Are you trying to get started as a writer on Upwork but are confused about where to start?
The concept of submitting proposals to clients to actually get paid for your writing may seem intimidating. And it can be confusing to figure out where to start. If you are wondering how to make money online as a writer, Upwork is a great place to start
If you’re new to Upwork, it’s a good idea to understand how it works.
It’s simple: real people with verified payment methods post jobs on the site. It is then up to real freelancers who have had their identities verified to bid, or make proposals to complete the jobs that match their skills.
Upwork collects a percentage of the fee the client pays to cover the cost of running the site. Freelancers can collect money earned on the site through Paypal, a wire transfer, or direct deposit into a bank account.
How to Get Started
The first step in getting started on Upwork is setting up an account.
To do this, you will be required to enter some information about yourself, explain your educational background, and discuss your skill. Your experience will also be asked to create a profile.
If you are new to freelancing, the most challenging part of this process may be setting your hourly rate. You will be able to change your hourly rate whenever you feel it is necessary, so just put something there as a placeholder for right now if you are not sure what your writing is worth yet.
Upwork wants to make sure that you are really who you say you are, so it may take some time for your profile to become public.
Creating a Profile
Perfecting your profile is a great way to make the time go by faster when you are waiting for your profile to be approved. This is something that will help you attract clients, so it is worth putting some time into making it great.
Upwork will require you to upload a photograph of yourself, and they have some specific requirements that it must fit to keep the website legitimate and professional.
Consider using a photo of yourself that portrays you dressed and groomed as though you are on your way to work at an office job.
Another aspect of your profile is your description of yourself.
Don’t be afraid to showcase your own, specific skills in this. Trust that there are clients out there looking for writers with your background.
As a writer, keep in mind that this is an example of your writing that clients will see when you make proposals. Make it as engaging as possible and triple check it for typographical errors.
Other aspects of your profile are optional. If you want to, you can link to social media accounts. You can also upload some writing samples. Keep in mind that having a 100% complete profile can not only attract clients, but there are some perks that you can earn from Upwork for this.
One last thing to enhance your profile is Upwork’s skills tests. These are free tests on subjects like English grammar and usage. If you do well on them, you can display them on your profile. If not, they can be hidden.
Once your profile is set and Upwork has verified your identity, you will be able to start making proposals. There are all different types of jobs on the website, so you want to set up a saved search for your style of writing jobs on the site.
It will be tempting to apply for all of the writing jobs, but each time you do this, it will cost you “connects.”
Every writer on Upwork gets 60 connects a month unless they purchase more or subscribe to the premium program. Most job proposals cost 2 points, so you want to be selective about the jobs you apply for.
To find jobs that fit your skills, you may want to start by looking for entry-level jobs. Look for subjects that interest you. It is a good idea to apply for a variety of jobs. It may take several tries before you hear from any potential clients. Rarely, you may get a rejection message from the jobs you don’t get, but more often you will not hear anything.
When you are shopping for jobs, it helps to know how to read the job posting page. They all start with a description. Look for friendly, professional language and clear instructions in the description, because this indicates that the client knows how to communicate to get what they want.
Also, look at how many people have applied to the job. Upwork shows you a general range, like “10-20” which gives you an idea of how many people have applied for the job.
Some jobs pay by the hour, while others are “fixed price.” At first, try both kinds. Most writers seem to do a mix of the two.
Writing a Proposal
You’ve found a job that looks interesting. Now it’s time to write a proposal.
You start by negotiating a price. This is worth spending some time. Figure out how long it will take you do the work and decide how much you want to be paid. There are a few ways to do this. Sometimes, Upwork will suggest a price.
If not, you can search for writers on the site who have similar skills to yours and use their hourly rates as a guide. For fixed-price jobs, the price is probably not negotiable unless the client requests a bid on the job posting.
Upwork will make you estimate how long this job will take. Sometimes the client will explain what the deadline is, so use that as a guide. If not, be generous with yourself with time. Clients like getting work early.
Next, you will need to write a cover letter.
Write a new one for every job.
Keep them short and to the point to suit the job description. Look at the job requirements, and match them to your skills. Explain how your skills and experience will help you do a good job for the client. Your background information is on your profile, which the client will see, so there is no need to copy and paste this information for each proposal.
At the bottom of the job, proposal is an opportunity to attach a sample. It’s a good idea to attach at least one sample for each job. If you have samples that match the job, that is even better.
How to Write a Sample
When you first get started on Upwork, you may have some downtime as you wait to hear back from jobs. This is a great opportunity to work on a few writing samples.
Consider looking at the jobs you are interested in, and write a sample based on what the clients are looking for.
For example, if you see a job posting for a 500 article about dog collars, go ahead and research that and compose that article. This way, when similar job postings come up, you will have a sample to post with your proposal.
Don’t, however, give away free work. This is a common scam on Upwork.
Have a few standard samples to send out. If a client gives you directions and wants you to write something for them, make sure they have set up a contract with you and will pay you for it. Otherwise, they are getting their work done for free and will not be obligated to pay you for their time.
Inform Yourself About the Site
There are a number of guides in the Upwork Support Centers to help you get started as a writer on Upwork. Read all of them.
Get familiar with the guidelines so you know what to expect. There is helpful information there that can help you get hired and keep you from getting booted off the site and/or scammed.
Also, take a look at the forums. They contain a wealth of information from successful people on Upwork. Read through the threads that interest you. You will learn things you would not have thought you needed to know.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions there, as well. Most of the contributors don’t bite, and you will find honest answers and feedback there.
Earn Fantastic Feedback
Once you start getting jobs as a writer on Upwork, keep in mind that clients will rate your work after you submit. Communicate with them so you understand what they need. Make sure you follow their directions. Try to submit work a little bit early and let them know you are open to feedback if they want any changes.
If you work hard and use your connects wisely, you should be able to start earning money pretty quickly on Upwork.
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