I was around 12 years old (2006.) when I first heard the concept of a freelancer, a person who works online and needs only his laptop to make a living. It took me two more years (2008) to create an account on a freelance marketplace website, unfortunately I was still unable to grasp the whole idea of what should I do to get a job and I had no skills I could earn money off (or so I thought). It took me 7 more years (2015) to actually try it again and I had more luck this time. During a bus ride a friend told me there’s a website (Upwork) where he finds “transcription” jobs and earns money working from home.

Transcription is the process of listening to an audio recording and writing down what you hear. I made an account just to find out there’s even easier jobs than that one. These were “data entry” and “internet research”. Basically most of the jobs in this category required workers to build a list of emails, songs, videos or something similar. You would be given a description of what kind of emails. songs or videos the client wants and all you had to do was figure out how to research (Google) on the given subject and then build a list in a form of an Excel Sheet!

Creating a profile

If you’re new on Upwork and are looking to into data entry and internet research I would start by filling out every section of the profile, you must get your profile to 100% complete. If you get stuck, don’t worry, try every possible combination, there can only be so many. You will also need to complete a “skill test”, I recommend the English Spelling test to begin with. After that you can start applying to jobs.

Applying to jobs and creating a proposal that “converts” is a science of its own, a good thing to start off with is to create a nice .pdf proposal document that’s also your resume. Don’t worry if you don’t have any past experiences to feature in your resumes, I didn’t have it either. You need a beautiful resume design template. There are a lot of choices online, just google “resume template” or something similar. Having a pretty resume gives you an edge.

Number’s Game

After you’ve prepared a resume it’s time to start applying to jobs. As in any business/selling type of work, it’s a number’s game. The more jobs you apply to the bigger the chance you’ll “convert” a client. There’s a huge luck element to it as well, but it’s just reasonable to spend all your “Upwork connects” if you want to make a living as a freelancer.

I believe that a huge part of working online is writing, you have to get used to it. The best way of writing is as to write to your clients is as you would speak to them, just write down everything like you’d tell them in real life. It might sound obvious but I kind of had an epiphany when I came to that realization. Anyway, clients will respond to messages that convey meaning in a straight forward and detailed (but not too much) fashion. Making sure to always respond to your clients messages even if it’s only a confirmation message probably makes the client more confident in his decision to hire a stranger online.

Portfolio

There’s a portfolio section on Upwork that needs to be filled at least with something. Don’t hesitate to just make few screenshots of ANY type of work you’ve did before, I’ve seen people with portfolios that made no sense at all have a very rich profile with a lot of jobs. What I would recommend is just using something like this which is enough to show that you’re familiar with Excel software. Putting something in your portfolio is important because it will help you get your Upwork 100% complete faster.

Payments

I wouldn’t worry about payment that much if I was a complete beginner but I would definitely recommend Payoneer. It works with Upwork, you get a mastercard and are able to withdraw money on any ATM machine in the world. I’ve done it in three different countries so far. If you register using this link you will receive a $25 discount for your mastercard which will then cost you $5. You will actually get the mastercard itself for free but your account will be charged -$30 and then +$25 because of using the url above, so it’s like almost having a card for free.

Conclusion

So there’s plenty of skills a freelancer utilizes while doing his job and very often it goes without the realization that you actually already posses a skill. Maybe a better word would be an ability or a virtue, but if you’re curios, honest and take seriously your online work people will appreciate it. Working online is a new trend that is right now adopted by tech savvy people who in the eyes of the rest probably do something extremely risky but the truth is that both parties want the contract to work. I haven’t had any unpleasant experiences and people I know haven’t had them either. Integrity, honesty & reliable work ethic are the skills that persist in the online world as they do in the physical one.