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How To Succeed On Upwork As A Beginner In 2019
Written by Nick Tubis; Originally Published on Forbes.com
After I sold my business in 2016, I became a chief marketing officer for TSD Global, where I implemented my client acquisition system and built a pipeline of leads and deals with many large national companies.

As word started to spread about the success I was having with restaurants, a lot of entrepreneurs started to ask me if I could teach them how I was able to land these meetings and deals so predictably. Since then, I have become a full-time freelance chief marketing officer, mainly helping companies target the restaurant vertical.

In the last couple of years, I have become obsessed with the freelance industry because I believe it's a massive opportunity for people all over the world. To give you an idea of how big of a market it is, a report by Edelman Intelligence, commissioned by Upwork and the Freelancers Union, estimates that by 2020, nearly 40% of the U.S. workforce will be freelancing. And more than half will work as freelancers by 2027.

Based on my perspective, freelancing is one of the easiest and fastest ways to become an entrepreneur because it requires virtually no money to get started and businesses all over the world have a need to hire freelancers. In fact, many businesses prefer not to hire full-time employees and instead prefer to work with independent contractors or freelancers.
The other great thing about freelancing is that if you become a successful freelancer, it can be a launchpad to start a successful agency business where you can have other people do the actual service delivery for you.

Recently, I became interested in the platform Upwork, which is an online marketplace that connects businesses to freelancers. The platform makes it easy to get started with freelancing. Personally, I have used the platform to hire freelancers for my agency business but not to acquire clients.

Eager to learn how so many freelancers were becoming successful on the platform, I decided to hold interviews with 20 successful freelancers on Upwork to learn their secrets. These freelancers were from all over the world and all had different skills. Combined, they have made more than $7 million dollars on Upwork.

The following are some tips I've learned on how you can become successful on Upwork.

Build Or Leverage A Skill You Have: The first thing you need to be successful with freelancing is a high-value skill. You need to build a skill that is in high demand by many businesses. I recommend going on Upwork and looking at what the highest paid freelancers do. You can do this by setting the search filters on the platform and seeing if what they do interests you. If it does, go learn as much as you can to become an expert.

Set Up Your Account And Profile: The first step to getting started on Upwork is to get your account approved based on your highly desired skill. Then, the key to setting up a good profile is filling it out in full. Your title on your account should be skill-based, highlighting the different services that you specialize in. A lot of top freelancers will plug in their top three favorite services they want to provide in their headline. Your profile description should be about building as much credibility as you possibly can. You should highlight all the different skills and services you can provide and utilize specific keywords so that your profile can rank high in a search.

Targeted Job Search Filters: You'll want to make it easy to find good jobs by clicking the "find work" tab in the Upwork platform and setting the filters to meet your ideal job. By doing this, you can easily find the types of jobs you want. You can find jobs with people who have actually spent money on the Upwork platform before, and this also makes it easier to find longer-term contracts.

Write Custom Proposals: Proposals are all about selling your prospect on getting on a phone call with you. A key thing that you can do to be different than the other freelancers on Upwork is to personalize your proposals. Do this by thoroughly reading the client's job posting and using a lot of the same words they use in your cover letter. Also, a couple more tips that can be effective include leveraging video or written testimonials, and even having a link to a screen share where you can show how you would approach their project. These things can help you stand out from the crowd and win interviews with potential clients.

Phone Interview: The phone interview is often where the job is won. You should approach the interview by positioning yourself as an expert, even if you're first starting out on Upwork. Ask your potential client questions about their business, why they are looking for a freelancer and if they have tried solving the problem they're looking for help with in the past. Then, based on what they tell you, tailor your solution to what they need. When you're starting out, consider telling the potential client that you're new to the platform and you're willing to do their job at a slightly lower rate in exchange for a positive review.

Service Delivery: The key to executing on your client's job is to block out the appropriate amount of time, meet deadlines and communicate with your client. You should pick one channel that you're going to communicate on, whether that's Upwork or email, and stick to that one channel.
When you're first starting out, you have to remember that it's about building credibility by earning positive reviews and over delivering for your client. If you under promise and over deliver for your clients, you can set yourself up to become extremely successful.

Nick Tubis

Nick Tubis helps people start and grow profitable freelance businesses. He is a Forbes strategist and freelance chief marketing officer. Nick has started and scaled several successful B2B businesses.If you're interested in starting your own freelance business or scaling yours up then definitely reach out and request a free private today.
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