For New Freelancers: 4 Ways to Work Smart on Upwork

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Are you new to Upwork? I am, and you might be wondering: What could someone new to Upwork have to offer for advice? In addition to a fresh perspective, I’ve already learned a few things in my first few days.     

Trying something new—whether it’s learning to ride a bike or to speak a foreign language—takes patience and perseverance as you’re starting out. I can think of times in my past when I half-heartedly tried something new. I left the project, thinking I just didn’t have what it takes and was discouraged by the success of others. If I had just given it a bit more time and stuck with it, I might have hit my stride, seen my efforts start to pay off, and begin to enjoy the experience and my own success.

As you jump into Upwork, let those experiences be a motivator. You created an Upwork account because you know you have a skill to share.

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Here are four things I learned in the first few days. Put these tips to work for you.

Read in Reverse

Read community articles targeted not just to freelancers, but to clients, too. This will help you learn how potential clients think and how you can tailor your proposals to meet their needs.

Get In and Get Out

Use the community discussions as a tool when you have a question or need inspiration, but don’t spend all of your time there. It’s easy to while away hours in discussion forums and feel like you have accomplished more than you have. Get what you came for and move on.

Proofread Your Proposals

Make sure you have read and reread your proposal for grammatical errors and typos. You don’t want to alienate a potential client on first contact. It’s not a bad idea to have a friend take a look at it. Repeated reading of your own writing leads to mental fatigue and the inability to see your mistakes.

Give Your Brain a Break

Stepping away from the keyboard from time to time will keep you refreshed and mentally sharp. I work with adult learners and often see them push themselves so hard that it affects the quality of their work.

Success isn’t just about working hard; it’s also about working smarter. Take these tips and use them to be more productive and work more efficiently. Remembering to stay focused on why you are at Upwork and what you have to offer will also go a long way in keeping you on track. It takes persistence, but we can succeed!

This story was submitted by freelancer Michelle Noel and does not constitute the views or opinions of Upwork.

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Michelle Noel


I am a writer, researcher, and librarian of over 20 years. I live in the beautiful Sierra Mountains near Lake Tahoe with my husband and… more