How to Make Money on Upwork: A Guide for Designers

Upwork, the popular website that connects freelancers and clients in industries like web development, graphic design, and UI / UX Design, is a great way to kickstart your freelance career without investing in advertising.

However, it can seem like a complex world to enter, as you will find yourself competing with hundreds of freelancers with profiles full of projects positive reviews, and worldwide.

I have found numerous clients who have paid me excellent prices for some projects, and I will explain how to stand out from the competition and make money on Upwork.com as a designer.

How to find designer work on Upwork

Create a Great ProfileMy first tip is to put in a little effort to create an honest and high-quality profile. Otherwise, you won’t get any work.

If you already have a profile, make sure it is 100% complete, as the Upwork search engine will rank it higher than incomplete ones.

Creating your Upwork profile is simple but worth the time.

Add a profile photo that shows you a professional, smiling, and helpful look.

Use the Overview section of your profile to describe your relevant skills and abilities – be specific and honest.

If a client hires you for a job you can’t do, Upwork may block or close your account.

Keep your sentences short and to the point and ideally use no more than 1000 characters, divided into three or four paragraphs.

Your goal is to show the customer what you can do for them and how your experience can help them grow their business.

1.Five Star Reviews are Essential

Positive reviews are the key to getting work, so it’s essential to accumulate them on your profile quickly.

It’s all about trust – even if you’re an experienced designer or writer with a great portfolio, clients still need to know if you’ll be communicating effectively with them and meeting deadlines.

It’s all right once you already have experience and credibility, but getting the first few customer reviews can be a problem for the beginner.

It may seem counterintuitive, but by starting with small, lower-paid jobs, you’ll be able to get those five-star reviews as quickly as possible, and you’ll soon be reaping their rewards.

2.Do the Test Upwork

Not all customers look at your skill test results, but for others, they are essential and won’t take a second look at your profile if you don’t have any.

Upwork offers a series of tests covering various areas of expertise and will show clients how good your skills are; completed tests also increase your profile in the customer search engine.

Please start with the Upwork Readiness Test, and I recommend you take more (four to eight).

A test should take around 20 minutes to complete – when you’re done, make sure it’s uploaded to your profile, especially if you’ve got a good score.

3.Choose the right project.

Read the job description very carefully and make sure you read it all through as this will allow you to be sure that:

• The project interests you 

• The job suits your experience and skills 

• You can carefully prepare your proposal: this will be the first time you communicate with the client and is your chance to sell your skills and knowledge yourself.

4.Interview with the Client

While your client is asking you questions, take the opportunity to reciprocate too to find out exactly what exactly they are looking for.

If you feel your skills won’t be right, then it’s time to turn down the job.

5.Personalize your Proposal

A client will consider three things when deciding whether to give you a job: your profile, your Upwork reputation, and your proposition.

As a beginner, you won’t have had a chance to build a reputation yet, so it’s even more critical that the other two are as strong as possible.

Don’t use a template for your response, but customize your proposal based on the customer’s specific needs.

Always ask questions if there is anything unclear and, if possible, provide examples of your work that are related to the client’s project.

It’s best to keep your proposal concise – I tend to limit mine to around 300 characters.

6.Don’t sell out yourself.

This can be a tricky point when starting out as a freelancer: unlike other sites, Upwork doesn’t allow you to “work for feedback”.

Be confident in your negotiations and recognize your worth.

It may be worth considering a discount for a new customer if they are happy with your work, it could lead you to do more business.

When setting your rate, don’t forget that Upwork will suffer a 20% reduction on the first $ 500.

A client might contact you about a project with a low pay rate, but you can negotiate it up if you think it’s appropriate.

If a customer seems unsure, you could offer to complete a paid trial activity to convince them of your skills, but this should be the exception rather than the rule.

7.Have patience and persevere

Your proposals are well refined, you have followed all the advice given here on how to attract customers, you are full of momentum and determination but you do not receive a response.

Don’t despair, but stay focused – your first response from a customer could take up to three weeks, or you could have one on the first day.

My personal experience suggests that the likelihood of getting a customer response is around 1 in 20.

It gets easier as you get jobs – my first contract was only a week and my second after three weeks.

Now, I have a steady stream of work and I usually get a contract within a couple of days.

8.Ask for customer feedback

When you submit your project, check that your client is satisfied: ask him for feedback (i.e. a review) and if your work meets his needs.

Be prepared to change things as needed to meet their expectations.

If you consistently produce high-quality work, your clients are more likely to provide favorable ratings and will look to work with you in the future.

If you are interested in more articles on becoming a graphic designer, click here.

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