Thanks to FYF community member Gary Harvey for this insightful contribution about Upwork success …
The opportunity has never been greater
Freelancing is a growth area. Freelancer earnings are up. Opportunities are up. And competition is up… which is why you need to read this article.
Upwork now pays out over one billion dollars a year to freelancers. You want your share? You want to beat out the competition?
Then use these strategies. I know they work because I used them to get the “Rising Talent” rating at Upwork, and then later the “Top Rated” badge. They are the strategies I continue to use in all my writing. Read on to see why they worked for me and how they will work for you.
Treat every job like it’s paying you big bucks
And why should you do that if they’re only paying you apprentice wages?
1, Start as you intend to continue.
2, It’s good practice.
3, It’s a sign of good character.
4, If you do low-grade work, who’s going to pay you the fee schedule you aspire to? Those who deliver rubbish work should get paid rubbish wages. Simple as that.
Which is why I strongly recommend that every time you deliver work, it’s the very best work you can produce.
It’s okay to work slower than you want if you’re delivering quality to your client. As you gain experience, both as a writer and in the topics you’re writing about, your speed will pick up.
Ask the client questions – show you care
Because I did this, my first client wrote that I cared about the work I was doing for him. Greg’s exact words were “Gary was invested in the project as if it were his own”. Public feedback like that is immensely valuable.
He drew that conclusion because I kept asking questions. Why did I ask about so many things? So I could understand.
I was new (and he knew that). There was a lot I didn’t understand — about Upwork, about his company, and about voice (did he want the writing to be conversational or formal, and at what educational level?).
I also had questions about how to submit my work, about how he wanted me to use the keywords he supplied, and did he want me to submit my work in text, .doc, .docx or .pdf?
So many questions.
By understanding his business and the purpose of these writing tasks, I was better able to meet his needs. And that’s what you get paid for. Lightening their load by meeting their needs.
By following that strategy with every writing gig, 100 percent of my Upwork clients gave me 5 stars. That’s right. Every job, 5 stars.
Every contact with your client is characterized by courtesy and professionalism
If you want to be recognized as a professional, act like a professional and write like a professional. Every time.
Use proper English. That means using upper case when it’s needed. It means using good grammar, and appropriate punctuation and paragraphing.
Aim to make every email a showcase of the quality work you always deliver. I cannot imagine a client being unhappy to receive a slightly more formal response, but I can easily see a client firing you if you send him a poorly thought out, hastily thrown-together email that breaks the rules in the paragraph above. Right?
In short, be polite and business-like every time you interface with your client.
Proofread everything three or four times
You’re judged by the words you send your client. So run the spell checker over them. If you learned British English and are writing for an American client, make a special effort to use American spell checker. Your British spell checker won’t do that for you.
Find an American one. Or open Google and type “defense or defence” to find what’s used in the States.
But spelling isn’t all you need to examine. Check the flow of the words. How? By reading your text aloud. Yes, read it word by word, out loud. Why? Because when you read silently, your clever brain will fill in the words you meant to write. You won’t see the missing words. But your client will. He doesn’t know what you meant to say. He only knows what you actually wrote.
There’s another trick that can help here. Paste your words into a text-to-speech app and listen to what you wrote. Your ear won’t fill in any missing words.
You can easily find free spell checkers and text-reading apps on the internet.
If you have a friend who will read your stuff, ask them. You want to know if anything — yes, anything — that stops them as they read your work. Their “criticism” might hurt but suck it up, and fix the sentences that didn’t work for them.
There is no substitute for proofreading. Make sure your words never leave home without it.
Deliver your work one day early
Not too early, mind you, or your client will think it was an easy assignment and he overpaid you.When you get the writing assignment, plot out your time and tell your client when you expect to deliver. Include research, writing, and polishing time, as well as 1-2 days of padding so you can deliver early. If the matter is complex, then you’ll want to include contemplation time as well, to give yourself time to figure out the angle you will take.
When you get the writing assignment, plot out your time and tell your client when you expect to deliver. Include research, writing, and polishing time, as well as 1-2 days of padding so you can deliver early. If the matter is complex, then you’ll want to include contemplation time as well, to give yourself time to figure out the angle you will take.
Ask your client for feedback you can add to your portfolio
If you’re writing for an Upwork client, that feedback will go on your public record which is why I always asked for a five stars rating and a positive comment. Yes, I asked for 5 stars. Every time.
Yes, I asked for 5 stars. Every time. And I asked for a positive comment.
And I asked for a positive comment. Since I’d already delivered the best work I knew how to do, I thought it was entirely reasonable to ask them to post a positive comment. Five stars
Since I’d already delivered the best work I knew how to do, I thought it was entirely reasonable to ask them to post a positive comment. Five stars is great but if all they write is “good work”, that doesn’t help me much. And it doesn’t help future clients decide to work with me. So here’s the type of message I sent to my first client:
So here’s the type of message I sent to my first client:
“Hi Greg. The attached article is due tomorrow but I thought you’d appreciate getting it a day early.
I’ve run it through Copyscape and I can confirm it is 100% unique.
I hope you feel it meets your requirements. If it doesn’t, please let me know what needs fixing and I will take care of the re-write promptly.
If you do like it, I’d love to see 5 stars from you. I’m sure you know how vital it is for beginning freelancers to get strong ratings for their early jobs, so if there is anything in my article that would hold you back from awarding 5 stars, please let me know.
Again, thank you for the opportunity to work with you. It’s been an education and a pleasure.Gary.”
See what I did there? The key concept here is to ask if anything would hold him back from awarding 5 stars, then promising to fix it promptly.If you’re submitting work via Upwork, send a draft – and don’t ask for payment yet
If you’re submitting work via Upwork, send a draft – and don’t ask for payment yet
In Upwork, there is a link that allows you to attach a file to a message. When you’re working with a new client, use it. When he’s happy with your work, submit it again via the “Submit for payment” button.
Every time a client applauds, save the best quotes in a PDF to include with every pitch
As well as being a writer, you’re also a marketer. If you don’t blow the trumpet, who will? Take pride in your work, and don’t be shy about telling others how well your writing has been received by earlier clients.
And that’s it. The strategy I used to get my writing career started. Now, it’s your turn.
About the author:
After writing about all manner of topics with Upwork and for other clients, Gary Harvey has now settled into the natural health niche. As well as writing about healing through nutrition at NaturalHealthJoy.com, Gary is busy preparing to launch PLRGary.com through which he will be providing quality Private Label Rights content to owners of health sites all over the web.