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5 Tips to Win Proposals and Get Clients on Upwork

A few pieces of advice from a beginner himself.

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Upwork is one of the largest freelancing platforms to find work and freelancers.

According to Wikipedia, there are over twelve million registered freelancers and three million registered clients on Upwork. In 2017, more than three million jobs worth $1 billion were posted.

No doubt, Upwork is always the first choice of freelancers and clients.

Whether you decide to be a full-time freelancer or work alongside your primary job, you can earn a pretty decent amount of money provided you’re following the rules.

But getting your first client as a beginner can be a daunting task.

When the platform is filled with professional freelancers, it’s hard to get noticed. But not if you are doing what’s needed to be done.

I began my freelance journey on Upwork in January. For over a month, I kept on bidding with the little knowledge I had. Soon, I learned how to write winning proposals and get more clients to respond at least.

As of now, I have earned more than $250 and am currently working with two long-term clients. I also received a response from the third client and hopefully, I will get the contract.

Here are the 5 tips for a beginner to win more proposals and get clients on Upwork.

Build your profile

Your profile is the first thing a client sees when you submit your proposal.

Screenshot from Author’s Upwork Profile

So you have to make it look attractive and professional. Make your client feel that you are the right person for the job. Input all the necessary details like your profile picture, education, job experience, certificates, and portfolio.

While writing a description, add all the experiences and strengths you have. In that way, you show yourself as a potential candidate with lots of experience and strength.

Add all the relevant details and keep your profile updated, especially your hourly rate. You won’t have a good impression if your client finds out you are charging more than your hourly rate.

Finally, make your profile positive and complete. No one wants to offer a job to a freelancer with incomplete details.

Bid less, learn more

At the beginning of my journey, I was kind of an overbidder. I would bid for everything I had my eye on. That affected my mentality as I wasn’t getting any responses.

Once, I lost all the 40 bids I bought but didn’t receive any response.

Eventually, I learned that instead of bidding on everything, I should only bid on projects that I could do. It helped me get back a few responses and earned me clients.

Even if you don’t get the contract from the client, you’ll at least get your bids back. Upwork gives 10 bids for every response you get for your proposals.

Respond quickly

I once lost a client because I saw his message 24 hours later and that’s because I didn’t receive his notification on my phone. It happened in the case of Freelancer, another freelancing platform, though.

But still, this rule applies to everything.

If your client has responded to your proposal, try to answer it back within 12 hours. That’ll be great.

You can download Upwork’s app and respond quickly to your clients from there.

Write good proposals

I had a long-written proposal which I used to send to everyone with minor changes. But I never got much response to those proposals.

I realized instead of talking about the client's project, I was bragging about myself. Take a look yourself at one of my old proposals I used to send.

Hi there, I see you need a writer who can write how-to guides. That’s great as I consider myself to be the right fit for your project. Having been in this writing business for three years, I have written dozens of articles for various clients. I also ran a blog which till now has generated 2M+ impressions and 100K+ clicks on Google organically. I have a deep knowledge of SEO writing and would be obliged if provided, with the opportunity.

Looking forward to hearing from you.


Abhi Thakur

Notice how long and boring it looks. Here, I am only talking about what I have done. This kind of proposal can’t win projects.

Instead, your proposals should be short and straight to the point. It should cover what your client is asking for and how you can solve it.

Here is another proposal I recently sent and got a response.

Hi there, I see you need a writer for a PC blog. That’s great as I consider myself to be the right fit for your project.

I have written dozens of articles in the PC-related niche. I am well acquainted with PC builds and their components and can provide quality content for you.

I have attached a few samples related to the computers niche. Looking forward to hearing from you.


Abhi Thakur

Feel the difference.

My second proposal is short and concise. That’s how proposals should look.

So instead of only talking about yourself in your proposal, try to address the points the client is looking for.

Learn to say no

It feels when you receive a response and are offered a contract. But it doesn’t mean you should accept it, even if the pay is low and doesn’t justify your skills.

There are lots of clients who want more work to be done for meager pay. I was also offered a long-term contract to write 1000 words for $5. But I rejected it even when I had only one client.

If you think the client isn’t offering what you deserve, first negotiate. If negotiation doesn’t work, politely decline the offer. You won’t regret it.

Had I not rejected the offer at that time, I wouldn’t have found this client whom I am working with at $15 per 1000 words.

It’s all about learning when to say no.

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