How to Succeed in Work From Home Jobs in Upwork

Succeed as a Home-Based Worker: Tips from a Long-time Freelancer

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Table of Contents

How to Get Hired on Upwork

I’ve been a freelancer since 2010 and that means I got a fair share of my ups and downs. Thankfully, through the years, I was able to retain a 100% job success as of the moment of this writing. I want to help others that’s why I’m sharing the following tips so you can, Lord-willing, succeed consistently in the freelancer career.

Build a Strong Profile

Keep your Title Short and Focused
-Clients value freelancers with direct and relevant experience, so your title should reflect your combination of experience and the type of work you’re marketing
-Titles give a prospective client a high-level summary of your expertise
-Keep it short and impactful
 
From a Recruiter’s Perspective:
-Think like a SEO Expert. A concise title with the right keywords make you easily searchable
-Most recuiters do Boolean searches. Boolean search is a type of search allowing users to combine keywords with operators (such as AND, NOT, OR) to further produce more relevant results. 
-For example of a Boolean search, “hotel” AND “New York”

Showcase Your Previous Work History

-Always have a data-driven application
-quote numbers
-$ you earned for the company
 
Other elements of your profile clients or recruiters check:
-Your job success score
-Your badges: Top rate or rising talent
-Your client feedback
-Your written English skills
-Your rate
-#of jobs you have active/in progress – check the job contracts that are still open but are idle. Close inactive because it will active your recruitment.
 
Recruiter Tip:
-Regularly update your profile
-Evolve your skills and expand you experience

On Sending Proposals

-Before creating your proposal, read the job description thoroughly
-Does the job fit my skills?
-Do I have bandwidth role?
-Is the client someone I want to work with?
 
Cover Letter
  • Start with a warm and professional greeting
  • Get to the point
  • Hit the highlights
  • Follow directions
  • Condense everything
 
Pre-screen questions
  • Explain if you have the requirement
  • Sometimes an audio interview is required for your verbal English to be assessed

Interview Tips

  • Make sure eye-level directly infront of you
  • Ensure your lightning is good
  • Remove distractions from the background

 

Maintain a High Job Success Rating in Your Profile

Just like how we handle our professional careers, business or offline life, so must we also handle our Upwork activities with care. Here are some sub-categories I believe can help:

  • Only accept jobs you can consistently do. Don’t over-commit
  • Apply when you are equipped. Be honest if you are not acquainted with some areas of the job.  Good clients appreciate honesty.
  • NO means Next Opportunity. When you get rejected, remember that there are still other opportunities He has instilled for you. You may take the break to upgrade your skills, develop your profile or get some rest.

Follow Upwork Policies

You may face temptations to get paid outside Upwork when the job was posted inside the platform, or create double accounts, etc. These could lead to terrible consequences such as being barred for life. So make sure you are careful and always updated with the laws and policies.

Build Your Portfolio and CV

As you go through your career, keep copies of your work and certificates so you can update your portfolio and resume. I recommend having two sets of showcase when you launch into the world of freelance: Portfolio and CV/Resume.

For Portfolio, develop your Upwork Profile first. Get tests, upload works, update history, certifications, description. You can then copy your statements to secondary portfolio sites like:

  • Your website (Start with WordPress)
  • LinkedIn
  • Behance/ Github
  • Carbonmade

Monitor Your Application Letters

Keep a record of your application letters in Upwork. Monitor which ones get client responses. Mark them especially which ones get hired. I recommend Evernote so you can always revisit, edit or share to those in need.

Observe professional formatting. Get feedback or recommendations. Be specific or detailed as possible when responding to client job posts. Avoid mindless job application letters. Answer specific requests.

When Applying

Sometimes you will lose your written application Upwork. Tendency is, you type a response letter to an invitation and may accidently click “back” or close your window. Poof! You lose your hardwork in a sec!

I suggest that you type your application in an auto-saving software first such as Evernote or Google Docs. Time to time, copy your content to Upwork.

Aim to Be A Top-Rated Freelancer

If you want to quickly get a freelance job or increased freelance rate, one of the best strategies is to ensure that you reach and maintain the Top Rated Status in Upwork.

In my previous post, I shared when Upwork surprised me with a Top Rated Badge (Advantages of Having Upwork Top-Rated Badge and Why Freelancers Should Aim For It). As promised, I would like to continue section 2 which is about the steps of becoming a Top-Rated freelancer.

1. PASSION, TRUST AND OPTIMISM

This piece of advice comes from my long-time friend and trusted freelancer, Jan Evan Dominic La Rosa. When I was a newbie, he was a mentor who helped me in a lot of ways. He’s also a Top Rated freelancer with an impressive profile, so I asked him to share his advice. He said:

 

Well i think its about passion talaga dahil kung wala ka neto, d k tatagal sa freelance world, secondly, trust and optimism about u and ur work. kung wala k neto, mas lalong d k tatagal tlga sa freelance world, dahil ma eexperience mo tlga hirap maghanap ng work, last but not the lease, building great reputation online, pag meron k netong tatlo bilang baguhan na freelancer, i guarantee u, mas lalo mo yayakapin ang pagiging freelancer ? just like me…

He also shares helpful insights for freelancers in his FB profile.  See Jan Evan’s Profile.

2. BUILD AN IMPRESSIVE REPUTATION

As stated in Upwork’s page and previous blog, reputation is everything. Whether in the offline and online world, we need to build a good reputation. It takes time, effort, patience and energy- but when you have build a reputation (also known as brand, identity, reputation or authority), your pioneering hardwork will soon pay-off.

Starting out is never easy. After I posted the previous post, I received many inquiries on how to start freelance career. After sharing much of what I know, this point reminds us that it’s the same in all of life. If you want to be a good engineer, a good doctor, a good salesman or a good teacher, it does not come fast and easy- it may take years. Mine took 7 years (2010-2017) before I was able to experience that certain identification- and I believe that’s what all of life is.

Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense.- Proverbs 12:11

Clients, especially Western Upwork clients, do not like dishonesty. It’s better to be honest about your inability and unavailability than tampering truthfulness and reality. More trust leads to speed of transactions. Less trust leads to slower speed of transactions.

3. MAINTAIN A JOB SUCCESS SCORE OF 90% AND ABOVE

According to Upwork, “We don’t reveal the exact calculation for your score. Doing so would make it easier for some users to artificially boost their scores. We need to maintain some privacy with this metric to ensure fairness and accuracy.” But here are some checklists to ensure a higher JSS:

  • Your Job Success Score (JSS) is a combination of your clients’ satisfaction, long-term contracts and feedback. Beware or avoid contracts with no activity and excessive lack of feedback.
  • If you won’t have long-term contracts, it won’t count against you.
  • Upwork excludes clients who have history of unreasonable feedbacks from freelancers.
  • Check your My Stats page time to time so you can be aware of your Market Reputation. 
  • For more information, see it here.

4. A 12-MONTH EARNINGS OF $1,000

To compute, $1000 / 12 months = at least $84 per month or $21 per week. This is attainable even to the lowest determined rate of Upwork. It just makes sure that you are generating some freelance service consistently.

5. AN ACCOUNT IN GOOD STANDING WITH NO RECENT ACCOUNT HOLDS.

You must avoid this at all costs. Here are some important things you need to ensure:

  • Do not accept payments outside Upwork. Long time ago, I unconsciously accepted a PayPal payment from a client which resulted to a temporary suspension of my account. I worked on appealing the judgment and was granted pardon with a warning that if ever I would repeat such offense, my account may receive permanent suspension. So I would like to share this solemn warning to all.
  • Do not work on accounts which are not yours. There may be some freelancers who work on multiple accounts, but I think Upwork is adapting and learning new technologies to raise the standard of the workplace and this could hold your account and lead to your suspension of Top Rated status.
  • Send quality applications. In the forums, freelancers share that they were suspended because of lack of responses from clients whom they apply to. I guess Upwork is checking or measure the quality of the application- because the lower the quality, the less the responses. So a lesson here would be is:
    • Make sure that you send well-crafted applications that suits your possible employer’s needs.
    • It’s a sign of honor, and ultimately, of loving your neighbor to send personalized applications and not mindless copy-pasted ones.

Sending well-written Job Application is a way to practice the command “you shall love your neighbor…” and ultimately manifesting the fleshing-in of the principle “love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength….”

6. ACTIVITY ON THE PLATFORM (PROPOSAL, ACCEPTED INVITATION, OR EARNINGS) IN THE PAST 90 DAYS.

For proposal, make sure to apply jobs time to time if you have no current one.
For invitation, make sure you set your availability to part-time or full-time, not no time.
For earnings, make sure you have or at least a minimal one instead of none for a long period.

7. OPTIMIZE YOUR PROFILE BY SEARCHING TOP RATED FREELANCERS IN YOUR NICHE

Look at their strengths, portfolio and styles and see how you can adapt- not plagiarize- some of them to yours.  More of Mandy’s advices here.

ADVANTAGES OF HAVING UPWORK TOP-RATED BADGE AND WHY FREELANCERS SHOULD AIM FOR IT

It was a big surprise when I opened my Upwork account and lo and behold, a big congratulatory banner greeted me- Top Rated Status! Below is the screenshot.

Top Rated

After a short sensation of celebration, I thought of my fellow freelancers who are in the same road… I imagined that by sharing some knowledge, they too can earn this simple joy of a 21st century kind of job.

I’m a freelancer since 2010. Enjoyed working in my pajamas, boxers or household comfy clothing, working 5 steps away from my bed- the freedom to work in flexi-time and regardless of location. Never experienced working on an 8-5 job. Woke up like this- in the adult world- and so far it’s a happy experience- can be with my family, visit a sick lola at the hospital anytime, do ministry and test startup ideas and business labs- all of which can’t be done if I am full-time or abroad- I think.

 

Recently realizing that you can be in Upwork or Freelance world too whatever profession you may have- even the traditional jobs like Lawyers, Teaching English, Engineering, Architectural Design and Medical Transcriptionists can be absorbed by online too… In any field where you poured out your life, you can offer consulting.

So I decided to do some research and create this page/department (which I will update time to time) to pave the way for our collective success.

According to Upwork, “you earn “Top Rated” status by building an impressive reputation on Upwork. You must have a proven history of success with multiple clients, delight your clients every time with high-quality work, and contribute to a safe and vibrant marketplace by knowing and following the Upwork Terms of Service.”

“Top Rated status helps outstanding freelancers and agencies grow their businesses and become even more successful in the Upwork marketplace. When you earn this status, you’ll be recognized through a badge on your profile and rewarded with exclusive perks, including increased access to client projects.”

What Upwork says is true. In all of life, reputation is everything. Solomon says, “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”- Proverbs 22:1

So here’s my take:
It’s always important to check your My Stats page time to time so you can work on becoming a Top-Rated Freelancer. Check you job success and strive to maintain long-term work relationships. Upwork has its own way to compute your stats.

Planning to create 2 main sections for this:
I. First, Benefits and reasons why Top Rated status is a big help for your freelancing career…
II. Second, How to earn and maintain Upwork’s Top-Rated status which I’ll post in the next blog.

But this page was only dedicated for the first item.

Please stay tuned or subscribe so you will receive the update once I’m done with the curation.

APPEAR ON TOP OF CLIENTS’ SEARCH

As stated in the congratulatory banner, you will earn a Top-rated badge in your profile. Here’s how mine looks:

My Profile Upwork

Since I am also a client, I went to my Upwork client account and see how Top Rated freelancers perform in my search for jobs. Here’s how Top Rated freelancers appear in a client’s account:

Top Rated Ran
So, if you are a Top Rated freelancer, you will appear at the top of job search results and maybe with an index “TOP RATED” or “BEST MATCH”

I also scrolled down, and those freelancers with the “Rising Talent” badges appear with the attention-grabbing blue ribbon.

Rising Talent

ABILITY TO FIND JOBS WITH 10% UPWORK FEE ONLY

When I opened my feed, there’s a new area which offered me 10%-only fees. This is exclusive for Top-Rated freelancers and it leads to higher revenues because normally, new job contracts charge 20% for Upwork fees and they slide down to 10% when they reach a certain threshold, then to 5% to reward long-term work relationships.

0808

ABILITY TO PERIODICALLY REMOVE BAD FEEDBACK

This is a big blessing, giving a big sigh of relief.

Let’s admit it. Sometimes we do our very best, but our best wasn’t appreciated by our clients. Excellence seem to be subjective. We dispute. We exchange heated discussions. I’ve experienced it recently, around July, but thankfully I was able to resolve through peaceful resolution with my client with the mediatorial work of Upwork (that’s why it is better to work within Upwork’s parameters).

Also see: Tested-and-Proven Tips for Freelancers

I tried to delete a low feedback from a client last year, but I did not see any button for deletion. Will update this item time to time in the future when there’s news. I still need to do my homework by reading this Upwork page.

PRIORITY PHONE, CHAT AND EMAIL SUPPORT.

ACCESS TO THE PRIVATE TOP RATED FORUM, WEBINARS AND ONLINE OFFICE HOURS.

Here’s an exclusive webinar invitation that I received where I can learn more ways to upgrade and scale-up if I want to try an agency.

Benefits of Top Rated Upwork Profile
Benefits of Top Rated Upwork Profile

JOB DIGEST EMAILS AND CUSTOMIZED PROFILE TIPS.

OPPORTUNITIES TO ATTEND OR HOST LOCAL EVENTS IN SELECT CITIES

ELIGIBILITY TO APPLY TO OUR PREMIUM FREELANCER PROGRAM (ONLY FOR SELECT SKILLS)

This is new to me. I thought there’s only Top Rated, but Premium Program is another crown for a freelancer. Here’s a graph page that summarizes the comparison of the three and here’s how to join a Premium Program.

To reflect, earning Top Rated recognition is a combination of honesty, hardwork and persistency. And most of all, whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men…- Colossians 3:23

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