Upwork provides the opportunities to connect with clients all over the world who are in need of freelance assistance. Whether it’s a solopreneur or a major company looking for a freelancer, many businesses can benefit from outsourcing particular tasks on a one time or an ongoing basis to a freelancer.

What companies look for in hiring a freelancer will depend on their individual needs but there are several common traits that can be identified in successful Upwork freelancers. Having been on Upwork myself for years and having networked with many different people who have achieved success on the site, I’ve found common characteristics that make clients more likely to hire you. How well you can telegraph these characteristics to a prospective client can increase your chances of landing freelance business on Upwork.


Those with Expertise

Anyone outsourcing to a freelancer wants to hire a professional. Whatever your particular expertise is, it needs to be communicated to the client in your pitch, your work samples, and your profile.

The client may also seek you out on LinkedIn so it’s a good idea for your LinkedIn profile and your Upwork profile to work in a complementary fashion to reference your particular skills. Any certifications you’ve received in your industry, as well as particular education or outstanding accomplishments, should be referenced throughout all of your professional profiles online.

Someone who is in the business of outsourcing may just want to save time but they still want to hire an expert. Anyone with particular expertise that fits into the general categories of most hired freelancers on Upwork can succeed if they can use keywords in their profile and work samples in addition to any feedback they already have on Upwork to support the strength of their bid. Think carefully about what it is you bring to the table in terms of expertise that could make a client more likely to hire you than any other freelancer.


Freelancers Who Are Dependable

Did you know that approximately half of freelancers who are contacted about participating in a paid test job or working regularly will never follow through? I have seen this time and time again. Even when money is essentially being dangled like a carrot on a stick, some freelancers panic when they get hired or ghost the client and never follow through with the work.

Dependability, which refers to your willingness to communicate and your ability to take on the job and complete it in a timely fashion shows a lot to the client. Most people who are outsourcing to freelancers on Upwork don’t have the time, the interest, or the expertise to handle the job on their own but they want to know that you can do it in the time you say you will. Make sure you give people a realistic perspective on your deadline. Don’t tell someone you can write a 50,000-word ebook by tomorrow because they are relying completely on your word and when you fall through and aren’t able to get it done, this will lead to negative feedback or a canceled job. Being realistic and sticking to what you say you can complete goes a long way on Upwork.


Freelancers with a Great Overall Impression from Past Work/Testimonials

This is a very subjective category to consider but it is one that can be shown to the client in a number of different ways, whether it’s from your initial job proposal, your website, your LinkedIn profile, a telephone conversation, or emails between you and the client. Hiring a stranger online is a very risky enterprise for anyone, even companies that regularly outsource to freelancers.

Remember what I referenced above about how half of all freelancers never actually follow through? That’s a troubling statistic and one that makes even experienced clients nervous about hiring someone new. If you take three days to respond to their initial email, this could signal to them that you aren’t as professional or as easy to communicate with as they originally thought and they may choose to go another direction. Those freelancers who provided an overall great first impression, however, are easy hires. Most busy people who are looking to outsource to freelancers on Upwork are doing so because they have no time.

Therefore, if you can convince them quickly and effectively that you’re the right person for the job, they are not going to waste time in hiring you. In fact, they may stop looking at all other freelancers immediately. This is in your best interests because you can land the job quickly from a client who is excited about working with you. Practicing a good first impression has to do with your digital presence as well as your telephone communication skills if you have conversations with the client. Be aware that tones can often be misinterpreted in Upwork message rooms or emails so I always recommend getting the client on the phone if you can.

People with a broad range of skills and personality traits succeed as freelancers on Upwork but the most common traits listed above are the ones I see over and over again in successful freelancers who do well not just on Upwork but in many other marketing avenues. Consider how you can communicate these traits to a client the next time you’re talking to him or her.

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