Upwork is now the largest and most well-known freelancing platform in the world. People are flocking the site to kickstart their ‘work from anywhere’ lifestyle and as a result, Upwork became so congested that you literally have to fight against tens or even hundreds of freelancers for a single job ad.
While a lot of seasoned freelancers stay away from platforms like Upwork, I personally love finding clients there because of the platform’s payment protection program. Upwork guarantees that it will pay freelancers for every hour that they spend working on a project.
Because I know exactly how stressful it is to chase clients who don’t settle their invoices on time, I prefer to keep some clients on Upwork and work for others directly. I want to have a consistent flow of $$$ so I can project my monthly profit and set my annual revenue goals.
Right now, I can say that it’s 10x harder to get high-paying clients from Upwork compared when there weren’t so many freelancers on the platform yet. If you have to compete with freelancers who can lower their rate by 30 to 50%, then you have to think about how you can set yourself apart and consistently secure new contracts.
Here are some tips in crafting a winning cover letter for Upwork:
- Don’t use templates. It’s the best way to get your proposals ignored.
By templates, I mean a cover letter that you use to copy and paste when you’re applying for jobs. You can have a main template but you need to tweak it based on the needs and the questions that clients post on their job ads. For example, if I use this main template:
My name is Angeline and I’m an SEO expert. Since you’re looking for a qualified individual who can help make your website visible to your target audience, I thought I’d reach out to you to see whether we’re a good fit.
New websites are always a bit challenging to handle because we’re basically starting from scratch. This is the main reason why you need to find someone who’s really experienced rather and not SEO specialists who’d just follow your lead and do what you asked them to do.
You require a real strategist and I am confident I’m exactly the person you need.
When is the best time for us to speak? I’d be available to start the project anytime.
I’ll make sure to tweak this every time I apply for jobs. Templates make clients feel that you’re lazy and that you don’t have what it takes to solve their problems.
- Keep your proposals short and juicy
By juicy, I mean that your proposals should highlight what clients can get when they hire you. You have to clearly communicate the value that you offer. It’s not about how long and how detailed your proposal is (unless there are quite a few questions that the client wants you to answer in your proposal).
At this day and age when CEOs and recruiters are wearing multiple hats for their organization, the best thing you can do is help them maximize their time. Not everyone has the time to read your long proposals. Also, avoid big blocks of text and avoid sounding desperate.
Here’s an example of a job ad and how I constructed my proposal that led to an active contract:
I’m Angel Licerio and I’m an SEO expert. For the past 5 years, I have been building whitehat links that drive traffic and boost websites’ ranking. I use different backlinking strategies and I utilize tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, and BuzzStream.
I’m excited to know more about this project and I’m eager to know what your goals are and how I can help you achieve those.
Let me know when we can speak.
- Put your best foot forward.
The first one or two sentences of your proposal matter the most. You have to be witty and personal. You must address the client by his or her first name. Using their names in your proposal will let the client feel important because you exerted effort and you crafted your proposal to address them and their specific needs.
You can easily find details about clients’ names or their company in the feedback section. Most freelancers leave feedback indicating the name of the client or their organization.
- Provide value.
Highlight the reason why you’re better than other freelancers. You can do this by highlighting “niche” specific work samples or relevant experiences. If the client indicates what type of industry his business is in, you have to articulate what you know about that specific industry. Your experience could be the deal-breaker when other freelancers are offering a much lower rate to secure the project.
Another way to provide value is to talk about what your past clients are saying about you and your work. Mention your excellent feedback and the results you have generated for other clients.
Here’s another example of a job post and the proposal I have submitted:
Sample article I can pitch for a guest post on your behalf: Top 7 App Design Techniques for Developers
The document you sent is interesting.
While I really don’t go for timing the SEO tasks as specifically as you did in the document, I still think this gave you an idea about how much you’ll spend and what results you can expect.
For one, I was able to get a maximum of 8 guest posts in December for one client, but that took me 70 hours of prospecting, pitching and editing of posts that will be submitted. It was a season when bloggers accept most guest post placements because they will be on a vacation, and on normal months, my target is 4-5 links on a 60-hour threshold. I have attached a case study for you to look at.
I don’t do blog comments and resource link building anymore, not that they don’t matter, but they can be done once guest post links have already generated great results. Also, you wouldn’t want to spend too much time on these strategies once you see the impact that whitehat link building can have on your rankings and traffic.
I have lots of clients now, but if we agree on a price and how much hours you can allocate for this project per month, I can definitely work with you. 🙂
- Be professional.
Make sure to construct your sentences in a way that is not pushy or rude. Some clients may appreciate humor or memes, but you cannot just put inappropriate jokes in your proposals because you think they will make you stand out.
Your closing line should also be well-thought-out. It should either reflect your confidence in securing the contract, or an avenue for you to express your politeness and appreciation of your clients’ time. You can thank the client for reading your application or communicate your availability in case he sends a job offer right away.
It is challenging to find the best clients in Upwork because there are tens or even hundreds of other freelancers wanting to get the attention clients. By keeping these tips in mind, you will be able to craft winning proposals and kickstart your freelancing career.
If you’re a newbie in freelancing, Upwork or Hubstaff are not the only freelancing sites out there. There are sites that are catering to freelancers that possess specific skills. It’s just a matter of trying some platforms and finding the right one according to your skills and needs.