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If you’re sending Upwork proposals every day—which I recommend for building your client base—then you may have noticed that select jobs now require 16 connects in order for you to submit a proposal.
Some Upwork users I know are upset about this increase, but I’m not. In my opinion, this new connects structure is yet another tool I can use to find the most valuable potential clients.
And I want you to find high-quality clients on Upwork, too—so I’m going to walk you through exactly how and why this change can benefit you in the long run.
First off, it’s important to understand why some jobs require 16 connects to submit a proposal.
This number isn’t set by the client. Upwork determines the number of connects required, and the decision is based on a few factors—including the job’s potential to be a high-value opportunity.
The higher the potential value of a job, the more connects it will take to submit a proposal. Job posts that require 16 connects are typically:
I suspect that the number of proposals on these jobs will drop by about 80%, because a jump to 16 connects can feel like a lot at first.
If your competitors aren’t aware as to why these listings require more connects per job proposal, they’re going to pass by the openings. They’ll see jobs requiring only two or eight connects per proposal and apply there instead.
This means that you’ll likely encounter less competition for high-value work—and have a better chance at getting your proposal in front of a great client.
You can find these high-value jobs by using the searching and filtering tools already available on Upwork.
To start, search for a job on Upwork.
Next, filter the results to be on the higher end of the pay range that you’re interested in. For example, if I’m looking for an ongoing job that pays around $100 per hour, I’ll start by setting my results to only show the $80-$100+ range. You can do the same type of filtering for fixed-price jobs, too.
If there are loads of results, You can also tick some boxes under the “number of proposals” filter to narrow down my search even more.
Once you have a nice list of results, scan through the listings to find positions that require 16 connects to submit a proposal.
Click on one that interests you and read its description. If the job requirements match your expertise, then look at the rest of the page. Check out:
And look at that—we found a job with a $30,000 budget and only five proposals after six days. The client’s been checking the job posting too, and they’d already spent $20,000+ on Upwork. I’d definitely be interested in applying for this gig.
When I’m going through this process, I use all of the details we found above to help me make my final decision about whether or not to submit a proposal.
I probably will submit a proposal if:
But I might not submit a proposal if any of the following are true:
These aren’t hard and fast rules, just my own guidelines. If I see that a job’s been open for a long time and has received a lot of proposals—but the client’s regularly checking the listing—then I may still apply. This indicates to me that they aren’t finding the right fit. (And if I submit a proposal, I’m confident that I am indeed the right fit!)
Limited competition on a job doesn’t mean you can phone it in on your pitch, either—you’ve still got to have a strong proposal to work with dream clients that are offering these high-value opportunities.
There’s one more thing to look at when checking out these high-value job posts: how long the opportunity is expected to last.
If you’re in the market for one-time, fixed-jobs, you can absolutely find them this way—and make a nice bit of money as a result. But this is also a great way to find high-value long-term clients—a particular favorite of mine. (Just look at my Upwork profile; I’ve been working with some of my clients for years!)
It’s my belief that every Upwork user can take advantage of this new connects system as a way to find high-value clients. Whether you’ve just earned your rising talent badge or you’ve been building your freelance career for years, you can do this.
All it takes is an Upwork account of your own—so if you haven’t got one, create your account, build out your profile, and get started by sending your first proposal today.