Emails Answered: How can I land my first client on Upwork?

Today, I received an email from someone struggling to land their first job on Upwork. If you’re in the same boat, check out the email chain below.

*and yes, you can hit me up at me email, too:


Hi Mike,
I am so happy I came across your Medium posts on Upwork. The information is helpful and sharing your strategy/rationale to get more work by having a friend submit proposals for you is brilliant! Increasing your rate $5/month makes complete sense as well.
I am trying to land my first gig as a Project Manager. I understand now how to submit a proposal that will get attention. But searching and finding a potential client that will hire me for my first Upwork gig? I do not have a Job Success Score. I am not Rising Talent. (yet.) How do I get around these hurdles and get someone to take a chance on me? Is there a certain client or job type I should be searching for? Lower my rate for a short term gig to get feedback? I’d appreciate any insights you have to share.


So glad that you’re finding it useful!

Here’s how I got my first couple gigs on Upwork. I brought new/current clients to the platform. I had two new local coaching clients that were okay with running the transaction through the platform. Think of this as another alternative to finding the work on upwork. I know it’s hard to get your first gig organically through the platform, so this was a way for me to build some quick hours and job history.

In the mean time, regarding landing your first client through Upwork, I would not recommend lowering your rate to get a quick gig, because that’s where all the competition is. I’d actually do the opposite. Charge a fair rate and write a great proposal. My hypothesis is that everyone who is getting started and all of the foreign talent are competing for the low paying jobs. That’s not a game you want to play. Charge what you’re worth today, and compete for the $$$ expert and $$ intermediate level jobs. Never, ever waste your time with the $ beginner level jobs. The clients won’t value your time or pay you a fair rate. Not a great long-term strategy.

Feel free to book a quick call with me, and we can go over any other questions you have:

Let’s get you that first gig, so the monkey’s off your back!