If you’ve followed my previous two posts you’ve:

  1. Been accepted to Upwork, and
  2. Optimized your profile and title on Upwork.

Now, it’s time to get your first writing client.

Grunt Work

This is probably the easiest part of the entire process. With a properly constructed profile, finding clients is extremely easy on a portal like Upwork. Note that I did not write “finding high-paying clients is extremely easy.” For that, you’ll need to do a fair bit of high-quality work and do a lot of searching.

But that’s not our goal today. You’re unlikely to find a high-paying client right off the bat unless you’re extremely well-credentialed, experienced, and lucky. Instead, our goal is to get our proverbial foot in the door. We want those first few clients for some positive, 5-star reviews with which to pad our profile.

Finding The Right Client

I’ve written previously about how to find the right client. To reiterate, it’s important that you keep your goal in mind. You need, at this point, to fill out your profile with some 5-star reviews. So what’s most important is that the clients you select consistently give their writers positive reviews. The last thing you want is to get an extremely fussy client who wants $1.00-a-word writing for fractions of a penny done yesterday.

So do a quick job search on Upwork for any of the following:

  • “entry level writer”
  • “entry level blog”
  • “entry level content”
  • “beginner writer”
  • “beginner content”

From amongst the jobs that are listed, click through to the job posting and then scroll down to “Client’s Recent History.” You’ll see the feedback they provided to their freelancers and the feedback provided to them by their freelancers. While universally positive reviews are not necessary, the overall trend should show that they’re easy to work with and generally provide positive feedback.

Finding The Right Job

From amongst the jobs that came up when you searched for the terms listed above, look for a post that specifically mentions an area in which you have some knowledge. You don’t have to be an expert in the field (unless the post says you do) but you will want some basic familiarity with the field. For example, don’t choose a job writing for a golf website if you’ve never held a club.

You’ll find plenty of posts seeking writers for blogs on various topics, ranging from tech to medicine. Generally, the more entry-level writing jobs are open to people who lack specific experience or credentials in the field. Also, some areas, like law and medicine, are usually reserved for experts. You’ll have more luck in areas like tech, nutrition, business, and personal finance.

When you’ve found the right job, and the client checks out, you’re ready to submit a proposal.

Honing Your Proposal

I’ve got just a few pieces of advice for writing your proposal.

  • First, write a custom cover letter for each proposal. It’s alright if you use a base “script” or template, just make sure you modify it to suit each application so the person reading it can tell you gave some thought to it.
  • Second, address each question the client asks, in both the job posting and in the “Additional Questions” area, directly in your cover letter or supplemental answers.
  • Third, don’t dance around your lack of experience. The client can see you have no completed jobs. Tackle it head on and explain why you’re an excellent choice for the position anyway.
  • Fourth, just like with your profile and title, explain exactly how you’re going to address the client’s requirements and why you’re a better candidate than anyone else.
  • Finally, proofread your proposal! You’re applying to a writing position. Errors in your writing look extremely unprofessional.

Pricing Your Bid

Use care when pricing your bid. You’re an entry level writer so you can’t command a very high price yet. However, there’s no sense in making less than what you could otherwise earn if you asked for it. Most job posts contain a desired price range and, as a general rule, you should price yourself in the middle of that range.

As a novice writer without any positive reviews on Upwork, you should expect to earn between $0.01 and $0.05 per word, depending on your credentials. I know. It’s peanuts. Remember, however, that you’re effectively doing these first few jobs for the reviews. Your income will increase significantly if you can prove to clients that you’re a talented and reliable writer.

Waiting Is The Hardest Part

Once you’ve priced your bid and completed the other steps described above, send the proposal. Then, repeat the same steps 5-10 times. Then, wait.

Within 12 hours, you should begin to receive a handful of responses. From there, it’s just a matter of ironing out the details with your client and, then, actually doing the job.

Congratulations

Congrats! If you followed the steps outlined in these first few articles you should now have your very first writing client. They likely won’t pay a lot but, if you play your cards right, they’re just the first step in a long line of paying clients. Good luck!

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