Yesterday I showed you how to create an Upwork profile as Part 1 of my First Writing Client Challenge. Today, we make sure that people who see it actually want to hire you.
You’ve got a steep hill to climb. You’ve got no completed jobs, no 5-star ratings, and no credibility. But we can make your journey a little bit easier by optimizing your Upwork profile and title.
This article isn’t going to be very long. Instead, we’re going to focus heavily on two key principles: market segmentation and differentiation.
Preparation: Market Segment
Before we write anything down you need to conduct a little thought experiment. I need you to answer this question:
Who is your ideal client?
You need to be able explain who your ideal client is before you can even begin to be considered by him or her. Don’t focus on things like wealth. It goes without saying that everyone would prefer an extremely wealthy client who pays exorbitant fees.
Instead, you’re trying to determine characteristics like:
- Is she an individual or the agent of a company?
- What industry is she in?
- What sort of writing does she need?
- Is she budget-oriented and cost-conscious or quality-oriented?
All of the answers to this question should be answered from a realistic perspective. In other words, we’re talking about the ideal client for someone with your skills and experience. If you’re limited in both categories, your ideal client may look a lot like a budget-conscious blogger in an easily researched field acting as an individual (for example).
Once you’ve determined what your ideal client looks like, keep that picture in your mind.
What sets you apart from every other writer out there? What unique combination of skills, experience, and education do you possess that most other people don’t?
It’s these qualities that you must emphasize in your profile in order to stand out from the crowd. If you’re unusually educated, experienced in a unique field, or possess rare life experience or an interesting perspective make sure to highlight those differences in your title and profile.
Don’t worry if your differentiators are not mind-blowing or world-class. And they don’t have to be entirely unique. If you’ve traveled a lot, have a degree, or have worked in a cool job, that will suffice. Don’t be shy to accentuate what makes you different.
Now, go to the title section of your profile and re-write your title with your ideal client in mind. For example, at the beginning of your career your skills and experience may be limited so you’ll be looking at the lower end of the writing spectrum for your first few jobs.
Your title may look like, “Lawyer and Writer with a Talent for Fast, Punchy Blogs.”
Or it may read “Professional writer with 15 years of health-care industry experience.”
Whatever you choose, make sure that your title speaks directly to your ideal client. Is your ideal client a lawyer looking for blog content? Speak to her. Is your perfect client an affiliate marketer looking for product review copy? Speak to him.
I’d strongly advise that you not go too narrow at the beginning. While you need to focus your search somewhat, limiting your ideal client to doctors with cosmetic surgery practices looking for copy for their websites may leave you without that many options.
Additionally, don’t set the bar too high. Your options will be limited at the beginning and many of the more prestigious clients will want someone with experience.
Use your profile to explain further how you can solve your clients’ problems. In my profile I say: “I’m client-focused, delivering superb work on short timelines at the client’s convenience.” I like to emphasize that I work on my clients’ schedules and provide a convenient and easy experience for them.
You don’t need to use the entire 5000 characters of your profile if you don’t want to. No one’s going to read that much anyway. However, feel free to go on at some length if what you’re writing has value and you put the most important things first.
You should be sure to refer to all of your differentiating characteristics in the profile. Describe what sets you apart from everyone else who’s applying to the jobs you’ll be applying for and why that qualifies you for the roles.
When you’re done optimizing your profile, I’d really appreciate it if you would post a link to your Upwork profile in the comments below. I’d love to see what you’ve come up with and I’d even be happy to provide some constructive criticism if you welcome it.
Other than that, I’ll see you in a day or so when we get to the next and final part: applying to job postings in a way that actually gets you hired.