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Madame Peccato

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Jul 14, 2018
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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?
Search for "Article writing" jobs, filter them so you only see the entry level ones, there are always people who are looking for native English writers to write on a number of topics, and generally they specify they are looking for newbies, their request will have a line that says "this job is ideal for people who want an easy 5 stars review to get started here on Upwork".

Incredible topic Lex, I've been working on Upwork for a bit at this point, and I'm going to share my experience on here.

I started my Upwork journey in September 2018, I did not take it too seriously, ended up only doing 2 jobs (one of which I never got paid for) and gave up on the platform in mid November after spending all of my connects for each of these 3 months to no avail. Then in December I got a mail saying my account was set to Private, and that I would have to ask the support to get it back to Public.

I was a bit upset at the whole situation, but I simply sent a ticket and the automated system turned my profile back to Public. At that point I told myself "might as well try this again, why else would I bother reactivating my account otherwise". I re-read Lex' original Upwork topic, I armed myself with humility, watched a couple of his YouTube videos, and tried my best to craft as good of a proposal I could. I almost instantly found a job that paid 30$ per hour. I was speechless. Someone was willing to pay me, a literal who, 30$ per hour, without even being entirely sure if I was actually able to do the job. I finished the job in 2 hours, thanked the guy, and that was it.

Unfortunately, the following 2 months had no moment such as that one, I have done a lot of smaller tasks, I've even dabbled in some article writing just to earn some cash and build up my skills. Translating was still my main focus. I revamped my profile, and tried to make it a bit more interesting.

I now found a new client that pays decently, and it's repeated work, it's not enough to live on or anything, but considering the amount of time I need to put into this client, it's absolutely worth it. They are a pretty big company too from what I can see, so this will give me a boost of credibility.

This was about a month ago, the client seems satisfied with my work, and I've kept writing articles and doing other smaller translation jobs, up to today. I now saw this topic, and realized how TERRIBLE I have been at this whole Upwork thing. I'm still accelerating overall, I earned more in march than in the 3 previous months combined, but I wonder how much faster this could have been if I knew what I know now thanks to this topic earlier.

My profile was my weakest point, I have now rewritten it completely again, and this time I am 100% satisfied with it. It took me 2 hours. Previously I added extra categories to cast a bigger net, but I just now realized that bigger nets scare away the fishes I was trying to catch. My proposals were already you focused, and thanks to the example posted, and its breakdown, I can improve them even more now. I only need 5 more weeks to get the Top Rated badge

What is your opinion about what kind of portfolio pieces I should add to my profile? I am working as an English to Italian translator, my clients don't know Italian at all, so I'm not sure how to best showcase the content. I can't figure out the best way to show English text -> Italian text either, simple documents are not made for this.

Thanks again for all the amazing content, Lex. I really appreciate all the effort you put into this and into your YouTube channel.
 

pashka

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Jun 24, 2018
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So posts like this arent clssified as free forum ad? If I make Youtube video and big post about branding than it will be ok to post?

Anyway...

Upwork, Freelancer, Fiverr and any similar websites are waste of time for 90% of people.

Sure, you can make money. I used Fiverr when I was younger and I made $1k......in 1 year. Paying 20% (a bit more or less) to a website and paying tax to your country.

Those sites are race to the bottom. You cant compete with India or Pakistan.

Clients who are looking for a freelancers there, often looking for “everything” for paying almost nothing.

I also tried to hire few people, and the work they delivered was so bad I had to do it all by myself in the end.

I repeat, you can make some money in a looooooong run but its not worth it at all.

Wrong, wrong, wrong...

I had upwork (odesk) as my main (and only) source of income for 6 years. I started working for $4hr and when I left my highest paying project was at $80hr. Right before quitting working for nom more than 4hrs a day and making $3-4k which is close to top salaries in in IT in my home country. In the past couple of years I've been part of a team of 2 people, and my partner was making $100-120 hr. Never we had an issue with competition.

My biggest breakthrough was when after a long time I increased my rate from $20 to ~$35-40. I was impressed how the quality of clients got so much better instantly. So race to the bottom only exists in the bottom slice of the market on upwork.


P.S. Interesting how I see you being wrong about upwork but at the same time I realized how I myself fall the victim of this mentality when it comes to other marketplaces (e.g. Amazon) when I'm thinking about eCommerce... Something to think about
 

cwalto12

Contributor
Feb 21, 2018
48
90
123
Louisville
Just wanted to add to Lex's ego a little bit.

I followed his last thread and signed up for his emails last year when I was experimenting with Upwork. The only skill I had was growing an Instagram account for a home decor page (one of my failed first businesses). I leveraged that page to get jobs on Upwork because the Instagram page was decently successful.

I ended up working with a great guy that had a business on the other side of the country. We became internet friends and he referred me to 3 of his friends.

I started at $5 an hour...worked my way up to $20 an hour and got the "rising talent" badge in 2 weeks.

Then I landed a real world job (using my actual degree) that gave me a great raise, so I stopped Upwork.

Follow Lex's instructions guys. He is brilliant at this game.
 

Lex DeVille

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Wrong, wrong, wrong...

I had upwork (odesk) as my main (and only) source of income for 6 years. I started working for $4hr and when I left my highest paying project was at $80hr. Right before quitting working for nom more than 4hrs a day and making $3-4k which is close to top salaries in in IT in my home country. In the past couple of years I've been part of a team of 2 people, and my partner was making $100-120 hr. Never we had an issue with competition.

My biggest breakthrough was when after a long time I increased my rate from $20 to ~$35-40. I was impressed how the quality of clients got so much better instantly. So race to the bottom only exists in the bottom slice of the market on upwork.


P.S. Interesting how I see you being wrong about upwork but at the same time I realized how I myself fall the victim of this mentality when it comes to other marketplaces (e.g. Amazon) when I'm thinking about eCommerce... Something to think about
Are you responding to me or to someone else? I wasn't sure since there wasn't a quote attached to your post, but it doesn't sound like you were responding to me. Sounds like you did pretty well on Upwork. I agree there's really no such thing as competition when you approach it properly.

*edit*
Ah, nevermind, I see that you were quoting that guy I blocked. That's why I couldn't see it. :)
 
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pashka

Contributor
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Jun 24, 2018
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Are you responding to me or to someone else? I wasn't sure since there wasn't a quote attached to your post, but it doesn't sound like you were responding to me. Sounds like you did pretty well on Upwork. I agree there's really no such thing as competition when you approach it properly.
hmm weird, I did quote a message.

Yeah, totally agree, in my humble opinion real competition happens within the top 5% of freelancers. What I mean by that is if you follow basic best practices than it already puts you above majority (I was surprised when discovered that a lot of people do not even read job description when they apply, or send generic "template" messages etc).

I honestly did not consider myself successful as I was trying to build a personal brand/agency outside upwork but ultimately failed in marketing myself.

Now when I think about it I feel like it was really great experience and the freedom it gave was absolutely awesome.

Btw @Lex DeVille there are some great tips are found here - thank you for this thread!
 

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ProcessPro

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@Lex DeVille I'm doing the 15 days to copywriting challenge. I was looking at your courses on your website, and I was wondering where you suggest I begin to help me grow as a copywriter (and perhaps which courses after the first and the order). Thanks.
 

Lex DeVille

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@Lex DeVille I'm doing the 15 days to copywriting challenge. I was looking at your courses on your website, and I was wondering where you suggest I begin to help me grow as a copywriter (and perhaps which courses after the first and the order). Thanks.
Right now there's no copywriting courses on my website. One should go live next month. If you're just looking for general resources I recommend Ca$hvertising to get some of the basics down and then diving in with freelance work to gain experience.

If there's one area most copywriter training programs fail it's teaching new copywriters how to become independent, adaptable thinkers who can apply their skills toward any niche or type of copy even when they've never performed that type of copy before. The best way to get experience is to just start working with clients.

For the other programs most people start with the general business course and then go through the areas they need help with most. There's training on proposals to help with responses, and sales to help close deals once you get responses. There's an advanced profile training going live sometime this week to help you get found in search results.

The order doesn't matter that much. Just think about which areas you might be struggling with and go for that. But be sure you've applied the training from this thread first because those programs only build on what I've shared here.
 

Lex DeVille

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This morning I was reading Upwork's Community threads and noticed a trend of their "Gurus" claiming you can't rank in Upwork search results due to Upwork rotating freelancers. I'm not sure why they're saying this when myself and others have proven the opposite is true many times over.

You CAN rank in search results both on Google and on Upwork and you can hold your position in the top 3-5 spots on the first page of client results as long as you don't change your title, tags, etc.

This is why testing is so important. If you just listen to what other people say and take their words at face value, you'd miss out on useful data that helps you get better results. You have to become someone who listens to what other people say, then tests things for yourself, and then decide for yourself what works and what doesn't and use the stuff that works.

Just because someone says something doesn't work doesn't change the results you get when the opposite is true...
 

ProcessPro

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Right now there's no copywriting courses on my website. One should go live next month. If you're just looking for general resources I recommend Ca$hvertising to get some of the basics down and then diving in with freelance work to gain experience.

If there's one area most copywriter training programs fail it's teaching new copywriters how to become independent, adaptable thinkers who can apply their skills toward any niche or type of copy even when they've never performed that type of copy before. The best way to get experience is to just start working with clients.

For the other programs most people start with the general business course and then go through the areas they need help with most. There's training on proposals to help with responses, and sales to help close deals once you get responses. There's an advanced profile training going live sometime this week to help you get found in search results.

The order doesn't matter that much. Just think about which areas you might be struggling with and go for that. But be sure you've applied the training from this thread first because those programs only build on what I've shared here.
Thank you.
 

triodine

New Contributor
Mar 26, 2019
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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.

Why are you doing this?

I want to get my feet wet and start the train towards learning new skill sets and developing the tools and knowledge I can use to leave the normal 9-5 job. To be able to begin to work from home and eventually from anywhere. That way I can remain consistent whether I'm traveling the world or visiting family.

Describe your end game in specific detail.
My parents originally immigrated from communist Romania back in the late 80s. Growing up I would hear tales of there struggle and what they had to do just to survive. Growing up in a first world country and ultimately immigrating as a family to the US of A, I've had this fire inside me saying that I can't let my parents struggles and sacrifices go in vain. I see myself getting into a position where not only I am completely financially independent but that I am also in a position where I can provide and take care of my parents. I want them to be able to retire without a single worry or fear in their minds. A dream of mine is to be able to call them one morning and let them know that everything is taken care of and they don't have to worry about anything. I want to be able to travel the world(my main dream) and come and go as I please. I want to be able to spend weeks/months visiting my parents and then flying off to a new and exciting country at my choosing. I don't want to ever have to ask anyone for "permission" to use my "vacation days". Not only that, I want to get to a place where all of my work (aside from client facing and special cases) can be done all on a laptop. Free from stupid office politics where there are too many chefs in the kitchen and everyone has a giant inflated ego because of there "middle management".

How much money do you need to earn to make this worth it?
I haven't honestly thought about this and am struggling to come up with a solid numerical value since I think it's relative to how luxurious I'd want to live /give my parents for there retirement. I would think that 1 million would be a good start though.

Who are you failing if you give up and don't succeed?
Myself
 

ProcessPro

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@Lex DeVille Hi Lex. Do you know of any good swipe files online that can help me on my copywriting learning journey? I will build my own, but looking for a start. Thanks.
 

Lex DeVille

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@Lex DeVille Hi Lex. Do you know of any good swipe files online that can help me on my copywriting learning journey? I will build my own, but looking for a start. Thanks.
Nope.

I don't use any swipe files. Virtually all of my copy is tailored for the individual audience from scratch. It's not plug'n'play. I create my own layouts and structures and then split-test them to see what gets the best results.

If you work with serious clients you'll have to split-test your copy anyway even if you use a swipe file. I'd rather use my own styles and structures that have worked for me and start from there. That way I never rely on other copywriters and avoid accidentally getting sucked into their bad habits.

For instance, if you join 20 female coach mailing lists, at least 10 of them will start their emails with: "I'm so excited to share with you blah blah blah."

It came across as authentic for the first couple of people who used it. But now it's stale, yet they (or their copywriters) continue to use it all....the....time.

I don't study other copywriters.

I'm a rebel. I break systems. People study me. Not the other way around. ;)
 

brewster

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Nope.

I don't use any swipe files. Virtually all of my copy is tailored for the individual audience from scratch. It's not plug'n'play. I create my own layouts and structures and then split-test them to see what gets the best results.

If you work with serious clients you'll have to split-test your copy anyway even if you use a swipe file. I'd rather use my own styles and structures that have worked for me and start from there. That way I never rely on other copywriters and avoid accidentally getting sucked into their bad habits.

For instance, if you join 20 female coach mailing lists, at least 10 of them will start their emails with: "I'm so excited to share with you blah blah blah."

It came across as authentic for the first couple of people who used it. But now it's stale, yet they (or their copywriters) continue to use it all....the....time.

I don't study other copywriters.

I'm a rebel. I break systems. People study me. Not the other way around. ;)
Good advice if you've been in the game a while.

But for those just starting out? Wouldn't recommend it.

As I think the saying goes... "you've gotta learn the rules before you can break 'em."
 

Lex DeVille

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Good advice if you've been in the game a while.

As I think the saying goes... "you've gotta learn the rules before you can break 'em."
One time I switched lanes while passing through a green light. Had no idea it was against the law. Still got pulled over. So no, you don't have to learn rules to break them and you don't have to learn copy to write it and get results.
 

ProcessPro

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Nope.

I don't use any swipe files. Virtually all of my copy is tailored for the individual audience from scratch. It's not plug'n'play. I create my own layouts and structures and then split-test them to see what gets the best results.

If you work with serious clients you'll have to split-test your copy anyway even if you use a swipe file. I'd rather use my own styles and structures that have worked for me and start from there. That way I never rely on other copywriters and avoid accidentally getting sucked into their bad habits.

For instance, if you join 20 female coach mailing lists, at least 10 of them will start their emails with: "I'm so excited to share with you blah blah blah."

It came across as authentic for the first couple of people who used it. But now it's stale, yet they (or their copywriters) continue to use it all....the....time.

I don't study other copywriters.

I'm a rebel. I break systems. People study me. Not the other way around. ;)
Always such a detailed response. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. That's precisely why I was asking for a recommendation. Don't want to pick up poor habits. Was hoping you had quality swipe files. Well thanks. From the ground up it is.
 

Lex DeVille

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Always such a detailed response. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. That's precisely why I was asking for a recommendation. Don't want to pick up poor habits. Was hoping you had quality swipe files. Well thanks. From the ground up it is.
The one caveat I always add with comments like this is to use what proves useful for you. If you try swipe files and you start getting good results, then by all means use them. My methods work for me and they've gotten good results for others who had similar goals but that doesn't mean they're the right way or the best way for everyone.
 

ProcessPro

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The one caveat I always add with comments like this is to use what proves useful for you. If you try swipe files and you start getting good results, then by all means use them. My methods work for me and they've gotten good results for others who had similar goals but that doesn't mean they're the right way or the best way for everyone.
Gotcha! Will use it until I get the hang of things. Was looking at your upwork profile. Man if I can be half as successful as you...that will provide enough to live while I work on my real fastlane ideas. At the moment, you're my upwork role model.
 

ZF Lee

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Nope.

I don't use any swipe files. Virtually all of my copy is tailored for the individual audience from scratch. It's not plug'n'play. I create my own layouts and structures and then split-test them to see what gets the best results.

If you work with serious clients you'll have to split-test your copy anyway even if you use a swipe file. I'd rather use my own styles and structures that have worked for me and start from there. That way I never rely on other copywriters and avoid accidentally getting sucked into their bad habits.

For instance, if you join 20 female coach mailing lists, at least 10 of them will start their emails with: "I'm so excited to share with you blah blah blah."

It came across as authentic for the first couple of people who used it. But now it's stale, yet they (or their copywriters) continue to use it all....the....time.

I don't study other copywriters.

I'm a rebel. I break systems. People study me. Not the other way around. ;)
THIS.

Relates back to my earlier post on my progress thread.

My client just wanted me to write emails following the control, instead of exploring BETTER angles that could rope in more educated and serious customers who would pay MORE.

Re: Eugene Schwartz's Market Sophistication.

Another reason to let him go. :)

Even Danny Marguilles said something like this:

Put all the classical copywriters together, and they will all write DIFFERENT copy for the product.

They are all speaking about the product in their own way and own words.
 

ProcessPro

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Why are you doing this?
To become self-sufficient. My mother is supporting me right now and things are getting tougher. If I don't make this work right now, I will have to get a job and thus lose time and energy to work on my fastlane idea (already started; much to do).

Describe your endgame in specific detail...
To become self reliant while I work on my fastlane idea.

How much money do you need to earn to make this worth it?
At least $1000 a month.

Who are you failing if you give up or don't succeed?
Myself, my mother and my lady.
 
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ProcessPro

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@Lex DeVille Sorry to be a bother. But any advice on how to apply to upwork without past clients/experience?

What should I put for skill level, overview and work history? Please point me if you've already answered this for someone else. Thanks.
 

Lex DeVille

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@Lex DeVille Sorry to be a bother. But any advice on how to apply to upwork without past clients/experience?

What should I put for skill level, overview and work history? Please point me if you've already answered this for someone else. Thanks.
Can't remember if I already answered this but when I signed up on Upwork I chose a skill level that fit my skill level. The only thing you really need to get rolling is a short bio. As long as you write YOU Focused proposals AND you're willing to get on a phone call with clients, then not having a fully filled out profile won't stop you from earning clients.

If you look at the thread where I deleted my Upwork account and started over from scratch you'll see that I didn't have any info filled out in my profile. Just sent one proposal with a YOU Focus and got a response. Then got on the call and sealed the deal. Everything else is extra for later on. It builds social proof and credibility but isn't necessary at the start.

You can add portfolio pieces as you finish client projects. You can use any past work experience or education as long as you can relate it back to your skill and show how it makes you better at that skill. Take some of Upwork's tests to build more authority on your profile. You can even add a few non-paid portfolio pieces to show what you can do. This way you don't have to have clients.
 

ProcessPro

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Can't remember if I already answered this but when I signed up on Upwork I chose a skill level that fit my skill level. The only thing you really need to get rolling is a short bio. As long as you write YOU Focused proposals AND you're willing to get on a phone call with clients, then not having a fully filled out profile won't stop you from earning clients.

If you look at the thread where I deleted my Upwork account and started over from scratch you'll see that I didn't have any info filled out in my profile. Just sent one proposal with a YOU Focus and got a response. Then got on the call and sealed the deal. Everything else is extra for later on. It builds social proof and credibility but isn't necessary at the start.

You can add portfolio pieces as you finish client projects. You can use any past work experience or education as long as you can relate it back to your skill and show how it makes you better at that skill. Take some of Upwork's tests to build more authority on your profile. You can even add a few non-paid portfolio pieces to show what you can do. This way you don't have to have clients.
Okay. Will put those points into practice. Thanks once again!
 

ProcessPro

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Can I use my middle name and surname to register on upwork? Or should the name correspond exactly with my credit card?
 

Lex DeVille

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Can I use my middle name and surname to register on upwork? Or should the name correspond exactly with my credit card?
I registered with "Lex" even though that isn't on my card, so technically yes it can be done. I don't know if you can add your middle name though. Can't remember now.
 

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