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How To Make Money On Upwork In 2022 (For Beginners)

So you’ve looked through all the freelancing platforms and decided you want to use Upwork. What do you do now? And how do you actually make money on Upwork? In this article, we’ll answer all the questions you need to get started.

Make A Compelling Profile

The first step to land clients and make money on Upwork is to make a compelling profile. Your profile should feature a detailed description of the type of work that you offer and the skills that you have. You are going to want to be as detailed as possible when you are filling this out.

When you first create your profile, you will have to answer a few questions about whether you have freelanced before and what your intentions are with Upwork. Then they present you with this page asking how you would like to work:

Upwork screenshot

You can select anywhere from 1-3 options. If you want to maximize your earning potential, we suggest selecting all three from the beginning.

Then you will have the opportunity to enter your relevant experience. If you have any experience in your field, definitely list it here. If you don’t, don’t worry! It’s still possible to find jobs and make money on Upwork.

Sharing Your Skills

After adding your education & languages, you will have the opportunity to enter up to 15 skills. Take advantage of this and include as many as you can think of. Make sure these are directly related to the work that you want to do. This is not an opportunity for you to brag about your skateboarding talent. Also, do not put in basic skills that everyone should be proficient in. Listing “Microsoft word” as a skill is a thing of the past.

Here is an example of my skills:

Writing Your Bio

One of the most important parts of your profile will be your bio. This is your chance to explain to clients what work you do and to demonstrate your professionalism.

Here’s an example of a good, shorter bio:

When you are just creating your profile, it’s okay to have a shorter bio like this. After all, there are quite a few steps here, so don’t let the bio writing overwhelm you. The most important thing to do if you want to ensure you make money on Upwork is to START! For me, personally, I procrastinated making my Upwork profile for years. Yes, years. I kept going back and forth about whether I had the time to freelance or whether it was something I was interested in. After I did my first freelancing job for a client, I finally realized what I was missing out on.

Don’t forget to brush up on your bio, though!

Even though it’s okay to write a shorter bio like the example when you are just beginning, don’t forget to come back and continually tweak and update it. Here are examples of three different Upwork profiles that Upwork has presented as examples of high-quality bios.

If you are a writer, your profile will be your first opportunity to show off your writing skills.
In this example, this virtual assistant used bullet points to list out all of her relevant skills.

Creating Your Packages

You don’t have to create packages for clients to buy, but if you want to maximize your earning we recommend doing this. By creating packages for Upwork’s Project Catalogue, you will be giving potential clients another way to discover you.

The Project Catalogue is essentially Upwork’s attempt to integrate Fiverr’s gig-based model into their system. On the project catalogue you can create as many as 20 different projects for potential clients to buy.

If you have no idea where to start when it comes to creating packages, look through the Project Catalogue to see how other freelancers in your niche are approaching it. Think about all the projects you would like to tackle as a freelancer, and create a package for each one. If you are a graphic designer, for example, perhaps you will create one package for logo design, another for YouTube thumbnails and another for album cover artwork. Go view the packages freelancers have already posted, and use that as a basis for how you should present yourself and what you should charge.

Build Up Your Portfolio

You should have a portfolio that includes examples of every kind of project you are looking to take on. This is especially true for using the Project Catalog. If you are a website designer, you should have examples of multiple websites you have built. After all, clients aren’t going to simply take your word for it when you say you are good at what you do. A portfolio is everything. Make sure you include your best pieces in your portfolio.

How To Create Your Portfolio

You don’t have to wait for clients to start building out your portfolio. In fact, you should already have examples of your work before anyone has paid you. In graphic design school, you are given a pretend client and have to complete a project for them. You don’t need to pay a professor thousands of dollars to do this. If you are just starting out in building your portfolio, start making content for imaginary clients! Or find potential clients and offer to do work for them, and tell them they will only have to pay if they like and use the work that you do. Or do the first piece for free, and then sell them on your other services.

Reaching Out To Clients

When you are just getting started, it is absolutely essential to reach out to clients. You don’t want to sit around twiddling your thumbs and waiting for jobs to fall into your lap. Though you can simply post your packages and wait, it is not a good way to maximize your income. Upwork is a platform that encourages freelancers to proactively apply for work.

Apply For Jobs

This is the really the only way to initiate first contact with a potential client on Upwork. You should not try to contact a new client outside of Upwork in an effort to subvert the application process.

If you want to have success in applying for jobs, try to be one of the first ones to apply. This is how you will land your most valuable clients and make money on Upwork.

Speed isn’t going to be enough though. Make sure you put your best foot forwards Your application should be coherent and persuasive on why you can complete the job.

Create An “Upwork Cover Letter”

Before we jump into this piece of advice, let me be clear: you should not be simply copy-pasting the same message for every job. One of the essential aspects of landing jobs is tailoring your application for the specific job posted.

However, there is no need to waste time by typing up a new application from scratch each time. You should already have these sections of your cover letter typed out:

  • A friendly and professional greeting and opening line.
  • A brief description of your relevant experience and why the client should choose you.
  • A link to your portfolio, if you have one.
  • A professional and polite closer.

Ask Questions

This is one of the best tricks you can use when it comes to customizing your application. Asking relevant questions about the job shows potential clients that you are paying attention to their job description, you are a critical thinker and you are ready to jump in and get to work. It’s important to keep a few things in mind, though.

  • There is such a thing as a bad question. This is not like in middle school when your teachers told you “there’s no stupid questions”. If you ask a question that has already been answered in the job posting, you are going to be immediately eliminated from consideration. If you ask a question that they are hiring you to answer, you will not get the job.
  • Good questions are clarifying. Your question should be about the information you need to get started. If you are a writer, you can ask about the kind of tone they are looking for in the piece. If you are a website builder, you can ask about what platform they are using. It should be a question that is essential to get started on the project, but not one that you can find the answer to yourself.

Build Relationships

Once you have perfected your profile, created your packages, and started reaching out to clients, it’s important to keep building relationships with your clients. Some ways to build relationships with clients are:

Ask for feedback.

Not all clients will feel comfortable giving feedback unprompted. By being proactive in asking for feedback, you will make the client feel comfortable being honest about what they did and didn’t like. When clients are satisfied with your work, they are much more likely to come back for more.

Be friendly and professional.

It doesn’t matter how good your work is; if you are not pleasant to work with, you will struggle to make money on Upwork and create a sustainable freelance business. Be polite and friendly when communicating with the client. When the job is done, thank them for working with you and let them know that you enjoyed working with them.

Take an interest in your client’s business.

Taking a geninue interest in your clients business is one of the best ways to build up a strong relationship. Most people who are hiring freelancers are quite proud of the work they do. That is why they are willing to spend money to hire you to help their business or project!

Be reliable.

Reliability is very important to most clients. Make sure you meet deadlines, respond promptly and follow through on what you say you will do. If they can count on you, they will come back to you the next time they need someone with your skillset.

Follow up with clients.

My highest paying client regularly disappears for long periods of time. He’s a busy businessman and has a lot going on at any one moment. Whenever I have extra availability, I shoot him a message to let him know that my schedule has freed up if he has any work he needs done. I’ve made thousands of dollars just by following up with clients and saying I’m available for more work. Don’t do it to the point where it is annoying. However, popping in every couple months to remind old clients you are around can do wonders for your income.

Make Money on Upwork: Get started today!

The most important thing you can do to insure you make money on Upwork is to take action. I waited so long before I took the leap into freelancing, but once I finally did my life completely changed. Reading articles to educate yourself is essential, but so is following through. So go ahead, open up Upwork right now and take some sort of action. Whether it is creating your profile, creating a package or reaching out to a client, do something!

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