Hey guys! So you might have seen in my January stats that I made my first income from freelance writing last month! As much as I like reading other people’s income posts, I do find it a little useless when they don’t tell you actually how to land these jobs. A part of me understands it because it means there’s more competition but at the same time – there will always be competition. It should just be an incentive to work even harder! So, Upwork and the land of freelance writing is a big of a scary place so here are some tips that I’ve discovered along the way.
Let’s get down to it!
DO THE MATHS – DOES THE PAY MATCH THE HOURS?
When I first started looking at freelance work, I couldn’t believe what some people were willing to pay for what seemed like barely any work. But the more I started to research it and the more that I started to do these jobs myself (I’m on my third contract currently), the more I realised that some people are absolutely taking the mick with what they’re offering. A lot of people on Upwork don’t take freelancers seriously and they know that they’re most likely people who are desperate for any type of work. So they’ll pay peanuts. Which is awful but sadly, very true. I think it’s something we bloggers experience a lot with brands, too.
When you look at a job offer, think about how long it will take for you to do the project. Don’t be cocky with this. The very first piece of work that I did was only 800 words so I thought about how quickly I can write 800 words for my blog and it’s normally under an hour. So the pay seemed really reasonable. It’s very different writing for your own blog. When you’re starting a post, you pretty much know what you want to write already from planning. But when you’re writing for a client, it’s a different kettle of fish. They might want a different style of writing, they might need a lot of research. That 800 word project ended up taking me four hours. While this may not seem like much, when I added up what the hourly rate was, it was under minimum wage. The employer very kindly paid me more because they were happy with the quality but this is really rare. If you don’t think you’re going to be paid enough but it will take up a lot of your time, keep looking until you find a job more suitable.
BE HONEST IN YOUR PROPOSALS.
I think this goes for when you’re applying for any jobs – you need to be 100% honest about who you are and what you’re capable of. While I would like to take on as much as I possibly can, I also have a full time job and of course, I run my own blog. Some projects requite you to work 30 hours a week. While this seems really appealing, you need to think about whether you can logically do this.
There’s also the element of being honest about your qualifications and what you have worked on previously. This may seem really obvious but I promise you there will be someone out there who will say they’ve written a book and then won’t be able to cough up the goods when the employer asks. While it may seem a good idea and one that will stand you out from the crowds, your writing should be able to do that. There’s also a rating system on Upwork for both the employer and the freelancer which means you could get a bad rating if they find out you haven’t worked on what you said you have. A lot of employers are willing to work with newbie freelancers – mainly because you’re more likely to be cheaper and up and coming talent. While the smaller jobs may seem annoying, it will all work towards your rating and land you in good stead to earning more jobs.
PICK EMPLOYERS WHO ARE VERIFIED ONLY.
While we’re on the subject of ratings, please be cautious about who you’re talking to. I’m always very sceptical about employers that want to take the conversation outside of Upwork. Upwork have really upped their game on protecting both employers and freelancers. They monitor the conversations so they can keep an eye on anything inappropriate. If an employer asks you to leave the Upwork messaging system then question them on it. If they get angry, they were probably crooks and not worth your time.
At the bottom or the side of the employer page or the job description, there’s a verified section. If the employer has hired and paid their previous employees, this will be highlighted. As a rule of thumb, only go for these employers. I would also avoid job descriptions that only have one liners or say ‘message me for more info’ as they are probably crooky, too. If they can’t be bothered to even write out a description then they aren’t worth your time.
BE PREPARED TO APPLY FOR A LOT OF JOBS.
Very similarly to sponsored posts and blogger opportunities, you have to be prepared to apply for a lot of jobs before you hear from people. Especially if it’s your first time on there as you will have absolutely no ratings and employers will be able to see that you haven’t done any jobs before. Don’t be discouraged by this; like freelancers, the employers are just trying to protect themselves from wasting any time. But I promise you that there will be someone who will be interested to work with you. The more jobs you do, the better it looks on your profile. But I would say on average, I apply to about 20 jobs a week. Like I said earlier, I’m only on my third contract but every job that I’ve done has been successful and with really good employers so it’s swings and roundabouts.
BE PROFESSIONAL AND TIMELY.
I don’t want to sound like I’m being condescending or anything – but remember to keep this as professional as possible. It’s really easy when you’re at home instead of an office to forget to be professional but people will take you much more seriously if they see that you’re taking the job seriously. Write a good covering letter that sells yourself and your writing really well and in your correspondence with the employers, be concise and confident. But always polite – even if they’re slow on paying you. Remember your rating!
As for being timely, a lot of employers will give you a deadline. I generally try to get in well before the deadline if I can because I think this will make employers want to work with me again because of the quick turnaround. I’m willing to stay up later or sacrifice social time for this, though, so if that isn’t an option for you then please don’t push yourself. But sticking to the deadlines is honestly the best thing you can do to get a good rating.
So, there you have it! I hope that was useful for you guys. If you have any more questions about Upwork or freelance writing in general then please comment below and I will help you guys as much as I can!
Business/PR enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org (if you are a brand and are interested in working with me or if you would like me to edit photos for you then please contact me by this email or by Twitter.)