How To Create a Project in Project Catalog

How To Create a Project in Project Catalog

Promoting your services on Project Catalog, a marketplace for predefined projects, is part of building a robust freelance business on Upwork. Let’s take a look at what Project Catalog is and how you can include it in your Upwork strategy.

What to know about Project Catalog

Upwork is the world’s work marketplace, a place where independent professionals like you can connect with businesses of all sizes and help them get their most important projects moving forward. These collaborations can start through Talent Marketplace, direct invitations from clients, consultations—a feature enabled for Top Rated talent—or Project Catalog.

"On Upwork, clients are already aware of [their] problem. They're looking for someone to fix it. So I don't have to do the whole buyer journey traction to generate leads and get clients."

Javiera Alfaro, Digital Nomad Coach

Project Catalog is a simple and convenient way for you to showcase your services to businesses, helping them get their projects started quickly. Through predefined projects, you can set the terms based on your expertise and:

  • Highlight the type of work you want to do more of
  • Define the scope of work
  • Determine the appropriate timeline
  • Set a fixed-price rate
  • Offer pricing tiers or optional add-ons so clients can customize the project to fit their needs

With just a few clicks, a potential client can browse projects to find what they’re looking for, ask questions, purchase a project, share any required information, and get started.

Related: 4 Ways To Attract New Business Leads With Project Catalog

Prepare your Upwork account

If you’re wondering how to get started on Upwork, start your journey by completing your account.

Your profile is the hub of your presence on Upwork so, before you expand into Project Catalog, take a critical look at your profile and ask yourself:

  • Does your profile photo inspire confidence?
  • How effective is the title you’ve chosen?
  • Have you optimized your profile summary?
  • Do your portfolio projects showcase the range and depth of your experience?
  • What feedback from previous clients is visible on your profile?

These are the most visible parts of your profile, but there are lots of ways to make it more engaging, such as adding a video or creating specialized profiles for different skill sets.

Related: 9 Tips To Create a Freelancer Profile That Stands Out

Decide which services to offer

Your Project Catalog services should be where your skills and interests, and the market demand, intersect—work you love that your clients need.

How does Project Catalog fit your business?

Adding a project to Project Catalog is a straightforward process, but figuring out what it can do for your business takes a bit more consideration. For example, you could use Project Catalog as a way to:

  • Fill your schedule. Maybe you regularly have extra space in your schedule for one or two additional projects.
  • Build your portfolio. Project Catalog can be an efficient way to expand your portfolio on Upwork, or to add to your portfolio in a particular niche.
  • Solidify new skills. As you expand your knowledge and upskill into new areas of work, you can use Project Catalog to sharpen your experience or test new markets.
  • Connect with new clients. Some types of work are too complex for Project Catalog, but you can offer introductory services that help businesses explore concepts or lay the groundwork for the larger projects you want to work on.
  • Enhance your proposals. Introductory services can also help support your proposals by offering potential clients an easy way to work with you on a small project and see the value you have to offer.
  • Educate potential clients. Help set expectations by sharing one of your offers that shows a standardized budget, timeline, and scope of work for a deliverable that’s similar to what they’re looking for.

Consider different ways potential clients might use Project Catalog as well as the skills and keywords you can emphasize to get their attention.

How can you draw on your full skillset?

Anna Nutsubidze studied architecture and design at university but quickly realized the creative aspects excited her more than technical planning. She used projects on Upwork to establish specializations in 3D modeling, rendering, and animation—but she still includes architectural design projects in the mix.

Whether you have a collection of related skills or have accumulated a wide range of knowledge and experience, you can keep your business interesting and resilient by working on diverse projects and differentiating yourself.

Which of your skills is most in demand?

The most in-demand skills for independent professionals are constantly evolving to accommodate trends, market demands, and changes in technology.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is just one example: It wasn’t even on the mainstream radar until AI-related talent became one of the hottest commodities.

AI projects screenshot

Greg Schwartz was already established as an experienced independent UX designer, but the competition was tight and standing out was a constant challenge. By leveraging his experience and transferable skills, like understanding mental models and user expectations, he took the opportunity to pivot into AI-related work.

Greg expanded his Upwork presence by:

  • Making it easy for clients to see his AI expertise. He used specialized profiles to separate his different areas of expertise and highlight the most relevant information.
  • Offering consultations. Using Upwork’s consultation feature, Greg offers blocks of one-on-one time to help clients solve problems with AI, prompt engineering, or other areas of development and IT.
  • Leveraging Project Catalog. Greg created a chatbot development service to help businesses get a trained chatbot up and running quickly.

To realize similar results, research the types of work in your field that companies are looking for, then consider how you can package your skills to help them solve their most pressing problems.

Related: 2024 In-Demand Skills: Unprecedented Growth in AI and Emergent Skills for Uniquely Human Work

Design the right project

The services you offer on Project Catalog should be packaged to sell themselves without any input from you. Potential clients need to quickly see what you do and why it matters, or they might choose to work with someone else.

This means a project on Project Catalog will ideally meet a few criteria:

  • A specific deliverable. The tangible result a client will receive at the end of the project. Businesses often search Project Catalog by deliverable, so it can be a good idea to put this front and center.
  • A clearly defined process. How you produce the deliverable is up to you, but your Project Catalog listing may include the type of service that can be expected, milestones, or requirements to get started.
  • A narrow scope of work. While you can suggest optional add-ons, the idea behind a prepackaged project is that it doesn’t require a lot of customization. You should be able to start work as soon as the client has met your requirements.
  • A timeline you can commit to. Each tier of service includes a delivery time, which takes into account any adjustments to the scope of work. If there are any factors that can impact a project’s timeline, highlight this up-front so your clients know what to expect.

If you’re feeling stumped, consider projects you’ve worked on in the past.

Check Project Catalog to see how independent professionals with similar skills are pitching their services.

Related: 11+ Types of Graphic Design Projects for Freelancing

Create your project

Project catalog

Once you’ve decided which service to start with, you can create a catalog project from your project dashboard (which you can find in the “Find Work” menu), then personalize it with text, images, video, and samples of your previous work.

There are six steps to creating a project on Project Catalog:

  1. Project overview
  2. Pricing and scope
  3. Create a project gallery
  4. Requirements for the client
  5. Project description
  6. Finalize

1. Project overview

The process starts with the project overview screen, a dynamic form that will offer suggestions and guidance to help you optimize your Project Catalog listing. I’ve created an ebook project to use as an example in the screenshots. Let’s go through each of the sections you’ll find on this page.

Give your Project Catalog service a title.

Every title on Project Catalog automatically starts with You will get… This short phrase should lead into a clear description of the specific service you intend to offer. But keep it short! The maximum length of a title is 75 characters.

Here are a few examples:

  • You will get a technical SEO audit and site audit with SEO competitor analysis
  • You will get automation testing of web applications with Selenium and Cypress
  • You will get a bug-free and secure mobile application in Android and iOS

Pro tips:

  • The URL for your project will be created using your first title—even if you change it later—so consider what you can do to improve SEO before you publish it for the first time.

Select the appropriate category for your project.

The category determines where your project will show up in Project Catalog, so choose the one that’s most relevant. Upwork will suggest different skill and work categories for your project based on the title you’ve entered. If none of the suggested categories is a good fit, click on “Browse all categories.” You’ll be guided through a selection of Upwork’s predetermined categories to narrow your choice.

Pro tips:

  • Can’t decide where your project belongs? Search Project Catalog to see which category similar projects are grouped under. If that doesn’t help, put yourself in your clients’ shoes and try to anticipate which category would make the most sense to them.
  • Fine-tune your project to see what happens. In the e-book example shown in the screenshot, should the category fall under “Writing & Translation” or “Marketing”? It could work either way. However, to target a client who’s a small business owner and not a marketer, I felt it would work best as a writing project. If I don’t get the types of inquiries I’m hoping for, I can change the category and see if that changes the results.

Choose project attributes to provide additional information.

While including project attributes is optional, they add relevant details to your project description. Upwork will suggest attributes based on the category of work you selected and it could include sections such as:

  • Business type
  • Language
  • Platform
  • Programming language
  • Target audience
  • Target country

Choose up to five search tags.

Search tags, another optional feature, make it easy for you to further optimize your project by adding keywords and common terms a client might search for to find a project like yours. The list of tags has been standardized and suggestions will be provided as you type.

2. Pricing and scope

The next step in creating your project is to decide what to charge for your service and define the scope of work. This clearly shows what a client will get if they choose your project and what they’ll pay you to receive it.

The information in this section will be guided by Upwork based on the information you provided in your overview.

Content pricing

Decide whether to offer different pricing options.

You can create one or three different pricing tiers so clients can choose the option that best fits their budget and requirements, then use service tier options to specify which features are available at which tier.

The optional add-ons allow clients to further customize their service. For example, they may choose to pay for faster delivery or additional revisions.

You can also create a project with just one tier, but you’re likely to be more successful if you offer more options.

Pro tips:

  • Be careful about the number of delivery days you commit to. Delivery days refers to calendar days rather than business days. For example, let’s say a project starts on a Friday and you’ve committed to a one-day turnaround. The deliverables will be due on Saturday—and if you miss the deadline, the client can ask for a refund!
  • Can’t decide how to price your project? Browse Project Catalog to see what other professionals with experience similar to yours charge for similar services.

Select the options for each service tier.

To get consistency across similar projects, Upwork will use the category you’ve chosen to create a list of services that are typical to projects like yours.

For example, if you offer a logo design project, your service tiers will match all the other logo design projects in Project Catalog so potential clients can more easily compare.

If one of the options doesn’t fit your process, you don’t need to include it. You can also choose to vary your services across pricing tiers—whatever makes the most sense for your work.

Include add-ons that you’ve found to be helpful.

If there are extra services or specifications you’re sometimes asked about that aren’t included in the service tiers, you can include them as add-on options.

Some popular add-ons include:

  • Faster delivery time
  • Additional file types or formats
  • Additional features or deliverables
  • Additional project revisions or edits

You can also include value-added services. For example, the e-book example shown in the screenshots doesn’t include any images within the scope of work. However, I could add image sourcing or image creation as optional add-ons for clients who would find the support helpful.

3. Create a project gallery

The project gallery lets you spotlight what you’re capable of through a selection of images, videos, and PDF files—any samples that show what you help your clients accomplish.

Pro tip:

  • Pay close attention to the Project Catalog image guidelines. For example, use high-quality images, videos, and documents that you own or have the right to use. You’ll also need to understand what not to do; for example, don’t include Upwork logos, Upwork badges, or the logos of other companies or services.

Related: Get more tips to help you build your best project

4. Requirements for the client

Requirements are questions you can ask and documents you can request from the client in order to start their project. These requirements can be in the form of:

  • Free text. Ask the client to provide context and background information or to answer questions that clarify their project requirements.
  • Multiple choice. Quickly confirm details by asking the client to choose one or more options from a list you create.
  • Attachments. From background information to files you need to do the work, prompt the client to share anything you need to get started.
Project catalog requirements

Each requirement can be designated as optional or mandatory. Keep in mind that you may not have a chance to connect directly with the client as part of this project. Use the requirements section to get everything you need to do the work and deliver a great product.

The delivery timeline will start as soon as the client meets any mandatory requirements. If the client isn’t able to get you the information you need within 48 hours, the project will automatically be canceled.

5. Project description

The project description summarizes the information potential clients need to choose your project over the rest and understand what will happen next.

Project catalog description

Write a project summary.

You have full control over your Project Catalog product description, which will show up below your project cover image and service tiers.

The project summary is your final pitch: The potential client already knows what you offer, so this is your chance to explain why they should choose you.

Explain the steps or milestones for your project.

Upwork automatically outlines the key phases for each project: getting started, doing the work, and final review. However, you can add additional steps to the process that will be shown in the project workroom. As you check off each step, the client can track how work is progressing.

Add any frequently asked questions.

Sometimes clients ask questions that are important but don’t make sense as part of your project summary. To accommodate these and avoid unnecessary back-and-forth messages, add FAQs to your project description.

For example, potential clients may ask:

  • What software or tools do you use?
  • How can I order more than one deliverable?
  • What if I want to work with you but my project doesn’t fit your Project Catalog service?

6. Finalize

You’ve almost finished creating your first project on Project Catalog! In this final step, you’ll be asked to confirm a few things:

  • The number of projects you’re able to work on simultaneously. Once you’ve reached capacity, your project will be hidden until you complete one of your open projects.
  • That you own or have rights to the work you’ve included. The pieces included in your project gallery shouldn’t infringe on any third party’s rights.
  • That you understand and agree to Upwork’s Terms of Service. Following the Terms of Service includes adhering to the User Agreement and Privacy Policy.
  • That you understand how Project Catalog information is shared publicly. The projects you offer in Project Catalog are visible to the general public, regardless of the visibility setting on your Upwork profile.
Project catalog finalize

Once you’ve finished reviewing the information on this page, you can submit your project for approval! All projects are reviewed by Upwork before they’re added to Project Catalog. The review process takes time so please be patient.

Pro tip:

  • If your project doesn’t get approved, we’ll tell you why. If there are any concerns about your project, you’ll receive an email that explains what should be changed. Simply refer to the email, make any necessary revisions, and resubmit your project.

Related: Learn the basics of Project Catalog with Upwork Academy

Manage your projects

Project Catalog is not a “set it and forget it” business builder and building project management into your regular routine can be helpful.

Once your project is live on the site, you’ll want to:

  • Respond regularly to new inquiries. A quick response to messages from potential clients can help you build your reputation and win new clients by showing you’re committed and ready to get started. Your response time is also reflected on your Upwork profile.
  • Manage your workload. You can turn your Project Catalog listing on or off, which means you can manage your workload as you need. You can also decline new projects within 24 hours without a penalty or impact on your Job Success Score, but it’s best to turn your services off so clients can focus on the options that are available to them.
  • Optimize your project information. Keep your listing details fresh and up-to-date by adjusting the description, services, add-ons, FAQs, and pricing as you learn more about what your clients are looking for.
  • Keep doing great work! Every new successful project and five-star review builds on your previous success by strengthening your reputation on Upwork.

Leverage client feedback

Client feedback on Upwork is a critical part of growing your business, whether it’s enthusiastic or not. Client feedback can come in different forms, from private communication to public reviews on your Upwork profile.

“When I was just starting out, client feedback gave me insights as to what clients did and didn’t like about my process—and it still does today,” digital marketing manager Melissa Psihudakis wrote when explaining why feedback supports freelance brand growth. Psihudakis uses feedback as a valuable source of information to help gauge client satisfaction, identify when she needs to adjust her approach to business, and continue delivering a high level of customer service.

Client reviews can also help grow your business. A history of good reviews on your profile can help quickly build rapport with new clients by showing what a trusted partner you’ve been in the past.

“By focusing your efforts on client reviews, you’ll not only acquire positive reviews more often, but you’ll ensure they’re speaking directly to your prospect’s most pressing concerns. This generates instant trust and positions you as someone who offers a product or service that meets the needs of a prospective client.”
Jeremy McGilvrey, ClickFunnels expert, web design specialist, and bestselling author

Boost your project for increased exposure

Once your project has been approved and published to Project Catalog, you can increase its visibility in many ways, including project boosting.

Boosting your project puts it on the first page of search results when a client looks for a service like yours, making it more likely to get noticed. When you boost your project, you can select three to 10 keywords that describe your service, skills, or deliverable to help ensure it shows up in the ideal search results.

And remember: You can promote your predefined services beyond Project Catalog. Whether you want to include your project as a first step in new client proposals, share it with prospects via email, or promote it through your social media accounts, there are a lot of ways to share it with businesses who might want to work with you.

List your services on Upwork

Whether you want to expand your portfolio or make it easier for clients to start working with you, there are many different ways to use Project Catalog to grow your business. By following this process, you can create a predefined service package that meets the needs of potential clients and gets more of the work you enjoy most into your pipeline.

Start your new project listing in Project Catalog.


Projects related to this article:
No items found.

Author Spotlight

How To Create a Project in Project Catalog
Amy Sept
Writer & Editor

Amy Sept (@amysept) is an independent writer, editor, and content marketing strategist who’s dedicated to helping businesses of all sizes navigate the future of work. As a Canadian military spouse and slow traveller, she has a lot of hands-on experience with remote work, productivity hacks, and learning how to "go with the flow."

Get This Article as a PDF

For easy printing, reading, and sharing.

Download PDF

Latest articles

X Icon