This page is for our customer Facebook Group members. Every day I get asked the same frequently asked freelance questions again and again. I respond when I can, but it seemed more effective to just put some of those answers in one place where you can easily find them on your own. So that’s what this page is for.
Getting Started with Freelancing
Q – Can I get started as a freelancer even if I don’t have a degree or any experience?
Yes, anyone can become a freelancer regardless of your background. Whether or not you are successful is largely determined by your mindset and attitude. If you believe you can make it happen, and if you are willing to search for solutions to problems when they arise, then you can probably be successful.
Q – Where should I start freelancing? Upwork?
Upwork is one of the fastest, easiest ways to start freelancing, but it is no longer free. While it is still a good option, you have many other choices as well. Some of my preferred methods include using PeoplePerHour.com, Facebook, LinkedIn and even cold emailing. I also have this big list of 100+ freelance websites you can checkout for more.
Q – Lex, can you help me get approved on Upwork?
Yes, I’ve already made several videos on this topic. There are additional videos in my Upwork courses. Beyond the videos, I cannot help you get approved on Upwork. I will not write your profile for you. I will not help you trick the system. Follow the videos on my YouTube channel, such as this one with more than 11,000 views, and you will have a good chance to get approved.
Q – Lex, can you take a look at my profile and tell me what needs fixed?
Yes, visit this page to request a profile, portfolio or proposal review.
Q – I am sending proposals using YOU Focus but I’m not getting results. I wrote “you” all over the proposal so I don’t get it.
YOU Focus is not about using the word “you.” That is only a small part of what it means to send a YOU Focused proposal. YOU Focus is about proving to the client that you care about them, you want to help them, and that you are the best fit to get the job done right and well. If you don’t address these concerns, then clients will not respond.
Q – Do I have to have a portfolio to get started with freelancing?
No. You do not have to have a portfolio. You can build your portfolio with each new client you work for. Each one will become a portfolio piece for you. However, it is easier if you start with a portfolio of work, even if it’s made of free samples. Make sure the samples are high-quality.
Q – What should I set my hourly rates at?
I have no idea. I do not ever bill hourly because I don’t trade time directly for money. I only bill on fixed-prices so it doesn’t matter how long it takes me to get the job done. Whether it takes me 5 minutes or 5 hours, I get paid what I feel the job is worth. Employees get paid hourly. I am not an employee, so I do not charge by the hour.
Q – What should I set my rates at as a beginner?
Whatever you feel comfortable with. I usually recommend $5/hr as a starter rate on Upwork to get a foot in the door, but I only bill fixed-price gigs.
Q – But what if I have a lot of experience and am very good at my skill? Shouldn’t I charge more?
Your skills and experience mean nothing if you can’t sell yourself at the prices you want. It’s much easier to sell services at lower rates if you want to get a foot in the door, but I can’t stop you from charging $50/hr or whatever you want. Just know that most clients won’t hire an untested, unproven freelancer at higher rates without seeing good feedback and reviews. Having experience in your skill doesn’t make you a good freelancer. It just makes you good at your skills. But someone who is good at a skill and terrible at freelancing isn’t worth higher rates in a client’s eyes.
Q – What should I do about negative feedback on my profile?
If you are Top Rated you may be able to request to have feedback or a review removed from your profile. You can only do this a certain number of times every few months. It doesn’t remove the effects on your JSS but at least it won’t show on your profile.
Q – I had Top Rated status and then I lost it. What should I do?
The best solution I’ve found for a lowered job success score is to take several easy jobs back to back that you can quickly deliver good work on, and get good reviews. Somewhere in the range of 3-5 positive reviews should start to lift your score back up.
Q – Upwork set my profile to private. Should I pay for membership?
I’ve never paid for membership to get my profile set to public. In my opinion, it’s a waste of money. A better solution is to apply to gigs and get hired, finish work up on current client projects and submit for pay, or just go through Upwork’s community forums and request that someone set you back to public (usually an admin is happy to do this for you).