11 Tips to Get Your First Job on Upwork

If you’re interested in learning how to get your first job on Upwork, then this guide will help you do just that. 

1. Secret Market Research Data 

Here is some data from Upwork showing the top four mega niches that produce the best results for people wanting to become an Upwork freelancer or agency owner.

At BusinessMentor.com, we’ve extensively tested these niches and found that some great partnerships and deals can be closed within these “mega-niches”. 

You’ll want to select a service within these top four and focus on that service within Upwork.

2. Focus Your Profile on a Single Service

Make sure your Upwork profile is focused on a single service.

Most freelancers list everything they can do. Based on the results I’ve seen, I can tell you that listing one single service you’re going to sell is the way to go. 

This will make you stand out, rank higher, and make buyers less confused about what you do. Someone who does everything will be remembered for nothing. 

3. Create a List of Keywords Related to What You Sell

People don’t just type in keywords relating exactly to what you think you’re selling. They look for words related to the service you’re selling. 

Create an excel spreadsheet with the top keywords related to your service people are looking up on Upwork. Use keywords related to the job you want to be hired for.

You may want to do extensive research on what those keywords are so that you can find all of the terms related to your service.

4. Send Personalized Proposals Daily

Upwork produces the best results when you also practice good outreach methods, not just sitting there hoping someone will send you an invite, but instead focusing on sending many personalized proposals daily.

You want to be in an industry where you can submit 10 to 20 proposals per day to maximize your results. These must be personalized and not copy and pasted. 

Sending video instead of just text can work well, but not for all people. 

To personalize your proposal, pretend you’re already on a call with a client and give them crazy valuable accurate advice based on the information you have about them and what they need.

5. Use Upwork for Lead Generation, Not Just for “Jobs”

Most people use Upwork as if they’re applying for jobs, even if they’re a business owner. Your profile should be designed to sell your free or paid consultation call. 

On this free or paid consultation call, you can sell your main “done for you” service that you provide your clients. Remember, in your profile, talk about your clients first and what they truly need from you. 

6. Apply for Recently Listed Jobs

Make sure you apply for recently listed jobs. You can find them by using the search function to sort by keywords related to the one service you sell and the categories your service falls under.

Apply for recent job posts that have fewer than 30 job proposals. That gives you the best chance. 

7. Get Five Reviews Within One to Two Months

Make sure to get five reviews within one to two months of being on Upwork, so that your profile stands out. 

You can start by bringing non-Upwork clients to Upwork if needed.

Don’t get your friend to give you a fake review or cheat the system, as many freelancers who try this get banned. It’s better to bring external clients who you trust to Upwork. That way you get a positive review, and Upwork gets a new client.

Also, you get reduced fees for introducing a new client to Upwork. Make sure it’s not someone in the same house as you with the same IP.

It’s vital to get at least one payment through Upwork per month to be taken seriously.

8. Get Leads from Upwork on Sales Calls

It’s important to get leads on Upwork onto sales calls. Don’t chat too much. Everyone does this and it’s so inefficient. 

Focus on getting new potential clients on a call so that you can provide massive value for them so they buy from you and keep buying from you. You want to help them make the right decision for them and you.

9. Be Careful with Your IP

Standard available VPNs that everyone uses don’t work. If you’re using a VPN to access services such as Netflix or anything else, turn it off. You don’t need to watch Netflix while you’re on Upwork anyway. 

If Upwork detects you’re using a VPN, which many people do, your account will be at risk. You need to be in the same country for most of the year for Upwork to treat your account as a safe account.

10. UK and US Profiles Bring Better Leads

If your account or that of one of your associates, employees, or freelancers is in the UK or US, you’re going to have a competitive advantage, as one filter for clients is to search freelancers exclusively based in these countries. This allows you to potentially get superior leads.

11. Trust Yourself First and Confirm with Advisors

When it comes to getting your first job on Upwork and growing your business, trust yourself first, and then consult your thoughts with trusted advisors that have experience and proof of their own success. I'm talking about real-world credibility. Anyone else is simply not worth listening too. 

This will save you time, instead of going through a trial and error process more so than necessary. 

The Bottom Line

To get your first job on Upwork, you need a specialized profile that offers a specific service. You have to focus on the clients’ needs and optimize your profile so that the right clients can easily find you through Upwork’s search engine. You need to prioritize quick, efficient conversation and view Upwork as a source of business leads, and not a place to apply for jobs.

Interested in building a business like this? Get on a call with one of our instructors and get advised on what you can do to build a business like this.

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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.