Freelancing Writing Jobs For Beginners
How many times have you come across marketing materials for app or software that claim you could make money online fast, without much work. Too many, right?
And how many really work or truly legit?
In this post, I’m not going into any of those because really, trying to make money online is not rocket science but it’s not really walk in the park either.
I have been into affiliate marketing for some time now. Although I have made money selling affiliate products from networks such as Amazon and Webgains, there are ups and downs. For instance, at the end of the year, I would see surge in traffic and sales but dips in sales in some parts of the year.
Affiliate marketing is but just one way of making money online. In order to really make a full-time income, you need to multi-task.
Besides affiliate marketing, one of my favourites in generating online income is through freelancing.
Freelancing never became a top income earner for me until I used Upwork.
When I first signed up with Upwork, I just fed it with services that I can provide clients – mainly writing website/blog content, translation.
I never really thought of how important it was to make the description of my services stand out, against the profiles of thousands of others who offer similar services.
Below I share some tips which I have found beneficial through my trials and errors with Upwork.
Stand Out in The Services You Offer
Having your services stand out doesn’t necessarily mean writing a very wordy, lengthy description of your profile. On the contrary, as I progressed further into accepting more assignments from clients, I learned that having more precise description of your services works better.
As an example, “writing website/blog content” can be improved with “writing website/blog content in any niche”.
The addition of “in any niche” would attract more clients to send an invite to you to complete their assignments.
When clients look for a potential freelancers to engage in, they would type in keywords that depict their needs.
So if you include keywords within the description of your services that matches a client’s search, chances are you would appear among the top in the search results.
Tests in Upwork
Although I am not a native English-speaking person, I prefer to write in English for websites/blogs. I can also write in Malay but I must say I am more comfortable with English.
However, from what I observe in Upwork, native English-speaking clients tend to pick native-English freelancers.
To gain clients’ confidence in me, I took up tests that relate to the services I offer – in this case, English language-related tests.
Under ‘Find Work’ in your Upwork page, you go to Tests and type in the kind you are looking for. You would be given a set time to complete the tests and will be graded pass or fail depending on your score.
If you pass a test, you can include it in your profile particularly if you obtained a high score. So the test is a testament to your skills and potentially the services you offer.
Should you fail a test, don’t despair. If you feel the test would really reflect your skills and ability, you can always take it again another day.
How Do You Rate?
At the beginning I use a relatively low rate per hour for my services, fearing that I might deter clients from hiring me, should I quote too high. That was a mistake.
As I do mainly website content/posts, I realize there’s quite a bit of work involved that can, at times, take few days to complete.
For a post, I would need to do some research on the topic, interview relevant individuals if the need arises, source for appropriate images. In addition, I have to come up with some twist of my own on the article so it would be different than those by competitors in the same niche.
It is not necessarily the difficulty of the tasks involved in piecing an article, but rather the time needed to source and put everything together.
Based on this consideration, I increased my rate per hour. And just a reminder, Upwork will also take a certain percentage of your earnings. So my previous earnings of $15 per hour was reduced to $12 per hour – hardly justifiable for a 1,500-word article which requires almost a day to fully complete (from research to final copy).
Thus my advice is don’t rate yourself too low in the services you offer. Look around. See what other freelancers are charging. If you are confident that you can do a similar or even better job, then quote your services right. But don’t go overboard, particularly if you are just starting out!
Proposals to Clients
A free member in Upwork is entitled to 60 connects per month. If you don’t get any invitations from clients for assignments, you can send proposals to the clients for jobs that you believe you can fulfil. This is where ‘connects’ come in.
Usually a proposal sent to clients requires two connects. Using two means you have 58 connects left. If you don’t apply for any other jobs, then the remaining connects will be carried forward to the following month.
In sending proposals, you want to make yourself stand out from others applying for the same job. You can send a sample of your work that has received an acclaim to convince clients you are the one they are looking for. You can also include special traits like flexibility and timeliness in your proposal.
Getting jobs in Upwork is about making yourself visible before making yourself trustworthy. While getting payment that commensurates with your work is something you should work towards, you must always extend your services with integrity and reason.
I understand the anxiety when first starting out as a freelancer, treading on the unknown. But at the back of your mind, always remember that you want to gain clients’ trust in your ability first, provide them top quality work and the rest will come …naturally.