2016
10 of 30
Hope all's well that ends well!