For professionals across a variety of industries, freelancing has become an increasingly popular option. Working as an independent professional allows workers to earn money in their preferred sectors, create their own schedules, and set their own rates.

For freelancers interested in building their list of clients and finding available jobs, Upwork might be a good place to start. The site specializes in pairing freelancers with clients for various jobs across a wide range of specialties. We'll explore what freelancers should know before they get started on this platform and what they can do to increase their chances of success.

What Is Upwork?

Upwork is one of the world's largest freelancing platforms that connects freelancers with clients interested in finding professionals to complete work for them. Freelancers can create profiles that highlight their experience across a wide range of industries. Upwork also allows freelancers to upload items to their portfolio to showcase their skills.

For example, the platform has freelancers who specialize in:

  • Digital marketing
  • Accounting
  • Graphic design
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Social media marketing and campaigns
  • Copywriters
  • Programming
  • Website designers provides a marketplace for freelancers to work with businesses ranging from small startups to large corporations.

How Upwork Works

Upwork specializes in helping freelancers find clients and projects while also matching clients with the best possible freelancer for the task. The general process typically looks like this:

  1. Freelancers create a profile to promote their skills, experience, and expertise.
  2. A client decides they want to hire an independent contractor to help with a particular task or project within their organization.
  3. The client posts a job on Upwork, explaining the type of experience they want to see in the freelancer and the project for which they're hiring.
  4. Freelancers can apply to the job and bid on the work.
  5. The client reviews the applications, profiles, and portfolios of the applicants.
  6. The client selects the freelancer they would like for the task or project.
  7. The freelancer does the job and gets paid through the Upwork platform.

8 Things You Need to Know Before Becoming a Freelancer on Upwork

Upwork can offer freelancers an opportunity to display their skill set and find clients, which is especially helpful to new freelancers interested in finding ways to make money as an independent contractor. Tracking down new clients can be one of the most challenging parts of building a freelance business. Upwork helps make this process easier by connecting freelancers and clients.

However, as you join the Upwork platform, recognize that there are thousands of other independent professionals competing for work. This means that a successful freelancer needs to know how to put their best foot forward and stand out.

We'll walk you through what you need to know and some best practices to follow as you get started on Upwork.

Your Upwork Profile Matters

Your Upwork profile matters greatly. This is your resume on Upwork and gives potential clients the information they need when deciding whether to hire you. Therefore, you want to take your time when filling out the different sections.

  • Include a profile picture. A headshot, like the one on LinkedIn, can help make your freelancer profile feel more professional and personal, rather than a faceless entity applying for work.
  • List any certifications you have in your field. If you have taken courses, earned degrees, or in other ways demonstrated your skills, highlight these, as well.
  • Note your industry-specific skills to help you match with appropriate jobs.
  • Consider making an introductory video. A video that helps the potential client get to know you can make a good impression.
  • Make sure you carefully proofread your profile. Typos, poorly constructed sentences, and other profile issues can damage your credibility.
  • Create a portfolio that draws attention to your best work and what you can achieve for the client.

Job Postings Go Fast

With the number of freelancers on Upwork, job postings can go quickly. Within just a few hours of posting an opening on the board, clients might receive hundreds of applications.

Therefore, you want to make sure that you stay on top of your job searches. Regularly look through the openings relevant to your skills and experience so that you can submit your application quickly for jobs you want.

Read Job Postings in Detail

With the numerous applications that clients receive from a single job posting, they can afford to be picky. An application that demonstrates a lack of understanding of the precise job will quickly move to the bottom of the pile. This wastes both your time and the client's time.

Instead, thoroughly read the job description before you submit your application for consideration. Note the scope of the job and any special qualifications the clients want to see in the application. This will ensure that you answer their needs in your application.

Research Clients

As with any cover letter for a traditional job, clients want to know that applicants have taken the time to research the business and learn a bit about their goals. When it comes to applying for freelancing jobs, make sure you know who you are applying to. This includes understanding the client's industry, what they want to accomplish with the job, and the role you will fill for the business.

Knowing the goals and industry of the clients you apply to will help you create a more personalized application and demonstrate why you are the professional best suited for the job.

Tailor Your Job Proposals

When you work on numerous applications, it can be tempting to create a generic application to send out to potential clients. However, this strategy can make it significantly harder to land the jobs you want.

Instead, bring together the information you learned by reading the job description and researching the company to create a highly personalized application. To stand out from the competition, make sure that the client knows what you have to offer that others do not. Demonstrate how you will help with their goals to present a more convincing argument.

Set Competitive Yet Fair Pricing

Clients generally understand that they get what they pay for. Therefore, they won't necessarily be looking to pay for the cheapest services. Instead, they want to get the best quality within their budget. In response, appropriately price your services according to the experience you have and the expertise you can offer.

Take time to research the range of prices for freelancers within your industry. Upwork can give you a good starting point. The top-rated members of the Upwork community can provide great insight into pricing on the site.

You can use this range to better understand where you fall. Look at both the hourly rate posted by other professionals and their price per project. Remember to factor in your experience within the field, your skills, and your expertise. You will also want to remember the reputation you have on the platform, as someone with years of experience on Upwork and hundreds of positive reviews can often set higher prices than a newcomer to the site.

Give Each Job Your Best Work

As you begin to get work, you want to make sure that you give each assignment your best possible effort, regardless of its size. After you complete jobs, clients can leave reviews on your profile. This impacts what future clients see when they view your profile. It can impact the ease with which you find more jobs moving forward.

To give your reputation the best possible boost, make sure to dedicate yourself to each job you get. This will help you build a strong profile and plenty of positive reviews, getting you started on the path toward becoming a successful freelancer.

Give It Time

Although you may initially submit dozens of applications, don't be discouraged if you don't land as much work as you want. Keep in mind that it often takes time to get going, especially as a new freelancer. Focus on building a strong profile and then begin to apply to jobs. As you earn opportunities to work, this will further boost your portfolio and reviews, giving you greater visibility as a freelance professional.

Continue to put in the work to find more clients, as this will make it easier to find the work you seek. Regardless of whether you want to work as a freelancer full time or prefer to use it as a way to earn some money on the side, give yourself a lot of time to nurture your job success score.

Manage Your Freelance Invoicing and Accounting With Skynova

For freelancers nurturing their client lists and building their freelancing businesses, accounting can be a struggle. This can be especially true when tracking hours, making invoices, getting paid, and managing other bookkeeping requirements.

Fortunately, Skynova specializes in helping small business owners easily keep track of their business processes. With straightforward accounting software, business templates like invoices, and other software products, Skynova helps freelancers like you every day. See what makes our software such a great choice for small business owners.