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Learn from your mistakes!

Learn from your mistakes!

Are you still struggling to get hired on Upwork after weeks and months of trying? Or are you still stuck with a rejected Upwork profile?

If so, you’re probably making the same mistake (or mistakes) that thousands of freelancers around the world make each day.

And this hurts your chance of finding your first online job and succeeding in Upwork.

My Experience in the Past Five Years

While working with Upwork clients and fellow freelancers in my Upwork team, I’ve enjoyed observing freelancers and their actions as a side hobby. ūüėÄ

I’ve now personally helped hundreds of freelancers (I’ve been giving personal advice to workers¬†on a daily basis, for more than a year) and I still continued with my “observation hobby” until today.

With this hobby, I’ve been able to notice recurring themes in terms of mistakes that new and current freelancers make, and I’m sharing these mistakes with you below.

If you want to take a shortcut to your Upwork success, I suggest that you…

Avoid These Mistakes So You Can Succeed Faster in Upwork

1. Not taking Upwork (and online jobs, in general) seriously

A lot of workers complain about not getting hired, or getting Upwork profile rejections many times. But the hard truth is that they’re not taking it seriously.

I’ve seen people who treat their Upwork profile or account like its one of their social media accounts. They put basic details, add a social media-worthy and unprofessional picture, and leave their profile alone for a few weeks or months (and yet they expect to get hired!).

You have to put in time and commitment and take it seriously.

Serious results need serious actions.

2. Not fixing and improving the Upwork profile

This is a very common mistake. Even experienced freelancers are guilty of this!

Related to #1 above, you need to continuously improve your Upwork profile to keep it accurate and relevant.

3. Not reading and following instructions

This is another extremely common Upwork mistake to avoid. I see workers commit this almost daily! You must read and follow instructions so you can improve your Upwork profile, write your Upwork proposal, and do your online jobs well.

This also applies to those who are following tips and tutorials found online, including my Upwork profile approval checklist.

4. Not applying to Upwork jobs enough

If you’re a new Upwork freelancer, don’t forget to maximize the submitted proposals allowed on a monthly basis.

You get 60 free Connects monthly, which means you can submit a total of 30 proposals for free each month (2 Connects are spent for every Upwork proposal or cover letter you submit).

Find 30 jobs that fit your skills and you can apply for during the first few months of your Upwork career. But be sure to read #5 below…

5. Applying too much too soon and randomly

Gone are the days when you can submit around 15-30 free Upwork proposals on a weekly basis. Now, you only have 30 free proposals a month.

Upwork has become strict in the past few years, and are currently suspending erring Upwork accounts left and right.

To reduce the risk of getting an Upwork suspension, you must apply only to Upwork jobs that fit your skills and spread your proposal submissions throughout the month.

Space it out. Don’t submit 30 proposals or cover letters in a span of a few days or one week!

6. Putting fake or copied details on the profile and cover letter

I’ve observed and helped local and foreign Upwork freelancers, and I’ve seen several of them use fake or copied details on their profile or cover letters. Some admitted doing so, while some didn’t!

Using fake details hurts you as a freelancer, and it’s also illegal to do so in Upwork (you risk getting suspended!).

7. Accepting random jobs just to get hired

I bet many of you are in the same situation as other workers who’ve asked for my advice: You’re new to Upwork and wanted to get hired quickly for some reason (maybe you quit your job just last week, or you need more money for an emergency).

While I completely understand your reasons for accepting random jobs, this is one of the worst things you can do when you start your freelancing career.

By accepting random jobs, you’re starting on the wrong foot, and you run the risk of getting a bad client feedback, or worse, an Upwork suspension.

Focus on the jobs that fit your skills first. You can always learn new skills and find other jobs later on.

The next mistake is related to this one.

8. Underestimating the work involved

This applies to freelancers who got their first few jobs in Upwork, particularly those who accepted an Upwork job that is not a good fit to their skills.

The reason #7 is relevant and very important is because it can snowball into something much worse.

Here are several possible scenarios: you will get underpaid, overworked, and/or not get paid at all.

Let me explain.

When you underestimate the work involved, you almost always would underestimate the time and pay involved.

In other words, you’d end up getting underpaid and overworked (example, you get paid only $100 for 15 hours of work which should’ve been worth $250 considering all factors and requirements including Upwork fees) because you did not foresee the ample amount of time needed to complete the task.

Not only that. If you have a deadline and miss it, the client might decide not to pay you at all. That means all your hard work goes down the drain, worthless and unused!

Eventually, you’d also likely get a bad client feedback which in turn would reduce your chance of getting a second and third Upwork client.

9. Not doing research and not thinking of solutions

As an online freelancer, it’s very important to know how to do research and find solutions by yourself. Because most people are not reliable or too busy to help you at the exact time you need help.

The next mistake is related to this one.

10. Not asking clients relevant questions (and asking random freelancers instead)

Often, there are questions relevant to your job that only your clients can answer. In this particular case, it’s important that you ask your client first before asking someone else.

And before you ask someone else, I suggest you find the answer yourself by researching online.

Be careful when asking for help on forums and Facebook groups. Majority of group members are new freelancers like you, so you are at risk of getting bad or poor advice or answers. Always countercheck their advice by doing your own research.

11. Not considering the Upwork fees

For Upwork contracts totaling $500 and under (per client), you’re supposed to pay a 20% fee to Upwork. That is huge!

When you forget to add the Upwork fees to the total amount you bill your client, it’s like putting salt to your wound! Always consider the fees when you bid or charge your Upwork clients!

12. Quitting early on Upwork and online jobs as a whole
Quitting: one of the worst mistakes you can do!

Quitting: one of the worst mistakes you can do!

This is the “nail in the coffin” that you should avoid early in your Upwork or online jobs career.

Some freelancers who’ve asked for my help told me that they’d closed their account immediately after getting a profile rejection.¬†This makes no sense to me. Opening an account and then immediately closing it defeats the purpose of finding a job or extra source for you to make money online. And it’s too premature to quit!

Others quit after sending “many proposals”. When I asked them how many is “many”, they’d say 5, 10, or 20 proposals — in a span of several weeks or months! Quitting at this point is also premature.

I’ve submitted thousands of Upwork proposals in my first three years. It’s a numbers game. Success likely won’t come if you quit after sending only 20 proposals. ūüėČ

Upwork proposals archive

My Upwork Proposals

If you’re the type of early quitter, I encourage you to seriously reconsider, and review the previous mistakes listed here. There are many opportunities inside and outside Upwork, you just need to persevere in finding the right opportunity for you.

13. Not learning new skills

This mistake is applicable to most of us, particularly single moms and dads who have stayed home for years taking care of their kids full time, older workers who are coming out of retirement, and employees who’ve been stuck in the same day job for years or decades.

It’s critical to continue upgrading your skills or “upskill” to compete and survive in this blazing-fast digital world.

Every few months or years, new technology emerges, and new apps are created. As freelancers, we must always adapt and be open to learning new things.

Not only will upskilling make your hiring chances increase dramatically, it will also keep your brain active and healthy.


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I hope you’ll learn from these mistakes and avoid making them yourself from now on.

Please continue sharing my articles to your family and friends in social media. I’d be happy to receive more messages in the Comments section below, in my inbox, and my¬†Facebook group (Online Jobs Hub)!

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“Digging” Image: Credit to the owner

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