How To Get Free Connects on Upwork

How To Get Free Connects on Upwork

Connects are Upwork’s virtual currency. They enable freelancers to reach out to potential clients who have posted interesting projects. And they allow the marketplace to be kept free of spam by encouraging freelancers to consider each connection they want to make as an investment in their business.

At the start of each monthly billing cycle, freelancers are given 10 free Connects (more for Freelancer Plus memberships). Additional Connects can be purchased (more on this below), and new freelancers on the platform will be happy to know that Connects can be earned by reaching certain milestones on the platform.

In this guide:

Understanding Connects

Connects are Upwork’s virtual tokens. As an independent professional, you should treat them as an essential currency that will unlock work opportunities for you on the platform.

As the name suggests, Connects help independent professionals “connect” with clients on Upwork to express their interest in projects. Freelancers can use Connects on Upwork to submit proposals, boost proposals, and signal their availability to clients through their Availability Badge.

As we mentioned, in addition to receiving free Connects (discussed in detail in the next section), you can also buy Connects for $0.15 (USD) in bundles or custom amounts.

How to get free Connects

Connects are a virtual currency but you don’t always have to dig into your wallet to get more. There are a few different ways to earn free Upwork Connects.

5 ways to earn Connects:

  1. Create your Upwork profile
  2. Monthly free Connects
  3. Earn a Rising Talent badge
  4. Complete an Upwork Skill Certification
  5. Redeem a Connects reward

1. Create your Upwork profile

It all starts with creating your Upwork account. Go to Upwork.com and click on the “Sign Up” button in the right corner to get started.

All new freelancers receive 50 free Connects within 48 hours when they create a profile on the Upwork platform for the first time.

2. Monthly free Connects

Freelancer Basic accounts receive 10 free Connects each month. Connects are given out each month on the first day of your billing cycle.

If you choose to upgrade to a Freelancer Plus account, the number of Connects you receive jumps significantly. You get an additional 90 Connects each month with the Plus plan. This means you would have access to a total of 100 Connects each month.

Related reading: Freelancer Plus memberships

3. Earn a Rising Talent badge

New to the freelancing platform but not a beginner with your work? Rising Talent badges are awarded to Upwork talent who exhibit great potential to deliver high-quality work. We establish this potential by looking at your recent Upwork activity, the work you’ve done on Upwork so far, and what you achieved with your prior work done off the platform.

When you unlock the Rising Talent badge, you’ll receive 30 free Connects.

Learn more about Upwork’s Talent Badges and how you can earn them.

4. Complete an Upwork Skill Certification

Upwork Skill Certifications are an invitation-only process to complete a skills assessment that allows you to add a special badge to your profile. Passing a skill certification allows you to earn a one-time Connects bonus.

Currently, you can earn certifications for select skills in our web, mobile and software development, design and creative, and customer service categories.

Related reading: Upwork Skill Certifications

5. Redeem a Connects Reward

Sometimes, we like to give out free Connects just because. These are usually part of a limited promotion and you’ll receive a promo code to redeem the Connects.

To use a promo code:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Select Memberships & Connects
  3. Click Buy Connects
  4. Select an amount
  5. Enter your coupon or promo code
  6. Choose Apply
  7. Click the Buy Connects button
Buy connects

Bonus way: Score an interview

A less advertised way to get free Connects is to score an interview with an established client on Upwork.

The exact number of Connects isn’t shared (to prevent gaming). However, it may be helpful to know that if you’re attracting interest from clients who have hired and spent money on Upwork in the past, you may receive free Connects as a bonus.

https://www.upwork.com/resources/digital-marketing-side-hustle

Managing your Connects wisely

Connects are valuable currency on Upwork so you want to make sure you’re using them wisely for maximum impact.

Keep an eye on your Connects balance

Just like your bank account, you want to keep an eye on your Connects balance so can spend wisely.

To check your Connects balance, go to Find Work. Your balance is shown on the right underneath the “Connects” drop-down.

Screenshot connects 1

Click on “View details” to see more details about your billing cycle and view your Connects history.  

FYI, each month, your unused Connects will roll over. Connects will be used in the order you get them and any that are unused will expire after one year.

Create a stand-out profile

Simply creating a profile on Upwork isn’t good enough, you need a complete, top-notch profile that showcases your skills to clients. Check out these 9 Tips To Create a Freelancer Profile That Stands Out.

When you submit proposals to potential clients, your profile is part of the package. Your profile is your introduction to prospective clients, an important opportunity to grab attention and set yourself apart from the competition.

Plus, many clients search for freelancers on the work marketplace with the skills they need and invite them to check out their job posts.

Did you know? No Connects are needed:

  • When a client invites you to bid
  • When a client sends you an offer
  • When a client purchases your Project Catalog project
  • When you send a proposal within an Enterprise Talent Cloud

Creating a great profile helps you maximize opportunities for direct invitations from potential clients, and lessens the need for using Connects to gain interviews.

Make sure you’re a good fit

Whether you’re applying to your first job or your fifteenth, always make sure you’re actually a good fit for the project. Review the job post and requirements to make sure it matches your skills and availability.

Review the job post and client

If the job fits, you’ll still want to dig deeper into the job post before you spend your Connects.

  • Check to see if the client has hired anyone yet—sometimes clients don’t close a job posting right away after hiring.
  • Review the client’s history—do they usually hire right away and have previous freelancers enjoyed working with them?
  • Consider the number of freelancers who have already submitted proposals and whether the client is interviewing others yet. While you can still submit to a project that already has many applicants or is in the interview stage, it may be more difficult to get the client’s attention.

Write compelling proposals

Upwork proposals are your first introduction to a client. When writing a proposal, focus on the client and the problem they need help solving.

Demonstrate the value you add and how you've successfully helped clients with similar problems in the past. Instead of making your profile, proposals, and communication all about you, make it about them. Try to keep your pitch short and direct; 100-300 words will typically tell the client everything they need to know.

A winning Upwork proposal is one that highlights for the client why they should pick you over your competition, and is more likely to score you an interview. This way you’re making sure you get maximum bang for your buck for all the Connects you use to submit a proposal. Plus, if you’re sending proposals to the right clients, you may even end up scoring bonus Connects in exchange for an interview. Yay, you!

Maximize your Upwork success

Connects are an investment toward your freelance career. But they shouldn’t be the only investment you make as an independent professional.

Invest in your skills

The most successful independent professionals are constantly learning and upgrading their skill set. Clients are looking for professionals who demonstrate a combination of both soft and hard skills.

Research the most in-demand skills in your niche or area of work and learn, learn, learn. Read blogs and books, take an online course, attend conferences, or listen to podcasts—learn however and whenever you can.

If you’re always ahead of the game, potential clients will be more likely to hire you over your (less-skilled) competition.

Invest in relationships

If you start a project with a client, remember it doesn’t have to be a one-and-done deal. Try to build a long-term partnership with your existing and past clients to get repeat business. You could do more of the same work for the client or recommend an additional service that provides value to them.

Long-term relationships with valuable clients have so many benefits: more work for you, less time spent looking for work, and of course, no need to use up your Connects looking for new Upwork jobs. It’s a win-win.

Invest in your Upwork profile

Connects are one way to invest in your presence on the Upwork platform. A few other ways to make the most of your Upwork profile and win more jobs include:

Finally, you can invest in a Freelancer Plus membership which can help you more effectively market your services, submit proposals, and stand out from the crowd. There are plenty of great perks, including better visibility, more Connects, and free coaching! Upgrade to Plus today.

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Author Spotlight

How To Get Free Connects on Upwork
Radhika Basuthakur
Content Writer

Radhika is a self-confessed word nerd and content expert with over 15 years of experience writing content for businesses around the world. She is a cheerleader for flexible work, a passionate world traveler, and spends her free time alternating between a good book and a good hike.

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