This is how I started on Upwork
In 2013 I made the biggest change in my adult life. I moved in Canada to be with the man I love.
It was easy decision at that time but now I look back and wonder how I had the courage to make such a big change.
THE STRUGGLE WAS REAL…
The first year and a half was brutal because I WAS NOT ALLOWED TO WORK. I was basically a tourist in Canada so I had to go through an immigration process to receive an work permit and my permanent residency.
It sucked. I felt lonely, powerless and worthless.
Like it was not enough, I am living on a small island (Prince Edward Island) where there are not many graphic design opportunities.
I lost hope for a while, mostly because I was a young designer, with just 2 years experience and my English was meh…
LACK OF OPPORTUNITIES IN PEI PUSHED ME TO LOOK FOR ALTERNATIVE INCOME OPTIONS.
The lack of opportunities pushed me to look into alternatives. This is how I found out that there are websites that specialize in connecting freelancers and clients for small projects…sometimes bigger projects.
I made a profile on quite a few freelancing websites, but just one was successful for me- UPWORK, oDesk at the time.
I was curious about this website in 2011, if I remember well. So, when I moved in Canada 2 years later, I already had an account but I never used it.
I made a neat profile, I added all my info, my portfolio and as soon as I got my work permit, I started applying for jobs.
I remember I started with a low rate and I received positive feedback from at least 3 clients before I realized that my work was more valuable.
The beginning was humbling. I was timid applying for jobs and generous with my pricing.
As soon as I received the holy 5 stars review, people started hiring me for professional graphic design services.
FROM $13/H TO $100/H
I know what you are thinking “I WANT THIS TOO”. I am sorry to tell you, but this is not something that happened in an year or two.
I got the first job on Upwork on July 2014. It was a very hard job because I was just figuring our my process, how to communicate with clients and what I would like to specialize in.
In 2015 I started to get noticed for my special approach on the infographic process and illustration style. I chose to become a minimalist designer and I stuck with this style.
During this year I received 39 jobs.
In 2016, things got much better. I charged more money but I took less projects which allowed me to focus more and be more productive.
My process, my style, my portfolio improved every year and I started working with agencies that were working with big brands.
My favourite collaboration of all times is with SalientMg. Mack, the founder of this marketing agency not only hired me for some really cool projects but also taught many things that she might not even be aware of.
I love all the clients I worked with on Upwork, except a few that I actually fired. That is not necessarily a bad thing. Why would we want to waste our energy on a toxic professional relationship if we are not happy.
WHY I LIKE UPWORK
What I like about Upwork is that offers so many opportunities and diversity of projects and clients. I am never bored when I find jobs on Upwork.
Upwork also offers a safe payment system that offers the security of being paid and be paid on time.
Another thing that I like about Upwork is the webinars they keep to help freelancers improve their business. I participated to quite a few and I learn many things that improved the way I do business.
The projects that I worked on via Upwork opened so many other doors for me. One big opportunity that I am so proud of is working for Veterans Affairs Canada as a contractor for many years.
I do wish sometimes, that I would not have to pay 20% for every new client I get, but I understand that this is business and they must make money somehow.
TOP RATED ALL THE WAY
I received this status for Top Rated a few years ago. I am not 100% sure what it means but I know it is because I take care of my profile every day, I make sure I communicate well and often with my clients, I am prompt and professional with my replies.
I honestly do not know what I would have done if I would not have been so successful on Upwork.
I have so many stories to tell and so many tips that I can share with you, but I am not sure if you would be interested in finding out more about how I do things in Upwork and what it means to be a freelancer.
I would be so happy to help other young designers figure out how to get work as a freelancer.
Comment below if you are interested in finding out more.