Believe it or not, I ventured into writing in May 2021. And no, I had never written for clients before. So, the tips I am giving you are from newbie to newbie.
It can be a struggle to succeed as a beginner if you don’t take the proper steps.
So, I’ll tell you a little about myself. I was doing transcription until April, when the account I was using was closed. After that, I tried academic writing, but it wasn’t my thing (although it introduced me to the writing world where I came across Walter Akolo).
I joined FreelancerKenya’s article writing training on 28th April 2021 and started writing in May. As I write this article in June, I’ve completed six jobs on Upwork (working on my seventh and eighth), done two jobs for a direct client, and have been onboarded into CopySmiths’ main team.
I know you think that’s a lot to accomplish in just a month. But it’s possible.
So, how did I achieve such a feat in that space of time?
Well, stick with me, and I’ll take you through my one-month writing journey.
1. I invested in good training
The first step I took before applying for jobs on Upwork was to invest in good training. Yes, I had done some academic writing in April, but the form of writing I was getting into was utterly different.
So, I joined Walter Akolo’s training at only KSh. 4000 ($40). The training was the best chance I had to succeed faster.
You can still succeed without training, but it will take longer.
So how did the training help me?
2. I learned the ropes of the writing world
I was green in this field, to be frank. I had an Upwork account since 2020 but never clinched a single client. I was an expert transcriber, but I didn’t know how to craft good pitches to persuade clients to hire me. So, with all my expertise, I couldn’t get a client on Upwork.
But all that changed after training. Although I stopped doing transcription and started writing, I now knew how to craft pitches to persuade clients to hire me.
I completed my Upwork profile, and my trainer analyzed it; then, I sent my first pitch on 2nd May and got my first job on 8th May.
But that’s not all…
3. I learned how to create a website and publish my articles to attract clients
For a long time, I always thought having a website was an impossible thing.
I thought I would need to hire a designer to create a website for me, which would cost me over KSh.100k ($1,000). So, I knew that was beyond me.
But the training debunked all these false beliefs. I learned I only needed around KSh.1000 ($10) to start my website.
I know you’re asking, “1000? Really?”
Let me break it down for you.
I got my domain name from Namecheap at $9.06.
I then used a coupon code from FreelancerKenya to get web hosting from HostGator for $0.01 for the first month and created my website using WordPress. So, adding up the two figures, we get $9.07 (that’s less than 1000 bob KES).
Here’s a step-by-step guide that shows you how to do this.
While designing my website, I published an article I wrote in training on LinkedIn. So, I used this article as a sample when I applied for my first Upwork job.
After the website was ready, I published the article on the website. Later, I also published faith-based articles because I love writing Christian topics.
I used these published articles when I applied for jobs in Upwork.
Creating a website was a game-changer because it gave me a professional outlook.
So, after training, what next?
4. I applied for jobs that matched my favorite niche
My first job involved paraphrasing. The client needed me to paraphrase some work for him, and he paid me $5.
I delivered pure gold, as Walter always says. I worked so hard that I slept at 2:00 am to ensure the job was top-notch quality (for only $5, hehe). I knew I wasn’t working for $5, but a 5-star review and valuable feedback.
Once I achieved this, I filtered my search to get clients that needed Christian articles written (since it was my favorite niche).
I got my second client who paid me $90 to write three articles for him (he became a repeat client).
Applying for jobs in my favorite niche boosted my chances as a newbie because the client loved my samples when he read them. Also, my samples were relevant to what he needed.
But wait, there’s more.
5. I completed the Upwork Readiness Test
Many newbies rush for jobs in Upwork without considering this factor. However, to get a Rising Talent badge, you must complete the Upwork Readiness Test.
Not only did I get the Rising Talent badge, but Upwork awarded me 30 free connects.
With more connects, I could reach out to more clients. So, I started venturing outside my niche gradually, and that’s how I got my third client.
He was paying me $10 per 1000 words. But hey, it was not about the money yet, but adding value.
6. I looked for other opportunities outside Upwork
In one of Walter’s free emails, he wrote that CopySmiths were hiring. So, I took the opportunity and applied.
A few days later, I received an email from them. They loved how I organized my website and hired me. In addition, they were impressed that I started writing a month ago and had already set up my website (by this time, we were in June 2021).
So, they onboarded me into their trial team, where I joined their SEO Copywriting Course. My writing took a turn because I learned so much in this course. Later, I passed their trial test and joined their main team.
With the knowledge I was getting, I tweaked my Upwork profile and started applying for other jobs because I was confident I could deliver high-quality work.
That’s how I clinched my fourth client, who needed me to optimize his content using Surfer SEO (which I learned in the Copywriting Course).
So, in a nutshell…
Tips I have learned so far
I will mention some tips I have learned to get this far as a beginner.
- Don’t be driven by the money factor; add value first through learning.
- Invest in good training. I will repeat this 1,000 times. Invest in good training.
- Be self-driven. Improve your writing every day and learn from specific sources.
- Learn how to create your website using the steps you’ll receive in training. (It took me two days to understand how to set up my website, but the struggle was worth it).
- Once you set up your website, send pitches to direct clients (my website helped me get a direct client who paid me $110 for a simple task).
- Send as many proposals as you can. (I have sent over 30 proposals to clients, and I have worked with only four. So don’t give up).
And now over to you
As a newbie, it can be hard to get clients on Upwork. But with hard work, determination, passion, and perseverance, it is possible. I am living proof.
You need to invest in good training. The primary purpose of training is to open your eyes to the opportunities available and show you how to clinch them.
Also, never give up if you’re sending proposals and getting no response. Instead, add value to yourself, and soon, the clients will start noticing you.