How to Win Work on Job Sites Like PPH and Upwork

Posted on May 29, 2020
Last updated on Jun 28, 2020
5 minute read

We’ve all been there. 

As a freelancer, a steady flow of work is vital, but dry spells are sadly inevitable in the gig economy – regardless of how skilled you are as a worker. 

So whenever a stream of work dries up, it’s important to continually reassess your online presence. Is your profile working the way it should be? Do you need to reassess the way you appeal to clients?

Job sites like Upwork and PeoplePerHour have helped to interconnect the gig economy and make freelancers visible to clients. But the sad truth is that there are times in all of our freelance careers where we’re left feeling like nobody is listening to our pitches.

16 Tips for Killing It on Freelance Job Portals

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Get ahead of the game by implementing any of these 16 proven tips to start winning clients on sites like Upwork and PeoplePerHour.

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The gig economy’s fast-evolving and freelancers need to keep their fingers on the pulse to keep ahead of their competitors vying for their next project. 

How do you fend off your rivals on job sites? Have you made an unmissable profile for possible clients? It’s a jungle out there, and every gig can make all the difference for each freelancer. With this in mind, let’s take a look at some huge PPH and Upwork tips that will help you win work and become more visible to the right people:

Perfect Your Profile

How do you attract clients on Upwork and PPH? It’s a question that can have a serious influence on your yearly earnings, but sadly there’s not a one-size-fits-all answer. 

However, you can take on and adopt some great job site tips to give yourself the best chance of being picked for a project ahead of that annoying profile that’s trying to offer the same service for 70% of the price.

The most eye-catching way of finding more work on Upwork and other gig economy platforms is by supercharging your profile. 

Make every inch of your personal space unignorable. 

The first way of putting this plan into action is by using a professional profile picture. Yes, that Facebook picture of you in a Budapest cocktail bar did get over 100 likes, but it doesn’t send the message to potential clients that you’re the person to get jobs done on time. 

Pictures speak a thousand words, so get yourself a more formal profile picture that shows you as a presentable and trustworthy individual. 

(Upwork helps to make users more discoverable with the help of listing out specific skills and aptitudes. Image: Upwork)

The best way to optimise your profile is by making sure that every area displays your level of expertise. Platforms like Upwork use a standardised list of skills that can help to swiftly identify your strengths and connect freelancers and clients in a bid to create the best projects possible for both parties. 

To truly set yourself apart from your competition, you need to go the extra mile.

Make a portfolio that promises to keep clients engaged and impressed throughout. Time is not only money for you, but for the people who are looking to hire somebody like you. Highlight your best qualities and back up any statements you make with evidence in your portfolio. Be sure to cut out irrelevant examples of your work and always take the time to explain the challenges you’ve faced in your projects. 

Another great way of making ground on your rivals is by setting up a quality introduction video. There are plenty of great examples and inspirational tips in order to create a video that’s truly eye-catching. 

Here, you can really take your chance and stand out. Plenty of freelancers make the error of skipping this section of their profiles – meaning that developing a video yourself is a clear open goal. 

Don’t worry if you’re camera shy, just create a script to read from that helps to provide a little background to who you are and why you’re a great choice for a project. Plenty of remote workers overthink how complex video making is, but you’re really not aiming for an Oscar here. Having a video introduction simply shows that you’re competent and ready for whatever projects are thrown your way! 

Empower Your Proposal

If you’re wondering why you’re not getting hired on Upwork, it could be down to how the client interprets your proposal. 

There’s an art to making a great proposal, and frustratingly it relies on throwing the rule book out of the window. 

Firstly, DON’T rely on templates to do the hard work for you. You may have found a website that offers ‘50 AMAZING Upwork Proposal Templates’, and the templates in question may be well laid out and neat, but the chances are that clients have already seen them a dozen times before they get to you. 

If everyone copies the same well-trodden template structure, it’s near impossible to stand out from the crowd of freelancers vying for work. 

Make sure your proposals are short punchy. Ever heard of the phrase kill your darlings? Commonly referring to the need for writers to cut out unnecessary passages of text or narratives, killing your darlings applies here. You might love the way your personality shines through in your proposal, but if it wastes time then it’s not worth inclusion. 

Avoid waffling about your experiences if they’re not directly transferable to your proposal. It’s also worth listing your work samples as high as possible. Work samples are often the difference maker between you and the freelancer whose profile is open on the next tab. Remember that when you’re building your appeal. 

Clients can be very fickle when looking for the right person to undertake a project. With this in mind, look to capture their attention quickly. One great trick of the trade here is to look at the client’s feedback from other freelancers. They’ll often address them by name. By adding a personal touch like naming your client, it helps you to establish a connection quicker. 

Sometimes the fact that we’re working from the comfort of our own homes leaves us letting our guards down online. Remember to switch into work mode and keep a professional but friendly tone throughout your proposal. 

Most importantly, take a moment to get into the mind of your potential client. Ask yourself why you deserve to be chosen for this project and aim to answer it clearly and efficiently in your proposal. 

Think of the questions that the client might ask before deciding to take you on. How can you justify the price you’re asking for? Can you provide evidence for your claims? Could you demonstrate your reliability? 

Potential clients will be constantly on the lookout for excuses to opt-out of choosing you for a project, so focus on pre-empting their concerns and make sure your profile’s watertight.

The DOs and DON’Ts of Job Sites

DO maintain your honesty. Even when things get tough and work seems hard to come by, lying about your competency levels will only end in disaster.

DON’T price yourself out of work early on. Experience and testimonies are vital in those early stages. Make sure you build a good work history before you bid higher. 

DO adapt your style to match the job poster. If a client is much more formal in their correspondence, bring that level of formality into your responses. If they’re conversational, be friendly but informal. 

DON’T make assumptions. If you’re not 100% sure of what’s required of you, make sure you ask – even if you might feel a little concerned about doing so and looking less experienced. 

DO keep things short and sweet. Irrelevant words will only lose the interest of clients.

DON’T offer formulaic responses to clients and the queries they have. Show that you’re an approachable and conscientious freelancer.


Life in the gig economy can have its ups and downs. When the going’s good, it feels like the best type of career in the world. But when the work dries up, life as a freelancer can seem lonely and unsustainable. 

Luckily, job sites make it easy for freelancers to build their appeal and make themselves more discoverable for prospective clients. Workers can actively work on building their profiles for better visibility. Ultimately, thanks to the accessibility of PPH and Upwork, it’s much easier for those in the gig economy to take out what they put into their careers.