What I did to get my first 3 jobs on Upwork in two days (included the one without bidding)

I wrote my story in previously about How I land a job on Upwork for the first time without even bidding.

And yes, I got that job offer without bidding and in one day later, I also got another 2 project offers.

So for this time I will give, kind of ‘the tips’ on how to get a project (even more) for the first time on Upwork. Perhaps these tips will be useful to those people who want to start a career in Upwork as freelancers but wonder why it’s hard to win the job. We all know it’s not that easy to get a project at first, even if we set the low rate, no matter how long our experience is. Some of us will desperately or getting cringed and being pessimistic to compete with all freelancers around the world in any freelance web platforms and never coming back to try again.

  • I’ve read an article on Medium about a remote worker when he tried to get a remote job -as his dream- not on Upwork because of his failure experience on Upwork in previously. However he’s now a successful remote worker. He got the fulltime remote job at U.S company by Stackoverflow with 300 points reputation on his profile. Well, it’s even harder I think.

So, here are what I did to get my first 3 jobs on Upwork, both fixed price and hourly rate in only 2 days:

1. ‘Never give up’ mental

Always believe that whatever happened in this life after we have several failures will end beautiful. Submit proposals in Upwork is kindly like submit application to the conventional job vacancies. The difference is your experience as a professional is not impact for 100% if you are a newbie on Upwork. But that doesn’t mean your experience is nothing here. However, you won’t win any job if your mental is like the one remote worker I told above. This is not about success in furher by another way, but this is about how to win project on Upwork, which are many freelancers who became rich and success started their career in Upwork. There is always time to begin. Even we all born not in a month.

2. Take the online skill test on Upwork

This is not a requierement, though. But if I were a client I will choose one — — especially if the freelancer don’t have any job history — , who at least must have passed the test with the good result. The related tests with their skills. I’ve got 1 passed test with Above Average grade in Adobe Photoshop CS3 for Mac’s test as designer. This will prove to clients that you know well your job.

3. Upload (only the best) portfolio on your profile

This is one of the things that makes me hired by client, the one without bidding. The client is interested with my portfolio and asked me to do the UI Design for their project with the similar design style with my portfolio, even though I have no review yet or win any projects at that time. The client doesn’t like the current design they already had from another designer. This client is hired me in hourly rate! without any job history at the time when they hired me.

4. Don’t count your proposals and the declines

Except you just don’t care and keep trying. I got my first jobs (totally 3 jobs at first in 2 days) after I submitted 31 proposals, 9 declines and the rest are still pending. Just keep going. And keep researching about the tips on the internet.

5. Create simple proposals text

This is my proposal that won the project:

The first job winning with contract

One another project were without bidding in any job post, but the client has interested with my portfolio. I also have the Rising Talent badge on Upwork which is Upwork has recommend to the clients, all the freelancers with Rising Talent badge to be consider.

So, as most of the tips I’ve read, we don’t have to write a formal proposal like a cover letter for job applications. This is a freelance project and usually we can make it in personally. And sometimes the small project is just for their own personal life needed. Although there are some fulltime/part time jobs too here for experience winners.

Be confident, to the point, concisely, show your best portfolio that related with the job, answer the questions if there’s any and make sure that you’re capable to do the job, not just about to get the money or you can have your own paid assistants to do the job if you think you have not enough time or the job is not suitable with your skills but you should understand the project and the projects are still in your profession related field. You don’t have to write Dear, Mr. Blabla, or Dear, Sir, no! Another freelancers even always open with Hi, Superstar if the client have no name on their profile.

6. Start with the small projects won’t hurt you

I’ve read some tips about how to win the job on Upwork even with the very high rate like $5000 for their first project. But they all attached the presentation video to the client in the proposals and they are native English. I’m Indonesian, not a native English so don’t push your self to make it even worst. But if you are a native English then you have great chances to win the high rate jobs in your first gig on Upwork by attach the presentation video in your proposal.

Some people can grow their career from small projects. I’ve heard some successfull stories when they won the first job on Upwork with low rates around $25 or $27 or even lower.

My first time to win the project on Upwork is an emoticons design for $25. I’m not sure what for it is, but the client said her sister will like this. So I assumed it’s maybe for their own orrrr……I have no idea.

7. You don’t need to rate your self in hourly rate under $10/hour at first

My hourly rate on the profile is $10/hour and I haven’t win any projects until 3 days ago. Not that bad, right? If you have professional experience outside Upwork, for instance your portfolio from your fulltime jobs, I think you don’t need to rate youself under $10/hour. Here’s I prove to you that I can get my hourly rate for $10/hour on early projects.

The hourly rate is for that one client who interested with my portfolio. We haven’t discussed about the paid until the second day I worked with. He then asked me in the second day about the compensation. I was tempted to mention even more, but the rate is visible in my profile so I just said $10/hour, it’s good start, tough. And until today I’ve spent approximately 12 hours. At least it will be finished in 8 days (@4 hours). It can be more.

8. Submit proposals to the spesific job in your field that rarely people can do that well.

My first contract on Upwork is a $25 for emoticon designs, luckily the client let my self to decide how many emoticons I can provide for $25. And when I checked back the job post, it’s only submited by 4 freelancers, which I’m the winner. But it doesn’t mean if you submit to the job with more than 20’s freelancers you don’t have any chances to win. At least sometimes there are chances to do the other scope tasks outside the job post description that client will ask you then inviting you while you will be invite by client in a job post that has no related with your tasks.

Please, tell me about your experience when you won your first project on Upwork :)
Furthermore I will write my experience to earn US Dollar without any freelancing platforms.