Be The Best Freelancer, Not The Cheapest

The cheapest freelancers do not win projects all the time, but the best freelancers succeed most of the times. People are willing to pay for the quality. So, you have to be the best freelancer, not the cheapest.

In here, I’m going to expose how I became one the best freelancers on Upwork. If you like to see my Upwork profile, click here. I’m a TOP RATED freelancer with 3500+ hours and 100% job success rate on my profile.

Yes, I agree, I was cheap in the beginning because of a few years back,

  • I did very primary tasks like copy-paste and simple web research.
  • The competition was unbearably high for that kind of jobs.
  • Freelancers are applying for almost every job on the list because they have enough applications for one week (25 applications per week). Now they think twice before applying for a job because we have only 30 for one month.
  • Could apply for any rate even 0.1$/hr. No limits. Now you can’t go lower than 3$/hr.

How can I survive with that? I had to go cheaper to compete with them as a newbie with no specialized knowledge of anything.

Believe me! When I started my freelance career, I didn’t even know how to create a new email address. My best friend created an email address for me (that account is still my personal one).

But, now I have a long list of email addresses that I have created for my clients.

If your best friend is a geek like mine, you are so damn lucky. Don’t laugh at me. I mean it because you’ll have to face some problems and take some serious decisions while you are dealing with clients.

You wouldn’t find answers to every question only by Googling. You should have someone experienced to talk to.

Don’t worry. You have me. Don’t hesitate to contact me anytime.

Contact me via e-mail

You are reading this article, that means you want to be the best freelancer. I hope you guys have already set up your profile on Upwork (I recommend Upwork as THE BEST PLACE to start).

If not, don’t wait until you learn everything about freelancing. It is not going to work. So, please just read these three articles and start right away.

The 5 Best Sites To Start
Top 5 Must-Dos Before You Create A Freelancer Profile
Why You Should Try Freelancing? Here Are 5 Reasons

1. Be Honest (The most important of all)

I have created few Upwork profiles for my friends. Some of them think that clients do not know anything. That is why they are hiring us to do that.

That is the WORST MISTAKE you can ever do as a freelancer.

Sometimes, your client knows much more than you do. They are hiring us because they just don’t have time to work on that.

They are seeking an honest person to access to their accounts or handle their personal details.

Don’t say YES to everything and anything. Even if you have read the job post A to Z before you send an application, clients may ask utterly different service in the interview.

That is why I told you not to say YES to anything.

As a beginner, you are eager to get anything. I know that but, if you want to be the best freelancer in your category, you should have confidence that you can do the task.

If you are not capable of doing that or doesn’t match with your skills, you should definitely tell the client.

Ask the client to find something align with your skills. They may find something for you as a reward for your honesty.

And you have to respect the deadlines.

You should do what you have promised on time. If for some reason, you won’t be able to meet the deadline, you have to let the client know immediately and discuss with him about that.

That is how honest people work, and It makes you a professional/the best freelancer.

Freelancing is not just working on a project, and you get paid in the end. You have to see the bigger picture.

Networking is the best way to find future projects. Happy clients will recommend you to their business partners. Being an honest person is how you win clients.

I got some of my most significant projects through recommendations by my happy clients.

Once, I worked for a client on Upwork. He gave me his credit card details and even full access to the back end of his million dollars online business website.

Now you know how far those honest relationships can fly.

2. Take Skill Tests

You know your skills but, understanding is not enough to be the best freelancer. You have to convince your clients that you are the right fit.

There are different ways to do that on Upwork but, proving your knowledge on the specific subject with skill tests is the best way.Start Upwork Skill Test

Upwork has Skill Tests in almost all the categories such as .net, Electronics, Graphic Designing, Networking, Sales, and Marketing, etc.

You can see the complete list of categories below and be specific as much as possible when you select a skill test.

Don’t go for “Social Media Marketing.” It is a vast area. Go for Twitter Marketing or Facebook Marketing like that.

Being a special one in a small niche is the best way to be the best freelancer in that niche.

Upwork Skill Test Categories

I have never been afraid to fail. That is why I’m here today. You should not too. If you have failed a test, nobody sees your results but you. You can hide your failed tests from clients.

However, my advice is, never take those tests if you do not want to pass. Those tests are not to play with.

You know why? Even if the failed tests are hidden, results are there forever. We never know what changes will happen on Upwork in the future.

Upwork Failed Skill Tests

3. Professional And Polished Cover Letter

Don’t try to sell yourself too much from your cover letters. You should write polished and professional one. Not very long or very short.

Let your clients see your skills with proof. I usually ask them to go through my personal social media profiles (because I’m a social media marketer) and see how I grow my personal profiles.

Then they’ll know that I can give the same service to them too.

When I posted a job on Upwork, even the best freelancers are sending generic cover letters. They have their pre-written cover letter and just paste it into the application form.

It is an awful practice. You have to write a specific one for each and every job you apply. At least make few changes before sending it out.

4. Self-promotion

You are doing business. Keep that in mind from the very first day. Business needs promotion. People won’t find you until you promote yourself.

Social media profiles are the best place for newbies. LinkedIn and Twitter are compelling platforms. Make sure you keep your social profiles up to date.

Create your own website.

It is one of the best decisions I have ever taken in my career.

You might think that you don’t know web designing or how to code. I don’t know anything about coding or web design but, I could set up this blog on my own.

I did not hire anyone for this (but, YouTube and my geek friend have my back all the time).

You can set up your personal website using these FREE platforms such as WordPress, Weebly, Wix, and Drupal.

However, I recommend WordPress. It is the best maybe it is not the easiest. If you are planning for a long-term, definitely go for a WordPress website.

Trust me. No coding knowledge required to start.

Read this complete step by step guide from Jon Morrow, the founder of SmartBlogger. You won’t have to touch anything other than this.

How to Start a Blog in 2018: New Method That’s 20X Faster

Spend few bucks (less than 20$ per year) for a good domain name and hosting because free domain names are not suitable for a professional.

Try yourself. You’ll be able to create a fantastic portfolio website less than 24 hours.

5. You Pick Your Client

Upwork Good Job Post

Be selective. Before applying for a job, go through client’s profile and read previous feedbacks. Some clients do not satisfy with anything and always give bad comments for their freelancers.

You’ll see this, especially in SEO related jobs

Don’t apply for their jobs.

Bad client feedbacks Upwork

I consider only,

• Clients with verified payment method (So many spam job posts out there)
• Client must have experience on Upwork (hired/paid earlier)
• At least 4.5 stars out of 5 for clients

Best Client Profiles Upwork

You can interview your client while he/she is interviewing you.

Ask questions and get to know your client. If you feel like very harsh or uncomfortable, don’t say yes.

Money is not the most important thing for a beginner. If you want to be the best freelancer, you should focus on building up an excellent profile with good feedbacks at first.

One More Thing………

Don’t ask an upfront payment if you want to be the best freelancer. You have to trust people and focus on having a positive feedback with five stars in the end.

Yes, I know some clients will cheat on you. There are few bad apples on Upwork too but, most of the clients are still have good qualities.

If you carefully picked up your client, no harm would come.

Upwork Five Stars Positive Feedback

Consider how you give the best quality service and pricing up. Go cheap is not the right business plan.

I have learned those things by working on Upwork for years and lot more things to tell you. But, this article is long enough. So, I will write a series of articles about Freelancing with my own experiences.

Stay connected.

Do you have anything for newbies? Please share your success stories and failures here. We all have so many things to learn from each other on the way to be the best freelancer.

This article contains no affiliate links, and I do not promote any brand here.







About the Author:

I’m fascinated by Social Media Marketing, Freelancing, and Latest Tech. I have worked with global brands and leaders as a Social Media Strategist. In my writing, I want to share my professional experiences.


  1. NS Renaissance 08/05/2017 at 10:09 PM - Reply

    Its very helpful for me to get more projects in my upwork profile after reading your whole blog I’m very thankful to you for sharing this.

    • Nirodha Abayalath 24/05/2017 at 1:56 PM

      That is everything for me. If you have any question about Upwork or freelancing, don’t hesitate to ask.
      Thanks for the comment.

  2. Soy Phea 11/11/2017 at 12:31 PM - Reply

    Thanks you so much sir. it’s very important for me that I am looking to start a freelancer. I hope I gonna get the first project soon.

    • Nirodha Abayalath 11/11/2017 at 6:34 PM

      You are welcome! If you have any question regards to this, don’t hesitate to contact me.
      And don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter. You’ll get our monthly tips right into your inbox.

  3. Pooja 15/11/2017 at 4:44 PM - Reply

    Good article. Thanks.

  4. Joshue 02/02/2018 at 9:21 AM - Reply

    Thanks for this article sir. It really help me in starting as a freelancer.

    • Nirodha Abayalath 02/02/2018 at 9:59 AM

      I’m glad it helped you. Helping newbies to start a freelance business was the pure intention of starting this blog. If you have any question regards to your freelancer profile or anything, don’t hesitate to contact me.

  5. Patricia Ann crider 09/02/2018 at 6:08 AM - Reply

    Very good information! Thank you.

    • Nirodha Abayalath 13/03/2018 at 10:57 PM

      Glad you liked it. Thank you very much for stopping by.

  6. Kamath 26/02/2018 at 12:27 PM - Reply

    Thanks for the article.

    The article is in great detail and the best thing is your are telling your story, listing out all the problems you faced initially.

    Inspiring indeed.

    • Nirodha Abayalath 13/03/2018 at 11:00 PM

      Hey Kamath,

      I’m really glad you liked it. Yes, of course, I’m writing my own experiences. I always wanted to tell my story and help people to learn from my mistakes.

      What is your story as a freelancer?

      Thank you very much for the comment.

  7. Edgar 26/02/2018 at 2:55 PM - Reply

    Thanks for this article. I was really looking for some tips on getting clients on Upwork and I bumped into your article. At least I got inspired with your blog. Thank you for ng us newbies. Bow I know, I can do it, hehe!

    • Nirodha Abayalath 13/03/2018 at 11:04 PM

      Hey Edgar,

      Glad it helped you somehow.

      If I can do it, yes, of course, you can do it better than me. Don’t think twice. Just start. If you have any question regards to Upwork or freelancing, don’t hesitate to contact me via the contact page on this blog or Twitter (@iNirodha).

      Thank you very much for the comment.

  8. Vidhya 13/04/2018 at 8:02 AM - Reply

    Nice article. Inspiring too. Iam a beginner in freelancing and need your help. Thank you for this post.

    • Nirodha Abayalath 13/04/2018 at 5:59 PM

      Hey Vidhya,

      Thank you very much for stopping by and comment. Yes, of course, I’m here to help you guys. I was once there, and I know how hard to begin.

      So, don’t worry. If you have any question, don’t hesitate to ask.

      Hope you’ll subscribe to my weekly newsletter. You’ll get my exclusive freelancing tips right in your inbox.

      Thanks again.

  9. ROHIT SINGH 20/06/2018 at 12:08 AM - Reply

    Hello sir i am going to start freelancing can u tell me how to write a good and professional cover letter?

    • Nirodha Abayalath 10/08/2018 at 5:07 PM

      Hey Rohit,

      Thank you very much for asking and I would like to give you a more fitting answer. So, please contact me via “contact” page on the blog.

      Thanks again.

  10. AMOL SINGH 10/08/2018 at 4:54 PM - Reply

    Sir, I have some doubts and would like to ask you.

    • Nirodha Abayalath 10/08/2018 at 5:09 PM

      Hey Amol,

      You can ask anything. If you would like to have a more personalized answer, please contact me via “Contact” page here.

      Thank you very much for stopping by and commenting on my blog.

  11. Zaman Ashraf 19/09/2018 at 10:32 AM - Reply

    I really learned Lot from this article 🙂 you have made my day sir 🙂 Thank you so much

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