This post is going to be about the hack I used on Upwork this morning to put in a pitch to a potential client and get a response from them all before 9am and in under five minutes.

Now this doesn’t mean you must only use this hack in the morning. You can use it whenever. I’m an early bird; I like to work early; I only work on my freelance business a couple of hours a day in the morning so I start early before the emails start flooding in and then I use the rest of the day to work on my dissertation and writing books and building my coaching business and my courses that I sell for freelancers.

The Situation

So I was at home at 7am, working at my other house, and I got this invitation to participate in a job. The person signed their name to the Upwork job post. So I googled him. I found him on LinkedIn. I found out we had a little in common. He lives in the state where I grew up. He works in a city that is only a couple of hours away and that my mom visits often because she goes to sports games there and she’s a season ticket holder for a sports team there. I found that information with a two-minute Google search.

The Freelance hack: Find a Connection

So I wrote out my proposal, I included my writing samples, I referenced why I was a good fit for the job and then I put a P.S. on there like “Hey, I see that see you live in this city I love.” And then I included my connection to the city, what I knew about it, how often I’ve been there.

Two sentences. Quick and easy. 

The Outcome

The person who posted the job responded within five minutes and said, “Wow, you have a great deal of experience. That’s perfect for this job and you have connections to where I live and where I work and my business,” and all of that.

So does that mean I’m going to land the job? Who knows. I’ve responded and answered his follow up questions but that got the conversation started and for a lot of freelancers, that’s all you need – a chance to get that conversation started, a chance to get the client interested in working with you.

If you’re not providing professional samples or your pitch is a mess, that may be a hindrance to even starting a conversation, but if you already have good materials and then you throw that in there, you throw in there that you took a few minutes of your time to find out something about the client and to go the extra mile – that could make them much more likely to write back to you.

It might not even be their name; they might not have their name or the company posted on the job. It could be a clue that they leave you in the job proposal itself. So they might include information in the request for proposal that says something about them. It could communicate their company, it could indicate they’ve had bad experiences in the past, it could indicate they want someone with very specific experience. Your job is to hone your response specifically to that. If you can find any personal thread of connection between you and that person, you want to use that. 

Another example where this works: I have had another huge LinkedIn proposal on the table for weeks now. It’s with a multi-billion dollar law firm. There are four rounds of interviews for this freelance position (which is not surprising) so I looked up the next person on the list to interview me. I looked him up on LinkedIn and found out that he got his master’s degree in the same field that I’m getting my PhD in, and I used that to connect with him on LinkedIn.

This gets rid of some of that awkwardness you experience in the initial phone call where you’re not sure what to say besides “Hi. How are you? So nice to meet you.”

No one wants to hire a complete stranger. They want to hire another human. If there is any way for you to put human elements into technology, sales calls, Upwork bids; anything that’s going to help you forge a connection with that person before you even begin working together – use it. Find a personal connection with the client and use that to your advantage.

Will it land you the job? Maybe… maybe not… but it’s definitely going to crack open the door and have the client be much more interested in possibly working with you in the future. 

It never hurts to do a little bit of advanced research when you can. That could be what makes the difference between the client reaching out to you or someone else. 


I hope this trick works for you. You can use it anytime with any connection that you find online. Read between the lines. If you can find out their name, if you can find out the company name, include something personal about that in your pitch and you have a much better chance of starting a conversation.     



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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