Upwork Blog https://www.upwork.com/blog Insights, info and updates about Upwork Wed, 19 Jul 2017 13:00:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Spotlight on David Kittle, Top Rated Freelance Product Designer https://www.upwork.com/blog/2017/07/david-kittle-freelance-product-designer/ Wed, 19 Jul 2017 13:00:01 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=39758

David Kittle began freelancing as a side business about 12 years ago, originally as a way to gain more experience in his field as a product designer and developer. He recently made the transition from traditional employment to running his freelance business full time.

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David Kittle, a freelance product designer and developer, has worked with some of the biggest names in the biz, including Coleman and Little Tikes. He helps companies bring their product ideas to life in incredible detail. Well versed in 3D printing and prototyping, his skills, experience, and creativity allow him to bring an amazing level of innovation to each project.

Kittle began freelancing as a side business about 12 years ago, originally as a way to gain more experience in his field. He recently made the transition from traditional employment to running his freelance business full time.

He is the perfect example of a freelance business owner who knows how to create great client experiences. “Great experiences always start with relationships. Communication, trust, and integrity go a long way in any relationship—both personal and professional,” he said.

The autonomy and freedom that can come with freelancing help keep Kittle motivated, but he sees a lot of benefits for business, too. “[Businesses can leverage] that a freelancer is excited about the project. Most of the time in an office environment, the employee has done the same job over and over so there is no passion anymore. With a freelancer [each project is] exciting, new, and challenging.”

Upwork || Freelance product designer and developer David Kittle pictured with a playground he designed

David Kittle pictured with a playground he designed.

“The variety of work that comes across my desk amazes me. [I’ve seen] everything from baby products to rollercoasters and everything in between,” he said. “The vast array of work on Upwork keeps me learning and keeps my skills up to date while helping people make their dreams a reality. It’s pretty cool when someone hands you a dream and you are able to hand it back over to them in real life. There is a lot of joy in that.”

Kittle sees running a business as an important part of the freelancing puzzle. “My expertise is in product design, but I also enjoy the business side. This helps me understand the market and the business constraints that my clients have, which in turn makes me a better designer—one that can best provide what clients need and want, as well as desire for their products.”

What is the one piece of advice he would like to share with the Upwork community? “Nothing amazing happens when you are in your comfort zone. Take risks, be smart, and live your dream.”

Ready to hire a freelancer like Kittle to take your business to the next level? Check out Upwork’s Hiring Guides to get the information you need to get started.

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3 Things to Know Before You Look for a Freelance Project Manager https://www.upwork.com/blog/2017/07/3-things-freelance-project-manager/ Thu, 13 Jul 2017 18:04:34 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=39747

Many businesses need an effective, experienced project manager to take the helm of their next high-priority project—and engaging a freelancer can be a great solution. Here are three things to know before you get started.

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Many businesses need an effective, experienced project manager to take the helm of their next high-priority project. According to a 2016 PWC survey, more than 97 percent of organizations consider project management crucial to their business’ performance and success. It’s also been reported that fewer than a third of all projects are completed on time and on budget.

A freelance project manager could be the solution: They can organize, budget, schedule, or plan a specific project, acting as the go-to person for all parties involved to help ensure the project runs smoothly from start to finish. They can also help refine the project scope, delegate responsibilities, collaborate with other partners, and keep everyone in the know as the project goes on.

Whether you connect with them at the start of a new project or part-way through, here are three things to know about working with a freelancer project manager.

1. Help keep your project on track, on budget, and on point

What are some of the top benefits of partnering with a freelance project manager?

  • Reduce risk: Projects are often complex, changing entities that can devolve into chaos and inefficiency if they’re not properly managed.
  • Increase efficiency: Speaking of efficiency, project managers can continually identify redundancies, delegate tasks, and encourage progress.
  • Encourage communication: When there are multiple parties involved in a project, communication is key to help keep the work focused and organized. A good project manager helps encourage productive, relevant communication.
  • Save time: You’ve set the project’s parameters and goals, but maybe you don’t have time to oversee every single step along the way. A freelance project manager can learn the ins and outs of your project to help save you time.
  • Find peace of mind: With a project manager working hard to help ensure the project is running smoothly, you get peace of mind to focus your time and energy on other aspects of your business.

2. Look for these qualities

With constantly shifting deadlines, unclear expectations, unplanned difficulties, changing priorities, and tight budgets, keeping a project on track takes talent. Here are six traits a project manager should have.

Ability to organize and delegate. Every project starts with a jumble of data, requests, deadlines, and objectives. Once a project manager has been able to shape the disparate elements into a cohesive plan, they should be able to delegate tasks without micromanaging or interfering with progress.

Flexibility and wits. Look for a quick thinker who takes on their project’s inevitable delays, setbacks and issues with grace and stamina. It’s often up to the project manager to help instill strength and guidance in times of uncertainty, so they should at least appear unflappable.

Capability to balance logic with creativity. Understanding the bigger picture and identifying the individual details that make it up takes someone who can easily switch between left- and right-brain problem solving.

Communication mastery. From politicians to CEOs, effective leaders should be good communicators. This holds true for project managers, too: They should inherently understand how to communicate with all types of professionals so everyone feels valued and satisfied.

Leadership, competence, and experience. Being an effective, competent freelancer with relevant experience doesn’t mean simply having a list of big projects in their work history. They should know how to balance their passion with profession, clearly describing deliverables and setting firm expectations while still keeping everything on track.

Leadership that inspires. A freelance project manager who has an optimistic, charismatic leadership style can help keep everyone involved encouraged, empowered, and excited—even over the course of the most time-consuming and arduous components of a project.

3. Get to know the tools available

There are many different project management apps that can help keep everyone on task and productive. Especially if your project partners are distributed, it’s crucial that the project operates on a single platform that everyone can access.

“Tools can be key to getting things done effectively. Since work is becoming more and more mobile, project management mobile apps are gaining popularity because they help users monitor and control project processes from anywhere.”
– Anastasia Sidko
9 Best Apps and Essential Tips for Project Managers

One popular task management app is Asana, which was recently named the fastest growing skill on Upwork so far this year. However, it’s just one of the tools available. Other widely used apps include:

  • Basecamp
  • Trello
  • Wrike
  • Podio
  • Zoho Projects
  • Pivotal Tracker
  • Teamwork Projects
  • Freedcamp
  • Mintent

With the right freelance project manager and effective tools in place, you can help make your next project a success.

Ready to get started? Create an awesome job post that attracts the freelancers and skills you need.

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How Upwork Gets Things Done with a Distributed Team https://www.upwork.com/blog/2017/07/get-things-done-distributed-team/ Wed, 12 Jul 2017 18:58:29 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=39739

Upwork is proof that you do not have to share a physical location to make awesome things happen efficiently, effectively, and with great team spirit. Melanie Feltham asked around the (virtual) office for tips on working with distributed teams.

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Upwork works with talent all over the world in a variety of ways — from graphic design projects and article writing to expert help building website features. This makes the folks at Upwork HQ experts at leveraging distributed teams. This company is proof that you do not have to share a physical location to make awesome things happen efficiently, effectively, and with great team spirit.

We asked around the (virtual) office for tips on working with distributed teams. Clear communication, respect, and fostering a sense of working toward a common goal were common themes. Read on for more info on how to you can leverage remote workers in your business.


“Communicate, congratulate, correct: Over-communication is key for working with any distributed team. If you are thinking it, say it. If it is wonderful, call it out; if it needs improvement, say that too. The way to build trust when you have never met someone in person is to be transparent and supportive at the same time.”

– Erin Hicks, Director, Talent Operations


“Nurture your working relationships by making frequent, casual communication a habit. Proactively learn about cultural nuances—which, by the way, does not have to mean cross-border differences. For example, without a distributed team, I wouldn’t know much about how folks in New Orleans really celebrate Mardi Gras! Learning and recognizing these…creates a familiar space for the distributed folks and makes them feel less like outsiders looking in. Keep in mind that your work—and your relationship—is likely just one aspect of the freelancers’ business. Respect their time and other responsibilities.”

– Katy German, Project Manager, Creative


“Talent is not limited to a specific geography. It is abundantly available around the globe and can be tapped to help solve problems at hand. To be effective and successful, staying connected with distributed team members is important. Use technology to help bridge the geographical distance. Keep open lines of communication across the team and use them.”

– Dilip Ratnam, Vice President, Customer Experience


“1) Include team members in planning and goal setting.
2) Communicate using written and visual aids.
3) Take lots of notes and make action items clear.”

– Hung Kien Luu, Senior Product Manager, Mobile Apps
Learn more about Hung’s experience with a distributed development team >>


“Respect their personal lives and schedules. If you’re working with a remote team member in a time zone completely opposite to you, find a common ground when setting up deadlines or scheduling meetings. Get to know when their holidays are, what days are their weekends, ask if it’s okay to schedule a call at 10 p.m. Friday their time. Chances are they’d be happy to do it but still, look out for their convenience.

Make it easier for them. When sending info for a new project…include all the details and clearly outline what you’d like to see in the end. It saves time in the long run and also helps the freelancers start and finish the task swiftly. Otherwise, a team member may have to stop their work and wait hours before the other person gets online to answer a quick question that should have been explained in the beginning.”

– Saidur Mamun Khan, Market Research, Enterprise

Want to learn more? Check out these other tips from Upwork Insiders >>

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Taking Control of Your To-Do List https://www.upwork.com/blog/2017/07/take-control-to-do-list/ Tue, 11 Jul 2017 13:00:43 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=39728

How do you manage your priorities when your to-do list starts to feel out of control? We asked Upwork's Facebook community for their top tips—here's a look at what they had to say.

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Freelance business owners have unique challenges when it comes to organizing to-dos. As a service provider and business owner, freelancers often have to prioritize tasks for multiple projects that may have similar deadlines in addition to taking care of their own business.

The result: Sometimes the to-do list can get out of control.

We asked the Upwork Facebook community how they manage their priorities when it feels like they have a million things to wrap up. Here’s a look at what they had to say.


“What works best for me is that I do the easiest or quickest to accomplish first and then proceed to the more difficult tasks.”
– Joyce Diana

“I try to sort them by their level of difficulty and time consumption, then I alternate which tasks I do. First I will do one that’s quick, then a lengthier one, then another quick one, etc. It makes a balanced flow. It always works out well in the end!”
Matt Fiedler

“I usually contemplate the most vital tasks and those with closer deadlines. Beforehand, I [write] a clearly mapped to-do list on a day-to-day basis, and an estimate of [how long each item will take]. This [creates] less hustle and bustle [than] not knowing what to do at a given time. This strategy has always been of merit to my projects and activities.”
– Muturi James

“Make a list (either by due date or by task size) and literally start working immediately. If there are a million things on your to-do list, chances are you’re already behind on some of them. Go step-by-step, don’t overthink, and accept the chance of not doing everything as perfectly as you imagined you would. Of course, never offer sub-par work to your clients; if you can’t make it, ask for a deadline push.”
Ivan Vukovic

“Schedule time for each [task], and for that time concentrate only on that task.”
– Ashling Fenton

“I arrange my tasks depending on their deadlines so that I will be able to finish everything on time. It is important to be organized; that’s why I use a notebook to list down all of my tasks for the day and arrange them by priority so that I do not miss anything. Identifying which ones are urgent for the day helps me prioritize which tasks to do first. It is also important to know which tasks are vital—if you miss them today, [there will be] serious consequences. With this, I am able to adjust my workload by prioritizing what is more important. Lastly, DON’T PANIC! It’s important for me to keep my calm and focus on tasks one at a time. I try to avoid multitasking as it can be counterproductive to my output.”
– Charles Rafferty Sy

What tips for prioritizing your to-do list can you add? Tell us in the comments!


Editor’s note: Responses edited for grammar, spelling, and clarity. The statements above are those of their authors and do not constitute the views or opinions of Upwork.

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New Feature Lets Freelancers Take the Initiative for New Projects https://www.upwork.com/blog/2017/07/freelancers-take-initiative-new-projects/ Wed, 05 Jul 2017 13:00:13 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=39718

Freelancers on Upwork can now propose new contracts to current and previous clients, a feature that can help them take a proactive approach to their work.

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You’ve been working on a client project and discussed some ideas they’re excited to move forward with. Now, you can take the initiative: Propose new contracts to current and previous clients on Upwork.

As a freelancer, efficient and productive relationships are crucial to your success. If you’ve already discussed a new project with a client, you can now save them time–and accelerate your earnings–by using that discussion to create a new contract and submitting it for them to review and approve.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • You can propose new fixed-price or hourly projects to clients from whom you have received at least one payment.
  • You and your client can discuss the proposed contract using Upwork Messages and revise it if needed before the contract is finalized.
  • Note: You can only propose one new contract per client at a time.

Once you’ve submitted a contract for consideration, your client can approve or amend the proposed contract for your final review. The contract becomes live when you accept. Clients can also decline the proposed contract or ignore it. Proposed contracts that are ignored will automatically expire after 120 days.

How to propose a new contract

A new feature on Upwork enables freelancers to propose new contracts to their existing clients

If you’re currently working on a project with a client:

  • Go to your My Jobs page.
  • Go to the extended action menu and click “Propose New Contract”.
  • This is how contracts can be initiated with your active clients.

There are two ways for you to send proposed contracts to clients you’ve worked with in the past:

  • From the All Contracts page, select a previous contract from that particular client. From the action buttons menu click “Propose New Contract”.
  • From Messages, go to an ended contract room you had with the client. Then click on the button in the menu to “Propose a New Contract”.

This feature can help you take a proactive approach to your work with clients. Want to learn more or provide feedback? Join the conversation in the Upwork community forums >>

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The Most Productive Locations for Remote Work https://www.upwork.com/blog/2017/06/most-productive-locations-remote-work/ Tue, 27 Jun 2017 13:00:07 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=39703

Though some freelancers prefer a more typical office environment and rent space in coworking locations, the majority say they get the most done when they work from home. Where do you do your best work? We asked Upwork's Facebook community for their preferences—here's a look at what they had to say.

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When you’re a freelance business owner, you don’t have the responsibility of showing up at a traditional office location every day. Someone who has not tried this before might think it a barrier to productivity—but this is not the case!

We asked the Upwork Facebook community where they work when they want to be the most productive. Though some freelancers prefer a more typical office environment and rent space in coworking locations, the majority say they get the most done when they work from home—having created an in-home office space complete with rules for friends and family. Still others have more interesting preferences to keep motivation and energy high.

One thing is for certain: Freelancers love having the ability to work wherever they want, the flexibility that comes with being their own boss, and the freedom it gives them to spend more time doing the things they love.

The case for working from home:

“I am most productive when I am in the home, but as a husband with two kids, I am always faced with distraction from my kids and that prompted me to prepare a special workroom in the house. When I am there, the entire family knows ‘Dad is busily working on something.’ I usually spend about three to four hours actively working there and occasionally come back to the living room to play with the kids when I feel tired. I enjoy working [from home] because you are always with your family.”
Mensah Kontoh Stephen

“I am at my most productive when I’m working at my home office. I love to close the door and turn the music on with high volume to boost my creativity—of course, with the help of caffeine on the side. That way, I am more focused on what I’m doing without any distraction. Cheers! Happy Working!”
— Armanjosh Lim

“I am most productive when I am in my bedroom/home office. I can wear whatever I want, let my hair loose or tie it up, I don’t have to wear make-up and, in short, [I have] less preparations. I can get up from bed and work straight on my projects. I don’t have to worry about anything except for my dog. He’s actually the one who [will] remind me that it’s mealtime or snack time.”
— Joyce Diana

“I am most productive at home. Working while seeing my family and knowing that I can hug them whenever I want is one of my motivation. Whenever I feel I’m getting tired, I can easily grab my son and hug him. They are my power outlet!”
Tin Paulo

The case for working away from home:

“I am most productive when working at coffee shops or at any other public place with tolerable noise. I honestly believe that my home office is my comfort zone and being ‘constantly’ within your comfort zone may not actually increase your productivity. In fact, due to the coziness of the home environment, there is a high tendency to just relax and procrastinate. Moreover, there are more distractions at home that mostly are beyond your control such as the dogs barking or any of your family members interacting with you.

“[When you work away from home], the tolerable noises keep you awake and your interaction with other people is at your own choosing. Changing your working environment sometimes, or at any given time, will likely increase your productivity since a new environment encourages new creativity, or it at least renews your energy.”
Michelle Suarez-Delos Santos

“Where am I when I’m most productive? I can be anywhere! For me productivity shouldn’t be much affected by your environment, for the reason that we freelancers stay in the online world. I am most productive when I am motivated and inspired, [whether] it be at home, in a coffee shop, in the park, at the beach or at the middle of a forest. A better question could be what keeps me motivated or inspired? Seeing myself reaching my goals and dreams in life with the help of Upwork keeps me motivated and inspired.”
Merry Kristine Ferrer

“I am most productive anywhere that I can be able to work, as long as there is a good Internet connection! I can complete tasks even at the airport, while waiting for my time to check in, or at the beach [during] a family outing! This is what I love most with Upwork, I can work without limits, anywhere at any time! No stress.”
— Hilco Neda

“Coworking spaces, especially when combined with coliving for a few weeks. Being surrounded by others, yet concentrating on your own projects, and the inspiration from being in a new place…I do this 3-5 weeks at least 3-4 times a year, and those are by far my most productive weeks.”
Thalassa van Beek

“I tell my friends and family it’s at home… but it’s really in my car parked in front of a cafe so I can [use] their wifi, or at the lake. I get so many calls and appointments done. Then I can go back home and get my retouching done. I love my Rav4 car seat, it’s so comfy. [I say] ‘I’m in my satellite office today.’ Aka, my car.”
— Ann Margaret Tapia

“The library. There’s nothing like an Arizona tea, sunflower seeds, Pandora radio, and five hours of no interruption. You’d be surprised how much work gets done. I love it!”
— Nikki Lee

“Any working environment is okay with me so long as I am comfortable working with my clients doing the job I love. If you love your job, work places won’t matter to you. But if you hate it, no matter how clean, comfortable, and fancy your working environment is, you’ll never ever be productive to whatever task you’re into. Love your work first before your workplace.”
— Endearing Joshent

Where do you get the most work done? Tell us in the comments!

Editor’s note: Responses edited for grammar, spelling, and clarity. The statements above are those of their authors and do not constitute the views or opinions of Upwork.

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Why It’s Time for College Grads to Embrace Entrepreneurship https://www.upwork.com/blog/2017/06/college-grads-embrace-entrepreneurship/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2017/06/college-grads-embrace-entrepreneurship/#respond Thu, 22 Jun 2017 13:00:23 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=39687

Should new college graduates have their sights set on the traditional entry-level job or should they choose a more independent path? Stephane Kasriel, CEO of Upwork, says there’s no better time than your early 20s to start a company or become a freelancer.

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As college students celebrate their graduation, many of them—and their parents—are wondering what will come next. Should they have their sights set on the traditional entry-level job or should they choose a more independent path?

Stephane Kasriel, CEO of Upwork, says there’s no better time than your early 20s to start a company or become a freelancer. In Advice to College Grads: Embrace Entrepreneurship, he says it’s a great time to make your move.

“Yes. Be as entrepreneurial as you can.”
— Stephane Kasriel, CEO, Upwork

With age comes responsibility, Kasriel notes: Many people have a family and a mortgage by the time they reach their 30s, which makes it more difficult to take on the risk of a new business or walk away from a steady salary.

“But right out of college, what do you have to lose?” He asked. “It is the best possible time to invest in building a career completely of your choice and away from the hierarchical limitations of a traditional job.”

Entrepreneurship isn’t just a rewarding choice for new grads, Kasriel says: Project-based work can be a smart choice, even before you graduate, whether you want to be your own boss or not. “This is a great way to build up a portfolio of work and a reputation, which will help launch your career when you do graduate,” he said.

Read the full article…

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10 Tips for Staying Motivated as a Work-at-Home Freelancer https://www.upwork.com/blog/2017/06/staying-motivated-work-at-home-freelancer/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2017/06/staying-motivated-work-at-home-freelancer/#respond Wed, 21 Jun 2017 13:00:58 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=39680

Working from home definitely has its benefits—but it’s also easy to pick up bad habits if you lack self-discipline. Here are 10 techniques and tips that can positively impact your productivity—and revenue—to help give you an edge.

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Your dream has finally come true: You are your own boss working from home on your own time. You can choose your hours, your workload, your clients, your ethics, and even your own dress code. Working from home definitely has its benefits—but it’s also easy to pick up bad habits if you lack self-discipline.

“There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs.”
— Unknown

Discipline: It may sound like some sort of punishment, but it is really the foundation of your business. You need to put in the hours and dedication if you want to stay competitive and keep yourself at the top of your game.

Let’s take a look at how you can welcome self-motivation into your freelance work life at home. Here are 10 techniques and tips that can positively impact your productivity—and revenue—to help give you an edge.

1. Up and at ‘em

Wake up early and “get to work” on time. Your office might only be a few steps away, but you still need to make the transition from “home” to “office”. Be on time for yourself. A late start in the day can quickly become a bad habit and reduces your ability to take yourself and your work seriously. Routine is your best friend. A study by German biologist Christoph Randler found morning people are typically more proactive; I try to follow standard business hours and start work at 8 a.m.

2. Dress for success

In the lyrics of Roxette—“I’m gonna get dressed for success, shaping me up for the big time, baby”—we see the freelance work ethic personified. Dress the part and say no to rolling out of bed and starting work in your pajamas. They’ve got slacker written all over them.

Take a shower, shave, brush your teeth, etc. Face the new day clean and fresh. You don’t have to put on a business suit, but wear something comfortable and functional. Dr. Karen Pine, a psychology professor, stated that, “When we put on an item of clothing, it is common for the wearer to adopt the characteristics associated with that garment.”

3. Make a schedule for your goals and stick to it

Your schedule is the map of your business objectives for the week. It shows the steps you are going to take to fulfill your tasks. Yes, it is open to negotiation but you should have it in place as the framework for your entire work output. Set specific, manageable, daily tasks that you can accomplish. Avoid rolling over any unfinished tasks to the next day; playing catch up leads to stress and fatigue.

As I mentioned above, setting standard business hours gives you structure to help strengthen self-discipline. Setting weekly and monthly targets can help you reach your short and long-term goals. Challenge yourself to work as much as you can in a week—without burning out, of course.

4. Stay focused

Get off your social media, your phone, the Internet, etc. Stop responding to every notification beep as if it was bringing you a surge of clientele. It isn’t.

Always finish the task first.

If you get that sudden urge to go make yourself a cup of coffee or quickly get a snack. Don’t. Finish the task first. Then reward yourself later.

5. Get out of the house 

While it’s good to stay focused, you also need to take breaks. You’re not under house arrest and you don’t want to feel like you are in a prison of your own making. You can leave—and you should. Go for a walk, go to the gym, meet a friend for lunch, etc. It is good for your health and your sanity.

6. Work in a bright, cheerful home office setting

Choosing where you work in your home is also important. If possible avoid working where you sleep! Keep your bedroom separate from your office (this may also be a tax deduction for you). Also, try to avoid working in the living room or kitchen where you can easily get distracted.

Create a dedicated workspace for yourself—preferably in a sunny, bright, and cheerful part of your home. This is going to be a space where you’ll spend a lot of your time!

7. Remember to upskill yourself

Keep challenging yourself to learn. Take at least an hour a day to learn something new that can enhance your work. Perhaps learn about growing your business online, such as setting up a website or social media pages.

But don’t get too immersed in your new study topic—schedule your learning times, too. Keeping yourself abreast of the latest trends impacting your industry will help keep you competitive.

8. Watch your stress levels

Being your own boss can be a stressful career path to say the least. As a freelancer, try to ensure your stress levels aren’t getting in your way. Stick to your schedule and do your best to solve new and unexpected problems without letting the stress get to you. Realize that success takes patience.

9. Socialize with others

Working from home can lead to a feeling of isolation and loneliness. You don’t have co-workers anymore. You may have thought this might be a welcome relief, but you’ll soon find yourself missing the banter, the conversation at the water cooler, and just the basic social interaction.

When your work day has finished, go out and talk to other human beings. You can always take a class or join a group for some engaging interaction. It will do wonders for your psyche and your productivity.

10. Find time for office management duties

Leave the billing, technology upgrades, expense reporting, and other office management duties for your most unproductive times—like the late in the afternoon, when many people experience an energy slump.

“I do not think there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.”
— John D. Rockefeller

Using the above tips will help keep you self-motivated and earning well. Remember: As a freelancer, it’s imperative to have self-discipline and the ability to manage your work from home. Do you have any other tips? Please share in the comments below!

This story was submitted by Jay Douglas and does not constitute the views or opinions of Upwork.

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How to Find an Awesome Freelancer (and Be a Great Client) https://www.upwork.com/blog/2017/06/find-an-awesome-freelancer/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2017/06/find-an-awesome-freelancer/#respond Fri, 16 Jun 2017 16:00:53 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=39657

We’ve pulled together a number of resources and tips to help you choose the best freelancer and solidify that relationship by being a great client.

The post How to Find an Awesome Freelancer (and Be a Great Client) appeared first on Upwork Blog.

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You posted a project and received some top-notch proposals from freelancers. Now you need to choose the freelancer who’s the best fit to get your project off the ground.

In some ways, choosing a freelancer for a project on Upwork is similar to choosing a local service provider, but in other ways it can be very different. We’ve pulled together a number of resources with tips to help you navigate the hiring process and learn what to expect—so you can choose the best freelancer and solidify that relationship by being a great client.

Review proposals

The first step in finding the right freelancer is to review the proposals you have received and create a short-list of candidates.

Take the information from their profile, portfolio, and proposal into account: If this first screening shows a freelancer isn’t the right fit for your project, you can immediately decline their proposal and remove it from the list.

For freelancers who look like they might be exactly what you’re looking for, send a message to discuss aspects of their proposal and set up a time to talk.

If a lot of freelancers have caught your attention, narrow your short-list to just a few names; you can archive the rest for future reference should you need to revisit.

Learn how to vet and interview freelancers—including what to look for in their profile >>

Conduct an interview

The interview portion of the hiring process is an important one. At this stage, consider doing a video or audio chat in order to get a feel for how the relationship will proceed.

Prepare for the interview by listing questions that you will ask, and think about how you want the freelancer to answer them. Consider asking more about:

  • Their approach to your project
  • Their experience
  • Work logistics

Our hiring guides have sample questions you can reference for some of the more in-demand skills in the Upwork marketplace.

Start with “9 Interview Questions to Find the Perfect Freelancer Online” >>

Start with a smaller project

If you are looking at an in-depth or longer-term project, or if you have many candidates that you can’t choose between, it is a good idea ask each of the freelancers to do a small, paid project to see what you think of their work.

One way to do this is to choose the first milestone from your larger project and have several people complete it. This not only gives you a head start on the larger project, it can also serve as a way to test different approaches and uncover other ideas you never thought to include.

Formalize the contract

Once you have decided on the freelancer you wish to engage for your project, it is time to push the “make offer” button and set up the contract.

When you first posted your project, you were asked whether you wanted to create a fixed-price or hourly project. What if you and the freelancer you’ve partnered with decide to go with a different approach? On the “offer details” page, you can confirm final details, including whether you want to go with fixed-price or hourly structure.

If you choose a fixed-price project, you will be prompted to set up milestones and fund escrow for the first milestone. The payments may qualify for Upwork Fixed-price Protection.

Discuss the milestones with the freelancer; they may have examples of how similar projects they’ve worked on were divided and can help you decide.

If you chose an hourly project, the freelancer can bill their time using the Upwork Desktop App. The app takes care of invoicing automatically and may qualify for Upwork hourly protection.

How does weekly billing for hours work? On Mondays, you will be invoiced for the previous week’s work and your billing method will automatically be billed for the amount owed; you have until Friday of the same week to dispute if there is an issue.

Communicate and collaborate

Clear communication is key to a successful project. There are a number of collaboration tools you can use to help the project run smoothly. Chat and share files with Upwork Messages, work together on documents using Google Drive, and track milestones and to-dos with project management apps such as Asana or Trello.

When going over the details of the project, be as specific as possible about what you want delivered. Give concrete examples of what you are looking for and avoid using abstract words that could mean something else to another person.

For example, if you’re working on a design project that isn’t as engaging as you’d like, avoid asking for something that’s “more cheerful” or “friendlier”. Instead, be as specific as possible: Ask the freelancer to use “brighter colors” or images with “people who are smiling”. Concrete terms are actionable and involve less guesswork, which results in a better project experience for everyone.

Effective communication can help foster a great professional relationship—but remember that when it comes to online communication, tone is hard to capture and communicating with tact and grace can sometimes be difficult. If there is a conversation you feel might be better suited to a video or voice call, do not hesitate to set one up. Freelance business owners care about how you feel about their work. They want your business to succeed and the more they feel they understand what you’re looking for, the more invested they will be in your success.

Finally, remember that professionalism goes both ways. If there is a hold up on your end, realize you are not the freelancer’s only client and let them know as soon as you can so they may adjust their schedule. By being courteous, you can help ensure you receive the same consideration.

Ready to get started? Create an awesome job post that attracts the freelancers and skills you need.

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10 Tips For Attracting the Best Freelancers to Your Project https://www.upwork.com/blog/2017/06/attracting-the-best-freelancers/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2017/06/attracting-the-best-freelancers/#respond Fri, 16 Jun 2017 13:00:20 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=39668

Are your job posts attracting the freelancers you want to engage? We asked the Upwork Facebook community what they thought clients should include in their job posts to attract the best talent. Here is a sample of what they had to say.

The post 10 Tips For Attracting the Best Freelancers to Your Project appeared first on Upwork Blog.

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Are your job posts attracting the freelancers you want to engage? We asked the Upwork Facebook community what they thought clients should include in their job posts to attract the best talent. Here is a sample of what they had to say.

 

1. “A client grabs my attention when they post a clear description, including links—so that I can truly understand all aspects of what the job entails—and writes in a friendly tone so that it feels like I am actually getting to know that person. The more I get a sense of the actual person I’d be working with, the more likely I am to pursue a conversation about the project.

“If I am left feeling confused about the job or the type of person posting, then I will not pursue it further. I also look carefully at the ratings and reviews they have received AND the ones that they have left for other freelancers. If [a client] leaves less than 5-stars for a freelancer but claims to ‘love their work,’ then that is a red flag for me.

“Finally, be clear about what the rate is. So often it is presented in a way that makes no sense…either posted as an hourly [project], but described as a fixed-rate [project], or vice versa. Or an amount is posted as a budget, but does not specify whether it is the project’s overall amount for all freelancers hired or is the amount per freelancer.”

Melanie Joy Pierce


2. “Honestly, what catches my eye is personality in their job post. If there’s a flash of humor or some other insight as to the type of client they’ll be, I’m instantly engaged in what they’re saying and want to learn more. I like to apply for jobs that are not only a good fit, but where I know the client will be fun to build a relationship with… In short, be you, be funny, and be respectful.”

Carissa Andrews


3. “A client should clearly explain what the project is about and what they are looking to achieve from it. Include expectations of the freelancer, clearly stating the required level of experience and competencies that they’re looking for in the freelancer.”

— Kanwal Zahid


4. “Include a description of the company and introduce the person posting the job. Give a big picture of what the project is about [including things like] subject, purpose, who are the users, who are the team members.

“A clear and complete description shows that the client is engaged to follow up after the project and give you feedback. It is also good to know if there is an opportunity for long-term collaboration.”

Julie Decoene


5. “It’s important to know what type of business the client has. It’s all very well posting a job description but without context it’s hard to submit a meaningful proposal. Knowing the type of business a client has can help you understand their goals and target your proposal/work to their needs.”

Kristen Cooper


6. “Clients should specifically mention the tools and systems that will be used in the tasks so the freelancers can effectively prepare before the interview.”

Jane de Asis


7. “[Clients should include] a clear description of the product/service being sold, a description of the goals for their project, and how they hope the results will benefit their business. Not only would this be a great way to select which [proposals] to consider (because they’ll address those issues in their [proposal]), but [it could] also save a good amount of time [because they’ll] figure it out ahead of time and not waste valuable time on the phone trying to figure this out with the chosen freelancer.”

Rhonda Bradley


8. “I work on both sides of the equation. You know what’s magic? Actually taking the time to write a proper procedure for projects that get done regularly. Have the person doing the hiring write the procedure (e.g. daily social media monitoring) or pay a contractor to write it, then refine it as you go. It can also help you write the job ad because it contains all the tasks the person has to do. And it saves so much time, money, and stress later on.”

Jenny MacKinnon


9. “Be specific about tasks and skills, time zone/location, language proficiency, estimated hours required—and have a verified payment method and a paid trial period—and you will stand out as legitimate. Experienced Upworkers will consider the opportunity and apply!”

Janet McMonagle


10. “Many clients shoot out a $5 budget or similar budget and then say ‘price is a placeholder’ [in the job description]. The best freelancers won’t spend time reading through a job posting if the job rate isn’t perceived as reasonable [from the overview].”

Lucas Blaise


You can get more tips and resources for writing a great job post—including links to help you determine your project’s scope and budget—in “Find the Best Freelance Help with an Outstanding Job Post” >>

Editor’s note: Responses edited for length, grammar, spelling, and clarity. The statements above are those of their authors and do not constitute the views or opinions of Upwork.

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