Tried freelance programming on Upwork and failed? Try this

Have you tried to freelance programming in Upwork and has your experience been not so ideal? Well, you wouldn't be the only one. I've seen such reviews and testimonials on the internet. It’s all over Youtube, in fact, of everyone saying, “Oh, this happened and Upwork. And it's cheap, and people don't want to pay and all these types of problems”. 

Most people don't approach Upwork properly

In this video, I'm going to dispel all this, and I'm going to show you how exactly to approach Upwork in a way where you can get projects that are worth 1000s of dollars at $50+ per hour, because all the people are telling you that it's not possible, they haven't done it properly. And they've tried freelancing instead of running it as a business. And essentially, what they've done is they approached it as a job interview, instead of using Upwork as a lead generation source, which is what it is.

Upwork is a lead generation source for businesses

You should approach Upwork as a business opportunity, as a lead generation source. It's not like this magical Wonderland where you get cheap reviews. And then eventually, maybe one client is going to hire you hourly or something like that. 

Most people treat Upwork accounts as job applications

So people go on Upwork. And they create an account. They write their little resume, because that's what they're used to, because that's the thing they did to apply to jobs. And then they write about all their little skills, about their life and everything, and their education. And it's usually just a few paragraphs because they run out of ideas of what to write. And then what happens is they get treated like a cheap employee, or they never even get a job interview. That's because Upwork is just not for this at all. 

Upwork is not a platform to get cheap contracts done

Upwork is not a platform to get cheap contracts done as a developer. If you have skills, you should never ever, ever, ever do cheap contracts on Upwork. 

Upwork is to sell less tech-savvy people a well-paid work

The point of Upwork is to sell to people that are less tech-savvy than you and to charge them a lot of money. That is how it works for smart developers who make good money out of work. As such, this whole idea of starting off with a small hourly fee of $5/hour or something like that, forget it, forget it. 

Start with $50+/hour on your profile. 

Just get rid of anyone who's trying to get you to do $5-or-$10 projects. We're not there to do $5-or-$10 projects. I've been in our work since 2011. Don't do $5-or-$10 projects. We're on Upwork to get highly paid contracts. Especially if you have experience, get highly paid contracts. 

You do not need to do cheap stuff to get your first review

Worst case scenario, bring one of your existing clients from outside of Upwork to the platform, do a project for them. And then after that, to have them leave you a review. You don't need Upwork clients to get a review. You can bring your own clients to the platform, and they'll leave you your first review. 

You don't need to sell your soul and work 20 hours for $50, just to get a five-star review on Upwork. You can do it with your existing clients. It's much easier, safer, and the odds of getting a bad score are non-existent. And once you do get a bad score on Upwork, it's very difficult to get leads that way. So don't do that. Don't risk getting a bad score on Upwork.

Do not write your Upwork profile as a job resume

Next up, your profile. Don't write it like this job resume thing, because that's not what people are looking for on Upwork. They're business owners and people that are non-technical, hiring someone technical to solve a business problem. That's who you want to work with. As such, you want to talk about them and their business. And you want to learn how to communicate with these types of people. 

You are running a business

You would be running a business. You would not be selling a technical service to technical people. Very, very different from a job. As such, you need to learn sales. You need to learn project management. You need to learn how to communicate in markets to people that are non-tech-savvy. 

Write from the client point of perspective

So, what you do is you write your profile based on this video on how to write your Upwork profile, with enough proof and everything. And what you do is you write based on the point of reference of your client, where they're coming from now, instead of where you want to take them with your technical mumbo jumbo. You want to write about their experience, their point of view and their problems and help them solve them on a sales call. 

Proper sales calls are helping people to make the right decision

I don't know what you feel like or how you feel about sales calls. But if you do sales properly, and ethically, you're actually helping people make the right decision. Because they're not technical, they don't know how to make a decision based on technical information. So you need to guide them through this and consult them. 

Do not scope a project to the point of delivery

What you do then is you get payment from them as soon as possible. Preferably, you don't scope a project to the point where you're guaranteed delivery in a certain timeframe and a certain amount of hours. But you say, “This is my prediction. If you add more, if it changes, I will let you know. But as of right now, this is my prediction, we can safely start on this, just be aware that any extra work will cost money if things change.” 

It is normal to charge for unpredicted work

What this avoids is you getting stuck doing a project for days and days and days. For example, you deliver a project and it doesn't work in their system for whatever reason. It's not a big deal, because they're gonna have to pay you because that is an unforeseen circumstance where you have to fix something new. And if it's estimated outside of the scope of what you've predicted, then it's perfectly normal to charge more and the client should fully expect this based on your written contract and your verbal agreements on the sales call. That is the purpose of the sales goal as well. And if you treat it like that, you'll find that you can get very high-end contracts of $50 to $300 an hour from Upwork on day one.

You don’t have to wait or build a portfolio for years

You don't have to wait. You don't have to build up a portfolio over years on Upwork. You can start like this on Upwork from day one. People don't believe me. They watch all these freelancers and whatever talk about it on various websites and YouTube. They’re all saying the same nonsense. That's because they don't know business. If you know business, you should understand what I'm talking about. If you don't know business, it is time to learn. Anyone can learn this. If you're a developer, this is a great business opportunity right now. Upwork is an amazing platform to learn how to get leads, and how to do sales. 

Always treat yourself with respect

So just keep in mind, I'm in no way affiliated with Upwork. Some people are like, “Oh, you're just selling Upwork.” No, I don't care. I'm looking out to help you. Because I've succeeded. And you can succeed as well in this. What you have to do is treat yourself with respect. All the days, weeks, years, and months that you spent learning the skills that you've learned should be respected, and it should be paid for. 

Freelancing gets paid more than a job

Freelancing gets paid more than a job, right? So if a developer makes six figures, as a freelancer, you should make multiple six figures. That is the only acceptable and fair way of dealing with this. 

You should not go on these platforms and expect to do very cheap labor for some reviews or hand-me-downs. You should work at a fair rate. And you should charge as much as possible. As much as it's fair for the type of work to justify the complexity and the value that you're creating for the client. That's how to treat this funnel. That is how to treat your business. And that is how to treat yourself as well. With respect. 

And if you do that, you'll see that the platform (Upwork and also other platforms) will treat you much better and the clients will treat you much better. A higher-quality client will appear and you'll be able to do business properly instead of having to, you know, scrape the bottom of the barrel. 

So what I have for you next is the next video that explains how to get started on Upwork, how to write your profile and also have a video on how to send proposals, and everything else you need to know to get started as a freelance programmer on Upwork and other platforms. So click on the link below for the next tutorial on how to continue from here.

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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.