All too often, freelancers cut themselves off from generating a snowball of leads on Upwork because they give up too soon. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard from freelancers who say that they bid on 10 jobs on Upwork and didn’t hear back, or that they spent two hours last month bidding on Upwork and didn’t get anywhere.

Consistency counts in all forms of freelance marketing and that’s especially true on Upwork.


Why You Need an Upwork Bidding Game Plan

When you are new to the game, you won’t have the feedback or the clout to be able to do less work and still see strong results from bidding on Upwork.

I’m generally fully booked as a freelance SEO blogger, so I currently bid on Upwork only once or twice a week if I see a job pop up that’s right in line with my needs. 

A new freelancer however is going to spend about 80% of their time marketing their services and maybe only 20% of their time delivering on client projects. This will shift over time but even experienced freelancers need a plan to regularly market and reach out to new clients. Committing to a daily plan for marketing on Upwork is one of the best ways to hold yourself accountable and to build up enough consistency that you start to see results.


What to Consider Before Marketing Freelance Services on Upwork

Before diving into a regular marketing plan, you’ll want to ensure that your pitch and work samples (in addition to your profile), are as comprehensively drafted as they can be. These are the only materials that a client will use to judge you and so, they need to speak volumes about your work and what it is like to form a professional relationship with you.

There are two primary recommendations I have when it comes to creating a consistent marketing plan on Upwork. The first is that you can commit to spending a particular amount of time on Upwork every single day for a month. You might spend an hour or two hours a day bidding on jobs on Upwork. When I first got started as a freelancer, I had no other means of lead generation and even though I was working on a fulltime job and in graduate school full time, I still committed to two hours per day – one hour before work and one hour after – bidding on jobs on Upwork.

In many senses, success with freelance marketing is a numbers game. That means you need to consistently be bidding and you need to be doing so with enough volume to generate interest. Not everyone who reviews your materials is even interested in hiring a freelancer right away. Others may decide to hire someone else or feel that you’re not the right fit for the job. For this reason, you need to cast a wide net of ideal clients when bidding on Upwork jobs. Committing to even one hour per day is often more doable for people who have a busy schedule. Instead of saying, “Well, I’ll bid on jobs on Saturday,” committing every day means you see the newest opportunities that have been posted.


Checking Daily for a Review of Upwork Jobs

If you sign in and nothing new in your area of expertise has come on since yesterday, you can skip your bids or try searching for different keywords for job options on Upwork. However, when you set aside just one day a week to bid on freelance job opportunities, all the other amazing job chances that were posted the other six days may have already been hired out and you’ve shut yourself off from them before even considering it.

Getting a bid in early is one way to increase your chances of getting the job at all on Upwork, so checking daily is a great way to put yourself at the top of the list and generate business immediately. Furthermore, I’ve seen a lot of people who say that they’ll dedicate one day per week to marketing actually fall through because things build up on their schedule or they end up getting sick or wanting to take the day off. By doing a little each day, you’ll start to see traction when you’re consistent and regularly working on your freelance marketing goals.

The other way to pursue regular freelance marketing on Upwork is to commit to doing a certain number of proposals or pitches every day. This depends on the volume of job options posted on Upwork within your category.

So if you commit to doing three proposals every day and stick to that, over time you’ll begin to stack up enough proposals where you should be getting responses from people. Being consistent is also a learning exercise because it shows you what you may be missing in your freelance marketing. If clients do write back and ask you the same questions or if you’re not hearing anything at all, that’s a good sign that you need to go back to the drawing board with your proposal and work samples to present something unique to clients.


Learn From What Works – and What Doesn’t

As you’re marketing, edit and tweak things to see what works best. I tried many different variations of my proposals before I settled on one that seemed to work the most consistently. You are not going to hear back from every client on an Upwork job. I don’t care if you’re the most experienced person in the category. Not everyone is ready to hire and you may not be the right fit for everyone. You may only be likely to hear from a few out of every 5 or 10 proposals you submit to, so casting a wide net and consistent marketing will increase those chances because you’re playing a numbers game. Commit to regularly marketing your freelance services on Upwork and watch your business grow. 


You’ll find all my best advice about building a fulfilling and sustainable business here. It’s where I’ll give you all the juicy details about building a strong digital team or using project management to stay on top of tasks.

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