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Timmy C

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That's interesting, haven't seen anyone get tbat message before. Did you try a new skill or the same one as before?

My last profile was sales dominant skill wise, with business development and customer service listed also.

This time i zoned right in and made my profile 100% customer service and got that message.

Next time around should i switch it up do you think and list another skill?
 

Lex DeVille

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My last profile was sales dominant skill wise, with business development and customer service listed also.

This time i zoned right in and made my profile 100% customer service and got that message.

Next time around should i switch it up do you think and list another skill?
Yeah, based on that message I think trying a different skill would be worth it. See the skills index link I posted yesterday above. Maybe try for one of those. A skill I recently saw from the old index that I don't think was listed on the one above is "Lesson Planning" which has to do with planning lessons for online courses or for other kinds of instructors. Even though it's not listed on the index, it's still an in-demand skill that wouldn't require a lot of technical knowledge to write a good profile around. Might be worth a shot.
 

MyNameIsMarcel

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Nov 23, 2018
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Thank you so much for this post. I will get from it as much as I can. I closed my eyes and answered the questions, so thats the homework.
1.Why are you doing this?
Because I am a young 18 years old guy, I want to learn myself new things and do as much as I can.

2.Describe your endgame
Use my experience, look at fails and good things that I have done.

3.How much money is needed
I need to be able to make about 3000 dollars per month to come back to my home country and have a enough good life for me. 100 dollars per day.

4.Who are you failing if you don't succeed?
I am the one who takes a risk.
 
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Upwork is one of the fastest ways to get your feet wet with online business. You probably won't get rich on Upwork (though it's not impossible), and that isn't the purpose of this guide. This multi-post guide is an Upwork Tutorial for those who:

  • Need to get moving on something...ANYTHING
  • Need a way to bootstrap cash...FOR FREE

It doesn't matter where you're from or what your situation is. If you have semi-stable internet and a computer to work from, then you can make money on Upwork at no cost to you but your time.

In the posts that follow I will share a series of Upwork Tutorials to get you started even if you don't know what the f*ck you're doing, and even if you don't have any skills or experience right now. This step-by-step guide will give you a clear path from $0 to your first $1,000 or more on Upwork.

If you follow my posts and do as I say, you will make money...

Possibly this week.

However, you should know that your success here requires a difficult mindset shift. You will have to change how you do things. Employees do NOT make good freelancers. So here are some things you should know right now:

  • You can take your 20 year work history and light it on fire
  • Tuck your college degrees away on some shelf
  • Tear that entitled victim attitude to shreds because...

Freelance clients don't give a shit about your education and experience unless it backs up your ability to get the job done. Also, nobody owes you anything. In the freelance world, you rise to your own level based on how much you help people, and on how clearly you demonstrate that you can help people.


Also... I'm developing a corresponding tutorial for my YouTube channel, and as such will be posting videos related to each post topic. You can watch them or not. You do not have to watch them to get the information because I will also post it in text here.

Consider this DAY ZERO.

Each day I will walk you through one piece of the Upwork puzzle. Step-by-step I will guide you to get approved on Upwork, get started, and make money. At the end of each post you will find a homework assignment.

Do the homework each day.


I would encourage you to share your progress and results either here, on my channel, or both since it will encourage engagement that will send traffic to the Fastlane Forum (each video links to the forum), and to my channel which is valuable for M.J. and for myself and also promotes future comprehensive tutorials such as this one, which is valuable for you.

SET OFF AT SUNRISE TO GET THERE BY DARK

There's only one way this thread won't become another action-faking, analysis paralysis knowledge feast for you. To make anything useful happen, you will have to take MASSIVE action and get started. You will have to stop telling yourself every silly excuse. Stop being afraid. Don't let phantoms of fantasy futures destroy your dreams.

Action is the only way.

So start today. Right now. Make a commitment. Commit to do this. Commit to act and to get started. You will start this today. You will take your first step now. And that first step is to determine WHY you are doing this. What do you want to come of this? To do that, your first homework is physically to answer all of the following questions:

  1. Why are you doing this?
  2. Describe your endgame in specific detail...
  3. How much money do you need to earn to make this worth it?
  4. Who are you failing if you give up or don't succeed?

It's important to know WHY you are doing this. You can't be vague about it. "I want to be a highly paid freelancer who creates value" is not a good response for your "why."

You are doing this because you need to pay bills or debt. Because you want to quit your shitty job. Because you need money for your ecommerce business. Because you want to travel and earn money from anywhere. Because you want to support your family. Because you want to earn full-time pay with part-time work from home.

You are trying to escape something (bad job, bad boss, debt, poverty, feeling like a loser). You desire some kind of change (travel, money, freedom, skills, to get started). You are selfish and you want things in life and THAT IS OKAY.

But you need to define those things. The things you want. The things you don't want. Because it is those things that will help remind you why you set off down this path in the first place, especially when there's nothing but miles and miles of bumpy road ahead.

That is your homework today.

Do the homework. Post your response. In the next post I will teach you how to give yourself the best possible chance to get approved on Upwork. As of 2019, getting approved on Upwork is probably the single biggest barrier to entry for new freelancers.

Lucky for you, you're not a freelancer. You're an entrepreneur, and you have me as your guide. So follow this Upwork Tutorial and commit to continue even when the long road makes you weary. If you do, you may discover the distance between sunrise and sunset isn't so far apart as it seems.

By the way...

This is the only mindset post.

Get your mind right now. In the days that follow, we've got work to do.

Hi Lex Deville, how are you? My name is Matheus and I wanted to join UpWork, but I live in Brazil, and I do not get on so well with the English. Would that be a drag on me to follow in this business?
 

Lex DeVille

Sweeping Shadows from Dreams
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Hi Lex Deville, how are you? My name is Matheus and I wanted to join UpWork, but I live in Brazil, and I do not get on so well with the English. Would that be a drag on me to follow in this business?
Only if you think it will be.

I understood what you were saying well enough. You may want to consider a skill that doesn't require strong English. Anything you can build, design or create. Websites, logos, illustrations, music, landing pages, email funnels, anything that doesn't require writing basically.

As long as you can communicate clearly enough to understand the client and deliver what they need then clients won't have a problem working with you.
 

kanunay

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My profile was approved immediately, but I've got to figure out what my niche is going to be. I've been jack-of-all-trades for many years, except in one area (legacy systems migration) but there doesn't seem to be much demand for that specialty on Upwork.
 

Lex DeVille

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Upwork Tutorial Day 4 - How to Build Your Upwork
Portfolio Even Without Paid Client Work



Right after clients look at your overview, they scroll down and check out your portfolio. While your overview tends to tell them what you can do, your portfolio shows them. If your portfolio sucks or doesn't exist at all, then you'll probably get passed over for the next person. So today I'll show you how to build one even if you don't have any paid jobs to use as examples.

General Portfolio Rules:

  1. ANY portfolio pieces are better than none
  2. One full page is the bare minimum (4 portfolio pieces)
  3. Two full pages is the minimum I recommend to establish credibility
  4. Portfolio pieces with an image are better than without an image
  5. Demonstrate your best work even if it is unpaid work
  6. Make the first 2 pages look consistent
What Image Should I Use for My Portfolio Pieces?
There are three kinds of images I use for my portfolio pieces. Before I share them, you should know that you should use whatever makes the most sense based on the skill you offer.

For example:

  • Web Designer = Screenshot from the homepage of the website
  • Logo Designer = Images of the logos you've designed
  • Brand Designer = Images with consistent colors and style
  • Copywriter = Screenshot of website homepage copy or free stock photo image
  • Illustrator = Images of illustrations
  • Musician / Audio = Stock photo
  • Customer Service = Screenshot of website homepage (preferably with smiling face)
  • Virtual Assistant = Same as customer service
  • Sales = Image with the color red in it
  • AI / ML / Anything tech = Screenshot of app, software, or website

The 3 Kinds of Images I use
:

What Goes in Your Portfolio?

As a copywriter my portfolio pieces usually have samples of my copy. Most portfolio pieces can be made in a Google Doc for free. Either add text, images, or text AND images to create a sort of case study. However, you don't have to do this if the copy/design is already visible on the website. You can just link to it in the portfolio piece.

As for specific pieces, give clients what they want. What kind of clients do you want to attract? If it's Real Estate clients, you'd better have Real Estate samples. Think about what your clients are specifically looking for. Does a client looking for a direct response sales page want to see creative poetry? NO! They want to see sales pages and landing pages using direct response style. Give them that!

What if I Don't Have Past Clients?
If you don't have past clients, then you need to make sample portfolio pieces. Here's how...

  • Copywriters = Write sample copy in the skill style you want to do. For example, if it's email marketing, write some cold and warm emails. For direct response, write a sales page.

  • Web Designers = Build a website or several one-page websites in Wordpress. If you need a free option do it in Wix to get started.

  • Logo Designers = Make several logos in Inkscape for free or in your program of choice.

Basically just make some samples. There's no requirement that they be paid work. A lot of people get hung up on this for some reason. Don't let not having clients stop you. Create something to showcase what you can do and then load it up.

Once you create your portfolio pieces in Google Docs, then download them as a PDF because it looks nicer in your portfolio.


How Should I Title My Portfolio Pieces?
Use something relatively short that clearly describes the piece. If it's a creative piece, then it's okay to use a creative title. You will also want to use your skill keyword in some of your titles to help rank for SEO.

NOTE: You can sort your portfolio pieces so you can put the best stuff on the front page even if it's buried 10 pages deep right now. Click the opposite direction arrows for this option on any portfolio piece.

Screenshot 2019-03-16 at 6.39.22 AM.png


What Goes In the Description?

Obviously this is the place to describe the work. Be sure to add something in there. I use my description space to write full-length copy. You only need around a paragraph for other types of gigs and skills. Be sure to use your keyword if you can to help rank for SEO.

Screenshot 2019-03-16 at 6.41.28 AM.png


What Tags Should I Use?
I use a wider range of skill tags than in my profile tags. At the very least you'll want to use your keyword tag in your tags area. As long as you have that, you can put whatever else you want in here. I recommend keeping them relevant. If you're a copywriter, use copywriting tags.


Thoughts on Consistency
This is a minor thing, but consistency is important if you want to create a professional look. Make sure your first 2 pages of pieces use a consistent image. It doesn't need to be the exact same image, but it should look similar in terms of style to the other images. For instance, my images all use my brand colors. It shows the client that you have your shit together. You're not all over the place.

Screenshot 2019-03-16 at 6.42.54 AM.png


Linking Out to Your Website

Inside each portfolio piece there is a place where you can add a link to the piece of work. You can link to a client's website or your own. Either is fine. If you want to go a step beyond to get clients to click the link, you can use your description to lead them in that direction.

For instance, some of my portfolio pieces tell a story, but then it ends abruptly on a cliffhanger and says something like, "...continue reading on my website at lexdeville.com"

This will trigger clients to click to your website. If you were so inclined, you could then deliver the content, and maybe have a contact form on the bottom of the page, or possibly an email opt-in. Either of these could help you connect with the client beyond the usual means if you catch my drift...

Screenshot 2019-03-16 at 6.44.09 AM.png


Final Thoughts
Poor Upwork portfolios lead to poor results. This is one of the biggest missed opportunities most freelancers make. Not only is your portfolio a chance to establish credibility and authority, when done right it helps you rank for SEO so you show up higher in search results. So spend some time on this, but NOT TOO MUCH TIME! If you're just getting started, get at least one page of portfolio pieces done and loaded in. Even if they're not your best work, it's better than nothing.


HOMEWORK
Your homework today is to create 4 portfolio pieces. If possible use work you've done in the past to create these. Doesn't matter if it was paid work or not. We want speed and momentum, not to waste time on creating new pieces if you don't have to. So create at least 4 portfolio pieces and load them into your profile. Add at least a 1 paragraph description and relevant tags and a title with your keyword in it. Do this now!
 

Lex DeVille

Sweeping Shadows from Dreams
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Upwork Tutorial Day 5 - How to Write YOU Focused
Proposals that Get Clients to Respond


When you send proposals (AKA cover letters) to clients on Upwork, you will often be one of 10 to 20 or even 50 people or more applying to that job. So let's start with a look at my hiring process so you have an idea of how a client might make a decision about who to interview.

1. Is there ANYTHING that is an instant disqualifier?
This is the first thing I look for. Is the freelancer from a country I want to work with? Do they offer the skill I asked for? Did they upload attachments if I asked for them? Is their proposal full of spelling and grammar errors? Do those errors matter for this project? Did they answer my question that shows they paid attention? Did they address my needs?

Basically I look for any indicator that this person ISN'T the one. When I see those signs, I archive them immediately because I know there is 0 chance we will work together. Please note that this has NOTHING to do with their rate (although that might be the case for some clients). Usually rates won't stop clients from responding. Here's an example from just last week...

ezgif.com-gif-maker (8).png

What's important about this is that even though the client technically disqualified me based on my rates, she responded. At $135/hr she responded. Why is that important? Because it gave me a second chance to communicate with her and let her know that I only offer fixed rates, what they are, and why that actually benefits her over paying hourly freelancers even when their rate is set much lower.

2. Can this freelancer get the job done?
The second thing I try to identify is whether or not this freelancer is competent enough to do the job. Based on their proposal, do I believe they are skilled enough to deliver what I want? If not, do I believe they are smart enough to figure out how to get it done? If the answer isn't "yes" and if it isn't clear to me that you are a competent freelancer, and if I don't feel confident in your abilities, then I won't feel comfortable going forward with you.

For that reason, Upwork proposals must meet those 3 criteria:

  • Establish you competence
  • So the client feels confident
  • Which makes them feel comfortable
When those 3 keys are set in place, THEN you are very likely to get the interview.

3. Is this freelancer the BEST person for the job?
Beyond the 3 C's there's one last thing I look for. Out of those 2-3 freelancer who made me feel comfortable, which one seems to be the best fit?

To answer this question I look at several things. First, is it clear from their proposal that they care about me and that they put in effort? Do they WANT to do this job? What does their bio say about them? Are they an expert in this field? Do they have the skills to back it up? Are they clearly the kind of person I would want to work with? Finally, I look at their portfolio. Are their samples relevant? Are they in the style I need? Are they good enough for the amount I'm willing to pay?

It's a WHOLE PERSON concept.

That's what clients are looking for. Instant DQ, do you meet the 3 C's, are you the best person for the job? It's NOT based on your rates. Now that we've established that, and we've built you a powerful bio and portfolio, it's time to improve your proposals for better results.

YOU Focused Proposals
YOU Focus is the art of showing clients you care about them, want to help them, can get the job done, and are the BEST fit for the gig. It is NOT simply using the word "you."

Steps to a YOU Focused Proposal

  1. Never start with the word "I"
  2. Use some variation of "you" before "I" or "me" or "my"
  3. Use "you" 10x as much as you use "I" or "me" or "my"
  4. Repeat the client's own words back to them
  5. Connect your skills with their needs
  6. Establish credibility fast
  7. Prove your competence
  8. Call them to Action
  9. Show them little details that set you apart

Getting Hired Happens in Steps
As with any kind of marketing, we move clients one step at a time. The first step is to get a response. The second step is to get interviewed. The third step is to get hired. Just because you get a response doesn't mean you've been interviewed. Technically you've secured the interview, but you haven't done it until you've done it.

Knowing this, we can now work on a YOU Focused proposal that has a single intent...getting a response. NOT getting you hired. That happens later. So let's look at a YOU Focused Proposal...

YOU Focused Proposal

First the original job post...
Screenshot 2019-03-17 at 6.09.11 AM.png

Now the proposal (written live in the video)...

Screenshot 2019-03-17 at 6.09.56 AM.png

Cover Letter Intro
For this proposal you can see that it does NOT start with "I" or "me" or "my." Instead, it starts with a headline that identifies this as "Copywriting for Roofing Contractors" which is what they are...targeting.

First Line Starts with "You"
Next I give a simple greeting followed by the word "You."

Second Line Mirrors Them
Now I repeat their own words back to them about what they need...copywriting for their roofing business.

Demonstrate Competence
Then I start to prove competence by DEMONSTRATING that I can help them stand out. Instead of just telling them "I can help you stand out," I used a metaphor to SHOW them something different by talking about a "sea of sameness." If I wasn't doing this on video and distracted by that, I would spend even more time forming a more relevant idea for this particular client.

Establish Crediblity and Connect it with Their Job
In the next sentence I bridge the gap between us. I let them know that I'm the exact thing they need, and then I drop several relevant credibility markers that will likely stand out to them. For instance, "industrial companies" targets BLUE COLLAR companies which is what a roofing company also is. If you don't find RELEVANT credibility markers then your credibility will appear weak and won't support your competence very well.

Ask Good Questions
You don't have to ask questions, but they can help establish competence. If your questions make the client think or have an "aha" moment, then you are golden. Don't just ask questions for the sake of asking questions. Ask GOOD questions. Targeted questions. Questions about their business. Questions that prove you care and want to help them.

Prove You're a Professional
One of the biggest impressions a freelancer ever made on me was when she directly stated exactly what she'd deliver and how much it would cost. While others were blasting me with hourly rates, this person said "here's what you get and here's how much it is." No guessing games. I love that, and so do a lot of business owners because they don't have time to keep track of you. So the next section of my proposal clearly states what I'll do and how much it will cost. You don't have to add your prices here, but it's a good way to filter through clients if you don't want to work with anyone for less than X amount.

Call them to Action
The last line of the proposal is a simple call to action that gives them next steps. Since the very next step is to get them to contact me or to message me, then that's what I use. If I've applied with a proper YOU Focus, then all of the above IS what they need, so they SHOULD message me.

Your Signature
Kind regards is fine for most gigs, but when you write for creative jobs you should use something more interesting. Keep that in mind.

P.S. Statement
This is just one last chance to catch the client with something they might value. You could add your phone number in here (I do this regularly). You could let them know you're standing by to help in case others fail. You could offer a discount for your first project. You could offer a satisfaction guarantee etc. Just something to give them one last reason to want to talk to you.

Attachments and Samples
I don't always add attachments. In fact, I don't ever add them unless I really think it's an opportunity to stand out OR if the client specifically asks for them. Otherwise I just direct the client to my profile because I already spent 20+ hours honing it in to a sharpened spear for harpooning whales! Why would I waste that? The more times they come into contact with me the more likely it is I'll get contacted.


HOMEWORK
Use what you've learned in this lesson to go out and find at least 3 potential clients. Spend time thinking about what THEY actually need to read from your proposal before they will respond. Once you've done that, go ahead and craft a YOU Focused proposal. Remember to read over it and spell check it to make sure it's good to go. Then send it!
 

banjoa

Present
May 7, 2017
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117
129
30
Nigeria
@Lex DeVille thanks for all the valuebomb.

Lex, it's a bit difficult wrapping my head around this:

'...I used a metaphor to SHOW them something different by talking about a "sea of sameness." If I wasn't doing this on video and distracted by that, I would spend even more time forming a more relevant idea for this particular client.'

-Is the utility here the METAPHOR?
 

Lex DeVille

Sweeping Shadows from Dreams
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@Lex DeVille thanks for all the valuebomb.

Lex, it's a bit difficult wrapping my head around this:

'...I used a metaphor to SHOW them something different by talking about a "sea of sameness." If I wasn't doing this on video and distracted by that, I would spend even more time forming a more relevant idea for this particular client.'

-Is the utility here the METAPHOR?
Only for this particular client. You need to show clients why you are the right person for the job. If I were applying for a web design gig then using a metaphor isn't going to demonstrate what I know about design or that I can help put together a website. In this case it would only serve to help communicate an idea.
 

Lex DeVille

Sweeping Shadows from Dreams
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EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
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Upwork Tutorial Day 6 - How to Sell Yourself in Upwork Interviews and Calls

We've pretty much covered everything you need to know to land interviews and get gigs. But there's one last core area to cover before you make Upwork worth your time. That area is the interview.

For obvious reasons, most people get stuck on getting responses from their cover letters. They never make it to the interview, so they're not prepared for that part at all. Unfortunately, getting the interview doesn't mean you get the job. You probably aren't the only person who got interviewed, and you still have to prove yourself.

That's what today is about...

Two Kinds of Interviews
The first thing you need to know about interviews on Upwork is there are 2 kinds. The kind where you talk through text chat and the kind where you get on a live call.

Text Chat Interviews
Most freelancers opt for text-only interviews. You get a response from a client and you talk to them through Upwork's chat system or maybe through Skype chat, but not on a live call. There's nothing wrong with interviewing this way if you are okay with making small sales.

Text chat is not conducive to high-ticket sales. You will not make $3,000, $5,000 or $10,000+ sales through text chat unless your client is a complete fool, or you are a master persuader, and even then it's a challenge.

Assuming you really are a master persuader, then you would have no reason to interview through text chat because getting on a live call would be nothing to you. So if you're doing text chat interviews, we must operate on the assumption that you are NOT a master persuader, but an amateur at best.

I'm telling you this because not only do I know it, and you know it, clients know it too. And they're smart enough to know that you don't hand over thousands of dollars to amateur freelancers who are too scared to get on a live call because you either aren't confident enough in your skills or you aren't confident enough in your communication abilities. Both are a recipe for disaster.

So if you only do text-chat, you can expect to earn $1,000 or less per client, unless you bill hourly rates and it builds up over time. Now, if your goal is only to pick up some extra side cash, then maybe that's enough. But if you want to turn this into something more legitimate that can build serious cash to get you off the ground, then you need to take live calls...

Live Call Interviews
Live calls can either be phone, Upwork video, Skype, Zoom, or any other platform that offers voice to voice or face to face interaction. With a live call you will meet the client directly, and you'll both have a chance to get to know each other.

Live calls usually lead to much higher priced sales because of what you discover on the call, and also what clients are willing to pay for once you've proven you're an expert. The cool thing is, you don't even have to be an expert to make high-priced sales, and you also don't have to use any swoopy high-pressure tactics to get people to buy.

By nature of being willing to get on a phone call, you INSTANTLY set yourself apart as someone who has a high probability of being an expert. Just like clients know you're not an expert if you won't get on a call, they also EXPECT that you are an expert if you will get on calls.

So you go into the interview with an expectation that you are an expert. For that reason alone you will often win the gig just by getting on a call. If you are willing to offer a high price on that call, then you will also often make a lot more money than if you hold yourself back because you're afraid the other person can't pay or that your price is too high.

Okay, But how do I actually win the gig and prove I'm an expert?
Whether you do text chat or live calls the interview process is largely the same. Before we get into it, we need to reframe the situation...

You are not an employee or a regular job seeker. You applied to this gig as a problem solver, someone who can help this client get something done. Problem solvers are people we turn to when we need help with something. Problem solvers also tend to be in-demand by nature of their abilities. You are a problem solver, and therefore...

The client does not interview you.

You interview them.

So you can reframe this situation. It isn't an opportunity for the client to decide if they want to work with you. It's an opportunity for YOU to decide if it's worth your time for you to work with them.

When you think about it like this, then it's easy to adjust your approach from a passive, reaction-based response system, to an active, interviewer's role. You interviewing them. But how do you do this?

You can simplify it into a single powerful concept:

Just ask questions.

When you are the one asking questions it means others are NOT asking questions. Therefore, you are in control of the interview. You are the interviewer. You are judging them.

What questions?

Questions about their business.

Imagine you're an employee and it's your first day on the job? Do you jump in and get to work instantly? No. There is a week or so of ease-in period. It's a time when you're new, and you have to learn the ropes. So what do you spend your time doing? Asking questions.

You ask about the job. The software they use. How to handle various situations. Sure, you might relate the current situation back to past situations or past processes you applied at other jobs, but ultimately you will spend time asking questions about the current position. You do this because you have to learn how things work with this employer.

It's exactly the same when you interview with a client. You are going to ask the same sort of questions...

  • What is your current approach?
  • What isn't working now?
  • What else do you need help with?
  • What problems are you trying to solve?
  • What software systems do you use?
  • Who do you currently work with?
  • How do you handle X situation?
  • What is your goal?
  • What do you want from me as a freelancer?
  • What hasn't worked for you in the past...

These questions are things that you will naturally need answered whether it's on a call, in text chat, or after you start working. At some point you need to know about their business to deliver what they want, so you might as well ask in the interview phase and look like an expert rather than waiting until things go wrong and saying, "oh, I probably should've asked about that."

What if the client asks me questions?
Answer their question briefly, and then ask another question to take back control of the call. There's nothing wrong with answering their questions, but if you give them the opportunity, they will keep asking and they will regain control.

If you respond then ask you will keep control.

How do I know I'm asking the right questions?
The client will say, "aha, I never really thought about it like that" or "ah! I hadn't considered that..." or "hmm...that's a great question!"

If all else fails, just ask something, ANYTHING.

But try to keep it business-centered (preferably on their business).

What happens after you ask questions?
Eventually the client will feel like you've spent enough time talking together. 15 minutes. 30 minutes. 1.5 hours... In reality you will have spent very little time talking. Mostly you've just kept quiet and listened (because who does that these days...) and if you've asked enough questions the client will eventually say something like...

"So, where do we go from here?"

That's your cue to do the following:

  1. Recap what you've covered so far
  2. Describe how you can help with that
  3. Offer a price or get off the call (if you're on one)

Recapping what you've covered...

You: "Alright Tom, so far you told me you need help with email copywriting, sales funnel automation, and Facebook Ad copy as well as copy for your website home page, right?"

Tom: "Yes, that's right."

You: "Great, and I can help you with all of that. To start I'll craft an email series that we can turn into an automated sales funnel and then we can run Facebook ads to a landing page for opt-ins to build your list and put your sales on autopilot."

Tom: "Sounds great!"

You: "Great! I can get started immediately and can finish the email series in 1 week. To have me do this for you it's $5,000."

Pause.
Pause.
Pause.

Tom: "Umm...do I have to pay it all at once?"

You: "I offer split payments for some clients. You would need to fund AND release the first milestone for half and the other half will be due on delivery. Sound good?"

Tom: "Okay, I can do that."

The end.

Or if you choose to get off the call you will just let Tom know that you want to take some time to consider his needs, and will draft a proposal for him outlining how you can help and giving him options customized for him. Also be sure to let him know WHEN you will send the proposal by.

In Summary:

  • You do not need to use high-pressure sales tactics
  • You do not need to be an expert to appear an expert
  • Text Chat = Low Pay Gigs
  • Live Call = High Pay Gigs
  • Ask questions (even if you forget everything else)
  • Better questions = better results
  • You know the client is ready to be sold when he says "where do we go from here."
  • You can offer your price on the call or off
  • If it's on the call, you better be prepared to say the price out loud and stfu afterward
  • Throughout all of this you are interviewing them
  • If your voice waivers because you doubt your prices, you will lose the sale

There's a lot that goes into sales even though it's relatively simple. I'm short on time and trying to sum all of this up in a single post and it's not easy to do. I don't have time to go back and cut it down to size properly SO...

If you have questions about sales or any other part of the Upwork process up to this point, please feel free to post them in a response to this post. I will follow up.

HOMEWORK
Prepare yourself mentally to get on live calls if your goal is to make big sales, or if you're just doing this as a side hustle, practice what you will say in text chat to move clients forward toward the sale.

PRO TIP
Everything you say to the client PRE-SALE should be focused on moving them toward that sale. If sales were a 5k you would kick off at the starting line and run toward the finish line. The finish line is where the sale happens. In between the start and finish line you put all your effort into getting to the finish line. If you quit too early, or don't push hard enough, or break your ankle, you won't reach the finish line.

Pace the client. Run with them. Always stay focused on the next finish line.

  • "When you work with me X will happen"
  • "Once we get started you can expect X"
  • "After you send the contract I will do X"
  • "Once you've released the payment I will do X"
  • "Once you leave feedback, I will do X"
  • "When you send referrals, you will get X"

This works on calls and in text. Set a goal, go toward that goal, run at the client's pace, and cross the finish line when you get there.

Ask questions.
 
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Lex DeVille

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Upwork Tutorial Day 5 - How to Write YOU Focused
Proposals that Get Clients to Respond

When you send proposals (AKA cover letters) to clients on Upwork, you will often be one of 10 to 20 or even 50 people or more applying to that job. So let's start with a look at my hiring process so you have an idea of how a client might make a decision about who to interview.

1. Is there ANYTHING that is an instant disqualifier?
This is the first thing I look for. Is the freelancer from a country I want to work with? Do they offer the skill I asked for? Did they upload attachments if I asked for them? Is their proposal full of spelling and grammar errors? Do those errors matter for this project? Did they answer my question that shows they paid attention? Did they address my needs?

Basically I look for any indicator that this person ISN'T the one. When I see those signs, I archive them immediately because I know there is 0 chance we will work together. Please note that this has NOTHING to do with their rate (although that might be the case for some clients). Usually rates won't stop clients from responding. Here's an example from just last week...

View attachment 24046

What's important about this is that even though the client technically disqualified me based on my rates, she responded. At $135/hr she responded. Why is that important? Because it gave me a second chance to communicate with her and let her know that I only offer fixed rates, what they are, and why that actually benefits her over paying hourly freelancers even when their rate is set much lower.

2. Can this freelancer get the job done?
The second thing I try to identify is whether or not this freelancer is competent enough to do the job. Based on their proposal, do I believe they are skilled enough to deliver what I want? If not, do I believe they are smart enough to figure out how to get it done? If the answer isn't "yes" and if it isn't clear to me that you are a competent freelancer, and if I don't feel confident in your abilities, then I won't feel comfortable going forward with you.

For that reason, Upwork proposals must meet those 3 criteria:

  • Establish you competence
  • So the client feels confident
  • Which makes them feel comfortable
When those 3 keys are set in place, THEN you are very likely to get the interview.

3. Is this freelancer the BEST person for the job?
Beyond the 3 C's there's one last thing I look for. Out of those 2-3 freelancer who made me feel comfortable, which one seems to be the best fit?

To answer this question I look at several things. First, is it clear from their proposal that they care about me and that they put in effort? Do they WANT to do this job? What does their bio say about them? Are they an expert in this field? Do they have the skills to back it up? Are they clearly the kind of person I would want to work with? Finally, I look at their portfolio. Are their samples relevant? Are they in the style I need? Are they good enough for the amount I'm willing to pay?

It's a WHOLE PERSON concept.

That's what clients are looking for. Instant DQ, do you meet the 3 C's, are you the best person for the job? It's NOT based on your rates. Now that we've established that, and we've built you a powerful bio and portfolio, it's time to improve your proposals for better results.

YOU Focused Proposals
YOU Focus is the art of showing clients you care about them, want to help them, can get the job done, and are the BEST fit for the gig. It is NOT simply using the word "you."

Steps to a YOU Focused Proposal

  1. Never start with the word "I"
  2. Use some variation of "you" before "I" or "me" or "my"
  3. Use "you" 10x as much as you use "I" or "me" or "my"
  4. Repeat the client's own words back to them
  5. Connect your skills with their needs
  6. Establish credibility fast
  7. Prove your competence
  8. Call them to Action
  9. Show them little details that set you apart

Getting Hired Happens in Steps
As with any kind of marketing, we move clients one step at a time. The first step is to get a response. The second step is to get interviewed. The third step is to get hired. Just because you get a response doesn't mean you've been interviewed. Technically you've secured the interview, but you haven't done it until you've done it.

Knowing this, we can now work on a YOU Focused proposal that has a single intent...getting a response. NOT getting you hired. That happens later. So let's look at a YOU Focused Proposal...

YOU Focused Proposal

First the original job post...
View attachment 24047

Now the proposal (written live in the video)...

View attachment 24048

Cover Letter Intro
For this proposal you can see that it does NOT start with "I" or "me" or "my." Instead, it starts with a headline that identifies this as "Copywriting for Roofing Contractors" which is what they are...targeting.

First Line Starts with "You"
Next I give a simple greeting followed by the word "You."

Second Line Mirrors Them
Now I repeat their own words back to them about what they need...copywriting for their roofing business.

Demonstrate Competence
Then I start to prove competence by DEMONSTRATING that I can help them stand out. Instead of just telling them "I can help you stand out," I used a metaphor to SHOW them something different by talking about a "sea of sameness." If I wasn't doing this on video and distracted by that, I would spend even more time forming a more relevant idea for this particular client.

Establish Crediblity and Connect it with Their Job
In the next sentence I bridge the gap between us. I let them know that I'm the exact thing they need, and then I drop several relevant credibility markers that will likely stand out to them. For instance, "industrial companies" targets BLUE COLLAR companies which is what a roofing company also is. If you don't find RELEVANT credibility markers then your credibility will appear weak and won't support your competence very well.

Ask Good Questions
You don't have to ask questions, but they can help establish competence. If your questions make the client think or have an "aha" moment, then you are golden. Don't just ask questions for the sake of asking questions. Ask GOOD questions. Targeted questions. Questions about their business. Questions that prove you care and want to help them.

Prove You're a Professional
One of the biggest impressions a freelancer ever made on me was when she directly stated exactly what she'd deliver and how much it would cost. While others were blasting me with hourly rates, this person said "here's what you get and here's how much it is." No guessing games. I love that, and so do a lot of business owners because they don't have time to keep track of you. So the next section of my proposal clearly states what I'll do and how much it will cost. You don't have to add your prices here, but it's a good way to filter through clients if you don't want to work with anyone for less than X amount.

Call them to Action
The last line of the proposal is a simple call to action that gives them next steps. Since the very next step is to get them to contact me or to message me, then that's what I use. If I've applied with a proper YOU Focus, then all of the above IS what they need, so they SHOULD message me.

Your Signature
Kind regards is fine for most gigs, but when you write for creative jobs you should use something more interesting. Keep that in mind.

P.S. Statement
This is just one last chance to catch the client with something they might value. You could add your phone number in here (I do this regularly). You could let them know you're standing by to help in case others fail. You could offer a discount for your first project. You could offer a satisfaction guarantee etc. Just something to give them one last reason to want to talk to you.

Attachments and Samples
I don't always add attachments. In fact, I don't ever add them unless I really think it's an opportunity to stand out OR if the client specifically asks for them. Otherwise I just direct the client to my profile because I already spent 20+ hours honing it in to a sharpened spear for harpooning whales! Why would I waste that? The more times they come into contact with me the more likely it is I'll get contacted.


HOMEWORK
Use what you've learned in this lesson to go out and find at least 3 potential clients. Spend time thinking about what THEY actually need to read from your proposal before they will respond. Once you've done that, go ahead and craft a YOU Focused proposal. Remember to read over it and spell check it to make sure it's good to go. Then send it!
Proof YOU Focused Proposals Get Results and Clients Don't
Care What You Set for Rates...
This post is a follow up to the proposal post from yesterday. In the video for that post I wrote a proposal live while recording. It was half-assed because it only had half my attention. Doesn't matter though. Results speak for themselves...

Screenshot 2019-03-18 at 12.12.46 PM.png

Screenshot 2019-03-18 at 12.11.34 PM.png

ezgif.com-gif-maker (9).png

A couple things worth noting:

  1. The client's rates are set at $$ (intermediate)
  2. The gig is set at hourly and I have 0 hours billed on my account
  3. There were 17 proposals in all
  4. There are 2 interviews (out of which only one will be chosen)
  5. I applied with $135/hr with a YOU Focused proposal and landed the interview
  6. The client felt compelled to respond my questions
  7. It took 1 day to get a response because I applied on a weekend

 
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top boy

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I got accepted using your video, but how do you get jobs with no feedback? No one is going to hire someone with no history.
 

ambrosinibello

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In on this.

1. Why are you doing this?

I need to get my mindset right on earning money. I need to earn at least enough to cover my debts on MY OWN instead of as an employee. Then I can get the ball rolling with my own products by having momentum. To stop the debt collectors from calling, get my own place and fund my new supplement product/formula.

2. Describe your endgame in specific detail...

Have a pasive income supplement/nutrition brand and get into biotechnology.

3. How much money do you need to earn to make this worth it?

Earn $3000 a month for debt and $20,000 for starting business

4. Who are you failing if you give up or don't succeed?

Myself, past me, and future me. Also anyone who has had vested equity in my growth thus far.
 

ambrosinibello

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Also, Lex, of your courses, which one is the best to get started geting jobs on Upwork? I am already accepted and have prior job history, just need to get better jobs.
 

Lex DeVille

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I got accepted using your video, but how do you get jobs with no feedback? No one is going to hire someone with no history.
Glad you got accepted! But that last part simply isn't true. If no one would hire someone with no history, then no one would ever get hired.

Watch the rest of the videos. You have to make yourself valuable to the client. You have to apply with a YOU Focus. You have to make offers they can't refuse so someone will give you a chance.

When you have no history you have to be smart and strategic. Just because you don't have a lighter doesn't mean you can't make fire. Pull from other resources you have.
 

Lex DeVille

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Also, Lex, of your courses, which one is the best to get started geting jobs on Upwork? I am already accepted and have prior job history, just need to get better jobs.
Hmm, it depends on which area needs work. The proposal course will help you land more interviews, so if you need more responses, that's the one to start with. But if you get plenty of responses but just don't get hired, then go with the sales course. Ultimately, the ability to sell yourself on calls is how you get the best jobs. Proposals only get you to the interview. They rarely seal the deal.
 

Schwarz

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Note: I moved to the other side of the planet to finally make a big change in my life. The following was written spontaneously. Whilst enjoying a good cup of warm coffee, eating some 'sandwich caliente's and being burned by the South American summer sun. It's barely edited and in its purest form.
To be honest I did not believe I was going to write this much text. But it did feel good to write all
of this down. My goals are clear now:

Day 0
1. Why are you doing this (freelance)?
To be free from the life I had before this. To be able to travel, enjoy myself and earn money. I want the money so that I can keep doing just that. So that I can start creating other products that will lead to Fastlane freedom. To build products I that can help other people. To fund other friend's projects. To be an inspiration to other people and show them there is always another way. To bring fun, joy and good times to the people I meet and love to hang out with.
To prove my family that I was right. They trust me, but I want to prove to them that this trust was well placed. I cannot return empty handed.

2. Describe your endgame in specific detail:
Freelance Endgame:
Freedom to travel while working. To have my living expenses covered. I can travel all over the world.
I'll visit this really cool girl I met a few weeks ago but I had to part ways with (she lives on the other side of the planet, lol). I can now work more on Fastlane projects without having to worry too much about making a living. During travel, I have this amazing time with people from all over the globe. I share experiences and learn from those people's experiences. I learn a lot more about people in general, about their problems, wants and needs.

I buy Lex a bottle of vodka.

Fastlane Endgame:
I successfully made an exit by selling my company.
My parents will know nothing but peace and freedom as my dad finally gets to live near the beautiful fjords of Norway. Where he can spend the remainder of his life enjoying nature to the fullest. As he has always wanted.
My mother and her girlfriend can finally retire at their new home in the South of France.
My most passionate, hard-working (game dev) friends will finally have the funds to go for their dreams. Namely creating the games they want to, and getting paid for doing so.

Me? I will visit all the corners of the planet. I'll continue meeting new people every day. Help others out with their problems. Also making them realize that life should not be taken so seriously, it's just 'a game' after all.
Never again will I have to numb myself with alcohol, video games or porn. I finally have built the life I am proud of. A reality I do not want to escape.
I will create my own fun side-projects. Maybe I'll keep doing entrepreneurial ventures for the rest of my life. Who knows?

I'll learn Spanish and Portuguese. I'll force myself to forget French. All will be good.
I'll be an inspiration to everyone willing to look further than the word 'luck'.
I'll master the piano. I'll dance like crazy to my favorite 80's songs every single day with a big smile on my face, realizing that I've just bamboozled all the nay-sayers. I will spread love and joy to all my friends and to all the people I meet.
My friends and I are going to go camping all over the world. And one night I will feel like being cringy, look at the stars and say:
"My destiny is my own."

3. Money
I made some very rough calculations.
30 million USD.

4. Who will you disappoint if it fails?
I will fail my current friends, and also my future friends.
My parents, as their trust in me would have been misplaced.
I would fail myself.

Extra: The things I don't want:
- To disappoint those people stated above.
- To be locked to one place. With only a set group of people.
- When I'm on my death bed, I look back and see regret.
- To work a 9-5 job. To be bound to a job, a boss or to be subject to someone else's reality.
- To let my fears, doubts, and insecurities control me.
- To waste my life.
- To give someone else control over my life.

Alright. That was a lot of 'I's and 'me's.
Let's get back to action.
 

ambrosinibello

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Thanks for the comment Hijena. To be fair, it's not my free time. I'm being paid by indirect growth of my YouTube channel in exchange for *what I believe are* high-value posts.

YouTube of course runs back to my website for discount coupons on my other training programs, so some people may make their way back there too.

Ultimately, I'd like those who consider my other courses to know it's worth their time before they invest that $10 and enroll. But I really do hope the posts here help you too!
Really interesting how that works.

I stumbled across thread, to signature, to course, and ended up buying one plus subscribing to YT all organically per se.

Just interesting how it all adds up/
 

Daniel Clemente

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Would I have a good chance of getting approved if I don't have any skills other than English being my native language, no work history or college degree?
 

Lex DeVille

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Would I have a good chance of getting approved if I don't have any skills other than English being my native language, no work history or college degree?
You'll have as good of a chance as anybody else. Work history and education are only supporting factors. It's up to you to make yourself look credible to Upwork so they'll approve your account. What skill are you planning to offer on the platform?
 

Daniel Clemente

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You'll have as good of a chance as anybody else. Work history and education are only supporting factors. It's up to you to make yourself look credible to Upwork so they'll approve your account. What skill are you planning to offer on the platform?
I suppose SEO/data analytics but I have to learn how to do them and fast. Wordpress is also an option but I feel like that's too much of low-hanging fruit that's already been taken.
 
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Willing2Learn

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I want to give this a try...

My Day 0 Homework:

1. Why are you doing this?

I am doing this because I am simply going no where fast. I work two jobs, a full-time and a part-time job, and it is a lot of work, with little pay, and I honestly don't want to be doing them for the rest of my life. I want to make some real money, so I can pay down my debt, save some money, get out of my parents' house and get my own place, and start some kind of business so that my life can go in a better direction.

2. Describe your endgame in specific detail...

I honestly couldn't describe the endgame in detail. I have no way of knowing if I can get there. I want to have my own business, which is either my own videogame company, an online fastlane business, or both. The key is money. The key to everything is money. And you have to work really hard for it. I'm doing whatever I can to make my life better.

3. How much money do you need to earn to make this worth it?

If we are referring to doing the work on Upwork, I'd be content with $1000 or $2000 a week.

4. Who are you failing if you give up or don't succeed?

The only person you're ever failing is yourself. This question is very obvious to me. I don't need to be asked it, because I already know the answer.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I do have a question for the creator of this thread, Lex DeVille, if you don't mind a moment of your time.

I have no skills.

I have an Associates Degree in Computer Information Systems (networking), which was a waste of time because I didn't take college as seriously as I should have.

I have two certificates of completion in a trade school, Plumbing 1 & 2.

And I know how to do ROM hacking (which is reverse-engineer old Nintendo games).

I know some C++ programming, but the plumbing and networking, I don't have enough experience in them what-so-ever to be of any use to anybody.

My work experience is all retail. Not much skills needed there.

I am good with customer service, and stocking shelves, because of my 14 years of retail experience, but nobody is going to pay me more for doing that.

I read ahead to Day 1 assignment, in creating an Upwork profile, but I wouldn't know a single skill that I could put on there, to make me be of any use to anybody.

I do have some copywriting books that I bought a year or two ago. I only read a couple of them, and I didn't finish one (I read the Boron's letters, and the Marketing/Sales psychology part of copywriting).

Do you have any advice for someone like me, who's only skillset is in retail? Would you recommend that I go back into those copywriting books?

I've been currently reading my CompTIA A+ book (to get the A+ computer tech certification), but the last two weeks it has been put on the backburner because of all of the hours I've been working at my two jobs.

I am so lost and frustrated.

I want to do the Day 1 homework assignment, but it says to post a specific skill, but I wouldn't know what to put, which is why I'm hesitating to do it.

Any advice?

Thank you for your time.
 

Lex DeVille

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I want to give this a try...

My Day 0 Homework:

1. Why are you doing this?

I am doing this because I am simply going no where fast. I work two jobs, a full-time and a part-time job, and it is a lot of work, with little pay, and I honestly don't want to be doing them for the rest of my life. I want to make some real money, so I can pay down my debt, save some money, get out of my parents' house and get my own place, and start some kind of business so that my life can go in a better direction.

2. Describe your endgame in specific detail...

I honestly couldn't describe the endgame in detail. I have no way of knowing if I can get there. I want to have my own business, which is either my own videogame company, an online fastlane business, or both. The key is money. The key to everything is money. And you have to work really hard for it. I'm doing whatever I can to make my life better.

3. How much money do you need to earn to make this worth it?

If we are referring to doing the work on Upwork, I'd be content with $1000 or $2000 a week.

4. Who are you failing if you give up or don't succeed?

The only person you're ever failing is yourself. This question is very obvious to me. I don't need to be asked it, because I already know the answer.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I do have a question for the creator of this thread, Lex DeVille, if you don't mind a moment of your time.

I have no skills.

I have an Associates Degree in Computer Information Systems (networking), which was a waste of time because I didn't take college as seriously as I should have.

I have two certificates of completion in a trade school, Plumbing 1 & 2.

And I know how to do ROM hacking (which is reverse-engineer old Nintendo games).

I know some C++ programming, but the plumbing and networking, I don't have enough experience in them what-so-ever to be of any use to anybody.

My work experience is all retail. Not much skills needed there.

I am good with customer service, and stocking shelves, because of my 14 years of retail experience, but nobody is going to pay me more for doing that.

I read ahead to Day 1 assignment, in creating an Upwork profile, but I wouldn't know a single skill that I could put on there, to make me be of any use to anybody.

I do have some copywriting books that I bought a year or two ago. I only read a couple of them, and I didn't finish one (I read the Boron's letters, and the Marketing/Sales psychology part of copywriting).

Do you have any advice for someone like me, who's only skillset is in retail? Would you recommend that I go back into those copywriting books?

I've been currently reading my CompTIA A+ book (to get the A+ computer tech certification), but the last two weeks it has been put on the backburner because of all of the hours I've been working at my two jobs.

I am so lost and frustrated.

I want to do the Day 1 homework assignment, but it says to post a specific skill, but I wouldn't know what to put, which is why I'm hesitating to do it.

Any advice?

Thank you for your time.
Yes I have advice. You need to work on your mindset not your skillset.

You've got an excuse at every turn. Limiting beliefs in practically every sentence.

If you don't know what to list as your skill you have to figure out how to solve that.

I have no skills.
You disproved yourself in just a few lines down.

I have an Associates Degree in Computer Information Systems (networking), which was a waste of time because I didn't take college as seriously as I should have.
Actually, this is a useful credibility marker than can help you land gigs.

I have two certificates of completion in a trade school, Plumbing 1 & 2.

And I know how to do ROM hacking (which is reverse-engineer old Nintendo games).

I know some C++ programming, but the plumbing and networking, I don't have enough experience in them what-so-ever to be of any use to anybody.
You don't need experience to plunge a toilet, although nobody will hire you to do that online. There are apprenticeship programs to help you get experience. There are also people who hire people straight out of school for jobs like plumbing and are willing to teach them the ropes. But would you hire someone who walked through the door with an attitude of "I can't because all of these excuses..."?

My work experience is all retail. Not much skills needed there.
Sales
Customer Service
Answer Questions
Answering Phones
Decision Making
Promotional Marketing

I am good with customer service, and stocking shelves, because of my 14 years of retail experience, but nobody is going to pay me more for doing that.
Nobody is going to pay you more for sure. They would pay me a lot more even without experience because I would just use that skill, sell myself, and make it happen.

I read ahead to Day 1 assignment, in creating an Upwork profile, but I wouldn't know a single skill that I could put on there, to make me be of any use to anybody.
I'm not going to tell you what to put in there. You need to develop resources for problem solving because you will need them for freelancing.

Ask yourself questions:

I wouldn't know a single skill that I could put on there.
- How can you go about finding a skill to list?
- What skills do I already have?
- What skills could I possibly learn?
- What skills are even allowed?
- How can I find out what skills are allowed on Upwork?
- What ways could I figure out what clients might need on Upwork?
- What am I most interested in doing?
- How can I best help people online?

But don't just ask yourself questions...find answers. This is the single biggest determining factor between someone who makes it as a freelancer and someone who is just wasting their time. If you can't ask questions and answer them on your own, you can't win at freelancing. You can't win at business. You can't win at anything until you start to learn how to solve problems.
 

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