Discover how to earn a great living from freelancing.

Upwork is very competitive. On most projects you will be competing against hundreds of freelancers from around the world who all have very capable skills and abilities.

A lot of people think the only way to win jobs on Upwork is to be the cheapest provider for a project. This is VERY wrong.

Use these five tips and tricks based on my personal experience below and you will be able to get more clients on Upwork.

(1). Become a "buyer" for a day

One of the biggest eye-openers for me on Upwork was when I used the marketplace as a buyer. I had an overflow of work and needed a small task done, so I put the project on Upwork.

What I learned from seeing other freelancers apply for my project on the platform was incredibly valuable.

Nearly every freelancer who applied used a copy and paste message. Most had nothing to do with the project I wanted done. Some didn't even have the skills needed to do the project.

This made me realize. Most users are applying for as many jobs as possible and to do that are simply copy/pasting a message. This was incredibly off-putting to me as a buyer.

The freelancers who stood out sent me messages specific to my project and even gave relevant examples.

So what does this mean? If you look at a project and see hundreds of freelancers have already applied, that doesn't mean you are competing against them all. MOST will have used copy and paste messages and be ruled out immediately by the client.

It also means if you take 10 minutes to send a well written and detailed message you will increase your chances of winning a project ten fold.

If you have relevant examples of a project similar to the one you are applying for this increases your chances of getting the gig even more.

I highly recommend becoming a "buyer" on Upwork for a day. Post a small project you might need completed and look at the quality of the proposals you get. You will quickly see the competition you are up against and how you can improve.

(2). Target ONE niche

You can be a jack of all trades and a master of none. Nobody on Upwork is looking for someone who can do everything to an average standard. They want the best. They want experts.

The only way to become an expert in your field is to niche down. Pick a niche and make it clear on your Upwork profile what it is.

There are two ways to niche down.

  1. Offer a specific service in your freelancing sector. eg. Instead of being a "web designer", be a "magento e-commerce web designer".
  2. Offer your service to a specific industry. eg. Instead of being a "copywriter", be a "copywriter for the health and fitness industry".

After a while you will probably find you can niche further and do both. eg. a "magento e-commerce web designer for the health and fitness industry". This will make you highly in demand.

When clients are looking for freelancers, they want someone who has relevant experience to their specific task. Being in a niche that services that task will make you much more desirable.

A common worry freelancers have when it comes to niching down is that you think you will miss out on work. The reality is, you are more likely to miss out on projects by marketing yourself too broadly. By niching down you are competing with far less freelancers, in some cases you might be competing against nobody.

The example I always give is. If you had a water leak in your house, are you going to call a handy man, or a plumber? You are going to call a plumber.

(3). Mention results in your headline

The first thing clients will see when they search for freelancers on Upwork is your profile headline. It's the first chance you get to win a client over.

Most freelancers use this area to simply describe their service eg. "Shopify developer". If you want to make yourself more attractive to clients then you should make the headline about the results you can deliver.

So instead of:

"Shopify developer".

Change it to:

"I help clients get more sales by creating a beautiful Shopify store".

You can see why this is more appealing to a potential client. It tells them how you can help them make money - and clients LOVE that.

Here is a good template to use:

Template: I help clients get more [result] by [how you achieve the result]

(4). Leverage the power of testimonials

The one thing you find when looking through profiles on Upwork is a lot lack testimonials. Simply having one or two, sets you in the lead immediately.

Your profile should START with a testimonial. When asking a client for a testimonial to use, you should ask them to include how you helped them achieve a result that improved their business. This could be increasing sales or income.

For example: "This freelancer recently redeveloped my e-commerce website. Immediately we seen an increase in sales and after the first month our revenue was up 10%."

You can see why this makes you very attractive to potential clients.

They don't have to be perfect though. Any testimonial is better than no testimonial, so if you have one make sure to display it on your profile. If you don't have one, reach out to previous clients and ask them to write a quick one for you. If you can't do that then make it a priority to get one on your next project.

Not only do testimonials look great on your profile but you can even reference them in your message when applying for projects.

(5). Use "Call to Actions"

A "call to action" in marketing is a term for a prompt that encourages a response. These can be really powerful when dealing with clients on Upwork.

A client could read your project proposal and think, "That's great, but what's the next steps?". Never let a potential client get confused about the next steps.

Always clearly outline what you would like the client to do next in your proposal.

Here are some examples:

  • Please reply with your initial thoughts on my proposal so we can discuss.
  • If you are happy to proceed please let me know when you would like to start the project.
  • If you have any questions about my proposal please reply and I will get back to you ASAP.

Using these prompts you are making it clear what the client needs to do to keep the momentum going.

These "call to actions" also work great on your profile. Simply stating "Please get in touch so I can help you with your next project." will make it much more likely a client reading your profile will contact you.


Using these tips above you should be able to increase the amount of clients you get on Upwork, but they will work great on any marketplace.

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