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Having No Luck With Proposals

Hello. I’m a fairly new freelancer here on Upwork. I’m not really sure what I’m doing wrong, if anything. I’ve been sending out lots of proposals and I’m not getting any responses back. I’ve tried tweeking price, professionalism, my profile, and a lot of other things. I usually make sure that I’m talking about their project specifically and I’m providing examples of my work. I’ve even taken the Upwork readiness test and English proficiency test (I’m US born and raised and speak very well).


Does anyone have any other suggestions?


Hi Nicole,


You might want to offer doing one or two small jobs for free or very low cost to build up a job history. It was also hard for me to get started on Upwork, but once I had a couple of jobs under my belt, more people were willing to hire me. 


Good luck!


- Jared

Thanks! I’ve tried the few small projects for feee route but I was very surprised to get no responses to even that.



It's up to each freelancer to set their own rates, but considering you have had zero clients, you also have zero reviews, yet your hourly rate for building basic websites is $75/hour.  Most PHP developers charge considerably less than that, so it's probably a factor.


Consider this, clients receive a ton of proposals, then they have, side by side, a highly rated PHP developer with positive reviews, who can build a dynamic website for (usually) less the $40/hour, then they see your proposal, for a static website at $75/hour.


You define your rates, but you may want to consider sweetening the deal for your first few clients until you have a few reviews and a good success rate.

Thanks so much! Upwork doesn’t really let freelancers see other freelancers profiles so I wasn’t sure of that. That’s probably something I’ll adjust.

Have patience brother.I also struggled alot when i started as a freelancer.Just make sure,in your starting projects u dont see at costs instead focus on quality of work.Once you r established,you will really enjoy and earn alot.So be patient and keep working.U will get lots of clients and yaa don't lose your confidence.Just remember you are awesome..**edited for Community Guidelines**

With one mention from me. "A lot" is merely impossible, because there are no more eLance clients here. Usually you will see "$$$ Expert Level" and $200-500/mo. I have no idea why this is not managed by Upwork. They would get more if there will be more "qualite" clients. For now 90% of clients IMHO are looking for those who "improves a profile" and agree to complete work for a star.


A couple of factors:


1) Regardless of your profile, if you have no history/reviews yet, it takes *quite* a while to get to a point on here where you're getting a lot more clients/work. I started using this platform full time a year and a half ago and only in the last few months have I started getting lots of invites for various jobs. The only problem is I'm too busy to accept more work right now! You'll get there eventually but you have to develop a history on here first. I was in your position a year ago. The point I'm making here is that to some extent it isn't your fault ... it just takes a while to become popular to clients on here.


2) You mentioned the readiness tests. Take more tests related to your specific skills. I learned a while back there are clients who actually care about those test scores! One time a client asked me questions about a test score I had. I was surprised by that and figured clients don't care about those. So take some programming tests and try to get at least an above average score.


3) Any past work you can show at all? That will be more valuable than anything. Your portfolio section is one of the most important sections on the profile. Even if it is a small project you did in a classroom setting or for a previous job before Upwork (assuming you're allowed to show it and it isn't proprietary software). Make sure each portfolio entry has an attractive screenshot photo and provide details about how you implemented the project (i.e. "The front-end is written using HTML, CSS, and JS. I used the jQuery library and <insert other JS plugins that may have been used here> plugins...") This will give the client the impression that you seem to know what you're doing and will be more inclined to hire you.


Hi Nicole,


A few things I can recommend after viewing your profile.


1) Take some more tests related to your skill. Currently all tests you have are just general tests. They DO MATTER if you dont have a history yet.


2) Focus on small jobs initially. With a competitive marketplace full of so many talented freelancers, you can imagine what chance you stand with 0 job history to get a high budget job.


3) Early bird catches the fish: prefer to bid on proposals as early as you can. I would suggest focus on those jobs which have less than 5 proposals or at max 5-10 proposals. (you can filter them). 

You are most likely going to find those jobs if you bid on them an hour or so after they are posted.



This is violation of upwork t&c and will even lead to your account termination. I have had few friends of mine(in no way affiliated to my upwork account) that mentioned their account suspended and eventually terminated. Be very careful with it when you have new account on upwork.


You can instead offer to do additional stuff for the client for same budget. And anyways, chances of landing high budget jobs when you are starting out are very very thin! (My first job on upwork(odesk) was of 1$ 😄 )


5) Bring your clients on upwork: If you have few clients who you know are not on upwork, get them on the platform. This will ensure you getting a great review as well as a 0% service fees. 




And finally do not give up!



Apologies for the edits, I moved this to a new thread for general proposal tactics: https://community.upwork.com/t5/Freelancers/Thoughts-on-Winning-Proposals-Share-Your-Tactics/m-p/591...


Hi Nicole 

You are not doing anything wrong. But most of the clients prefers to proceed with freelancers who have a constant and successful job score and great rating. 

One of the best case scenario is to offer your services for some time at really low price as compared with other freelancers. Once you started to receive reviews and feedback you my increase the price for projects. 

Also make sure to do some upwork tests. It doesn't mean how much good you are with english or any other language. When clients check out your profile with good rating and quality tests passed they will definitely prefer to hire you for their work.