Are you struggling to get your first contract on Upwork? Getting frustrated with using up all your connects before half the month has gone and you’re still yet to get your first job? While patience is certainly a virtue when you are just starting out, there are a few things you should consider to make sure you land that coveted first job sooner rather than later.
Focus on the Small Value Jobs
Why? Because most experienced Upworkers generally ignore these. They shouldn’t, and I will come to why in a moment, but the fact that they do should be good news for you. Experienced Upworkers don’t want to “waste” connects on a job worth just $10 because it doesn’t really maximise their earning potential. They’d rather focus on a job that promises to last many years with regular content. The reason they should not ignore these jobs is because of the potential for repeat custom. Clients remember good contractors and will approach them later with more work – and that will cost the contractor no connects when they are rehired by a previous client. It also feels really good that they valued you enough before to approach you weeks, months or even a year later to ask you to do some more work.
The good news for you, as a newbie, is that you can take advantage of the lower competition from the veterans for these jobs. They won’t earn you a lot of money, and that’s the point, but what it will give you is something more important – the first item in your work history. At this stage, feedback is more important than the fee so don’t quibble over just a few dollars. Those coveted stars and indication of payment will give you an advantage over those coming in behind you and hopefully set you on the path to bigger and better clients down the line and those much-desired long-term jobs and long-term clients.
Ignore the Long-Term Jobs
Because, quite frankly, you are unlikely to land any at the beginning unless you are prepared to significantly undercut your opposition – and you’ll be up against Top Rated (like me) and the mid-range people looking to reach the top rated – even then you might struggle. Clients looking for long-term contractors will want reliability and a good reputation. You haven’t built the latter and therefore, they can’t make a value judgement about you regarding the former. Almost everyone will have a greater chance than you, even if you do undercut them significantly.
Clients will be reluctant to work with you because of a lack of experience unless you can demonstrate external evidence that you have the work history to back it up. Your best chance here is a niche area. If you have an expert knowledge or a rare skill, you might get lucky. Otherwise, don’t waste your time on the long-term contracts where you might have a lot of competition until you have a few scores under your belt and some good feedback.
With that said, best of luck and feel free to share any tips here you might have!