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How I made 100k on Upwork without a single bad review.

Making 100k on Upwork might seem like a pipe dream for a freelancer that is just starting out, but let me tell you, it’s absolutely achievable. How do I know? Because I did it myself. I just hit the 100k milestone for my earnings on the platform with a stellar rating, without a single bad review tarnishing my reputation:


Mind you, Upwork has long ago stopped being my main source of client work. But I will give the platform its due credit – it’s a great place for beginner freelancers to dip their toes and start forming relationships with clients. I’ll share with you the tips and tricks I learned along the way to help you build a reputation on the platform and reach your financial goals.

1. Create a Personality-Infused Profile

Think of your profile on Upwork as your virtual calling card. It’s your chance to make a great first impression and let clients get a taste of who you are. So, don’t be afraid to inject a bit of personality into your profile. Write a quirky yet professional headline that showcases your unique skills, upload a friendly and approachable headshot, and craft a clear and concise summary of your skills and experience. Record an intro video of yourself, talking about your skills and what you can bring to the table as a freelancer. Trust me, clients will appreciate a little bit of personality and it’ll help you stand out from the sea of profiles on Upwork.

2. Deliver Work that Blows Clients’ Minds  

As a freelancer, the quality of your work is your biggest selling point. So, make sure every project you take on is delivered to the best of your abilities. Take the time to fully understand the client’s requirements and deliver work that exceeds their expectations. Make sure to proofread your work, double-check for errors, and be open to feedback. Trust me, a little extra effort goes a long way in making clients happy and keeping those good reviews coming.

When putting together a portfolio, showcase only your best creations. Remember – your portfolio is only as strong as your weakest case-study! 

3. Communicate like a Pro

Respond promptly to client messages, keep them informed of any updates or changes to the project, and be proactive in addressing any issues that arise. When you get on a Zoom call, make sure you are well-groomed and looking good for the interview. Also, consider improving your wi-fi connection and buying a better-quality webcam for crystal-clear video quality. 

If there are delays or unexpected hurdles, don’t be afraid to reach out to the client and work together to find a solution. Don’t keep your clients in the dark on your progress only to give them updates towards the end. Clear communication will go a long way in avoiding misunderstandings and keeping clients happy.

4. Be the Picture of Reliability  

Let’s be honest, clients want a freelancer they can rely on. Make sure that you’re always available to work and that you deliver projects on time. If you’re going to be unavailable, give clients a heads-up as early as possible. This shows that you’re responsible and professional and helps to build trust, which is essential for securing repeat business.

Unfortunately, freelancers often have a bad rep for being flaky – procrastinating on the tasks you’ve been given or dropping the project completely just because you are bored won’t help you build a reputation and relationships with your client base. 

5. Find Your Niche and Own it

With so many freelancers on Upwork from all corners of the world, standing out from the crowd can be a challenge. But focusing on a niche skill can help you differentiate yourself from the competition. Find out what you enjoy doing the most early on, and work on becoming an expert in that field. 

Trying to do it all is the mistake most beginner freelancers and designers make. My personal experience attests to the fact that you can’t become a top 1%-er in any area if you are trying to do everything for clients. At the beginning of my freelance design career, I realised that logo design and packaging is what I enjoyed the most and so I started focusing on that and turning down most unrelated offers. The result – I quickly established myself as the go-to guy for branding & packaging. 

6. Cultivate a Spotless Reputation

Your reputation on Upwork is your most valuable asset, so it’s important to take care of it. When clients sift through proposals, they are looking for the most reliable freelancer – a high ranking is right up there with your portfolio. Anything below 95% success rate on Upwork can severely decrease your chances of securing more jobs. This means a few bad reviews in a row can destroy your profile.

To avoid that scenario, make sure that every project you take on is delivered to the best of your abilities, and be open to feedback. ALWAYS ask your client for a 5.0 rating at the end, and respond positively to any constructive criticism. If you receive a bad review, try to persuade your client to change it to a positive review, even if it means giving a partial refund or doing some extra work for them as compensation. Take it as an opportunity to learn what went wrong and improve your skills. A solid reputation will help you secure more work and reach your financial goals

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