5 Tips to Get 100K Contract on Upwork

In March 2017, Upwork reported 14 million users in 180 countries with $1B in annual billings. From its foundation in 1999, the company has raised a total of $168 million through 10 private equity funding rounds.

7 min read, Oct 23
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Currently, Upwork is the biggest freelance platform in the world, particularly in Web, Mobile and PWA development scopes. I have worked with it for years and can truly say that not only freelancers but different-sized agencies are able to find beneficial contracts there.

Whether you do UI/UX design, Javascript development, project management, quality assurance or DevOps - all in your hands. Once you create an Upwork account for you’ll be open tons of opportunities from all over the world.

But working with this platform doesn’t imply only sign-up process and job search. Without adopting the following or another proven behavior strategy your digital presence there for the hiring parties will be unnoticeable and ergo useless.

Let's explore what can you do to pass successfully Upwork hiring process.

Tip 1. Keep your profile updated

Profiles from 2016 and 2019 should be completely different. If a couple of years ago PHP was #1 choice for web development, nowadays - it is Javascript and Python. The same goes for the mobile app scope that recently has been shaken up by the rival appearance for React Native in cross-platform approaches - Flutter.

Technologies, IT market, and design trends, as well as customer needs dictated by the industries they represent, are constantly changing. Therefore you should always be in trend, look around and including in check out Upwork profile examples of your competitors to find something useful for your brand and agency.

Upwork profile example

You should not only monitor tendencies but apply them to your business strategy and its implementation in operating and digital marketing.

Tip 2. Validate your leads carefully

Reconsider your Upwork job search. Don’t waste your time on irrelevant postings. Every agency has own policy, technology stack, hourly rates, expertise, etc. Bid only those job postings that can potentially transfer into promising contracts. Value your and client time.

Upwork search

Pay attention to:

1. Title

Save your time on reading the full post by looking for keywords that indicate that the client on Upwork web developer search, for instance, and red flags like no agencies or US only in their name.

2. Description

Carefully read to ensure that it mostly matches your expertise. Look for verification moves like include at the start of your proposal.

3. Tags (technologies)

Be careful with them. Every client treats them differently. Some make them core guidelines, others - randomly gather them to be listed more frequently.

4. Country

Consider those regions that your developers will be comfortable to work with concerning cultural differences and scheduling (it doesn't always match the location).

5. Term of contracts

Project duration, seniority and number of devs, initial testing, probation, NDA or other legal agreements, etc. - make sure that you can adhere to the listed clauses or convince in the usage of suitable alternatives.

6. Model of work

Fixed price or time & materials. Although some customers can be flexible in this aspect it initially outlines client financial possibilities and workflow approach unless the numbers selected just-because.

7. Payment verification

Until the talent hunter hasn’t provided the approved transaction method you won’t be able to receive any money from it. That’s why it’s better to focus on those who have successfully done it.

8. Ratings

The best way to find out initially what is the person behind the project requirements. Upwork reviews submitted from both parties making the vision more clear. Don’t just pay attention to stars - at least browse the text.

9. Funds spent

Another factor that reveals the available budget and defines average rates - the more the better. Make sure that they have been spent on similar types of work.

10. Pay rates

Levels are added to cut the number of proposals. There are three bars that commonly imply:

  • $ Entry Level (<$18/h),
  • $$ Intermediate (<$31/h),
  • $$$ Expert (>$31/h).

    Don’t waste Upwork connects on jobs when you’re significantly out of range for.

Although it looks like a checklist you shouldn’t just go clause by clause. Ensure that you got the full vision of the listing to make an informative decision.

Tip 3. Make you Cover Letter unique

Every lead on the Upwork marketplace needs your attention and wants to be heard. That’s why never do copypasting - take trended these days personalized approach. Try to find pain and present a solution that will help your client.

Don’t sell your developers - show your expertise and professionalism. Your cover letter shouldn’t be compulsory long, sometimes 1-2 sentences can make a difference.

Example of Job Posting:

Upwork job posting

A cover letter of your Upwork proposal should consist of 3 main parts:

  • Greetings to attract attention among the pile of others. Look for the client’s name in reviews.
  • Proposal and solution to ensure that your interest is actually justified.
  • Call to action to prove your readiness to negotiations and potential cooperation.

Example of Cover Letter:

Hi, John, seems like I could be a fit for you. I have recently finished a similar project with CRUD functionality, just have a look: https://……… Your idea seems really promising and I’d be happy to cooperate.

Let’s have a short call to discuss project details!

Best, Sam

Follow the language styling of the job posting to avoid familiarity. But don’t be too academic - find the balance. Of course, every cover letter can be structured differently but don’t forget that the client sees only the first two lines of it.

Tip 4. Start small

Your resources should be on the background. Whether you have a lot of free developers, designers or project QA engineers - don’t try to make quick money and sell everything. That’s not how Upwork works on a long-term basis.

Try to recommend your client to start with MVP, Prototype or a Discovery phase. Make only useful tech stack suggestions. To build a reputation of a reliable tech partner it’s really important to focus on your client’s product and needs.

Upwork path

As an option, you may start with one developer even if your client wants more at the beginning. Discuss and think about what would be the best option especially for this particular startup, product, market, and what would bring the real value.

Tip 5. Focus on Customer Success

If you got an offer or just started a contract it doesn’t mean that you win. This is only the beginning of your partnership with a client. Your Upwork agency will be contributing not only for a particular project but to an overall open status on the platform.

You and your team will be reviewed day by day in terms of skills, cooperation, communication, response, etc and your client will make some conclusions only after having worked with you for a while.

Always ask your client about his/her satisfaction and if required make immediate adjustments. Do your developers code clean? Does your project manager come to the meetings on time? Does the QA team find bugs instead of you? Don’t hesitate to get feedback until it’s not too late.

Upwork review Remember, on such global platforms for hiring remote teams or talents you can only succeed if you make your clients happy.

Serhii Uspenskii, Managing Partner

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