Are you familiar with Upwork? Well, it’s a freelancing platform where freelancers can get work through bidding on projects. It has a secure payment system that protects both the client and the freelancer. A feedback system is also present for clients so that they can give opinions about how the freelancers they hired performed. You can work individually on different projects here or start your own business too.
The freelancing career has experienced sharp growth during the pandemic. As people lost their jobs, they started earning from home. Some of these people have been very successful. According to a survey conducted by Upwork in 2022, the U.S. has about 60 million freelancers who have earned trillions of dollars. You can try developing a business with Upwork and earn a lot of money.
You have autonomy and flexibility in freelance business and that’s why it’s so popular today. This business is manageable and scalable. If you are thinking of doing a freelance business on Upwork then here are some choices for you.
Web Designer And Developer
You can hire freelance web developers to design and develop websites for clients. You can use both code and no-code platforms for web development. You just need to ensure that the people you hire have experience in creating web designs and know the latest technologies used in web development. Understanding of search engine optimization is important in this field.
If you are good at taking photographs then you can start a photography business on Upwork. You can sell your photos to Shutterstock, Getty Images, or other stock photo sites too. You can do product photography for different companies. For big projects, you can hire other freelance photographers.
This field has a lot of prospects. With graphic designing skills, you can create graphics for different purposes like background images, logos, mail-in ads, billboards, and others. You need to hire people who are experts in Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop.
Companies now get huge data about customers and suppliers from various sources. They need to analyze these data to make important business decisions. If you work as a data analyst then you can find valuable information for clients by analyzing their data.
As many people are creating video content today on social media, the demand for video editors is high. Video is also an effective marketing tool and so people look out for experienced and talented video editors. You need to understand how the video editing software works and know how to tell a story.
As an SEO consultant, you can optimize the contents of client’s websites so that the sites rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). You need to be aware of the latest SEO techniques. You can hire several SEO experts for bigger projects.
Writing is an excellent way to earn money on Upwork. A copywriter writes SEO-optimized articles, social media posts, brochure content, email campaigns, and others. You need to understand the importance of grammar and plagiarism in this work.
Steps To Develop Business On Upwork
If you are convinced that starting a business on Upwork could be profitable, then you should know the steps for launching and growing your business. That way there is a high chance to be successful. Here is a guide on how to set up a business on Upwork.
Choose An Area Of Expertise
Now that you have an idea about the types of business you can do on Upwork, choose an area of expertise for your business. Find out which skills you can use to earn money online. If needed you can complete formal training on the area you want to focus your business on.
Define Target Audience
You should know which clients to target on Upwork. So, once you know your area of expertise you should find out your target audience and then arrange your portfolio accordingly. Your profile must also be crafted for the target audience.
Decide On The Business Vision
Before you start your business, decide on the vision. You cannot serve all people, so find out your target market. You should find out how your brand is different from the competitors and what value you are going to offer to the customers. You should come up with your unique selling proposition (USP).
Know The Terms And Conditions
You need to understand the terms of conditions of Upwork to run a smooth business. You should keep all the communications and financial transactions within Upwork. You should know that it charges a 20% amount for projects worth less than $500, 10% for projects ranging from $501 to $10K, and 5% for projects with higher revenue.
Choose Business Structure
You should either follow the traditional business model or develop a geographically distributed team. In the traditional model you will need to hire full-time workers on fixed salary and working in the same office. In this case, the Upwork site will be used as one of the sales channels along with the offline channels to get new clients and projects. If you choose the geographically distributed team then you hire people working remotely in different parts of the globe. They may work on a project basis or hourly basis. In this case, the Upwork site becomes the main sales channel.
Create Your Business Account
Before you create a business account on Upwork, you need to create a personal account. Then click on the ‘Settings’ option and choose ‘Switch to Business’. You need to provide a business name, phone number, website, business size, and address to open the business account. You should also provide an overview of the agency, skills, and portfolio so that you can attract clients. The account needs to be verified before you can start running the business on Upwork. Once your account is active you can post jobs and hire freelancers for your project.
Know The Legal And Tax Aspects
The agency owners must pay the workers timely. So, proper business classification is necessary so that your tax papers are in order. The common business entities are sole proprietor, partnership, LLC, C-corp, or S-corp. The federal and regional laws can be different. So, it is best to consult with a local tax advisor to decide which business entity to choose.
Note Down Agency Roles
You have to wear several hats to become an Upwork business owner. You should oversee the works of all the departments including marketing, finance, business development, and others. However, the actual task must be allocated to your team members. So, you need to find the person with the right skills for each role.
Make Your Profile Strong
The key to starting a new business in Upwork is to strengthen your profile. It will help you to attract more clients and hire the right people to work for you. You should use the right terms and information in your profile so that the clients feel interested in looking at your portfolio to learn more about you.
Set Realistic Goals
You shouldn’t expect to get rich overnight. It can take some time to run a successful business on Upwork. You should set up SMART goals to make your workload manageable. Break down the larger works into smaller and more realistic ones. This way you can achieve your goals quickly.
Create A Good Portfolio
When clients want to give you their project, they go through your portfolio to see what work you have done previously. So, it is necessary to create an attractive profile with all your major works showcased. That way you will get more clients who will be ready to offer you bigger projects.
Develop A Strong Team
It can be challenging to find the right people for your business. Identify people with good skills and consistent performance. You should hire people you can depend on. So, look for reviews and ratings before choosing the freelancers. Look at the quality of the projects they have completed for previous clients in their portfolio, years of experience in the field, and educational background. You need to promote your agency properly as well so that good candidates apply for your projects. You can request the candidate to do test work before you hire the person.
Set Up The Culture Of Your Agency
Your business should have a common goal and the people working with you should adhere to the basic principles you set. The culture of the team should be set and followed. A work culture can improve interaction and productivity. You should have a results-driven culture so that everyone working provides the desired results.
Set Up Your Prices
The freelance market is very competitive. So, you need to set up your prices carefully. If your rate is too high then you won’t get many clients. It is a good strategy to charge a low rate when you are just starting the business to attract more clients. Once you make your portfolio strong by completing several projects successfully you can increase your rate. You must remember that you will have to hire other freelancers for your project and you will need to pay them. So, make sure your project budget is such that you can make some profit out of it.
Market Your Brand
You should have your social profile to market your brand. At the same time, try to network with different communities to promote your brand. You can start writing a blog to increase the visibility of your brand. You can also create a website and highlight the services you provide.
Make Sure The Agency Can Adapt To Changes
Once you gain the reputation of being good at certain work you will start getting more and bigger projects. It means you will have more responsibility and the workload will increase too. You may have to hire more employees. Your company should adapt to these changes.
Improve Client Base
You should keep up the momentum of your business by attracting more clients. You should build up good relationships with your previous or present clients so that they offer you projects in the future as well. You should reach out to new clients as well by highlighting your previous works. You can bring your off-line clients on Upwork too.
You should track each of your projects to ensure that they are being completed properly and on time. Tracking the project’s progress also tells you how you are performing compared to the other agencies. You can look at different statistics to find out how many people are viewing your profile.
You need social proof to show potential clients that your business is legitimate and can help them meet their needs. That’s why having great testimonials is necessary for the growth of your business. People today buy fake testimonials, but you shouldn’t follow that route. Be genuine in your business operation always.
Upwork has all the necessary features to run a successful business. Once you build up a strong team you will get more clients. Upon completion of a task successfully, your company will get a review and rating; so your revenue depends on your reputation. Make sure you manage your team well so that they complete tasks within the deadline and deliver what the clients want. You will face unique challenges when growing your business on Upwork, but you can overcome these obstacles by staying focused and working hard to move towards your goal.