upwork tips for beginners
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15 Upwork Tips For Beginners [Personal Experience!]

Are you looking for the best Upwork tips for beginners?

When I first started out with freelancing, I was lost as to where to find any freelancing jobs and that’s when I learned about Upwork!

Upwork is a huge freelancing platform and its user and client bases are expanding quickly. 

It is understandable why us freelancers with a variety of skill set select Upwork as our preferred source of independent contract work. They have a huge database with freelancing opportunities that range from writing to designing. 

Saves time having to hunt for random clients and cold email business owners ! O_O

However, as a newbie trying out this platform, you may not know where to start or might feel overwhelmed with all the information out there regarding Upwork. (I know I felt like this!)

As much as you are eager to start earning, covering the basic points in setting up your profile and creating a winning proposal is important.

Let’s go through some of the best Upwork tips for beginners to make sure you get the best out of the platform!

At A Glance – Upwork Tips For Beginners

1. Enhance Your Profile

2. Have A Decent Profile Photo

3. Produce Quality Work

4. Get Active

5. Master Your Niche

6. Work On The Proposal

7. Tailor Each Proposal

8. Put Out A Quality Portfolio

9. Clients Should Be The Priority

10. Check Your Rates

11. Apply To As Many Jobs As Possible

12. Preserve Your Relationship With Clients

13. Maintain Professionalism

14. Always Go Above And Beyond

15. Have Perseverance

upwork tips for beginners

Affiliate Link Disclosure

Some of the links here are affiliate links, and I may earn if you click on them, AT NO EXTRA cost to you. I hope you find the information here useful! Thanks!

When I started on Upwork , I didn’t know there were other ways to find profitable clients. I was happy to take any rate and felt lucky when anyone hired me O_O

Then I discovered this super duper useful training that taught me how to find new clients, what to charge and how to increase my rate!

It helped me land 3 new clients in 3 weeks and really changed my life and my financial situation.

I hope it can help you too! Ps; No you start earning from your writing even if you have no experience and if you are a non-native speaker too!


I spent ages googling FREE information and googling articles (like you are doing now). I needed to keep my costs down as I wasn’t being paid for my writing just yet.

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I also learned how to set up a freelance writing website, where to find jobs, and what to charge.

The Write to $1k course has a 30-day template you just need to follow to get to your first $1k from writing.

If you are ever going to invest in one writing course – please let it be this one. It’s the most useful thing you can do if you want to know how to be a freelance writer with no experience.

There is no way you will finish the 30 days and not win a new client. Her training is THAT good. And I am not making this up, because I took the course myself.

Related Posts

15 Upwork Tips For Beginners

1. Enhance Your Profile

Your Upwork profile is where you have the chance to make a great first impression on a potential client. This is one of the important tips for Upwork beginners.

What does it say about your profile if you have no description and no detail about the value you can provide to your clients?

The clients will just skim the profile once, so you need to provide an engaging job description. 

How do you enhance your profile on Upwork?

Write about your abilities and emphasize them with words that are relevant to your line of work. Why should the client hire you? What value can you provide them that will ensure recurring work?

Put them all in your profile because you want potential clients to look at you as an asset. 

The bio is equally important because you want your clients to be captured by your profile at first glance. These are some tips on Upwork bio sample for beginners:

  • Humans are egocentric beings by nature. Make your bio about how you will enhance their lives, not the other way around, to connect with your client.
  • Should you feel that you have to write a little bit more to emphasize your point, be sure that the most important information is shown at the top of the page.

Here are some courses to help you create an amazing Upwork profile for beginners:

2. Have A Decent Profile Photo

It goes without saying that as humans, we deem someone trustworthy when we can see their face. Any transaction or exchange automatically provides a sense of assurance when we know who is the one behind it. 

The more clear and approachable your profile image is, the more probable the prospective clients will think you are trustworthy and convincing.

Tips for Upwork beginners, when picking your profile photo, keep the following things in mind:

  • Use your own photo. A client may jump on a quick video call to explain the details of the project and you do not want them to think you catfished them.
  • Use a close-cropped photograph because the profile photos on Upwork’s website are small.
  • Smile and be yourself in the picture, let your personality show through your profile photo!

3. Produce Quality Work

Always aim to give your best work. If you were the client and you are appointing a freelancer to get a job done for you, would you not be expecting quality results? 

Keep that in mind when working for a client.  This is also one of the important tips for Upwork beginners that must not be forget.

I know this sounds obvious but at the beginnning, you are trying to establish yourself and get good reviews. So even though it may take more time or not make financial sense AT THE BEGINNING, in the long run, it will pay off financially!

4. Get Active

The ultimate goal is to have clients come to you, but up until that time, you must be active. 

You need to regularly check Upwork’s freshly posted job opportunities.

Use your Connects to submit an application when you see a posting that corresponds to your skill set.

A new freelancer who successfully signs up on Upwork will earn 80 Connects to begin networking.

Additionally, taking the Upwork Readiness Test and receiving the Rising Talent badge will earn them additional Connects.

Whether you work on Upwork as a freelancer or as a member of an agency team, connects are your best bet for creating solid relationships on this platform.

You improve your chances of appearing in Upwork search results by consistently submitting proposals and being engaged on the platform.

5. Master Your Niche

Why is it important for you to master your niche when it comes to freelancing tips for beginners? 

Even though you are just starting out in the world of freelancing, you need to acknowledge that it is still a business. When you master your niche, you will show that you have authority in that area. 

For example, you decide to be a freelance writer. 

What will be your field of expertise? Will it be traveling, finance, or lifestyle? 

When you create your portfolio, concentrate on creating pieces that revolve around that one niche. 

By specializing, you may establish yourself as a subject-matter authority and create a resume that highlights your abilities.

Customers who review your work history will be able to discover how you can assist them with their issues because you have proved it in your portfolio. 

upwork tips for beginners

6. Work On The Proposal

Instead of producing fresh proposals each time you apply to a listing, you should construct a templated proposal that is relevant to your niche. 

You will start to discover certain aspects of your proposal that will provide results or places where clients request additional information when you apply for jobs frequently. 

Continue to tweak your template to these demands.

Here are some guides on how to create a killer proposal:

7. Tailor Each Proposal

When I initially began out, sending the same proposals to job postings was one of the biggest mistakes I made.

As a freelance writer, I would send a proposal to any job posting that specifically mentioned freelance writing without vetting through the client or the job description.

Despite the fact that I got a few low-paying jobs, I wasted a lot of connections. I did not realize until much later that, despite the extra time required on my behalf, the customized proposal outperform the template of proposals that I was happily sending out. 

Here are some useful Upwork proposal tips:

  • Include the client’s name or business in the first sentence of your proposal. The wording will feel less template-like because of this personalization.
  • Consider including testimonials and samples of related previous projects. If these are related to the work specified in the client’s brief, they will be highly helpful to strengthen your proposal.
  • Asking your client for extra details, such as a link to their website, will nudge them to carry on the conversation. This promotes trust and demonstrates your eager interest in the other person.
  • Inform the client of your decision to apply specifically for their position. This will reassure the client that they are working with a freelancer that values their business equally to them.
upwork tips for beginners

8. Put Out A Quality Portfolio

The only way for clients to learn about the caliber and professionalism you are capable of providing is through your portfolio.

Put out around five samples.

Mention how you created these samples expressly to allow clients to view your work. This will demonstrate your excitement and commitment.

For instance, if you were applying for a writing position, you would need to present some of your published works.

If you do not have any, compile a few samples through Google Docs and upload them as your sample.

Related posts:

9. Clients Should Be The Priority

Great reviews on the platform are a key factor in determining your reputation, as the preceding steps have shown. 

This is one of the most important steps on how to be successful on Upwork.

Respect due dates. Respond to queries right away. Put your personality on display. Prioritize the client and their needs.

Naturally, when a client is paying less for your expertise, it is simpler to exceed their expectations. Lower your rate so that it can happen over the first few gigs.

10. Check Your Rates

By no means do I want to disrespect your hard work on a project. However, when you are just starting out, check your rates to see if they are too high. 

The best way to do this is to see similar freelancers in your niche and their rates. If these freelancers have been in the business for a while, chances are they have high ratings and reviews. 

As a budding member of this freelancing marketplace, you have yet to get to their level so do not charge equally as they do. 

Do not put too much emphasis on your hourly rate while you are starting off, consider the long-term perspective. 

The initial objective is just to establish yourself and create a stellar profile so that you have a greater chance of landing future jobs.

Once you have your reviews and ratings lined up, it is then time to change the strategies.

You would not have to perform less-paying tasks any longer to demonstrate your value. As you search the feed for better opportunities, you can get pickier.

Start evaluating the profiles of your clients throughout this period.

Freelancers can view the average hourly fee of each client on Upwork. In other words, you can tell just what type of clients they are by how little they pay for the labor to be done.

upwork tips for beginners

11. Apply To As Many Jobs As Possible

This is a crucial Upwork tips for beginners. Fill out as many applications for jobs when you are starting out but keep in mind that you should apply for jobs that you are confident in carrying out. 

Apply for temporary jobs too and by this I mean it could be a one-off job with no contract, etc. Why? Because in exchange, you will get more testimonials and experience working with more clients.

On top of that, if you are receiving positive feedback from a variety of customers, there is a greater likelihood that they will become repeat clients.

On the other hand, do not waste time waiting for responses from certain clients.

Send in your proposal, then keep going without turning around. When you wait for clients to respond, you risk wasting your time and your confidence.

12. Preserve Your Relationship With Clients

You may think that once you are done with a project, the relationship with said clients ends. 

Not quite. 

When you maintain a good relationship with your client, you are bound to attract referrals and recurring work from them. 

For example, after submitting a project, ask for feedback and take it positively. Look at it as a way to enhance your craft and thank them for highlighting it to you. 

This shows your client that you are willing to put in the work and improvise your skill. 

With this in mind, should there be other projects in the future, there are high chances of them coming back to you.

In the world of freelancing, referrals play a big role. When you have maintained a good relationship with a client, they may refer you to other clients!

upwork tips for beginners

13. Maintain A Professional Impression

One of the Upwork tips for beginners is to make a sleek first impression. What do I mean by that? 

We have already established that first impression matters, not just in Upwork but in everything we do. Imagine a potential client viewing your profile and finding phrases like 

“What’s up, this is Lisa here” along with a profile picture that has multiple doodles all over it. 

Not much of a first impression is it?

When a customer views your profile through Upwork’s search function, they can see three things:

  • Profile photo
  • Title
  • A summary

Maintain a solid headshot of you that is centered and clearly shows your happy face should be your profile photo.

Although the title section may appear straightforward, these few words have a big impact on whether a client will give you a chance. Use a title that appropriately describes your area of expertise and the services you provide. 

Your overview’s first two or three sentences are the only ones that appear in the search results. You must use those opening lines to draw the reader in and emphasize the services you offer.

14. Always Go Above And Beyond

As a beginner, it will not be easy to bounce back from low ratings on Upwork.

To avoid this from happening, always go above and beyond. Even though in the beginning, you may be working for a lower rate, try to do your best in the work you produce. 

Remember, in the beginning, you are trying to gain as many 5-star ratings and good reviews because these are testimonies for future clients. 

For example, say you are a freelance writer on Upwork. Your client gives you a brief for a 2000-word article and you get it done. How do you go above and beyond? 

You find products or links that you can include in your article that give your client to earn affiliate income. This way your client knows you took the extra step and will appreciate your work. 

15. Have Perseverance

As cliche as it sounds, you have to push through the initial tough times on Upwork. 

The low pay rates and the time taken to apply to many jobs will pay off if you put out honest and consistent good work. 

It was probably the hardest to land your first client, now you just need to repeat your success to land other jobs.

Growing a profitable freelance business takes time. To gain new clients, be persistent, maintain your optimism, and put in the effort. You can follow these Upwork tips for beginners as a start.

How Exactly Does Upwork…Work?

  1. Employers advertise positions
  2. Freelancers submit job applications
  3. Freelancers get appointed for a job
  4. Payment is done to the freelancer
  5. The cycle repeats from steps 1 to 4

The way Upwork works is relatively simple. Get through the steps above and you can start earning on Upwork!

Upwork’s Feedback System

The Upwork feedback system is made up of two things:

  • Job Success Score
  • Written Testimonials

1. Job Success Score

This metric was developed by Upwork to assess client experience.

The customer is asked a series of questions when you finish a job on Upwork. They are expected to give you a score between 1 and 10.

The success of the project is determined by these scores as well as several other technical aspects such as whether the job was completed on schedule.

These ratings are incorporated into your Job Success Score but are not displayed on your profile but show up when you apply for a job.

2. Written Testimonials

As a beginner, you might not have any feedback or testimonials but remember that when you start accumulating feedback, you will attract more clients. 

You must recognize the mentality of the client.  Clients want to work with someone they can rely on, and looking at the freelancer’s feedback is a quick way to find someone you can depend on.

Why Is It Hard To Get Your First Job On Upwork?

Yes, it can be hard. 

In Upwork, a freelancer is chosen based on the feedback and reviews a freelancer has. When starting out, you are likely to not have any, making it difficult for someone to hire you. 

Put yourself in the position of the person who is creating an Upwork job listing for the time being. Ideally, you are looking for someone you can trust to give you the outcomes you desire.

The position has at least 20 candidates, and if it is a job that is in demand, you may even get up to 50 applicants.

Now, how do you choose your ideal candidate?

Most jobs on Upwork are selected based on customer feedback.

You will evaluate a potential freelancer for the position if they have positive feedback, which is determined by a combination of the freelancer’s Job Success Score and written testimonials from past clients.

You will take a look at their portfolio, go through the proposal submitted, and vet them based on your requirements. 

However, those things are unlikely to occur if a candidate receives little to no testimonials or even worse if they have received some bad critiques.

This is why it may be hard for beginners to land their first job on Upwork. However, just focus on getting recognized on the platform.

Continue uploading new pieces to your portfolio and apply to as many jobs, as you are bound to be noticed and hired!

5 Common Mistakes That Beginners Make On Upwork

  1. Accepting a job too quickly 
  2. Listing skills they do not have
  3. Poor profile maintenance
  4. Being a know-it-all
  5. Not respecting the timeline given

1. Accepting A Job Too Quickly 

This is a mistake I too made when I started out with Upwork. 

As a beginner, it is normal for you to be eager at the idea of any job coming your way. However, you have to know the requirements of the job before you accept them to avoid things like being underpaid. 

In any relationship, communication is fundamental, but working remotely with customers makes this even more true. 

So before accepting a job, make sure that you fully comprehend the needs of the job and are confident that you can give your all to your client. 

2.  Listing Skills They Do Not Have

Nowadays, when you browse through Upwork, you can see people listing skills that are truly impressive but the reviews on their profiles are poor ones. 

Yes, a skill can be learned and you can master them. However, if the project is due in 5 days and you have zero ideas on how to complete it, you are asking for bad feedback. 

The more you concentrate on Upwork skills for beginners, the easier it will be for you to expand your brand. 

Not applying for every job could sound like backward advice but when you expand your freelance business in 2021, it’s crucial to be smart about the services you provide.

By specializing, you may establish yourself as an authority and create a resume that highlights your abilities.

Customers who review your work history will be able to discover how you can assist them with their issues because you have done it frequently for previous customers.

3. Poor Profile Maintenance

One of the important things you can do to gain more work on Upwork is to enhance your profile. By highlighting your abilities and experience in your profile, you can draw new clients to your freelance business.

Many new freelancers that come on Upwork tend to neglect this aspect of building a side hustle or career on this platform. 

Take some time to set up your profile on Upwork and that way you can showcase your skills and then clients can come your way.

Here are a couple of courses to help you out:

4. Being A Know-It-All

You might be an experienced designer or tech analyst, but if you believe you already know everything, you would not try to learn anything new, you will eventually hit a wall or get replaced by someone else who has much greater skills and lower rates.

There is nothing wrong with picking up a few new talents to advance your career. Stay up to date with the most recent trends by researching online. 

5. Not Respecting The Timeline Given

When I started freelancing, I was still working my day-to-day, 9-5 job, so time management was important for me to master. 

By including deadlines in your schedule but scheduling them to be finished 1-2 days before the actual due date, you can avoid this. This is a tip I implement till today! This is also one of the Upwork tips for beginners when you land a project!

This way, you have a small buffer in case other things come up.

FAQs On Upwork Tips For Beginners

What Is The Best Way To Get Started On Upwork?

  • Focus On Your Skill
  • Create A Strong Profile
  • Keep An Eye For High Performing Clients

1. Focus On Your Skill

Since Upwork is a massive marketplace for freelancers across the globe, your skills will be the factor that separates you from others. 

If you are thinking of how to get on Upwork as a beginner, focusing on your skill is where you should start. 

You do not have to be a jack of all trades, but it will help you to stand out in one or two jobs. Decide on the skill that you have or are able to master be it designing, freelance writing, data analytics, or programming. 

After listing your strengths, choose a job on Upwork that matches your skill. It is advisable to streamline your talents on Upwork to improve your chances of landing a job.

For instance, writing is a popular and highly competitive ability, so if you specialize in that area, you are more valued. If you are looking to start in this niche, here is a useful article on freelance writing for beginners.

2. Create A Strong Profile

Now that you are aware of your strengths, it is time to pitch them to potential clients. In order to do so, you will need a strong profile. 

Having a strong profile is crucial for getting started.

Once you know the job you would like to showcase on Upwork, for this example, let’s go with freelance writing, look through the top-rated profiles. 

Now, the structure of the profile is up to you. Writing up a long or short profile is your call but the key is to let your clients know who you are and what you are capable of.

Inform your prospective client of what you do, the experience you have in the field, and why you believe you are the ideal choice for the job.

Include your portfolio because clients value this greatly. When you have a portfolio of work, getting started with Upwork without experience is simpler.

Link your website or online portfolio even if your only online presence consists of a Google Doc folder – link everything.

Clients will recognize that you are a real person and not a robot and that you are worthwhile of their money if you do this.

3. Keep An Eye For High Performing Clients

Now, this is where many new freelancers who sign up for Upwork or other freelance websites start to become lost.

High-performing clients are clients who:

  • Has a payment verified section to see how much they have spent on Upwork
  • Has great reviews freelancers
  • Provides clear guidelines and expectations for a project
  • Have good communication skills

Unfortunately, there are tons of low-paying clients swarming all over freelance marketplaces like Upwork.

What are low-paying clients you may ask? These are clients who will ask you to write up a 1000-word article for the price of USD5 – yes, they exist. 

Once you begin working on Upwork, there is a high chance of you working with an unreliable client. I worked with some and had to learn my lessons the hard way so keep an eye out for the pointers above a score yourself some great clients!

Is Upwork Hard For Beginners?

Yes, Upwork may be hard for beginners. That is why you need these tips for Upwork beginners.

However, just like anything new, it will take time to build rapport and a great clientele. Chances are that when you are starting out on Upwork, you will land small projects. 

Upwork links clients and independent contractors. There are millions of jobs and millions of freelancers, but not every job is equal.

The good tasks that pay well frequently draw experienced freelancers, which means you will be competing against folks who have been in the business for a while now. 

Whoever is genuinely more skilled is irrelevant. What matters is that you don’t have as many good ratings as experienced freelancers and at first glance, clients may go for the freelancer with better ratings. 

Now, the only applicants you face for small jobs are other beginners. You can truly stand out by making sure you follow our Upwork tips for beginner, your profile is strong and your suggestions are intriguing.

As much as you would want to make a big bang off the start, it is important to realize that the initial projects are more focused on receiving solid and positive reviews than on making money.

Do not worry about how much money you are generating in your first few months on the platform. Do the small assignments, put out honest and good work, earn good reviews, and move up the Upwork ranks.

By doing so and harnessing your skill, you would not find Upwork to be hard for long!

What Is The Easiest Job In Upwork?

upwork tips for beginners

1. Website And App-Testing Jobs 

Companies regularly pay individuals to test their websites and mobile applications because they want to make sure users have a positive experience when the site or app goes live.

Many of these user testing positions sound hard, but most of them are straightforward QA positions that do not need a lot of training or expertise.

In order to assist the developers to produce a better experience, it is important to give honest feedback on the parts of a website or app you enjoy and dislike.

upwork tips for beginners

2. Data Entry

Data entry jobs are always available and it is perfect for upwork for beginners. They are kind of lousy, but then again, it is a very simple method to exchange time for money.

Also, you might discover that some niches offer a lot of data entry work, which is helpful if you want to dive deeper into that field after gaining some credibility. Just remember to apply to positions that actually have a deadline so you can boost the speed at which your profile is reviewed.

upwork tips for beginners

3. Virtual Assistant

Undoubtedly one of the best gigs for beginners who are starting out on Upwork. 

Virtual assistants, also known as VAs, are in charge of assisting clients with managing and organizing their businesses.

Common jobs that virtual assistants assist with include the following:

  • Making reservations for travel
  • Sending client or prospective lead emails
  • Planning a meeting
  • Making appointments
  • Leveraging social media

Here are some resources that could be helpful for you in becoming a VA:

Is Upwork Worth It?

Yes, Upwork is worth it. I firmly believe that for any freelancer who commits to being successful, Upwork is completely worthwhile. Hope this clears your doubt on how to work on Upwork for beginners, or if you are even contemplating getting on the platform. 

If you excel at your initial jobs and obtain stellar reviews, you are bound to attract the attention of high-paying clients. 

Upwork has a large network of clients and freelancers, making it an excellent place to start your freelancing job as a newbie. Accepting more jobs enables you to build a reputation and a solid profile. 

One small downside would be the freelancer fee that you have to pay.

The platform charges a 20% commission fee for every project you obtain through Upwork in addition to charging for connections.

However, once you start earning more, the fee reduces. 

It can be difficult to recover from one bad rating or to land jobs, therefore Upwork also has a job score you will need to maintain. These costs and job ratings are nevertheless a part of the Upwork freelancer experience.

How Do I Do Well On Upwork?

  • Highlight Your Skills On Your Profile
  • Narrow Down On A Specific Skill

1. Highlight Your Skills On Your Profile

When setting up your profile, you will see a broad list of skills on Upwork that makes it simple to pinpoint your strengths and find the right assignments for you. 

Before you start worrying about why am i not getting jobs on Upwork, focus on creating a profile that highlights all of your best skills that will draw in clients.

These talents should reflect your areas of expertise and specialty since they also make it easier for clients to find you.

 Only make claims about and include talents that you can support with information from another section of your profile, such as your portfolio.

The more qualities you can provide that are important to the assignments you are looking for, the better the outcome. 

Rearrange the tags so that they appear in ascending order of relevance. If you have a variety of professional interests such as programming and accounting, indicate how many abilities you have in relation to how highly you value each assignment.

2. Narrow Down On A Specific Skill

Upwork divides freelancers into groups based on their specialties and areas of interest.

You must first determine which specific category best describes your skill set before seeking work. You may have more than one skill but you should put focus on one skill while offering the others in support.

Choosing your specialty area correctly is important to developing your freelance career because it will affect the kinds of assignments you receive. To do this, consider your areas of greatest strength and what distinguishes you from other freelancers.


15 Upwork tips for beginners for you to implement on your freelancing journey.

The thing with Upwork is that any freelancer’s initial time commitment to Upwork is completely worthwhile because if you are successful, Upwork will keep sending you work for a very long period.

Regardless of whether you need freelancing gigs frequently or in between the larger contracts you have with independent clients, once you put these Upwork tips for beginners into practice, you can expect to grow on this platform!

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