You can become a freelancer and start writing on Upwork with no experience, or degree.
Yes, it’s true!
According to ZipRecruiter, a freelance writer’s average annual salary is $63,213 per year in the United States.
Not too shabby, right?
For all writers who want to let go of their corporate jobs and eventually move to freelance, hear me out. YOU CAN DO IT!
Here you’ll find useful tips for beginners to jumpstart their freelance writing careers on Upwork, one of the biggest online job platforms on the planet.
10 Tips on How to Start Writing on Upwork with No Experience
1. Identify your top skill(s)
If you want to excel in the freelancing industry, you need to identify and showcase your skills.
For example, in writing, you need to have a creative mind, excellent communication skills, and working knowledge of one or more subjects. Your grammar and spelling should be impeccable, and your research skill should be on point.
Upwork is a platform where there are innumerable writers. Having a niche or area of expertise can help set you apart from the competition.
For instance, copywriters for B2B and B2C have an enormous demand currently. So, if this is your forte, then employers should know about it.
Upwork allows you to customize your profile, so you can be particular about listing your skills and experience level.
2. Craft a winning profile
Focus on creating an Upwork profile that is a total winner!
Potential clients will evaluate your qualifications first before signing you up for a job. They will not invite you for an interview or offer you a job off-the-bat without studying your profile first. So, it pays that you have a unique and strong one.
So, once you’ve identified your skillset, promote yourself through your Upwork profile:
- Put up a one-line summary about your role/designation. Something like B2C Content Strategist, Technical Writer, etc.
- Next, have an interactive and engaging profile. Let your personality and work shine through your words.
- Add your educational background. You’d earn brownie points if your degree applies to the industry where your writing is most suitable.
- Include your work experience (if any). This is one of the most important things that your potential clients or employers will look at, so this section needs to be the finest. Add your website/portfolio link (if available) or add your LinkedIn profile link.
3. Be open to the idea of starting small
We all want to make it big (read, earn lots of money). However, when you look for writing projects, winning your first client could take a little more time than expected.
If you are just starting and a client offers to hire you for lesser money than your ideal rate, I say, grab the opportunity!
I am not saying that you work for a pittance or do something that is not worth your time and talent, just be willing to compromise a little and start small.
Taking small jobs may be essential to earn your first positive feedback from satisfied clients. This will give you more credibility, which will strengthen your Upwork profile.
4. Spend some time identifying quality clients
With the rise of online freelancing platforms, there has been an upsurge in low-quality clients. By this, I mean clients who will pay you only half a dollar for a 500-word article. Brutal, but true.
Beware of those ads that are looking for 10 freelancers in a single job post. Clients that do not have a particular niche will make you write about everything on earth. Stay away from them!
As you start, pay attention to the job posts by clients. Stating a proper introduction, precise roles, and requirements, and clear budgetary details are some of the key identifiers of a quality client.
I would also give more preference to clients from Western countries where the standard pay is a lot higher than in other parts of the world.
Another thing to look out for is how much does this employer already spent on hiring Upwork freelancers?
5. Write a winning proposal
Once you find the ideal client, it’s time to send a proposal. “Upwork connects” are chargeable and therefore, must be spent wisely.
- Go through the job description with the utmost detail. In your proposal, try to include keywords from the job description (yes, they should be relevant).
- Sell yourself by pointing out how you’d be the best fit for the role without being arrogant.
- If you have relevant experiences (even college projects would work), mention them.
- If you have a past project that is similar to the client’s job, provide a link for them to view your work.
- Ensure the proposal is free of any grammatical and spelling errors. Imagine your client’s reaction when you’re applying for a writer’s job and they notice such oversights. Oops!
6. Maintain professionalism
As you land your first client, be careful about how you’re communicating. Do not start with an “OMG” or “LOL” before they do.
Be professional and formal, especially when it’s your first project. Work with utmost honesty and respect and be firm about your rates and timelines. Always deliver on time!
Your goal should be to impress the client. Also, do not shy away from asking for feedback or reviews on your project.
7. Remain active on Upwork
If you want to make money via Upwork on a serious note, you must be active consistently.
Building a profile alone will not help you gain visibility or win clients. How fast you respond to interview invitations or queries will also reflect your professionalism and eagerness to work.
Keep sending proposals and always be on a hunt to look out for good quality clients. Also, your Upwork profile should always be up to date.
8. Keep building your portfolio
The more projects you complete, the more credible you’ll appear to potential clients. Keep adding completed projects to your portfolio, whether it’s on Upwork or your personal pursuits.
If you’re a beginner with no experience, there is one sure-fire way to build a writing portfolio – start a blog for free. Write content based on your niche/interests and add such items to your portfolio.
Remember, your portfolio would stand as proof of your credibility and skills. Always request feedback/testimonials from clients you work with. This will help you earn potential clients later.
9. Connect with fellow freelancers
There are several freelance writing forums, groups, and communities that you can find online.
Here’s where you can meet like-minded people and other freelancers. A few great examples are Freelance Writer’s Den, Blogging Boost and Writers Write Group.
Not only can other freelancers help you overcome “writer’s block”, but they can also send clients your way. Nothing like it, right? As you get started on Upwork, remember, that networking is wealth.
10. Don’t show desperation
Like I said earlier, winning your first client on Upwork as a newbie can be difficult. It’s okay if companies are passing up on your proposals right now.
The freelancing journey may entail prolonged waiting time and a string of rejections. But hang in there, your efforts will eventually bear fruits.
Do not be too desperate in your proposals or opt for low-quality clients for the sake of earning some money. Keep your head held high as you wait for the right one.
Writing on Upwork with no experience is possible. Just follow the above tips and tricks and you’re ready to sail through your freelancing journey. It’s okay if you need to wait to earn your first client, just be patient.
Remember that most fruit-bearing trees take some time to grow before they yield crops. But once they do, it will go on for many seasons.
If you have questions related to any of the pointers, or if I missed anything, feel free to drop in your comments in the box below. All the best! 😊
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