If I could boil down this post on getting freelance jobs as a beginner, I’d be left with these four things below; my four principles, or, “4 Bes.”

They sound simple on the surface, but you’d be amazed at how difficult one or more might be for any given person. Thus, if you can execute on all four, you’ll be well on your way to landing your first gig.

BE Different

The biggest challenge of breaking in on Upwork (and a big reason why many caution against it) is the competition. You’re definitely one of many tiny fishes ferociously fending for yourself in a very large pond. So, you can either blend in as just another writer, or, you can “do the opposite” to give you a much better chance of standing out:

When others are bidding low, you bid high. Or, at least bid around what the client has budgeted for, and, at an amount you’re comfortable with trading your time for.If you think the secret to freelance writing success is under-bididng the competition, you need to change you’re thinking.

You might land a job here or there, but it’s not sustainable, and the firs time you get paid $20 for an article that took you 3 hours to complete, you’ll be looking for a new side gig.

BE a Good Person

If you’re a good person, this one is easy. If you know you have the tendency to be a little rough, or, you think you don’t have the time to be a good person, please stop and revaluate your approach. Meaning, the vast majority of the freelancers against which you’ll be bidding will be treating prospective clients like nothing more than names on a screen.Those who actually take the time to treat people well and with respect will stick out like a sore thumb.

In the long run, it’s not just about landing your first gig…it’s about building relationships that could lead to more, and more steady jobs down the road.

BE Emotional

I don’t mean lay out your sob story in your proposals or writing, but appealing to the emotion of the prospective client. And, importantly, emotion doesn’t mean sadness or heart strings. It could be joy and happiness brought on by humor. It could be the feeling of “a ha!” It could be as simple as causing the little hairs on arms and the backs of necks to stand when words are read.Really, it means going above and beyond words on a page; to words that jump off the page, and then jump down the throat of the reader.

The bulk of other freelancers are going to be tripping over themselves to come off as buttoned-up and polished as possible. Be different.

BE Disciplined

This really has to do more with the entire process, but discipline can be broken down into the following:

  • Don’t bid on everything. In fact, when your first getting started, there are certain types of jobs you should target.
  • Bid early and regularly. I don’t have the data but the sooner you bid, the better your chances, you’d have to think.
  • With that said, try and set a bidding window of time, carving out maybe an hour each morning for bidding.
  • When you start to get jobs, make sure your deliverables are on time.
  • And while you want the client to be happy, draw the line on feedback when called for.

All in all, pretty standard tips in the sense that they aren’t hard to execute. The secret to your success is in understanding you don’t have to stand out as a professional with years of experience. Rather, you really just need to stand out in any way you can.