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As a freelance writing professional, your writing time is valuable. This quick post will help you sift through the mountain of writing jobs on Upwork, so you can concentrate on those worthy of your efforts.
There are literally hundreds of writing jobs posted every day on Upwork and you can browse and search across a range of categories:
You’ll want to create your own job feed that opens up each time you open Upwork — preselect any (or all) of the 10 writing categories or save a ‘job search’ using keywords and filters. You can also create an RSS feed so your saved job search feeds live into your browser.
Find paid writing assignments by scroll through your job feed. Each job displays the first three lines of the project outline, the budget, the type of freelancer required (entry level, intermediate, expert), the location, and the client’s overall rating based on feedback from previous freelancers.
You can quickly screen jobs using the ‘thumbs-down’ or ‘heart’ icon — either removing them from your feed, or saving them to view later.
First look for jobs that clearly describe what they want or include a project brief in the description. Job advertisements with clear descriptions usually indicate a client who has experience working with freelancers and knows exactly what they want. If you land their contract you can usually get to the writing work right away.
Alternately there are loads of advertisements for writing jobs with vague or unclear expectations. Either the client is unsure of what they need or doesn’t know how to explain themselves. Jobs like these require a lot of ‘unpaid time’ to get going because you need to ask loads of questions.
Remember that every moment spent negotiating a contract or applying for a job is unpaid and eats into your profit margin. Some jobs on Upwork have an exhaustive application process, which usually indicates a lack of experience by the client. Leave them alone.
Let’s look again at the job in section 1 (project brief) asking for product descriptions.
Can you see how the client gives clear instructions on how to apply. Follow the link and then write a two sentence product description from the list. While it’s not a high paying job the client at least demonstrates a professional work approach.
Let’s contrast this now against another job, this time to review a Linked in profile. To apply for this job you have to send an application letter as well as provide detailed answers to four generic questions. By generic questions, I mean pre-written questions created by Upwork rather than created by the client themselves. Something else to note is the client’s request for an ‘expert’ but no indication of their budget.
I looked at that job ad and instantly thought … ‘nope, time waster‘. How about you?
Of course there are high budget jobs where a complex application process is justified, but don’t waste your time applying for jobs that want you to complete 5 full written answers + a cover letter, and is only paying $50.
Here are a few jobs to ignore:-
Many clients indicate they are “willing to pay higher rates for the most experienced freelancers” but think $5 an hour is acceptable. When evaluating a prospective job check the overall client history and see how much they’ve paid other freelancers.
If they have completed hundreds of jobs and the average payout rate is $6 per hour, chances are they aren’t going to pay you much more either. The Article and Blog Writing category is particularly notorious for low paying jobs .
Also here are a few jobs to ignore immediately:
Most jobs require a few questions back and forth between you and the client. It can be really annoying and also unproductive to be setting the alarm for 3am to chat with a client. Unless it’s a dream job, concentrate on projects where your location makes communication easy.
While there are plenty of great clients out there who are new to Upwork, proven experience does mean something. Check their overall feedback score, how long they’ve been working on Upwork, average amounts paid to freelancers, and their hire rate.
It’s good form for a client to leave a nice review for their freelance writer. We all want to work with shiny, happy people so dedicate your marketing time to applying for Upwork jobs with reputable clients. People who clearly indicate what they want, pay realistic rates, and take the time to leave a positive review at the end of the job.
© 2018 Melinda J. Irvine