Becoming a Freelancer on Upwork in 2020 (4 Things You Need to Know)

Are you looking to become a freelancer on Upwork?

Want to know what to sell, how to sell, how to structure your profile, and how to get approved on Upwork?

This guide is specifically for you.

Why should you listen to me? I have used Upwork both as a freelancer and to hire freelancers for the past 11 years. I have also trained over 700 people on how to most effectively freelance on the Upwork platform.  

Here are four practical tips that you can use to get the most out of freelancing on Upwork.

Tip 1: How to Do Effective Market Research on Upwork

If you want to find the best-paying clients on Upwork you need to do some market research. Look for project types that appear daily and that have less than 25 proposals that have been sent to them already. One way to do this is to target high GDP countries where it is more likely they will have a significant budget to spend. 

You want to look for prospective clients that are looking for a service that you know that you can deliver to a high standard. Find a target client and focus on sending proposals to them. Sometimes clients will use different keywords to describe the service that they want, so you should make a list of complimentary keywords for projects to target. For example, if you are looking for Google AdWords projects make sure you also search for online advertising, Google Ads, Search Engine Ads, etc. You also want to make sure that at minimum 20 people are uploading jobs each day that match each keyword to ensure it is an in-demand project type.

Tip 2: Get Clients on Calls for Better Results

You want to get clients on calls to make sales because it is easier to guide them through the sales process and provide them with more value on a call than through chat messages. If they have any concerns or problems, you will be able to speak with them about it in real-time. Just remember that it takes time to learn how to do sales calls well, but it is worth it in the long run to nail this skill!

Tip 3: How to Get Your Profile Approved on Upwork

This seems to be a problem quite a few people are having now. One of the main reasons is that most people are signing up and the skills they are listing are the most common ones on the platform. Upwork has a limit on how many people can sign up for each skill set. So, if there are too many new users with those same skills they might not approve your account. Research skills that are more obscure to list on your profile as there won’t be a lot of people on the platform that have those skills.

Tip 4: Make Upwork Your Lead Generation Tool

To get the best results out of Upwork and to transform yourself from just a freelancer to an agency owner you need to treat Upwork like a lead generation tool. This means using the platform to get prospective clients onto sales calls and closing them as clients for your agency. You want to build a list of paying clients and build long term relationships with them. Over time many of your clients will recommend you to other business owners which will help you build up a sales funnel without an effort on your part. 

You should treat your Upwork profile as a sales pitch to get clients onto a call with you, don’t sell yourself – sell your agency and its services, show them how you will be able to solve their problems. Provide testimonials from current and former clients and make sure the whole profile is geared towards the ‘call to action’ of a live sales call with you.

Once you get prospective clients onto a call you should engage in what I call “consultative selling”. This means that you are leading the client on the call to inform them how they can buy from you, making sure that they are a good fit for your agency, and show them that you will be able to deliver results for them. Try to show clients on calls that you are an expert in your field. One of the best ways to do this is to be prepared to answer any of the questions that they might have concerning the project.

Make sure that you try to close the client while on the call with them, and send them a payment link through Upwork. If they have any questions or concerns, aim to deal with them whilst on the call – you do not want a situation whereby you are going back and forth with each other for weeks on end.

The Bottom Line

Upwork is a great platform to start a freelancing business on, as a freelancer or to build an agency. To get the most out of the platform make sure that you do customer research to pinpoint your best target customers, always aim to get them onto a sales call, and use Upwork as a lead generation tool that you can use to build up a successful online agency.

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Aleksander Vitkin

Aleksander Vitkin has helped over 700 people with a sincere interest in entrepreneurship and contribution, to start profitable businesses and quit their jobs.