Upwork is the largest freelance platform but requires strategy to maximize earnings. By following proven best practices, you can succeed on Upwork as a top freelance service provider.

Build a Standout Profile

Your profile is critical for standing out. Ensure yours looks professional and compelling to clients by:

  • Having an inviting headshot and background photo
  • Writing a strong overview summarizing your skills and experience
  • Showcasing an impressive portfolio with your best work
  • Highlighting reviews, testimonials, and relevant certifications
  • Passing assessments to demonstrate your expertise in niche skills

An eye-catching and complete profile makes you appear trustworthy and distinguished from competitors.

Specialize in a Profitable Niche

Avoid listing every possible service you might offer. Specialize in 1-2 high demand niche skills like:

  • Software testing
  • Technical writing
  • 3D modeling
  • SEO auditing
  • Bookkeeping

Becoming known as a niche expert makes you uniquely valuable to clients specifically needing those skills.

Create Targeted Proposals

Copy-pasting generic proposals results in low response rates. Custom tailor each one to align with the client’s unique requirements, using their language and terminology. Demonstrate you thoroughly read and understood their job post to stand out.

Actively Bid on Jobs Daily

Consistently applying to promising new projects helps you land clients faster, especially when first starting out. Set aside time every day to search for relevant new job posts and submit proposals. Follow up promptly when clients inquire.

Provide 5-Star Service

The key to long term earnings growth on Upwork is exceeding expectations on every single contract. This earns you glowing reviews, satisfied repeat clients, and referrals. Go above and beyond on service quality and communication.

Withdraw Earnings Swiftly

Withdraw earnings from your Upwork account as soon as available to minimize the risk of account holds, disputes or refunds tying up your payments. Never let earnings accumulate excessively.

Gradually Increase Your Rates

Once you build a long history of satisfied clients and 5-star reviews, slowly start raising your rates for new contracts. Refresh your profile to justify higher pricing based on expanded expertise.

Maintain a Perfect Profile Score

A perfect 100% JSS score helps you qualify for top jobs. Be highly responsive to interview requests. Submit proposals only for jobs that are an excellent match. Resolve any issues to prevent bad reviews.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many proposals should I send daily when first starting out?

Aim to submit at least 10-20 proposals per day until you begin landing regular jobs. Then focus on excelling for existing clients.

What is the best way to get your first Upwork job with no experience?

Bid on entry level jobs with smaller budgets. Offer a money back guarantee and emphasize your responsiveness. Start with bite-sized projects to build reviews.

When should I raise my rates on Upwork?

After consistently earning 5-star reviews, raise rates slowly for new clients every 6-12 months. Refresh your profile to justify increases.

Should I focus on hourly or fixed price contracts?

When first starting out, fixed price projects allow you to more predictably set income expectations. Shift toward hourly pricing as you gain experience.

What metrics should I track to gauge success on Upwork?

Earnings over time, job star ratings, profile views, repeat clients, percentage of jobs landed versus bids, account standing metrics, and more.

By applying proven best practices from the very start, you can build a thriving freelance business on Upwork and maximize your income potential.


  • Gio Watts

    Gio Watts brings over 10 years of digital marketing experience to his role as marketing manager at Walletminded. In his current position, Gio oversees brand marketing, campaign management, and audience growth initiatives. Prior to joining Walletminded, Gio held marketing roles at several ecommerce and SaaS startups, most recently serving as senior marketing manager at CloudTable Inc. There, he specialized in paid social advertising and content marketing. Gio holds a bachelor’s degree in business marketing from the University of Oregon. He is a certified content marketing specialist and frequently guest lectures at his alma mater. When he's not devising omni-channel marketing campaigns, you can find Gio coaching youth basketball and indulging his passion for live music.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *