Upwork is often seen as one of the easiest ways to get started as a digital nomad, but all too often I get asked ‘I’m doing everything right! Why am I not getting work on Upwork?’
Personally, I had a lot of success with Upwork.
At one point I was earning over $4000/month on the freelancing platform.
Through Upwork I have been able to achieve my dream of becoming a digital nomad.
Being a freelancer means I am able to work from my laptop and live anywhere in the world.
Nowadays, I do not rely on Upwork as my sole source of income now.
However, I still regularly receive invitations with offers work at my rate of $35/hour.
I know lots of people who have spent lots of time making their Upwork applications perfect.
When they finally get accepted they then give up because they weren’t able to win any jobs on Upwork.
This could be because of a variety of reasons.
Here, I’ve outlined the five most common reasons why you’re not winning jobs on Upwork.
1 BIDDING ON TOO MANY JOBS
When you first get started on Upwork it can be tempting to apply for every single job that you feel vaguely qualified for.
However, if you aren’t getting any work on Upwork then STOP!
There are a couple of problems with applying to every job going.
The first issue is that you run out of connects very quickly. No bueno.
The second issue is that if you are applying for lots of jobs, then your proposal letter is bound to suffer.
I once won a job specifically tied to my unique proposal.
Apparently, out of 50 proposal letters from freelancers, my proposal letter was the ONLY personalised proposal!
Taking the time to do a little research surrounding the job.
Before trying to make your proposal as unique as possible will pay dividends in the long run.
You are far better spending 30 minutes on one proposal than spending the same time on ten proposals.
Think about it from a clients point of view, they can receive hundreds of applications per job posting.
Therefore, it is VITAL that your proposal stands out as much as possible.
Try and find out the client’s name, a bit about the company if possible.
With this extra information, use it to make your proposal stand out!
A proposal letter needs to outline this one thing.
WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR THE CLIENT!
Why does the client need you? Think about this and be bold. Be unique. Be you.
Sometimes the key to winning jobs on Upwork is down to being more vulnerable and letting your personality shine through!
Before you copy a template you found online, have a think and see if you can write something individual all by yourself.
LESSON – Research and personalize your proposal.
2 NOT FOCUSED ENOUGH – SPECIALIZE
If you are trying to make a name for yourself as a Virtual Assistant then it can be tempting to apply for lots of different kinds of projects.
However, in the long run, it is far better to specialize in one skill.
In your profile, hone in one specialized skill you are proud of.
This may be Mailchimp, Adobe Photoshop, Pitchbox.
Whatever it is you feel most confident in using, SPECIALIZE IN THAT.
The reason why specializing is so important is obvious from a client’s point of view.
Most times, clients are wanting to hire a freelancer because they need a skill set they don’t have available in-house.
Think about it –
As a client, would you rather hire a jack of all trades or a freelancer who is proficient in one exact skill?
The exact skill you are needing?
They need a specific job doing, so, they are looking for a specific skill.
Makes sense doesn’t it!
Clients are looking for someone to do something very specific.
When you’re bidding through a platform like Upwork, one of the biggest factors in winning a gig is differentiating yourself.
You NEED to stand out from dozens of other freelancers who are also capable of doing the job.
If you asking yourself why am I not getting work on Upwork.
Are you also asking yourself what makes you stand out?
How can you set yourself apart?
Pricing is key to showing your expertise and setting you apart from the rest.
REMEMBER – A higher price is associated with higher quality.
Don’t be afraid to up your price!
This will help set yourself apart from the dozens of other freelancers competing for the same job.
Would you rather win one well-paid job and do the work once? Or would you like to have to work four times for the same amount of money?
LESSON – Specialise and price high.
3 COMPETING WITH THE MASSES
In a dream world, clients would diligently look over every single proposal. The reality is very different.
A single job posting can receive hundreds of proposals.
Clients are often able to fill their posting from just the first ten applicants.
Therefore, if you are applying for jobs where there are over 25 proposals already submitted, you are wasting your time.
A far more valuable use of your time would be to search regularly for new postings.
When you see a new job appear, pounce like a lion.
Do your research about the job quickly and efficiently.
Then, get crafting a unique proposal that will wow the client.
LESSON – Make your proposal as special as you!
4 INCOMPLETE PROFILE
The first step to becoming a successful freelancer on Upwork is making your profile as professional as can be.
Clients need to trust that you are competent and reliable, and one way to transmit this is through your profile.
If you aren’t getting any work on Upwork then it’s time to cast a critical eye over your profile.
Take a look at the high ranking freelancers in your category and study their profiles.
I’m not suggesting you copy their profiles (plagiarism ain’t the game) but you can use them for inspiration!
What buzzwords and tricks are they using to make their introduction pop?
Could you make your profile picture more professional?
You need to complete your profile to 100%.
This means uploading a professional profile photo, taking your time writing your introduction.
Make sure your fill out all your relevant experiences, including examples of past work to build a portfolio.
Also, take a few of the Upwork competency tests.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t do well on the tests because you can choose whether or not to display the results.
(Full disclosure – I actually failed the office skills test!)
Here is my profile below so you can get an idea of the kind of thing to write.
LESSON – Create a profile to be proud of.
5 GIVING UP TOO SOON
One of the main reasons why most people fail in life is quitting too soon.
If you are struggling and wondering ‘Why am I not getting work on Upwork?’
Take a step back and ask yourself are you giving it your all?
Have you been going at it consistently for a month at least?
I won my first job after a solid week of searching and submitting proposals.
After that, it was a good few months before I was able to earn a living from Upwork.
Whatsmore, the first six months, I was only earning $1000/month.
Like anything in life, you must keep going even when you feel like giving up.
Just because you aren’t getting work on Upwork today doesn’t mean you won’t tomorrow.
LESSON – Never give up. You can do it!