The No-Nonsense Guide to Freelancing on Upwork | Jovan Cicmil | Skillshare

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The No-Nonsense Guide to Freelancing on Upwork

teacher avatar Jovan Cicmil, Freelancer, writer, and entrepreneur

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

18 Lessons (1h 44m)
    • 1. What Will You Learn in This Course?

    • 2. Why Upwork?

    • 3. An Impressive Upwork Profile

    • 4. Setting Your Hourly Rate

    • 5. Understanding the Process

    • 6. Applying to Projects - Selection

    • 7. Applying to Projects - a Great Upwork Bid

    • 8. From Application to Hire - a Journey

    • 9. You've Been Hired! Now What?

    • 10. You've Finished a Project! Now What?

    • 11. Increasing Your Earnings

    • 12. The Art of Negotiation

    • 13. The Art of Upselling

    • 14. Diversification or Specialization?

    • 15. Your Advantages as a Freelancer

    • 16. Why Stay on Upwork?

    • 17. Monetizing Your Profile

    • 18. Reading Suggestions

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About This Class

This course will help you jump-start your freelance career on Upwork, increase your earnings faster, and make the right sort of long-term plans.

I started freelancing in 2011. Through trial and error, with a lot of hard work, I increased my freelance earnings 7-fold within five years. In this course, I share all the knowledge I've accumulated over 9 years of freelancing. Follow along and you can both emulate my successes and learn from my mistakes. 

You can do even better than this!

The first-level goal is to get more freelance work. The second-level goal is for that work to be better paid. The third-level goal is to diversify your earnings in the long term, open doors for yourself, and enjoy the freedom of freelancing to pursue your interests.

The course is focused on the Upwork platform, even though most of the principles apply to all freelance work. One of the first lessons will explain why Upwork is still the best choice for up-and-coming freelancers.

After that, we will go through the whole process: creating an impressive profile, selecting the right projects, writing great applications, communicating with clients, and managing your career in the long-term.

You can find more content about freelancing and productivity on my personal website:

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Jovan Cicmil

Freelancer, writer, and entrepreneur


I've been a freelancer for 10 years.

During that time, I have worked on a wide range of projects, for a wide range of clients. I've worked for startups and billionaires, book publishers and doctors.

I have also used the advantages of the freelance lifestyle to build several of my own products, one of which turned into a profitable company.

Today, my focus is on writing and recording content to help you succeed as a freelancer.

I have also written a book titled The Unstoppable Freelancer - a comprehensive guide taking you from the moment you consider freelancing all the way to achieving professional and financial independence.

I believe that everything related to career development can be reduced to a series of rules and concepts and it is... See full profile

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1. What Will You Learn in This Course?: Welcome. My name is Johan and I'm here to guide you on your way to becoming a successful freelancer. Who am I? Well, I've been freelancing for about nine years now. During this time, I've worked for over 50 clients from all over the world. I worked on projects that range from one hour to a full year of work. Most of these clients were kind enough to leave really nice reviews on my profile. The reviews range from a few words to a full essay. And soon enough, people would be leaving reviews just as great on your profile. Now, at this point you may be asking yourself, is this course for me or indeed is freelancing for me? Well, whether you're young firsts and fresh out of college or family man with three kids. Now, there's one thing that freelancing can provide for everyone and that's more flexibility and more free time. Now whether you choose to use that free time to travel to Bali or spend more time with your kids. That's up to you. Personally. I use my free time to start doing my own businesses of which I sold one. I worked on my side projects. I excel at my hobbies and I have more time to spend with my family. During my career. I've also hired at least 10 freelancers on Upwork. I have a very strong overview of how things look from the client perspective. I think this is very important because most courses and neglect this. The client perspective is how the client sees your profile and your bids, and how clients realistically compare freelancers to decide who to hire. This is crucial to understand if you want to excel as a freelancer. Now, after all this versatile experience, I've decided that it's time to share some of this with you. So what will you learn in this course? We're going to start by answering the most basic question. Why Upwork? We're going to talk about how up for it compares to water freelancing platforms and how it compares with not freelancing at all. Next, we're going to talk about how to build a great profile that really stands out from the competition. We're going to analyze how to set your hourly rates and how to increase it over time. Next, we're going to talk about projects. Selecting which projects to apply to, how to apply, how to write a great bid and how to communicate after declined response. That we're going to talk about managing clients and managing individual projects. We're going to end on a long-term thinking notes. We're going to discuss the most of your career, how to upsell to clients, how to increase your rate for individual clients and overall. And how to monetize your profile in creative ways over time. Once the course is over, you will have a comprehensive understanding of how to become a successful freelancer on Upwork. So welcome, and I hope you enjoy the course. 2. Why Upwork?: Before we start answering the question, how can you succeed or not work? Let's take a step back and answer a more basic question, which is, why should you want to succeed on Upwork of all places? I mean, if you're why isn't strong enough? The how doesn't even come into play? Now, the answer will depend on your specific circumstances, but for most people it boils down to about three things. Number one is marketshare. Upwork has by far the greatest markets share a fall of freelance platforms out there. In some areas it can almost be considered a monopoly. What does this mean? This means that the number of projects posted there is far higher than other places. My estimate is on any given search term in most industries you will have 10 to 20 times more projects on Upwork than most platforms. Now the only competitors that may come close, and some industries are and fiber, but they have a different problem, which is number 2. The rates off on other platforms tend to be significantly lower than upward. Why is that? I'm not sure, but way too many freelancers on on Fiverr charge ridiculously low rates, which make it really difficult for you to compete at reasonably high rates. So what happens on Upwork? There's a lot of quality freelancers who charge high rates, which allows you a new car. The charge higher initial rates than you would normally on a different platform. So you can experiment here, find similar job on different platforms. See how many people applied to it, see how many similar jobs there are. See what the average rates of the applicants are. Do your own research. But this is my experience after nine years of freelancing. And number three is best value for money. Now, opera charges a higher feed and most platforms I'll pour it will charge 20 percent for the first $500 of a contract than 10 percent up to $10 thousand and then 5% for everything after death. Now this may seem like a lot on our platforms tend to charge between seven and 10 percent. So why cannot for a, charge 20 percent for the first 500? Because there are services are much better. That's how the free market operates. Think about it this way. There is more jobs available on Upwork and you can charge higher rates for them. So would you rather do want a 100 hours of work at $20 per hour and Fe there, you know, 20 percent fee or would you rather they were 50 hours of work at $15 per hour, ensuring pay a smaller fee. Do the math. Now, eventually, competitors will emerge. Who to competitor will be, and when they will emerge is impossible to tell, which is why Upwork is still your best bet. And now for a bonus lesson in finance, these are approached earnings. Now, at first glance it seems like they're losing money left and right. This is true, but it is true because if you look at their financial statements, you can see that they're reinvesting basically all of their earnings into research and development. And why are they doing this in order to make it as expensive as possible for someone to compete with them. And so far the strategy is working. So with that out of the way, let's dive in and see how you can become a great Upwork Freelancer. 3. An Impressive Upwork Profile: The first thing you will do after signing up on Upwork is the complete your profile. This is not as simple as it sounds. This is our first chance to stand out from the competition, and that's exactly what we're gonna do. Now, standing out will be a theme that will permeate this course. Now we're going to stand out in the way we present ourselves and our profile. After that, we're going to stand out in a way we select projects and the way we communicate with lions and in the way we ultimately do our work. Now, your profile will have three main sections. The first and most important one will comprise your photo, title and description. Your photo will have to adhere to some upward guidelines. It will have to look professional. It will have to have a just using the photo and they will ask you to smile. Now you don't really have to smile, but for most people it looks better. For me personally. I think I looked better would a serious frown on my face. Now, this photo should present not your width, not your talents, not your great looks. Although I don't doubt that you have all of that, it should present somebody that a client will want the trust with something important. So this a good profile photo. This is not your title is the single most important sentence in your profile. Why is that? Well, this is a good time to refer to the client perspective that I mentioned earlier. Say I'm glad boasts a project and 20 freelancers applied to it. This is what that page looks like that a client, what is the first thing you notice? That's right. So what should your title be? Your title should be short. It should highlight here most important skills and it should be confident. Now what do I mean by confident? I mean, if you're just starting out, say as a copywriter, don't say you're an aspiring copywriter or something like that. Say you're a copywriter, you don't have to bolster your I have to lie. That's you're an expert, but don't sell yourself short. And when I say it highlights your most important skills, you might, you might say. So what if my most important skills don't apply to this particular project that I'm applying for right now. We're all outbreak has got you covered since 2020, you can have multiple titles. So if you're applying to a logo design project, for example, you might use this title. And if you're applying to a graphic design projects five minutes later, you might use this title. The next, next thing on your profile is your description. This should be one or two paragraphs highlighting your most important skills in your most significant achievements. Don't go, why don't list 30 skills or all, all your project that you did. Nullclines is going to read that, highlight the most important things and tried to stand out from the competition. What I like to do is I write something about my communication and my work ethic. This I think is something that worries many clients hiring online because they've all heard horror stories about freelancers disappearing, doing for work. Or even sabotaging projects. So it's a good thing to highlight is right away. The next section of your profile is your portfolio and your skills. Your portfolio will look different depending on your industry. If you're a web designer, it's fairly simple. Just show some of your best designs. If you're a software developer, it's a bit more difficult since it's not so easy to highlight quality of codes in visual form. But what you can do is link two websites or apps that you've built and make sure that the websites that you select are ones that have the best user interface because that's what the client will be impressed by in most cases. And I know what you might be thinking, but I'm a beginner. I don't have much experience or I don't have real-world real-world projects. Well, that may be, but I, I implore you to be courageous. Don't be shy about shadow casting. Some of your tests, projects, some of your tutorial work, even it's, it's good to have something here, even if you don't have any bade projects in your experience. Now, the next thing is the skills. Skills is basically just your laptop then skills. This, if you did your title and your description right, will hold no new information for the client, but it has importance because the algebraic algorithm will use it. So you can show up in searches. Clients will often search for freelancers by skill. So if they want them build a website, they will often search WordPress. And in that case, you want to have WordPress in your skills listing. The final segment of your profile will have your education, your real-life employment, and testimonials from your real life employers. If you can convince any of them to give you a testimonial for your Upwork profile. Not sure you. Now to be honest, this is a lot less important than some of the other stuff here. Not once in nine years of freelancing, have I had a client reference eater, my education or my employment history. Now with that said, it can't hurt to add it in. Take a few minutes to add your university or college courses, your real life employment history, whatever you have and hope that someday some clients will find it important. Now that concludes today's lesson. But if you have a keen eye, you might have noticed that something is missing. That's something is your hourly rate. Why is it missing? Because it's so important that I've decided to dedicate the entire next lesson through it. And something else that will come someday will take up a major portion of your profile. This of course, are real upward projects with real upward client reviews. But we'll cross that bridge when we get there. 4. Setting Your Hourly Rate: Setting your initial hourly rate is not only one of the most important decisions on Upwork, it's also one of the trickiest. It's tricky because it depends on quite a few variables. Your skill level, your industry or specific skills set, your experience and the list goes on. So while I won't be able to tell you the exact number you should put on your profile. I can give you a few rules that apply for everybody. Rule number one, you may be inclined to start very low in an effort to get more jobs early on. You should not under any circumstances do this. Why? Well, let me explain with an example. Say you start at $5 per hour, super low, and say you're bidding on a project and an IRA guy at $30 per hour is also bidding on this project. So the client is going to look at this and you may expect them to say, Oh, wow, $5, there's a bargain. But what they're actually going to say is $5. This guy must be horrible. This is a matter of human psychology and there's no question that if you don't value your own work, nobody's going to value It's. The second rule is you might live in a country with low income, low average salaries. In this case, you might feel uncomfortable or even unrealistic when you try setting a rate that's five times or ten times more than your national average. This psychological conundrum should be avoided and you should consider yourself a player on the global markets. You should look at the world, not that your country when setting your expert expectations. Rule number three, experiment, it's okay to try a whole range of rates to begin with, especially if you have different skills that might be different money. So try applying to 10 different projects with 10 different rates and see what happens. But even while you're doing this, keep in mind to try to higher rates first, because you might be surprised how much people are willing to pay for your services IN Ally was quite a few times. So what is the problem with setting a low initial rates? Well, there is a short-term problem that you're in are less money, but there is the more important long-term problem that you're going to find it hard to increase your rate at a fast enough base. Because let's say the 10, ten projects at $5 per hour. And then you say, well, this is a really small I, I wanna go to $20 per hour. What's going to happen? Then? Psychology kicks in again. The client looks at your profile and says, Why should I pay this guy $20, everybody else paid him five. So it becomes a very long it takes a very long period then to get to a reasonable rate if you start too low, we're going to talk about how to realistically strategically increase your rate over time. But for now suffice to say that you should not start lower at and say half of your expected final rate. So if you're aiming at say, $40 per hour, then you should start around 20, probably, maybe even 25. You're confident enough if your skills are high enough. But do not under any circumstances started to five or even 10 because then it's going to take you a really long time to get to where you want to be. Now, let me tell you a little secret. When I was starting out, I mean, all three of the the mistakes named above, I started too low. I was too stubborn to understand that the global markets works a lot different than my local market. And I was a bit intimidated by competing with people from all over the world. As a result of this, I under charged clients for at least the first three years of my career while I was struggling to increase my rate to a high enough place. So the most important thing like it's many areas of life is to conquer yourself and believe that's what you're doing, has value. 5. Understanding the Process: Now we're ready to start looking for work. We're gonna go through this process step-by-step. And in every step, we're going to establish ways that you can stand out from the competition. And we're going to identify advantages that you can accumulate, which will compound to a great freelance career over time. One of these advantages is seeing things from both perspectives, from the freelancer perspective and from the client perspective. As I mentioned earlier, I've been a client or not For many times and I've hired a bunch of freelancers. And one of the things that most freelancers don't understand, I'm going to help you understand in this course, which is how the client sees your bids, how he reacts and how he picks freelancers. But before we get into that, we're going to go through the process of looking for work as a freelancer. This is the basic Find Work page that you will see as soon as you log in as a freelancer. This is basically a feat of jobs based on your skills. Now you can see here that some of these jobs I might be interested in, some I might not be. But the best way to use these jobs is to create saved searches. For example, I have a saved search here for expert hourly six plus months. What does this mean? This means that I selected the filters here for projects that will last at least six months based on the client's estimates that require an expert level and that our hourly contracts as opposed to fixed price contracts and that are in the category that I'm interested in. And you see there is 2700 jobs found with those restrictions. So this is great though. Some of these look interesting to me. But what should be interesting to you right now is these filters here. You can filter on basically everything. You can select a fixed price or price. So our early project, you can pick the experience level. And as a beginner, I might be inclined to go with intermediate projects more than entry-level projects, because a client that requires entry level is basically saying, I don't really care how this gets done, just get it done cheap. Now we will talk about selecting which projects to apply to later on. But for now, what's important is that you acquaint yourself with what's available here. You can filter out the clients that haven't tired anybody, which is not a bad strategy. Sometimes you can filter based on number of proposals, which is a great strategy sometimes. So I even have a saved search that immediately loads projects that have less than five proposals. Why do I do that? Because some great projects sometimes go unnoticed by freelancers. Why? Because the clients set the wrong tags and the projects. I once found a Laura Bell project, which turned out the last over a year. That wasn't even mark to Laura Val, and that's why there were like three people bidding on it. But I found it and I spoke to the client and we ended up having a great work relationship. So it is worth searching for hidden gems among these projects that barely anyone has applied to the budget. This applies to fixed price projects, and this is basically the length of the project and how many hours per week you would work. We will talk more later about what to do as a beginner. With regards to this. And the next steps, we will check the job selection. And we will talk about writing a great bid. But some more things through I will here I have a saved search for Scandinavia, where I only show clients from the Scandinavian countries and from Netherlands, Denmark, and so on. Why? Because I have had some great projects with people from this region. And maybe it was a coincidence, maybe it's not, but I like to keep an eye on what's coming out of that part of the world. So how does this all look to the client? When a client creates a project, they want something done, but some clients are a lot better than others at describing what they want done. So when they create a project, they will set the name and description, which is usually fine, but they will also set things like the skills they think freelancers should have. Andy hourly rates they think they are willing to pay and the expertise they think is required to do the project. But they often don't have technical knowledge and they don't know these things that you're setting. So if you live that project name and description, you can consider all of these other things non-binding and you can make it a point to explain to the client and your bids why they're wrong and what they actually need. And most times they will be grateful for it and it will increase your chances of being hired. Now, after a client posts of project, he will see a few different screens that you should know in order to know what is important that a client. The first thing the client will see is a series of emails about people who have applied to the project. Even though there's 36 applicants in this case. And this is a real project that I posted. Only a couple will be featured per email. And this part favors the established freelancers that top rated guys who have been working on upward for probably a couple of years, mostly. But when the client clicks through C all proposals, he arrives at a page like this. You can tell that at first glance, the client will see your title, your photo, your name, which I've removed here for privacy reasons. And he can see your job success score and how much you have learned. Now those last two things are great for these four guys, but not so great for you as a newcomer, you will have to work on building up those statistics. What's important for you right now is that the gland can see the beginning of your cover letter. That's one or two sentences at the beginning of your application. This is your chance to say something that will make the client click your application named view to hold thing and see your portfolio and so on. So as for these four guys, ie, the first one is, I think through shorts on the cover letter. This shows that he didn't put too much effort into writing this. I'd like to see as a client at least one or two sentences about my project and experience relevant to my project. The last guy started off with, anyway, I'd be happy to work with you. This is not a good sign for his English communication skills that as a client, I'm not likely to click this. And now the second two guys, they started off, okay. One of them says, hey, and then starts talking about is experienced. The other guy says, hello. He's read the project descriptions. So on these two guys, I want the click and see what they've got to offer. If we look at for more people here, you will see there is one person who was only around 60 bucks for now, but his job success score is 100% and his bid seems professional enough that I am willing as a client to click and see what he has to offer. So as a beginner, you can compete with the more experienced freelancers as long as you keep the principles outlined in this course. The last guy here as you see, has supposedly earn over $1 million. But What's actually probably happening here is that he's taking on 5000 projects and outsourcing them to people in other countries that are cheaper to work with. Nobody has done 5 thousand projects or earned $1 million while designing logos on his own. Now as a client, I don't want to hire somebody to hire somebody else. I want to hire the actual person that I see here. When people, glands approach me as a freelancer, date own, they don't ask me to find them a team of programmers that are job. They asked me to do the job. So I don't want to click the last guy. I do want to play the guide. It's only earn $60. And the first guy I want to skip because it seems to me to advertising focused with the green check mark in the Caps Lock and everything. And the second guy seems okay, I'm going to click him to. So let's click him first. This is the view that comes up and you can see that I, as the clients, ask two questions while creating the project. These two questions are, please show me three of your best logos and what software do you use to design logos? A lot of clients will ask questions like this. So they don't just get a generic cover letter from you. They want answers to actual questions that matters to them. So when I look at the first answer, I'm already not happy. I asked for tree logos because I'm busy and I want to see exactly the best logos that he has to offer. I don't want to see 40 plus unique and best identicals logo designs. So I've already skipping this one. This is our friend with over $1 million earned. He basically ignored the first question and answered a second one in the shortest possible way. He is obviously outsourcing the work and I'm not interested. Now this guy I like, even though he is more expensive than the other guys, he answered my question very thoroughly and I am happy with what I see here. He started the cover letter in a very friendly way with hi Yvonne Smiley. And then he went on to explain the project and how he would approach it. This is a good application and he is definitely one of my top choices here. Now regarding communication, you should know that it's against approach rules to take communication off the platform at least at first. But Upwork has you covered with messaging apps both in the browser and on desktop and on your phone. And I suggest you get all of them to maximize your chances of being available when the client does contact you. 6. Applying to Projects - Selection: So now we know where to search for projects and how to use filters. Now, let's see how to actually select which projects to apply to and after-death, we'll talk about how to create a great bit. But before all that, so let's take a moment to consider how upwards bidding system works. The bidding system is based on something called connects up for a gives every freelancer AT Connects per month. And bidding on every project costs up to six connects. Now, when this was introduced a few years ago, a lot of people were mad. They were men because they could no longer send out a 100 copy-paste bids per day and hope to get some clients by casting a wide net like that. To me, this was a positive change because copy-paste bids are junk that flood the system. Personally, I have never once you run out of connects, why? For two reasons. The first reason is that I am selective about which projects to apply to. And the second reason is that I get enough projects that I don't have to keep bidding all the time. Now, with that said, let's see how you should select projects as a beginner, there are some red flags that you can notice right there on the project search page. Red flag number one is the glidant assuming how much time you need to do to project. This title is quick job for talented developer and not only that, but if you look at the beginning of the description below, you can see that they want to finished product bug-free within two weeks. This is a huge red flag because you must always assumed that the client knows much less about your job, then you do. That's why they're hiring you. So if they make too many assumptions in the project, skip it. Don't take the chance of running over what they think is reasonable for the project than getting a bad review for this reason. Another red flag is asking you to fix problems created by a previous freelancer. This is very dangerous because first of all, it's impossible for you to estimate the project in any meaningful way without first doing a lot of work like reading the project description, reading what's been done so far, what the problems are. There is a lot of overhead and not only that, but the client may also hear, assume that fixing something is much easier than it actually is. Sometimes fixing a problem is more complicated than building a whole new solution. If you do apply to these projects, make sure you explain these problems that a client and make sure they accept the fact that you don't know how long this is going to take and how difficult is it going to be. Another thing you should almost always skip, or projects that offered to pay you in something other than money. This includes exposure references and equity in the project, in the products that you will be building. For example, this project has an estimated budget of 1 million, which is meaningless because the client proceeds to explain to you that they actually want to give you 30% of the earnings after you build the app. This is a shot in the dark if you want to try it, be my guest. But usually this will end in doing a lot of work and getting nothing in return. Auto things that clients sometimes offer. Our references like you to this quick job for me and I'll recommend you to somebody important. Don't fall for it is this is almost always a scam to get you the word for free. And another thing is offering you exposure. This is especially true if you're a freelance writer or a freelance artists, people will often offer you to say, feature your article on their website in exchange for a you writing that article for free. Don't do it. Flies are sometimes not found in the title and description here at a title description and hourly rate, all look great. It's actually a perfect fit for me. But if you look down a little bit, you will see that the client has been rated through stars out of five by previous freelancers. This usually means that the client is difficult to work with abrasive. Dodging payments are orderly. There's some other major problem. Now, it's possible that it's the freelancer has Fulton. They were just angry at the client for some reason. So you can do your due diligence. Click the project and down below to project description, you will find a list of the clients previous projects. So you can see what the projects were and maybe figure out why the low rating. But this is a major red flag and something to be very careful about because bad clients can ruin your reputation. One thing that might be a red flag, but not necessarily is a client that has no money spent on Upwork and null verifies payment method. Having no money spent usually means that there are new to the platform and having no verified payment method always means that they can't hire you until they verify their payment method. Now, this might just be because the client is new and they're still in the process of building their profile. But it's something to be wary off and something to consider when you applied to the project. If everything else is in line by all means, apply and try your luck. But this does reduce your chances of being hired. Now we know which projects to ignore right off the bat. Out of the rest, we have a few good principles that you can follow to select the projects that give you the best opportunity going forward. So as a beginner, the first thing you should keep in mind is that price doesn't matter that much. Whether a project is worth a $100 or $200 is much less important to you. Then getting a good review and getting your job success score up and getting started. Well in your career. In this regard, your best bet our small fixed price projects. Why? I'll do reasons. First of all, you don't want to keep all your eggs in one basket. If you'd take on a single project worth $10 thousand and you work on it for animals six months, whatever. You fail for whatever reason or to client isn't happy and this might not be your fault. The client could beat a problem. This one huge failed project will effectively and your career, it would be very difficult to come back from this because up forks algorithm values projects based on how much they cost. So failing a $100 projects is nothing compared to failing at $10 thousand project. So if you pick up then small projects instead, then even if you fail one or at a client isn't happy, you get one for review, your job success score is still 90 percent or so. You have nine great reviews on your profile and you're well on your way to becoming a freelancing success. Another, another reason to select small projects at first is if you're a beginner at what you do, or at least if you're not very experienced, small projects generally give you the opportunity to learn on the job. This is what I did nine or ten years ago when I was starting out. And in fact, I failed my first project, as I recall, it was worth 45 dollars and this wasn't on Upwork, it was on I failed the first project and it was on my profile and fat red letters. And I still bounce back quite easily actually. And I got to like four or five projects in the next month that solved the problem of my reputation that was ruined with that one project. So it gives you a lot of flexibility, especially if you're a beginner. The next thing to do is focused on your rarest skill. What do I mean by this? Well, for example, if you're a software developer, you might know WordPress and React Native. Wordpress has a lot of competition and a lot of that competition are very established from the platform with a lot of money made and job success score is, and all of that. Both in React Native, the competition will be much lower and smaller in numbers, although not in quality, and it would give you a better chance of being hired. You can also consider a small hourly projects. And this is a sort of a double-edged sword for you as a beginner. The positive is that our early projects can often run much longer than expected. Thus are any new more money. For example, I once took a job that was supposed to be two days of bug fixing and it ended up being two years of maintenance and changes and upgrades and everything in between. But the negative side of this is that it will prolong the period until you get your first reviews. So this might not be the best choice for you at the beginning. So how do you pick projects? We've already ignored some out of the rest. You want to open, maybe five to ten of them in dabs because it's much easier to have an overview and the compare projects with one another this way. Then out of these five to 10, you can pick two or three to apply to based on some criteria. Once you click on a project, it opens a pop-up like this. The first thing you see is the full project description. This is a great litmus test of whether the client is serious. This, for example, is a great project description. It gives you all the information, all the requirements, and it explains to you what the company does. And it ends with a notification that you will be invited to a video interview. If you're shortlisted, if you believe in your skills, you should welcome these requirements and hurdles because they will help you separate yourself from the PEC. So this is a client that really put in some effort into the description. And you can trust that they will put in some effort to check out your application. This description, on the other hand, is complete nonsense. Not only is it too short, it gives you no idea of what you would actually be doing. The budget doesn't make sense. The need to hire 10 freelancers doesn't make sense. And even though it's a programming job, for some reason, it ends with asking you to also be a content writer. This is a definite pests. Another good indicator of whether a client is serious and good person to work with is the questions they ask when they create the project. This is not mandatory for a client to do. They can just post the project and only ask for a cover letter. On goods. Client will usually ask a few questions that will help them fill it, filter out. They're really great freelancers. For example, these are good questions on a project about user experience. They're all relevant and they will help the client decide who to shortlist and dismiss. On the other hand, some clients tend to ask eight questions and none of these eight questions are relevant that a project, I always skip these because I don't want want to work with a person that invents DTS tasks for a known good reason. On the other hand, if there are no questions asked, this is usually a bad sign, but not necessarily. Sometimes the project description is good and the client thinks that your cover letter is enough. So use your own best judgment, but good questions are definitely a good sign. Finally, if you scroll down to the bottom of the project bump up, you will see the activity on this project. So far, this activity is all bad news. There's over 50 proposals, which means your competition is huge. It hasn't been viewed by the client for two days, which means they're probably not that interested. They're already interviewing treat people, which means even if they do come back, they're much more likely to hire those people that they're already talking to them anew, freelancer like you. And they sent out five invites to freelancers. They found that they want to talk to you about the project. So this all here, it tells you that this is a very low percentage job and you should probably skip it. These are the principles that I still use when I apply it to projects, and I strongly advise that you keep to them as a beginner. Now you can experiment later on and I encourage you to experiment because experimentation is how I arrived at these principles, saying you may arrive at principles that are better than mine and if you do, please share them. But for now, I suggest you stick to the basics S4 went to apply and how to approach this. I suggest that you search for projects at least two to three times a day. And you spread this around from morning to evening to cover clients in different time zones. Because if you're in Europe, for example, and you wake up in the morning, you might see Europe being clients boasting projects. But if you log on at six BN European time, 5PM, you might be seeing American clients start to post projects and so on. This it is important to cover all your bases to give you a bit self the best chances. In the next lesson we're going to cover how to write like great application and how to make a great first impression with the client. 7. Applying to Projects - a Great Upwork Bid: Now that we've done all the groundwork, it's time to apply it to projects. This lesson, like previous ones, will be about standing out. The tips here will be split into three categories in order of importance, critical, recommended, and nice touch. So number one, do not copy paste. Clients hate copy-paste that applications. Again, I have to reiterate this because it's so important. I know it's the easiest thing to do, but it's also the least productive. Some clients hate it so much that they include something like this in the project description and explicitly filter out the people who don't read the whole description, end up and reply to it based on the content. Now, don't get me wrong. Templates are okay. I have a bunch of templates that I use for a bunch of different projects. But I alter each template every time I applied to a project. Number two, it's a nice touch to add the client's name to the, to your application if it's available. So hi John, or a high mark is a lot nicer, Dan. Hello, sir, or the or hiring manager or something non-descript like that. Number 3, include something specific about the project and don't only included, start with that. Because as we've already seen, the first thing that the client sees is the first one or two sentences of your cover letter. So this is where you stand out. Don't leave the Gulf barred for life. The third paragraph, because the client might not open your bid if the good part isn't immediately visible. So what's good? Questions about the project are good. Very specific questions about the project, or better, suggestions for how to make the project work are great. Your experience relevant to this very project is also good. So let's say you're a software developer applying to a project for stock market analysis platform. This is a bad way to start the bid. You know, generically you are speaking about the project, but there's nothing here that will help you stand out from other freelancers. This, on the other hand, is good. And if you don't have relevant experience like this that you could boast about, you can do some research on the client's, see who they are, what their aspirations are, tried to form some sort of opinion about what would make his project work really great. And ask some questions that will let them know that you've really put some thought into this already. Number 4, list your experience, but lists your relevant experience. Remember that less is more. One great example of your work relevant to this project is a hell of a lot better than 12 links to 12 things you're done out of which tree may or may not be related to the project. In the stock market analysis platform example, I can send a link to a platform to analyses the stock market that I've already done. Problem solved. Now, if I don't have that, I would send two or three of the websites or applications that I think are most relevant that a client's needs in this case. What I've seen as a client, which I hate and I never hired somebody who did this is people copy-paste 10 or 20 links to their portfolios. The things they have done, nobody has dying or at a will to click that. So keep it short. Number five, it's good to end on a call to action after the all the information has been transmitted. It's good to not just end with no best regards. It's good to say something like hoped to hear back from. You. Don't hesitate to reach out if you have any additional questions, you want to invite communication from the client. And if your spoken English is good, It's great to suggest having short video or audio call. And you can stress that this is a free consultation which a lot of clients will like because it puts you into a position of somebody who is offering something for free, who is providing some value without expecting anything in return, at least for now. And this might be useful to the client because again, a lot of them aren't technical and you can help them introduce the technology required due to project. Number six. Again, back to English. Check your spelling and grammar, especially if English isn't your strong side. English isn't my first language. But over time, I've learned to speak. It's quite well both in writing and in speech. But all of this takes practice. If you're somebody who's not that advanced yet, It's great idea to use something like to check your grammar. Because things like misspelled words, wrong propositions, all of these things. Even though the clients will understand it, it's not your basic language. It also shows that you didn't put it in two minutes to check your message before you send it. And this gets easier if you have templates, because you would have templates that are rock solid from a grammatical standpoint, then you can check them with a native English speaker if you know one. And then you just edit them every time with specific examples and specific questions. Now, this whole process might take ten to 15 minutes at first. Now, don't be the copy-paste, sir. I can't, I can't say this enough. A copy paste bid is like, you go, It's technically a car, but it won't get you very far. It's mass-produced, it's cheap, and the client can see it. So don't be too Hugo. Be this. Every detail is thought out. Everything is in place, everything is beautiful and the client knows what they're getting. Attention to detail is very important. Now in the next lesson, we're going to take you on the journey from getting the first response from the client to being hired for your first job. 8. From Application to Hire - a Journey: Great application is half the battle. The other half is what we're about to go through now. The road from getting a response from the client to being hired. Now if you follow the principles we've outlined so far, you should be getting about a 15 to 20 percent response rate from clients. You're not trying to figure out what's not working. Is Europe like an application through a long? Is it too short? Does it have not enough questions about the project? Is it not friendly enough? So if your response rate is not good enough, try experimenting with these different things and see what works. Now in terms of the client's response, sometimes they will just say, you're hired, when can you start? If this happens to you, congratulations, but it's not very common. Much more commonly, the client will shortlist a couple of candidates and then do interviews with each one. In the interview process. Several things can happen. Number 1, clients will ask questions about the project, like which technology will you use? Why? What makes you think you're at and you're the right fit for this project. What possible obstacles that you see? And this is a great time to let your professional knowledge shine. Don't be shy about boasting a little bit. You know, it's projects confidence and people like to put their projects in the hands of confident people. Number two, clients might ask about your experience, especially if you've sent some links of things you've done, they might ask you how those projects went. Water were some problems. How did you fix them? And just answer honestly. Number three is sometimes a client will ask you to do a test like a small task that will showcase your skills that are relevant for this project. This is usually a good sign in that the client is determined to really find the best candidate. And if you're confident about your skills, this is good for you because it will let you stand out from the other guys. There are not as good. But be careful because sometimes this is not common, but sometimes the client will use a test that just get some free work out of you. If the client has poor reviews or no payment method on that for this as maybe assigned to be careful about doing a test, especially if it's something that you see might have practical use. So use your own best judgment. Usually at test is fine, is we'll take maybe an hour or two, don't do anything and it takes five days, obviously. And it's a sign that the client is serious. If there are serious client 90 percent of the time, it's fine. Number 4, and a client might ask about doing an audio or video interview. Now, if this is outside your comfort zone, step outside of your comfort zone. I can't help you. You have to do audio interviews, eventually, video you can probably avoid if you really don't want to do it. But I suggest you accept video as well because talking face to face increases your chances of making a connection and persuading the client that you're the right guy to this project. If you're really worried about your English, just remember that most of us, including myself, were not born as English speakers. We all learned over time and speaking through English speakers is a great way to learn over time. A friend of a friend of mine told me back in college that sewn English won't be something you put on your resume will be required and mandatory to have a good knowledge of it. If you don't, you must work on it to succeed in this international community. Now, regardless of the above, you have to follow the same principles in your communication with the client that we followed when we apply it the projects. So be polite. Ask reasonable questions, provide relevant experience and check your English. And additional rule to follow here is respond as quickly as possible. Now I know what you're thinking. It might be 11 PM, you might be tired, you might be at the gym, you might be at a party. You're until might be telling you a war story. None of this matters. If you're determined to succeed in this line of work, you respond quickly. When a client has messaged view, you can safely assume that they've also message by other people. And the first-person that response is the one that gets a shot at the job first. It's as simple as that. It also builds trust because the client might think the project is urgent and you responding so quickly and taking time out of your day, especially late at night or early in the morning, shows how determined you are to do it. And if there is one trait that clients like and the people in general respect, it's being trustworthy. So be trustworthy, respond quickly and respond honestly. When you start the conversation about the project, the most thing, the most important thing to do is define the scope, define all the details as finely as possible about what you need to do and what's not included in the project. What might be phase 2 of the project? And this is important because if you and the client, how misunderstanding about scope of work, then the outcome is one of two things. One, you do more work than you expected and get the same amount of money. And to the client has more cost than they expected it away, somebody gets the rind of this bargain. If this does happen, I suggest you follow the principle of Extreme Ownership. What does this mean? This means one that you will learn from their mistakes so it doesn't happen again. And to you all enough that a misunderstanding and you do the extra work and I guarantee you the outcome will be a happy client on great review and a learning experience for you. Now, with that out of the way, the client will decide the higher you, maybe 30%, 40 percent of the time off the times you've been contacted and shortlisted. This depends on you. And once you get the offer, all you gotta do is look it over once more, click Accept and get to work. 9. You've Been Hired! Now What?: So you've been hired. Now what well, the first thing to do is to thank the claims. The second thing to do is to let them know how often they can expect to hear from you and when they will first hear from you with an update. This is very important. Dwelt all the years that I've been a freelancer. I have always provided daily updates the clients. That means that every day I would message the client at least wants to let them know what I've done, what I'm doing and what I plan to do. This is so important because it builds trust between you and the client. And again, being trustworthy is a very good trait to have. Because then even if you make a mistake, the client will be much more likely to forgive that mistake because they know that you will make good on it, because they know you. They know how you communicate and how you work. On the other hand, if you don't communicate, then the clients this is like investing money into something and then not hearing about it until the outcome. And then in that situation, if you let them know of a problem, say ten days later than all of their her from you about the project is this problem. And there are very likely to be unhappy and maybe even to hire someone else and give you a bad review. So build trust and communicate well. The second important thing to keep in mind is that the client might add extra work or make changes to the already agreed upon amount of work. This is normal on small projects. This usually takes the form of small changes like, I don't know, fonts or colors for design or maybe small things. Web development. But if you're doing really big projects, it can turn into a problem. If the client asks for a lot of changes are a lot of additional work on a fixed price project, then you might have a problem. This is usually for one of three reasons. The first one is that the client doesn't understand how much time it actually takes to do what they're asking. This is the most common reason because the clients generally aren't technical and they don't know your job. So the first thing you should do in this case is explain to them how much time this fakes and y and see what they want to do that I want to pay extra for it that I want to give up on it. Maybe you can find some middle ground. The second reason is that there was a miscommunication or misunderstanding in the previous phase where you talk to the client before hiring. In this case, you have to go back to what we said in the previous lesson and own up to this as a beginner, honestly, you're not an ingrate negotiating position or in this case. So the best thing to do is bite the bullet due to work and get that good review and learn a lesson for the next time so you don't have to do free work next time. The third thing, and this is really very rare, is that the client is actually trying to exploit you to get you to do free work. In exchange for a good review. And this first of all is against Upwork policy. So if they tell you who they are doing this, you should report them to Upwork and upper. It can protect you from getting a bad review and from having a bad effect by this client on your profile. If it's if you're not sure if it's borderline, then again, talk to the client and keep in mind that if things get heated, if the client threatens you would a bad review or something. That the way to avoid the review. Bad way to avoid a review actually is to just delete everything you've done for the client, give up on all of them money for this project and be done with it because the client can give you a review if no money changed hands, your job success score will suffer, which is also important. So this is really your last resort. Now, these problems normally occur in fixed price projects. It happened to me only once on a fixed price project that the client was demanding free work and making some sort of threat. And this was in my first year as a freelancer and it ended up with the client being banned from the platform. So you do have some protection in this regard. Now if it's an hourly project, then the client has much less incentive to incentive to change the scope and to ask for additional work because they are being charged automatically by upward for every ten minute interval of your work. So how does time tracking work anyway? Well, it's really simple. You will download the Upwork app and run it on your laptop while you're working. And it will track time in ten minute intervals. It will track how many clicks you've done in that interval, how many keyboard strokes. And it will take a screenshot that's one random time within that interval. Now this is important to some clients, to some not so much, but clients do generally like to have a high level overview of what you've been doing, especially if you track a lot of time per day. If they see, you know, ten hours trapped in one date and they might get really curious about how you worked for ten hours. And they might not understand the technicalities, what they see on your soft right as you used to do work. But they will definitely understand if they see five screenshots of your browsing Facebook. So this is something to be careful about, especially as a beginner to a mistake or two force of habit. You might check social media or blogs or now turn on WhatsApp or whatever during your day and it's important to check at the end of the day, this is not present that your screenshots, if it is the best thing to do is just delete those stem into the intervals. Again. It's much better to sacrifice a little bit of money and then to sacrifice a lot of reputation. As for choosing between fixed price and our lead project in the first place, I much prefer hourly projects because it's much more fair in that the amount of time you spend working is the amount of money you get bait. And that's it. The problem is that a lot of clients prefer fixed price projects for the exact opposite reasons. They want to know exactly how much they will spend because our early projects can run out of control. If you want to take fixed price projects, I recommend doing small ones. If you take on big fixed price projects like something that will take months, then I recommend splitting them into milestones. The milestone system means that if you have a project worth $5 thousand, then you can split it, say, into the thin parts of 500 dollars each and every time one part is done, you can invoice the client for death forth and they fade those $500 and then you move on. This is a lot safer for you because you get fades, say, every week instead of waiting for three months to complete the whole project and then get paid in one lump sum. And it also helps with really honing down on what's in the project scope. So if you split it into small segments, then it's a lot easier to see if something is missing. And the client will also want to point that out because you will have to name each milestone. So this is a really good concept to follow. Now with that said, there isn't much more to say here. Keep these things in mind and Rican move on to completing a project and to getting your first grade through review. 10. You've Finished a Project! Now What?: After you have completed your first project, the first thing to do is take a moment to celebrate, you're on your way to becoming a successful freelancer. The second thing to do is think about how you can further your relationship with this client. A good move in this regard is to ask the client what are they need, anything else done? A much better move is through research that client than their company and their website, their social media, and make a list of things that you could improve for the client. So if you're a logo designer and you did a logo design project, you might think, I could make a better Facebook banner for this company. Maybe I could do a better ad content for them. So you know what you do best and you can use your knowledge to help the client in this way. Now if the client says yes, they will either create a new project or extend the existing project. The first option is kind of better for you because you might get through reviews instead of one. But the second option is easier for a client, so it's usually best not to force the first option. Now a little bit about the review process itself. The review process is double-blind, so to speak, so you don't get to see what the other person has written about you until you write your own reviewed. That goes both for you and the client. So in your review, be honest, but be kind, even if you're not terrifically happy with the client, it's never good to come off bitter and resentful in your reviews. Why? Well, because when someone visits your profile, they don't only see what the client's wrote about you, they can also see what he wrote about the clients. And if you come off really angry and bitter, they're not maybe going to consider you as a good sort of personality to work with. So you've completed the first project now there is no room for complacency. Go on bidding, go on. Thinking about how you can improve the process. Keep sticking to the principles we've outlined in this course so far. And it's time to start thinking more long-term. And that's what the rest of this course is going to be about. Long-term thinking of selling the client's building your freelance career, increasing your earnings gradually and strategically. And in the end, several ways to monetize your Upwork profile. Once it's built up to where you can say this is really impressive and I can use this as an advertising tool for myself. 11. Increasing Your Earnings: Let's talk a little bit about increasing your earnings over time. In one of the first lessons of this course, we spoke about not setting your hourly rate too low. But obviously, we don't want to end our career with the same hourly rate. We want to increase it and how fast we increase it is very important. So let's say you took my advice. You started at say, $20 per hour. The number doesn't matter. It's an example. It started in $20 an hour and you got a couple of great reviews at $20 per hour. What does this tell you? Well, you should think about it this way. It means that you're doing superb work at the 20 dollar level. The next thing to do is to challenge yourself and ask, can I do superb work at the 24 dollar level, for example? And so on. At each level, you will be competing with a higher level of freelancers because price correlates pretty, pretty well with quality in this domain. So the higher you go, the higher your competition at that price level. Now, in my experience, I was too slow to raise my rate. We spoke about this earlier. I was a little bit nervous, a little bit insecure about my skills and how I compare it to the global marketplace. But you should not make that mistake. After nine years of freelancing. And maybe a few dozen people I've advised and spoken through and follow their career. I've arrived at the conclusion that reasonable rates of increase is something like 20 percent for three months or so. So if you're starting at 20, you can try 24 and tree months, 286 months and so on, until you plateau. Eventually everyone plateaus, which means that you arrive at a rate where you find it almost impossible to get work. That means that you've got to do one of two things. Lower your rates or within your profession, find a way to make yourself even more valuable, maybe by specializing in something or by learning more different skills that will make you more valuable to declines. Now if you can increase your rate faster than this, good for you, but be careful. The higher the fee that the client phase, the more demanding they become. So if you're still someone who's learning your job, then it's good to take it slow. And remember, we're working on long-term success here. When you look back in five years or in ten years, it won't matter whether you raise your rates in September 2020 or in December 2020. It will matter that you raised it in time and that you've got good reviews for good work done at that level. 12. The Art of Negotiation: Everything is in negotiation from going to the store to negotiating your salary. This is why as a freelancer, I read a couple of books about negotiation, and I also track this. What I learned in real life. Some key takeaways from these books is that you should always negotiate to get a win-win situation. How do you do this? By presenting every problem, not as a competition between you and the other person where one of you who wins and who loses. But as a problem to be solved together, this is a great starting point to building a long-lasting relationship. If the other person feels cheated, then you might get what you want in the short-term, but definitely not in the long-term because they will be looking to replace you eventually. The first thing about a successful negotiation is to be prepared. Learn about the client, what their real problems are, how far they're willing to go in terms of pain you and in terms of giving you things you need, which you can find out from their profile, sometimes termed a LinkedIn, from their company website. You can find out about their company culture, what they value. And you can use this information to build a solution that you can both be happy with. The second thing to do is to establish credibility. It helps your negotiation position a lot. If you can establish that you are very valuable at what you do and you can solve the problem technically that the client has. The third thing to do is to establish a report. What I mean by that is be friendly with the client and set the tone with them not against them. What I mean by that is some clients like a more professional approach and sunlight to be more casual and friendly, you can get a feel for what they are alike and adapt a little bit. You know, you may have your own preferences, but it's always best to compromise in the style of communication. One thing to keep in mind is that it's always good to make some sort of concession. For example, if I'm doing a really big projects in web development, I might do, I might negotiate on the back-end work on the database, on the design templates and everything. But in the end, I will maybe throw him free hosts thing for the whole duration of the development periods without the client having asked for it. It's nice to give something, some little thing to the client to make sure they know that you're willing to go that extra step for them. Abide by these rules and you should be fine in the negotiation arena. If not, I will recommend at the end of this course some books that might help. 13. The Art of Upselling: The best kind of client, Is there a beat client? Why is that? Well, because the overheads of searching for new clients over and over again is huge in terms of time lost and in freelancing as in lifetime as the most valuable thing we have. So how do we conserve time? Number one, by doing work so good that our clients will come back to us with any new projects. We've covered this in some detail in some previous lessons. And number 2, the topic of this lesson, by upselling to your clients. What is up selling? Up-selling basically means finding things that you can do for the client to improve their business, their website, whatever you're working on and suggesting that these changes, these upgrades to the client. How do you do to successfully by following a couple of simple rules. Rule number 1, solve problems that the client isn't aware that they have. What do I mean by this? Whenever you notice an error, a mistake, something missing, something that can be improved, something that can be built to improve the client's business. Make a note of it and think about how you can work on this and how you can improve it, then present your suggestions. Did a client, preferably near the end of your current contract with them? Number 2 suggests good features. It's always good to research the clients competition out of websites, out or companies see what they're doing right, or what they're doing better than your clients. And present this through them as an idea to enhance their business, to increase their earnings and to make their own clients if they have them happier. Rule number three, don't be pushy. Some people will tell you to not take no for an answer. That is the worst advice imaginable. Not taking no for an answer means you're being basically a bully thier client. If your client says No, move on, you want to keep them happy and you want to keep a good strong reports between you and them. Don't draw in your relationship over upselling some feature or whatever. And roll number 4, always keep your integrity. The line is then between selling something to the client because you think it might improve their business and add value to them. And selling something that a client, because you want more work or you just like some fancy feature that may or may not be useful. The selling off, such things might come in handy in the short-term, but it's unethical and it's not good in the long-term for your relationship with the client. So avoid that trap. If you follow these simple rules and you keep your communication with the client good, you should have repeat clients in your career, which is great, which frees up your time, increases your earnings, and all you gotta do is be really good at your job. 14. Diversification or Specialization?: A choice that freelancers have to make eventually is whether to specialize in one thing or the versatile. Now, there are advantages to each approach. If you aim to be an expert at one thing, you're aiming essentially to be in the top 1% at that thing world. I mean, So it's not easy, but if you choose carefully and you have a little bit of luck in terms of how the industry changes and new technologies and all that, you can do very well. The other approach is to be versatile and essentially diversify your knowledge portfolio. In other words, don't keep all your eggs in one basket. You may conclude by now that I prefer this approach was called skill stacking is a really good heuristic. When thinking about this, you want to have, say, five or six skills and be in the top 10 to 20 percent in each one. Now, what this does for you, if you select the skills correctly, is you build a formation of skills that are very, very few people have not even 1%. But it's important to choose the skills so that they combine. Well. For example, I do web development. So say I align a BHB and the Laura Bell framework, which is the most popular and best framework for PHP. I do. I use this for back-end development. Skill number two, I don't know JavaScript and a few frameworks Vue JS react. So I am able to do with this both front and end, the end, back-end. So I don't need to depend on anybody for our project. Number 3 for some specific tasks, like more data science oriented machine learning and so on. I use Python. So this is a great skill to have because it differentiates you from all of the people who know front-end and back-end development. So you're already setting up your self to succeed in a wide range of scenarios. Number four, I have a working knowledge of honor programming languages. This is important so that I can read code and other languages I can learn from it. And if need be, I can write some. Number 5, I worked on communication, presentation, my English skills, diction, writing, all of that because all of that increases your chances of getting work, of keeping work of keeping the client happy and making him our repeat clients. Skill number 6, management and productivity and freelancing. As I said in one of the previous lessons, you don't have a manager is standing over your shoulder telling you what to do. You have to be the worker, the executor, and the manager to productivity guided thinks about where best to put your efforts, how to optimize your work, how to select which work to do, and so on. There are specific skills you can learn about this. I will share some useful books In the last lesson of the course. To do on my skill list is design. I'm, I've really been slacking in this department this whole time and it's been a problem for me on several projects because I've had to hire designers or buy the wrong template that the client doesn't have like because I don't really have a knife for visual things. But this design can also be learned at least in terms of general principles. And that's generally enough if you're doing all the other things like back-end, front-end database administration. You communicate well. If you can do the most basic of design, then you can do even the most complex project on your own, at least until it reaches the production phase and has a whole bunch of users. That's my example. In web development, it might be different for you in your industry or whatever you want to do as a freelancer. But keep in mind that skill stacking is very powerful. If a client wants to do something that involves, say, tree compatible skills, he doesn't want to pay Tree Experts. He wants usually one guy. He has all trees kills. And if that's you, you differentiate yourself from more than 99% of the job market. So keep this in mind and don't go overboard by learning skills that are not compatible. Being English, the French translator, and doing database administration isn't usually a yield any, any results. 15. Your Advantages as a Freelancer: I want to tell you a story that a client of mine told me a couple of years ago. This client wanted a little front-end work done. It was nothing spectacular. They wanted a script for their website that had some input fields, some buttons and some fancy calculations and show the results. That's it. So he approached web development agency with this project. And the thing that happened was they had a meeting with him and then they told them, okay, now we've got the info. We're going to have an internal meeting in a couple of days and then we'll get back to you with an offer. So they had their internal, internal meeting. They consult the programmer as the management and everything. And a week later, they came back to him with an offer for you ready? Eight thousand dollars. Why was the alfredo $1000? Well, because their offer included full-blown framework database this floor records in, even though the client never asked for this social media integration for sharing results, custom-designed, which also the client never referred to her head, never dreamed of. And in the end, he told me this story when he hired me to do the job for the normal price of $400. That's because the job the client wanted, just the job done. He didn't want whatever they came up with. Now why do agencies often come up with such unrealistic proposals? Well, the first thing is the agency has to follow a process. The guided thoughts that are client can't actually accept or deny anything. They have to talk to their team, their team leader and manager, and possibly the owner. If it's a small agency, then they have to have an internal meeting in the management to see which of the personnel is available and then they have to put it somebody above that personnel to manage them into talk to the clients, then they have to consult the owners. And the owners will usually say something like, oh, well that's a really small project and I have this designer that's not doing anything, so let's put him on it as well. So suddenly you're paying for designer which you never wanted to pay for. Then there's the overhead. The updates that are not direct from Troy grammar declines and they have to go through the manager, through maybe the business development guy if there is one and the meetings, because nothing can happen in a team environment without THE regular meetings. Now, compare this with the freelance experience. The client approaches you. You'll give them an offer. They accept. You start work, you finish work, it's done. No overhead, no meetings, no selling of things that the client has no need for it to the client. And above all, it's simple, simple, and it's cheap for the client, even though you're making good money for the number of hours you're putting in. It says if some say somebody comes up to you to ask you to build them, a wooden cottage with you as a freelancer do is build them a wooden cottage. What agencies often do is offered to build them a villa with a swimming pool and an orchard in the backyard. Now, this doesn't come with no flip side. The flip side is that as a freelancer, you have to know how to do everything. And that's why broad education in negotiation communication, all that is important because you're doing the negotiating, the project management, and the work itself. But I think you understand what your advantages are as a freelancer it compare to the agencies you might be competing with. 16. Why Stay on Upwork?: Once you've built up a little bit of success, it's tempting to take your clients on Upwork to save that 10% fee. This is tempting, but I advise against it. Why? Well, first of all, even though you're doing great work and you've had repeat clients. Repeat clients still aren't forever clients. A few clients don't make a career and clients will probably go away. Eventually. It's good to have a strong profile with strong reviews and strong earnings so you can always go back and get more clients easily. The second thing is that a strong profile has monetization potential that you may not be considering. Now, we'll discuss this in more detail in the next lesson. But if you take my example, you'll see that I've been freelancing for nine years. And for the last three years, I haven't been on Upwork much. But that's because I have to long-term clients that are off Upwork and they started off Upwork. But the thing is both of these clients contacted me because they saw my upward profile and they were impressed by it and they saw it aside. One of them found it through LinkedIn, and one of them found it through a recommendation to a previous Upwork client of mine. So it's important to keep these things in mind. And even though I am working off Upwork now, I still take the occasional odd job on Upwork to keep my reputation up and my job success score. Because I never know when I will have to go back in and get more appliance. And if I do get more clients, I will keep those clients on Upwork. Now about the monetization, you're gonna hear a lot about that in the next lesson. And there are a couple of ways to monetize your Upwork profile just as a teaser. One of them is this course which I'm doing because I have all this experience on Upwork and I have means to prove this experience through my outbreak profile. 17. Monetizing Your Profile: So what is the value of a great Upwork profile? Besides the obvious, I mean, well, number 1, you can use it as a bargaining tool because nothing says that your services are word X dollars per hour, like a list the projects that you've done for x dollars per hour with clients that are happy with your services and happy enough to write about them on your profile. This bargaining tool can be used not only in Upwork negotiations, but in salary negotiations. Outside of Upwork, it's a good and very easy way to demonstrate your value. Number 2, direct contacts. I have had about 10 projects offered to me outside of upward LinkedIn, Twitter and via email by people who somehow came across my Outlook profile, either by googling or by being recommended by some other client of mine. The thing is, out of these ten projects that were offered to me, I accepted two. And both of them have been long-term projects, a year plus and very good and very well-paid projects. Out of the remaining projects, I best tree onto an agency that I recommend to clients outside of Upwork. When I don't wanna do it a jog or I don't have time. Now, why do I do this? Well, because the agency pays me 20% of the value of the project, this is basically passive income at that point. And you're making this passive income because you have an impressive profile on Upwork. Now, beware this you can do with projects from Upwork. This is only legal which projects that are offered to you outside of obdurate, like on LinkedIn or wherever. But this doesn't stop you from using your Upwork profile to validate your experience, the quality of your work, into value of your work. And by the way, how this arrangement with this agency come to be? Well, they contacted me and the reason he contacted me is again because they saw my Upwork profile and they were impressed. So number three, you can use your Upwork profile as a guarantee of sorts. You can validate your experience and expertise and you can use this for consulting jobs, for validating that you know what you're talking about when you're doing a course like this or creating utter content. And in general, whenever someone doubts your credentials, they're right there. For anyone to see. Number 4, you can create content about it. Now, personally, I've been writing content on, for some time now over a year. And it's been somewhat lucrative. But more than the monetary value, I built up a following of people who want to learn about feline seeing in, about unrelated self-improvement than productivity skills. This base some money, but it also pays dividends and that these people will follow your work and they might consume other content that you create like this course, which brings me to number five. You can teach it. And when you teach something, you have to establish credibility first, I establish credibility by having verifiably successful Upwork profile. This is somewhat of an unknown for me still because it is the first time I am creating a course or teaching in any capacity. But it is also a learning experience because then I will be able to create more content, more professionally done, and to have a larger audience. So this is another way of somewhat passive income, but also on great way to diversify your earnings. So right now besides the web development work I'm doing, I'm getting commissions from medium commissions from this course and commissions from the outsourcing agency that I use. So when you put 22 together, I think it's worth it to keep your Upwork profile active, even if you're not using it as your primary source of work right now like I'm not doing right now, it's worth it. And not to forget on a more philanthropic nodes. Number 6, you can use it to help others. I've been using my experience and my knowledge to extend the freelancing community in my country. And this is especially worth your time. And if your country is not in the rich part of the world, if this is the case, your compatriots can learn a lot about the possibilities of freelancing from success stories such as mine and in the future, yours. 18. Reading Suggestions: So we've reached the last lesson. Congratulations on making it this far, and thank you for paying attention to what I have to say. Now, as I promised, here are some books that have helped me in my freelance career and in my life in general over the last nine years. And I hope that they help you on your journey as well. The first book is Principles by Ray value. Now, right now LEO essentially the two full-time jobs for his whole career. He was one of the greatest investors of all time as a hedge fund manager. And he also ran these company and built it up into something where it's like 15, $20 billion. This, this book outlines his principles that he uses both in his life and his work. Whether it's his investing work, his management work, or his philanthropic work in recent years. And it's greats sum up of how to succeed, of how to build a strong team and how to lead that team. The second book I'd like to recommend is negotiation mastery. The author is Simon Horton, and this outlines the basic principles of negotiation of how to keep everyone happy, how to analyze your position and the other person's position. And how to plan your course to an outcome that's favorable to you, but also isn't unfavorable to the other person. And this is very useful. The third book I'd like to recommend is how to fail it almost everything and still win big. By Scott Adams. Scott Adams is known as the cartoonists behind the Dilbert cartoons that many programmers and office workers alike identified with for. Why? Think about three decades now. In this book he outlines his principles for trying things, for learning things, for adapting quickly, for failing. Well. What I mean by failing well, I mean failing in a way that makes you much more likely to succeed in the next iteration. Because life and everything in life, well, most things in life are an iterative game. This means that you don't just get one shot at something. You usually get shots over and over and over again. And the quicker and better you fail, the more likely you are to succeed in the long run. The next book. Is written by someone very far from our program or record doing this. This is can't hurt me. By David Goggins. This guy is an Ex Special Operations Officer in the United States Army. But he, he is more known as the guy who ran an ultra marathon on broken bones. His main lesson is that you can train your mind to withstand almost anything. And by training your mind to withstand and ultimately enjoy hard things, you can succeed at things that people don't, even things are possible. For example, he set the world record for a number of pull-ups in a single day. I think it was like 4 thousand pull-ups or something. My record is about 50. This is a man that you can learn a lot from in terms of overcoming adversity. Because this man weighed, I think 500 pounds in his youth, was bullied, was abused the, racially and in other ways. And he overcame all that to become an elite athletes in what is one of the hardest fields to answer, which is ultra running. Not to mention, he was a Navy seal. He went through a lot of things and the key can teach you determination, tenacity, and a will to succeed that overcomes pain and adversity. Next book I'd like to recommend is 12 Rules for life by Dr. Jordan Jordan Peterson. You may know him from YouTube. You may or may not like some of his politics, but this book will get your life in order. As a freelancer, it's easy to lose track of responsibilities and time. You don't have somebody standing over your shoulder telling you you have to work from nine to five, you have to sit at your desk for eight hours. It's easy to start waking up at 10:00 AM. Being a slob, not taking care of yourself physically or mentally. And this takes a toll over time. I made this mistake when I was starting out. And the lessons in this book will prevent you from making the same mistakes. Here, essentially makes psychobiological arguments for why and how you should keep your life in order. The next book is 100 side hustles and by Chris gullible, I think I'm pronouncing that right? That's a French name. But essentially it's a book about 100 people who built up their side hustles in their free time. As a freelancer, you will have free time sometimes more than you know what to do with. In this case, it's good to pick up something like this to be inspired and start a side projects of your own. Who knows? You may, your side project may just become your main line of work. For me. I built fantasy sports project in my, I think second year as a freelancer, maybe even in first year. I built it mainly because it was the sort of fantasy sports site that I wanted to play fantasy sports song, but it didn't exist. So basically I did it for fun, but it turned into a business that I ran for a couple of years and ultimately sold. It wasn't a $1 billion business, but it was very nice source of income. It was a lot of fun and I also learned a lot from it. So don't be shy about putting your ideas to work in your free time. You don't have to be just the freelancer. You can't also be an entrepreneur. You can do a side hustle. You can start a company of your own. Everything is open to you because as a freelancer you're in control of your time. And the last thing I'd like to recommend is an investing plastic, which is the Intelligent Investor by Ben. Ben Graham is a legendary investor and known as the father of value investing. This book will teach you what to do with your money. Don't earn a $100 thousand and then think you're going to be a cowboy into stock market and lose it all in the week. Once you have money, It's important to know what to do with it, how to invest the where to invest it. And you need to understand what's going on in the background. This is an excellent book. It was written about 60 years ago, but the concepts in it are still very, very valid. And the top investors up today still recommend this book as basically the Bible of value investing. So those are my recommendations. Thank you again for watching and I wish you the best of luck in your freelance career.