“Upwork does not work for Nigerians, I have been on the platform for a long time and I do not know how to get jobs on Upwork. It is just a scam.” This is the reply I often get whenever I ask most Nigerian freelancers what they think about Upwork.
But is this the case? Does Upwork not truly work in Nigeria? Is it easy to get a job on Upwork as a Nigerian? The simple answer is yes. Upwork works in Nigeria.
Upwork is a global freelancing platform. It is more like a job market where buyers and sellers of different digital skills meet to transact. You can have it pictured as an online office where you, as the employee, get to decide the time you work for your multiple employers.
Getting a job on Upwork as a Nigerian is real, I am on the platform, and I have gotten jobs on it. This is why I have decided to put down some smart tips on how to get jobs on Upwork for Nigerians.
Before we dive into the main discussion, let’s take a quick look at what you should know as a freelancer on Upwork.
What you should know as a Nigerian Freelancer on Upwork
• Registration is free
As a freelancer on Upwork, you are expected to register on the platform. To register, visit the Upwork platform and fill up the required sections.
• The Platform is not Completely Free
Yes, you read that right. Although registration on the platform is free, you will be expected to remit a certain percentage of your earnings to Upwork. The agreed percentage would be automatically deducted once your buyer makes the payment.
As a freelancer on Upwork, you need “connects” to apply for jobs. Those ‘connects’ are like coins you use to push your proposal to potential clients. You can decide to buy ‘connects’ on the platform, but it is not compulsory to buy ‘connects.’
• Buyers and sellers are from different countries
Upwork is a global marketplace, and it works in virtually all countries across the globe. However, currently, Upwork is not available for Russians and Ukrainians due to the ongoing crises in the region.
• Digital/Tech Services are Allowed on Upwork
Services offered on Upwork are purely digital/tech skills, which can be done using online tools. They include; web design and development, digital marketing, content writing, social media page management, software development, etc.
• Direct contract between Freelancers and Clients
Sellers (freelancers) can choose whichever job they want to go for. After which, a proposal would be submitted to the buyer (client). Once a client gives you a job, a contract starts between you and the client. The contract only ends when you are done working with your client.
• Cover letters are Important
Freelancers must master the arts of writing cover letters. The seller’s cover letter is their unique selling point. If you want to get a job on Upwork, write a catchy and well-detailed cover letter to the client.
• Payment protection
Upwork, through its payment protection process on Escrow, prevents sellers from getting duped by clients.
For example, before you start a client’s project, the client would be required to make a payment, and on the confirmation of your submission of the project, the fund would be released to you. Although in some cases, you might lose the fund if the client is not satisfied with your project.
• Avoid using fake pictures on the platform
Use your real picture on your profile. This makes your clients/buyers know you are genuine. For example, you cannot state in your profile that you are from Nigeria, yet you uploaded a picture of a white person; this will send a wrong message to prospective clients.
You can also upload a video where you tell clients about yourself and what you have to offer on the platform. This video should get them to want to use your services.
• You are free to choose your price
On Upwork, you get paid per hour; sometimes, clients would hire you to work for a long-term project. It’s, however, important for you to have a fixed hourly rate to charge clients. Rates often start from $10 depending on your choice, your level on Upwork, and the client’s budget.
• Freelancers are rated according to different levels
The entry, intermediate, and expert levels. Entry is for newbies; intermediate is for freelancers who have gotten a lot of work and improved their skills.
At the same time, the expert is for those who have mastered everything about working on the platform. One advantage of being an expert is that you get to fix high rates for your services.
• Professional experience matters
The professional experience or background you have with the digital skills you are selling on Upwork also matters.
For example, if you offer a content writing service, your professional background in writing should be included under your experience section on Upwork. This makes your buyer/client understand that you are qualified to handle their tasks.
• Payment methods
You will be required to have an internationally accepted payment method before your earnings can be withdrawn. PayPal, Payoneer, etc., are payment methods accepted on the platform.
Your Upwork earnings would be kept in your Escrow and automatically transferred to your PayPal, Payoneer, or whatever method you choose once it gets to $100.
• Beware of scammers on the platform.
Upwork provides different kinds of strict measures against scammers on the platform. This, however, does not stop scammers from leeching about. An easy way to identify them is through their juicy offers.
From the job details above, you will see that the payment has not been verified and the amount being offered for the job is quite attractive. Many freelancers might easily fall prey of this.
You can start your journey to becoming a successful freelancer on Upwork by learning and developing your content writing skills. Join our writing Community for helpful tips and mentorship on content writing.
10 Smart Tips on How to get Jobs on Upwork
1. Have a scalable skill
A smart tip on how to get jobs on Upwork is to have a skill that is in high demand. But unfortunately, this is one thing most Nigerians have failed to understand about Upwork: not all skills can be sold on the platform.
You can easily check if a skill is in high demand on Upwork by searching through the “find work” section. Please take note of the skills that are often posted by buyers and also look at their payments. High-demand skills have higher pay than the low ones.
Skills that are in high demand on Upwork include; video editing, software development, cyber security, social media content creation, email marketing, YouTube script writing, SEO, business presentation, online customer service, graphics design, blog content writing, UI/UX designs, etc.
2. Never lie on your profile
Let me share a personal experience I had about lying on Upwork;
In 2020, I asked a friend to help proofread my Upwork account because I got tired of not getting any job offers on the platform. After my friend made some changes for me, I noticed I still couldn’t get clients.
One day I decided to check out my profile using the” see public view” option, and it was at that point I realised that there was no way I could have gotten an offer; my profile states that I reside in Nigeria, while my job experience or should I say the job experience my friend added stated that I was working in a media company at Iowa.
My poor friend did that to help position me to clients in the US, but this was a pure lie that did not solve my problem.
The first response I got from a job I applied to came after I deleted all the lies and added the real information about me.
The summary of this is that Upwork clients are humans like you and me; they are not bots. Never assume that your clients won’t carry out a background check on you whenever you submit a cover letter to them. This is a helpful tip on how to get jobs on Upwork
3. Take the Upwork Readiness Test and Courses
Another smart tip that is helpful for you to know how to get jobs on Upwork on Upwork is taking the Upwork Readiness Test and other certifications made available on the platform.
There are options for freelancers to upgrade their skills and get Upwork-approved certifications on the platform. Having a certification on Upwork improves your chances of getting a job on the platform.
You might be required to pay for those certifications. Also, there are free webinars and online training often organised by experienced freelancers to help you know how to get jobs on Upwork.
4. Your cover letter must be well written
Let me share a simple guide I use in writing a cover letter on Upwork. If a client posts a job with the description stating what is needed in a freelancer, tailor your cover letter to respond to that description. This can be useful for you in knowing how to get jobs on Upwork. See a sample below;
5. Upload your portfolio/ create a portfolio
Many Nigerian freelancers keep wondering how to get jobs on Upwork without realising they need proof of past jobs to show their potential clients.
Your portfolio can be likened to the work you have done. There is a section on Upwork where you can document all your works for easy display. This helps convince potential clients that you have the proof of the required skills.
If you do not have any work done before, you can state clearly your skills and describe how you’ll go about carrying out a task.
6. Be active on the platform
One of the biggest turn-offs you can give a client on Upwork is not being available to respond to their chats. So ensure you check the platform at least twice a day.
Suppose you sign up with your email, click on the option to receive notifications from Upwork. Once a client messages you on the platform, you will get a notification on your email. That way, you will avoid missing out on job offers.
7. Ask for Feedback
Feedbacks are what makes a freelancer know where to improve in the business. So do not hesitate to always ask your clients if they enjoy using your service.
A negative response means you should improve on your weak points, while a positive response should be shared on your Upwork profile. It is a smart tip on how to get jobs on Upwork.
8. Be Strategic about your Price Rates
I understand that Nigeria is hard. Of course, everyone is looking for the fastest way to make millions in a few days, but that does not mean you should expect your Upwork clients to be coughing out an unreasonable amount of money for your services.
For example, an entry-level freelancer should not be charging $100 per hour. That would scare your potential clients away. Instead, fix your price based on what you see freelancers in your field fix; do not be greedy. Your earnings would improve over time.
Also, never assume your clients do not know about the job; most times, buyers/clients on Upwork know what a well-executed task should look like. They know the duration it should take you, the tools you should use, and the cost.
Do not play clever with them by not putting in much effort simply because of the money. Remember, they might decide to pay you, but they won’t come back if you did a poor job for them.
9. Apply for Long-Term Projects.
If you want to know how to get jobs on Upwork, you should take this tip seriously. On Upwork, you’ll see short-term and long-term projects. The short-term projects are used for a one-time task. Once you have done it, your contract with the client ends.
But for a long-term project, it is done for months or even years. A common example of a long-term project on Upwork is writing sports content for a blog.
To apply for a long-term project on Upwork, you can check the search results for the skill you are selling. See an example of 18,835 jobs under content writing below;
10. Market your Gig on other Platforms
This is one of the most important smart tips for freelancers on Upwork. Market your service outside Upwork.
Do not rely on Upwork to keep giving you the clients. You can use any social media platforms you know to showcase your gigs. Remember, the same people on Upwork are also the regular people you see on social media daily.
- I haven’t found an easier and more convenient way to express myself than writing. I chose this path because I believe that a writers pen or as it is in this tech age, tablet is still powerful enough to change the world. Apart from being a writer, I am also a digital marketer.