Freelancing On Upwork: How to Build a Successful Freelance Business With Upwork

John Morris, I help freelancers get clients.

Play Speed
  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x
39 Lessons (6h 3m)
    • 1. The #1 Problem You'll Face on Upwork

    • 2. When You Have Questions

    • 3. If You're Brand NEW to Freelancing, Watch This First

    • 4. How to Get Your Profile Approved

    • 5. Dissecting Upwork's Algorithms

    • 6. Upwork Profile Master Strategy

    • 7. Create an Appealing Profile Picture

    • 8. Write a Keyword-Rich Title and Tags

    • 9. Write a Compelling and Believable Overview

    • 10. Record an Engaging Profile Video

    • 11. Create an Eye-Opening Portfolio (Even Without Previous Client Work)

    • 12. Tests, Certifications, Employment History, Etc

    • 13. Class Project: Build Your Upwork Profile

    • 14. The Competition

    • 15. It's NOT a Number Game

    • 16. Trust as a Strategy

    • 17. How to Find the Best Jobs

    • 18. Search Filters

    • 19. Uncovering Key Hiring Criteria

    • 20. Writing Your Project Proposal

    • 21. How to Build Rapport

    • 22. How to Price Projects

    • 23. Ask For the Sale

    • 24. Final Thoughts

    • 25. BONUS: Promote Your Upwork Profile

    • 26. BONUS: WARNING

    • 27. BONUS: How to Write Content That Sells

    • 28. BONUS: Content Breakdown

    • 29. BONUS: Content Ideas

    • 30. BONUS: My Content Creation Process

    • 31. BONUS: Email

    • 32. BONUS: Blog

    • 33. BONUS: YouTube

    • 34. BONUS: Facebook

    • 35. BONUS: Twitter

    • 36. BONUS: Podcast

    • 37. BONUS: Future Proofing

    • 38. BONUS: Conclusion

    • 39. Now, What?

105 students are watching this class

Project Description

Your class project is to actually build your Upwork profile. Here's the steps written out. The video lessons accompany these steps for more detail and insight.

STEP 1: Post a Quality Headshot

When clients search for freelancers, this is the first thing they'll look at. It's human instinct. A good headshot won't 100% sell a client on hiring you, but it can give you just enough to get them to click on your profile and give you a look. Here's how to make sure you leave a good first impression:

a. Wear a Nice Shirt

  • Solid colors
  • No bold or distracting colors
  • Avoid patterns
  • No wrinkles
  • Nothing shiny
  • Avoid all white shirts

b. Use a Nice Background

  • Solid color
  • Contrasts well with shirt/jacket
  • If outside, use something that fits with what you do
  • has good, cheap backgrounds

c. Crack a Nice Smile

  • Show your teeth (almost always looks better)
  • Don't be afraid to PhotoShop :D

STEP 2: Enter a Targeted Title and Tags

Your title and tags perform two important functions: 1) they are one of the first things clients will read when viewing your profile in a search and 2) they help Upwork determine the kind of searches your profile are relevant for. Here's how to make sure they accomplish both for you:

  • Make sure your title and tags includes relevant keywords
  • Speak to your client in your title
  • Start your title with "I specialize in..."

STEP 3: Write Your 3-Part Overview

Your overview is one of the main elements clients will use to determine whether or not they hire you, so we want to make sure you're saying the right things. There's the framework to follow:

a) Proof

Don't say things like "I'm experienced". Prove it to them. Say something like "I've been a web developer for 11 years" or "I've built over 100 e-commerce websites" or "I've worked with big-name clients like...". You have to show potentials clients why they should hire you... not tell them.

b) Specialization

Start with "I specialize in..." and move into the kinds of sites you build/have built. The more you can talk about what you've done already, the better. It's more proof you're a true expert in this niche.

c) How to Start

Future-pace. Tell them what will happen when they hire you. How the process works. Eliminate their natural fear of the unknown. Finish by telling them exactly who to do in order to start right now.

STEP 4: Record an Intro Video

This is optional, but a great way to stand out on Upwork since most freelancers don't do this. Here's how to do it without re-inventing the wheel:

a) Use the Same Frame as Your Headshot

The same shirt, background, etc. If it was good enough for your headshot, it's good enough for a video.

b) Use Your iPhone or Android

You don't need an expensive camera. If you have one, great. Otherwise, use your smartphone. The cameras on modern smartphones rival most professional cameras. So, use what you have.

c. Audio Is Most Important

With video, most people focus on the visual, but it's the audio that matters most. Bad audio will get your video stopped quicker than anything else. A good lavalier microphone can give you great audio on your smartphone or camera.

d. Get Good Lighting

When it comes to the visual, lighting is the difference between an ugly video and professional-looking one. And, you don't need an expensive light kit. Work lights from Home Depot and some 40-60 watt bulbs will work just fine. 

STEP 5: Build Your Portfolio

Your porfolio is the single biggest element potential clients will evaluate when hiring you. And, they'll focus almost exclusively on "how it looks". So, make sure your portfolio contains your most visually-appealing items. It's better to leave something off that's not as visually appealing then to include it and have it work against you.

If you don't have anything for your porfolio, make something.

Your portfolio does NOT have to contain things you did for clients. It's mean to show off what you CAN do. If you've never had any clients, build 5-10 of whatever kind of deliverable you're making for clients and put those in your portfolio. Then, simply replace them, over time, with projects you did for clients.

STEP 6: Enter Certifications, Tests, Employment History, Education and Other Experiences

These are optional, but the basic rule is... if you have it, use it. If you have a certification that's even semi-related, post it. A job, a degree, etc... if you have it, use it.


You made it!

Now, get out there and start applying for jobs in your niche.

Student Projects