Most freelancers don’t pay much attention to their profile, a HUGE mistake in the freelancing world.
A client isn’t going to hire you based off of just looking at your proposal.
They want to get an idea of who they are going to be working with before they click that green “Hire Me” button.
Most freelancers are really bad at writing their profiles, and screw up the most important parts of their proposal.
They write 3 paragraphs talking about all the things they are good at, their experience, and why they are so awesome.
This was probably your first instinct when you went to write your proposal.
And that is a good way to write your proposal…
If you want to blend in with every other freelancer on Upwork!
As the famous copywriter Ben Settle says, “Your masters degree doesn’t make your ass look any better.”
There’s a much better way to write your profile.
It’s a whole lot easier than you think…
And a well written profile will act as a multiplier to all your proposals.
I’m going to walk you through the process of building an amazing profile.
How do You Write an Amazing Upwork profile?
Lucky for you, this post is going to walk you through each section of your Upwork profile to make reworking your current profile super easy.
My good friend Ryan Mulvihill has used this process to some really great success with his well built profile, so we’ll be referring back to his profile a lot.
Before you even start building your profile I highly recommend you choose your niche.
This is your area of specialty, written for the type of work you want to do.
In this post I talk about how to choose what to freelance in on upwork.
As long as you followed that process you should know there is a demand for your skill.
For example Ryan’s niche is email copywriting.
He’s a great overall copywriter, but he decided to specialize in email copywriting because he saw there was a large demand for it.
Think of the work you most enjoy doing, that is in large demand, and choose that as your niche.
You would think that by niching yourself you would be limiting the kind of work you will get.
It actually has the opposite effect.
If you are applying for the type of work you have decided to niche in, then you become choice number 1 for that job.
If you apply for a job outside of your niche, but within your area of expertise you still look like an amazing pick.
Ryan specializes in email copywriting, but when he applies for other types of copywriting work, people still choose him.
This is because in his profile he sounds extremely competent in one form of copywriting. Employers then assume he is very competent at other forms of copywriting as well.
Once you know what you want to niche in you’re going to need to find a popular freelancer’s profile to model your off of.
Model your profile off of Greatness
Before you even start writing your proposal you need to choose your model.
You need to find a high level freelancer on Upwork that you want to model.
You will need to create a “client” profile, and search the Upwork freelancers for keywords related to what you want to freelance in.
Preferably this freelancer will be in the niche you want to work in.
Look for a freelancer who looks like a top of the line freelancer in your field.
Someone who has a lot of reviews, charges a high hourly rate, and has an engaging profile to read.
Keep their profile open on a separate tab in your browser, because we will be referring back to their profile a lot.
This “Model” profile is going to help you with a lot of the content.
Now let’s go through each section of your Upwork profile and make it awesome.
Choosing your Upwork Profile Picture
Your picture is going to be the first thing your client sees, so it has to be inviting.
When choosing a good profile picture, you need to look inviting.
Think to yourself, would you have coffee with the person in your profile picture?
A lot of freelancers look utterly terrified in their profile picture, search around and see for yourself. It’s pretty funny.
You’re going to need a big smile on your face if you want to entice clients to speak with you.
Try to aim for a picture like one of these. On the left is my beautiful mug, on the right, my good friend Ryan’s charming smile.
Writing a Great Headline for Upwork
Your Headline/Title/Tagline is the first sentence clients read when they look at your profile.
So it better be good.
Most people’s Headlines read like this:
Most freelancers try to jam as much keywords into their headline as possible, to look like they can do everything.
Your headline shouldn’t even be about YOU.
It should be about what you can do for your client.
That’s an example of a well written headline for your profile.
It speaks directly to how your skills get your client what they want.
If a client says he wants a website designed for his restaurant business, what he really want is more customers.
If you were a website designer your tagline should read something like:
“Website design that gets you more customers”
A client will read that and think, “I really do want more customers, let me look at this guy’s proposal!”
Make sure your headline speaks to your client’s needs, not your ego.
Choosing Your Hourly Rate
Most new freelancers get really scared when choosing their hourly rate.
Thing is, hourly rate doesn’t matter too much as most jobs will be fixed price.
AND you will renegotiate rates with every job you do.
To choose your starting rate I usually recommend first time freelancers choose $25/hour or more.
As a rule of thumb think about the rate you’d like to charge that makes you slightly… Uncomfortable.
You can always refer back to the high level freelancer’s profile and just charge half of their hourly rate.
What Skill Keywords to Choose on Upwork
The easiest way to do this is by just taking them from the freelancer profile you are modelling.
Skill keywords don’t really come into play until you are an established freelancer.
They’re just there so when a client searches for freelancers who can do “Web Design” those profiles come up.
Until you have a well established profile it’s best to just use the same keywords as your model profile.
Writing an Amazing Upwork Overview
This is the meat of this post, your Upwork profile overview.
This is the area most people royally mess up, and take way too long to write.
But as with everything in the Freelance Hustler database I’m going to show you the easy way to get incredible results.
Even the profile you are modelling probably has a relatively poorly written overview.
In order to write a truly incredible overview, you’re going to have to do something called stealing… I mean spinning.
Spinning is where you take one piece of work and turn it into another.
What you are going to do is take a sales page, written by a top level person in your field and change it so it fits your needs.
Since Ryan wanted to become a high level email copywriter he went and found a sales page of a very high end email copywriter, John McIntyre, to use.
You can find John’s sales letter here: themcmethod.com/email-copywriting/
Ryan took the best parts of John’s sales letter and turned it into his profile overview on Upwork.
Find out the ways the best people in your field describe their work and use it to describe yourself.
Usually you can find it when you click a link to “Work with” that person on their personal websites.
Their “sales letter” will be a page with a lot of words persuading you to work with that person.
Don’t worry about using the same words as their sales letter. You won’t be penalized for taking direct sentences from them.
You can even draw from multiple people’s sales letters to build your own overview.
When you use a high level sales letter to build your overview you are guaranteed to have an amazing Upwork overview in the end.
Sometimes people ask me, “But isn’t my overview supposed to describe myself?”
Yes, and no.
Clients don’t care about you… They care about how you can help them.
Your skills are meaningless unless you can describe how they can help your client make more money or achieve their goals.
Again, your masters degree doesn’t make your ass look any better.
The MOST IMPORTANT Part of your Upwork Overview
In the copywriting world it’s called the CTA (the call to action).
It is the sentence that gets your reader to DO something.
Most freelancers end their overview with a pitiful “I hope to hear from you soon.”
You need to TELL the client what to do!
But at the same time you can’t come off pushy or desperate.
Ryan pulls this CTA off masterfully in his profile, here’s how he does it:
He TELLS the client to push the green hire me button.
Not to start working together immediately, but rather to just talk about the project.
That’s very low commitment on the client’s part and vastly increases the chances they’ll press the button.
Now you have an incredible overview that makes you an irresistible candidate for any job.
Polishing your Upwork Overview
Now you have a great overview written you just need a few finishing touches to make it really shine.
1) Get rid of your welfare sentences
Imagine each sentence needs to earn it’s way onto the page. If a sentence isn’t doing work and is filler, get rid of it.
2) Break it up
People ignore big blocks of text. Break up your profile into bite sized portions. Paragraphs should be 1-3 sentences MAX. Aim for one, it will make your overview easier to read and therefore much more likely to be read.
Try to put in some bullet points and numbered lists to make your overview more engaging to read.
3) Make it about your client
Your client wants to learn why what you can do will help them achieve THEIR goals. Make sure you are doing this in almost every sentence.
In Ryan’s overview almost every sentence has the word “you” in it. It may seem excessive, but it is your client’s favourite word after all.
Making an Upwork Portfolio People Will Actually Read
Most freelancers have the most boring portfolios I’ve ever seen.
This is a random portfolio I pulled from a highly rated copywriting freelancer:
Why would anyone want to look at that portfolio?
As a client I would probably not even bother checking out his portfolio.
This freelancer has over 30 pages in his portfolio of the same, image lacking, portfolio.
And even worse, when you click on one of the portfolio pieces this is what you see:
No description either!
Not too many clients will go through your portfolio…
But the ones who do can be won over instantly with some tweaks to your portfolio.
This is Ryan’s portfolio:
When you click on one of his pieces you get the story behind his writing.
When creating your portfolio, make sure you add an image that will catch someone’s eye, even if it’s not directly related to the portfolio piece.
Give it an awesome title that will get clients to want to read it.
And put some work into a solid description of what you wrote.
You don’t need any more than 4 portfolio pieces, but make sure to have at least 4!
If a client is ever on the fence about paying your high rates, a solid portfolio can push them over the edge.
Why you need to get your Upwork profile to 100%
Simply put, you will appear in more client’s searches is your profile is 100%
So make sure to complete everything.
This is where you can refer back to your model profile again to get ideas on how to complete it.
99% of clients don’t care about any of these extra sections, but the Upwork search algorithm does.
Certifications – Put literally any certification.
Ryan put that he competed a Udemy course on how to sell ebooks on amazon. Technically they do give certifications… Hey, why not.
Tests – Take two on anything
You need to take 2 tests to get your profile to 100%
Your score is no big deal. I took a test on US word usage.
I’m a native english speaker and I scored a resounding 3.75 out of 5 so… yeah…
Don’t fail the test you take, but don’t sweat your score too much
Employment History – This may matter to some employers depending on your type of work
If you are going to work as a virtual assistant employers may care where you worked in the past.
Most do not care though.
Also Upwork has no way of checking real work history.
Consider it a chance to turn “Cashier at American Eagle” to “Customer Service Representative”
Education – Only matters if it’s directly related to your work
Any education is fine to put here.
Again Upwork does not require a scanned copy of your bachelors degree 😉
This is the one area your masters degree may make your butt look a little better.
Other Experiences – Of all the useless sections, this is the #1 most useless
If you went skydiving once, that counts as an other experience…
Now you have an incredible profile on Upwork
If you followed all these steps you will have an incredible profile clients won’t be able to ignore.
You will probably be able to model some parts of your profile off of his.
But building an amazing profile is just one part of becoming a highly paid freelancer on Upwork.
It will teach you exactly how I started my freelancing empire.
So you too can start making some serious freelance cash.