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How To Get Your First Proposal Accepted on Upwork Amongst Experienced Freelancers?

New freelancers have a common question – “How can a new freelancer get hired by clients when they need to compete with experienced freelancer?”

It may sound difficult when you have experienced and new freelancer apply for the same job but it is not as difficult for a new freelancer as it sounds.


So let me share with you how new freelancer on Upwork cannot only compete but get proposals accepted by clients in the midst of experienced freelancer. Take it as a starting point for your freelancing career on Upwork.

1. Complete your Profile

First thing first, You should complete your profile 100%. Even 99% isn’t enough.

Make sure every aspects of your profile is correct and complete including job title, overview of what you do, profile picture with clear headshot, hourly rates, portfolio, education, previous employment history etc etc.

Apart from adding the details in your profile you should also take a few tests to show your expertise on the subject matter.

Any aspect of your profile cannot be left blank.

2. Apply To Jobs Often

As a new freelancer, it is more likely that you will have a free Upwork account which means you have 60 connects per month.

Upwork team has offered 60 connects to new freelancers for a reason. You will not be awarded each and every job that you apply and so you have to apply more and apply often.

Normally it takes a couple of connects to apply to a job and so 60 connect means you can apply to 30 jobs in a month. Make sure you utilise the opportunity and apply for as many jobs as you find suitable to your expertise.

If you keep applying, you will understand many aspects of proposals especially why your proposals are getting rejected which can help to avoid the mistakes that you may be doing when writing your proposals.

Accept rejection because it happens to everyone. It is part and parcel of being a freelancer.

3. Never Copy Paste

Read what client wants and write a proposal that can help the client get a solution from what you offer. If you don’t take time to read their requirements, expect the same for your proposal. Tit for tat.

You can copy paste small part of the proposal like your experience for a technology.

Normally I work in vBulletin, WordPress and Xenforo and so I have a para each for those technologies and depending on the job I am applying, I do take up my experience para and paste them in the proposal.

Having a core template for proposal and adding pluggable content in the proposal template can help you write good proposals. I have shared the exact same template I use for my Upwork proposals here.

The idea of using a template is not to make the proposal longer but shorter and to the point.

4. Sample portfolio

As a new freelancer, you may not have the reviews and feedback to back your proposal but you can add a sample of your work to your portfolio that you may have worked previously.

Apart from adding the sample of work to the portfolio, you can show these samples in your proposals which will make your proposal stand out and help build confidence of the client to accept your proposal.

Clients don’t hire experience but hire experts who provide good value at a reasonable price.

5. Consistent and reasonable pricing

If you are a new freelancer and provide the same expertise as an experience freelancer, you should not quote a price that is at par with the experience freelancer. It is ok to start small and evolve in your pricing as you move up the experience ladder on the site.

Apart from making the price reasonable, your pricing should also be consistent. Your profile may have an hourly rate of $10 but client’s budget is $20 per hour or $5 per hour, your proposal should always be $10 per hour and not change based on client’s hourly price.

For fixed price, if your hourly rate is $10 per hour and if your proposal mentions that you can get the job done in a few hours, make sure your fixed price is justifiable to the hours you may spend on the job. Ideally if you are providing a fixed price, avoid the hours you may work on it.

6. Understand how Upwork works

When you want to be working as a freelancer on Upwork, it is very important for you to understand how Upwork works?

As an example projects have expertise level that client wants. As a new freelancer, you should apply for beginner and intermediate expertise projects. If you keep applying for expert level, your proposals may consistently get rejected.

Apart from requirements for expertise, there can be many other requirements like they are

  • Looking for freelancer in certain geo
  • Be part of certain Upwork groups
  • Have completed certain tests
  • Have certain level of fluency in English.
  • Have certain job success rate
  • Have completed certain hours of billable work.

Check out all the requirements and never apply if you don’t satisfy all the criteria. Even if you apply, your proposal ends up in the list of do not match criteria and is more likely to be ignored.


There has been no better time than today to start your freelancing career and every expert freelancer starts as a new freelancer.

Looking for your first paid client? I’ll show how

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