Episode 128: Expert TIPS for landing top quality clients on Upwork

Key Highlights [00:01:00] How Lisa got started as a freelance

Jody Milward

Key Highlights

[00:01:00] How Lisa got started as a freelance copywriter on Upwork 

[00:03:00] The challenges she sees freelancers struggling with when getting started on Upwork

[00:05:30] The strategies Lisa teaches to help you stand out and make a great first impression

[00:09:00] Why you shouldn’t be afraid to lead with value when applying for projects

[00:14:00] Lisa’s number one rule for projects above $500 that positions you as an authority

[00:17:00] The ‘long-game’ mindset to have for finding success through Upwork 

Jody: [00:00:00] If you think Upwork is just the place to go to outsource for some cheap labor, we’ve got some exciting news for you. It’s actually where I had a huge break, and our special guest today is going to give you the inside scoop on how you can use Upwork to generate, who knows, some big money when you’re running Facebook ads for clients.

That’s what we are diving into today. In this episode of Online Confidential, where we go behind the scenes to talk about ‘Secret Ad Manager’ business. Our special guest today, to dive [00:00:30] into all those Upwork secrets is Lisa Cumes. 

Lisa, welcome to the show!

Lisa: Jody, I am so glad to be here. And what a great intro.

Upward gets a really bad wrap and I’m sure we’re going to talk a little bit about that. I’m not paid by anybody or sponsored or anything, and I have my own love hate relationship with the platform, but I do think it’s something that people should be aware of and at least consider when they’re building an online freelance business.

Jody: Absolutely. It was pivotal to the trajectory of my career. [00:01:00] So excited to dive into this area. Now, for people who don’t have the pleasure of knowing you, tell us a bit more about yourself.

Lisa: About five and a half years ago, I left a full-time job before I had another full-time job, which I don’t recommend, and I started playing around on a freelance platform, Upwork, and just doing some blogging and emails and anything people would pay me for really.

And I fell in love with writing. I fell in love with figuring out how to say things better, [00:01:30] faster, and didn’t even know what a copywriter was. Didn’t even know another copywriter, didn’t have the title. But I started getting some gigs on Upwork and making my way and people would say, ‘Hey, can you help me with this?’

‘Can you help me with this?’ And I would say, yes. Anytime somebody would pay me, I would say yes. And I found myself realizing that I truly was into copywriting, which is a mix of sales and words and communication. And so for the last five years I’ve been a freelance copywriter. And a [00:02:00] couple years ago, maybe three, three and a half years ago, I had a couple copywriters reach out to me and they said, ‘How do you do it?’

‘How did you build a business? How did you make money? Could you teach me how to build a copywriting business?’ 

And the light bulb went off and I was like, I can tell you what I did. And so that’s how I birthed the second business. I’m still a full-time copywriter, but I also run a community of freelancers helping them, not just copywriters, any freelancers, build a thriving business on [00:02:30] Upwork as at least one of their lead sources.

And so for the last five years, that’s what I’ve been up to. 

Jody: That’s how a lot of people, get started. Or they’ll start doing some of their own Facebook ads and then people are saying, oh, show me how to do your Facebook ads. And, it just takes off from there. 

So once you dive into something, you get some experience or success, then yes, that fast tracks other people’s success. What were some of the obstacles that you came across with Upwork as you were [00:03:00] getting started? 

Lisa: It’s one thing to be really good at what you do, whether it’s writing or accounting or Facebook ads. You might have a fabulous business offline with word of mouth recommendations or whatever.

The challenge with Upwork is that it’s a people focused platform. You have to engage with other people on the other side of the screen, on the other side of the world, and oftentimes freelancers sign [00:03:30] up to start their own business or, want to do the work. They love the work and they’re good at it, but they don’t like the work they have to do to get the work.

All of the bidding on jobs and sending out applications and doing the videos and all of the stuff, they’re just like, I just want to get paid to do what I love. And I think that’s one of the challenges. The resistance people have around selling. I’m not a salesperson.

I don’t want to sell myself. So when [00:04:00] I talk to freelancers I pull back the sales stuff. I said, don’t worry about selling. It’s really just about communicating. It’s about connecting with another human being and trying to explain how you can help them.  

When people start to understand that once you can simplify and streamline the first engagements at the front end it’s much easier to spend more time doing actual client work, and so I don’t think enough people on Upwork really go [00:04:30] at it with intention, with kindness, with thought when it comes to ‘how do I make a great first impression?’

How do I explain what I do and how do I bring people along in a journey to get them to a point where they go, you know what? I think she would be a great person. He would be a great person to work with. 

Jody: That’s some great advice there because you can just get caught in that hustle of you just want to get the work, you want to do the work.

So applying or reaching [00:05:00] out, this connections can just seem oh my gosh, this is just too much work, right? I just want to get to this stuff that I want to do. So therefore there’s maybe a haphazard approach with it, right? 

Lisa: Yes. 

Jody: So therefore you don’t stand out because, you only get one chance to make that first impression.

What are some strategies that you teach to your students about standing out, making that great first impression, where do you start? 

Lisa: I have a few really [00:05:30] key factors that I believe do make a difference. It’s a noisy platform. When I started many years ago, it wasn’t as noisy or as busy.

A lot of people right now, it’s the number one, it’s a monopoly if we’re honest. If you want to really find clients, Upwork is where most clients know. I believe that on a platform like Upwork, especially compared to a platform like a Fiverr, Upwork is people facing.

And [00:06:00] so Upwork gives you the opportunity to have an introduction video, and on every profile you must have a really well done introduction video. It can be 30 seconds, it can be 60 seconds. Not much more than that, but people buy people. What they really want to know is can this person help me?

Do they speak English? Do I think I could connect with them? They look normal. The bar is not set very high at all on who people will work with. But when you put a video on your [00:06:30] profile page, it really allows people to have a sneak peek before they get on a call with you. And the second aspect of video, this is probably my top secret, which I love to share with you guys because I think so many people underestimate the power of it. 

Every time you do a job cover letter or job proposal record a 3 second loom video personalized to that job posting, introduce yourself, [00:07:00] talk about their job project and just the fact that you did a video will blow them out of the water. 

The second that you could speak English and string some words together is literally, the bar is not that high.

It’s one of the key things I teach and so many people have come back and said, the client commented on my video. The client picked me because I had a video and I thought, doesn’t take much you guys to really stand out. So those two ways of using video I think are really powerful. [00:07:30] 

Jody: I love Loom. I’m always talking about it. I have this loom strategy for our ad managers. 

How to do your prospecting because what I especially love about it is if you were to have their website, so if in this case with Upwork, you could know their website, you do a bit of research. 

Lisa: Yes. 

Jody: Then you have your little image down in the corner there so they can see you.

But then you’ve got their website there on the screen. So they actually see from that image that you’ve pulled in, you dropped a Loom link, it pulls up the image, [00:08:00] they see their website and go, ‘that’s my website. They’re on my website’. And that stands out even more. And then you get that notification that it’s been watched.

Lisa: Yes. 

Jody: So you can follow up. Looms are fantastic. If you don’t use looms, dive into that for your prospecting. That was great advice. So doing that video, because I know as I’ve looked and recruited people, there’s just very bland copy and paste. 

Even when, you will throw in there, reply with this word. Koala was one of my latest ones, and it’ll just get thrown in [00:08:30] because I think people know and they’re looking for that and they’ll scan it and they just throw the word in and then just copy and paste everything. 

By going that extra mile, I think that also helps to really position yourself as a higher quality player, that you do have that attention to detail. 

You are the expert, you are the authority, you are worthy of charging those premium prices. And and they’ll go okay, this is a quality person. We will pay extra for that. 

So having a video [00:09:00] for your own profile, and having a video when you outreach to people. What else? What are some other things we should have?

Lisa: Oh, I’ve got a whole bunch of them. And another thing, especially for ad managers, copywriters, anywhere where you could potentially see their website, like you said, I believe in giving away a ton of value even before we end up working together or maybe not working together.

So for myself, I’ll go in and give them a free kind of website review. I don’t tell them I’m [00:09:30] giving them a free website review. I say, I took a look at your website and I have some feedback for you. I love this. You’re doing this great. I can see where you’re going with this. Here are some things that I noticed that are confusing, blah, blah, blah, blah.

One of the positions that I teach and that I take is not to be desperate to be hired. Not to be desperate to be picked. Not going, ‘oh, I can work with you’, or, ‘oh, pick me’, or, ‘oh I’m the perfect person’, no. 

I’ll say things like, if we end [00:10:00] up working together or here’s some things I found, I’ll do a little bit of pushback.

I’m very clear on my feedback. I don’t compliment them too much. I’m like, here’s some things that really need some work, whether it’s with me or somebody else. I want to offer value. I want them to think, wow, she didn’t have to tell me that, but she did. 

Sometimes, as freelancers we can be afraid, if I tell them what’s wrong, they’ll go fix it and they won’t need me. 

That is not why they’re on Upwork. Usually, they don’t have the time or the skill or the interest in [00:10:30] doing it. So I have found that if you can tease a little bit, if you can give value before you even get on a call, that will help you stand out as well.

Jody: It shows them your level of expertise. And I appreciate it when people come at it the right way. There are some times when it’s just wrong and it just feels like they’re throwing someone else under the bus. But it’s oh, here’s a recommendation.

And using that kiss analogy, kiss ‘em before you kick ‘em, even though [00:11:00] it’s not a kick. 

But it’d be like, ‘oh, I love what you’ve done here’. For example, with Facebook ads, we can go to the Facebook ad library and we can see what ads they may be running. 

To start off, you’re on their website saying, ‘Hey, I was just on your site here. Looks awesome. Really love the niche or what you’re talking to. Great copy on the page. I followed the link here, and this might be, if there’s an F for the Facebook icon on the page, you might click it and it might be broken, and you would say, oh, by the way, I went to go over to Facebook and this was broken. So [00:11:30] you might just want to get your team onto that. 

But I was able to get over to Facebook and look at your page and I see you’re running these ads. These look really great. I’d love to learn a bit more about this and how you’re looking for support to X, Y, Z. There are a few things that I would add in here so that you could get some more conversions’, et cetera.

So you’re still acknowledging. Because that’s something that ad managers often would say. It’d be like, oh, how do I do this? I’ve gone to their ads library and I can see that their ads are really crummy. What do I say? Because again, they don’t want to feel like they’re throwing anyone under [00:12:00] the bus.

So it’s that matter of okay, say something positive and then say something constructive, that’s going to add onto it. 

You don’t have to be saying these ads are really bad. Are these converting? Or something like that. We can keep it all positive and just exhibit your authority and your expertise and stand out.

That’s such an important tip. We’ve got those videos. We are adding value, showing them our expertise and making them go, wow, this person’s really amazing. They’ve gone this extra mile. They are standing out. Even if they [00:12:30] don’t hire you at this point, chances are someone will talk to them and say, actually there was someone I met on Upwork who was amazing. I’ll put you in touch, so they can be your connector.

Lisa: Absolutely. When you play the long game, when it comes to building your business, there are many, many times that we say, I’m not getting paid for this or I don’t know where this is going to lead to, or whatever. 

But as a freelancer, as a business owner, when we just take a stance of always being generous, [00:13:00] of always being abundant, of doing the right thing all the time without worrying about what the actual outcome will be, there’s so many times clients will land in my lap and I was like, wow, that was easy. There’s other times I’ve struggled for them, and there’s other times I’ve let that one go. 

Every time I still come at it with kindness, with generosity, with value, with what would help them in the next 10 minutes I’m with them.

Then if we decide, and as I said before, not having the attitude of [00:13:30] desperation or pick me. I have a tone and a personality. I’ve been doing this for a while now and it is true, but I don’t pick every client to work with. I’m the one picking the clients. And if I can suggest that in a way that is professional and yet very clear, I only work with a few clients each month.

And not every client’s a great fit and I just want to make sure this is something that makes sense for both of us. That language is so different than people who tend to want to be people pleasers or tend to want to be like, [00:14:00] oh, I’ll be great, I’ll make your stuff shine. Will you? You don’t know that.

My number one rule around Upwork, I’ll give you this. For any project that’s over $500, you really need to be getting on a discovery call with them. You need to be getting on a Zoom call. One, it could lead to more than $500. Two, at this level, we should all be doing work that’s more than $500 just for the use of our time.

My projects are [00:14:30] around $7,000, $8,000, $9,000. Nobody is going to hire me without getting on a call with me. So understanding that you want to move people from, I’m applying to your job. The next step, you always want to tell them, the next step is to hop on a short call so I can understand all the details and send you a proposal.

[00:15:48] The thing I think that’s misunderstood about Upwork is that we think we have to work by an hourly rate, which is not true. And second, [00:15:00] whatever we put in the beginning is what we have to hold to, and that is not true as well, as long as you communicate very clearly. Next step, get on a call, find out what the details are, I’ll send you a detailed proposal. 

And in that proposal is when you can charge whatever you want to charge or whatever is appropriate. I think a lot of people are so desperate to be picked. 

They put a number, somebody goes, I’ll hire you for that. They don’t really quite know what they’re doing. They get a bad review. They don’t feel like they got paid much, and it’s [00:15:30] this never ending cycle of feeling resentful when all the while we could have set this up in a different way where we were a bit more in control and everybody was on the same page. 

Jody: Great advice because I know someone will go to Upwork and post a job, but they maybe don’t even realize the depth of the work that’s required or even what would be a reasonable sort of budget for someone who is at a more experienced level.

Yes. Getting over onto a discovery call and I tell [00:16:00] ad managers all the time, you’ve got to look under the bonnet. You’ve got to actually look at that ad account. Has there been a lot of disapproved ads? Is it like a ticking time bomb? Are there pixels on the funnel? What are you in for? So don’t be afraid.

I love how you are saying to position that and it’s that leaning back approach. That I have room for a couple of clients, so you’re not in there going, I can start tomorrow. 

It’s here I am, and if you want to work with me. 

You’re already establishing clear boundaries and a level of authority, [00:16:30] but also a level of we’re going to be partners in this, rather than I’m the hired flunky here that’s going to cop a beating whenever you want it.

I love that whole approach and getting on that call and from there, that’s where you go, well, this is the work that’s going to be required. This is it and hand it to them. Because otherwise it’s just going to breed some resentment. And then, like you were saying with Upwork, that’s where your profile could be affected.

And people are going, I’m not going to work with this person. They’ve [00:17:00] overcharged someone else previously, got all these negative reviews. 

Speaking of reviews, how do you get to be a quality potential candidate on Upwork? 

Lisa: So there’s trial and error. I can tell you what I’m doing today and in the last few years, and sometimes I need to remind myself. 

For those that are getting started, let’s go back to what it was really like to get started. Taking jobs for less than what you wanted in order to build a profile. A couple things are [00:17:30] really important. Playing the long game on Upwork again is really important. And there’ll be times where a client will say, ‘oh, let’s just do this off the platform’.

And it might make sense to do it. It might not. When I’m coaching freelancers, I always tell them, you really need to build and establish your brand on Upwork. You need to get those really great reviews and that written feedback, and really build out your portfolio. 

Don’t use it as a hit and run place to go, [00:18:00] like scoop somebody in. You can really build a full business without a website, without social media on Upwork.

As much as there’s so many things that drive me crazy about it, it is an all in one platform. I have never had to promote myself on social media for my copywriting business. Ever. I do not schlep myself out there and be like, oh, this is what I’m doing. I keep my social media for my kids and my family and my travels or whatever.[00:18:30] 

Because Upwork has got hundreds of thousands of people that are looking to hire freelancers. And that profile page acts like a website. It has a video, it has your description, it has your portfolio, it has your testimonials, everything all in one place. So I think really being intentional about what’s on that profile and not filling in the blanks that Upwork wants you just to fill in.

I want you to think about what signal am I giving to somebody who comes to [00:19:00] my profile? What do I want them to think about me, to feel about me? What do I want them to do? I’m a copywriter, so I think about it like a website. This is how we design websites. What is it if somebody had three to five seconds, what would they, oh, this is who they are and what they do.

Can you really spend the time to curate a well done profile and really take the time to build some portfolio pieces that are strategic, have the right words in them, explain your process. So I think a lot of times people just [00:19:30] underestimate, they half-ass it, if I’m honest. When I look at their profiles, they’re missing all the juicy pieces where people can get in there.

That helps establish you as a more professional freelancer on there. I am very particular on feedback. Oftentimes, when you’re working with a client and even if you finish a project together, I don’t know, you kind of just drift off and there’s not a lot of intention about getting the rating, the review and the feedback.

So I [00:20:00] teach my freelancers close the job themselves. Give the client five stars, write a great review for the client, assuming they deserve it, and then screenshot that, send the client a note and say, I closed our job. I gave you five stars. Here’s what I wrote about you. Would you please take 60 seconds to leave me written feedback. It makes a huge difference as I build my business. 

When you ask people and tell them and show them exactly what to do, it [00:20:30] makes it so much easier for them to just click right and off you go. 

Jody: Love that you do it first. Take that screenshot and send it through, because that’s, what’s his name? Robert Cialdini in his book ‘Influence’. 

So it’s here, I’ve done that and it’s that reciprocity. So it was like, oh, they’ve done this. Oh, I better go do it. And they’ve seen that you’ve left this glowing review, so they’re going to reciprocate that. It’s fantastic.

It’s taking [00:21:00] that control, taking that initiative. Fantastic. Absolutely love it. 

So just quickly on that, you mentioned the portfolio there. How important is it to have those portfolio pieces there? Do people really go and look at them? What does that all mean? 

Lisa: When I get on a discovery call with a client that I’ve met on Upwork, I am so excited and pleased when they have said, I have looked at your work.

I have reviewed your stuff. That’s when I know that they are a client I want. I will tell them to go look at [00:21:30] portfolio pieces. Did you know that each portfolio piece in Upwork has a share button? And so you can click the share button, get the link, and in your cover letter when you apply to a job, you could say, I’ve done a website, I’ve done a Facebook ad that’s similar to yours, here’s a link to go check it out. 

So again, good copywriting tells people what to do and makes it easy for them to do it. If you’re just like I hope they go check out my portfolio pieces, maybe they [00:22:00] will, maybe they won’t. 

The other few things to think about a portfolio piece is you should have a beautiful engaging visual image as your thumbnail. Take the time to get the right dimensions. Upwork tells you this is the dimension for this so it’s not cut off or it looks amateur. Take the time. The first three pieces are your pinned portfolio pieces. They should represent the work that you do, so they should look [00:22:30] good.

The title should be about what are the deliverables, not what is the company name you worked for, because nobody cares what that company name is. They want to know what are the aspects of the job you did? Did you do a website copywriting for you? Did you do email copy? I’m talking about copywriting here, but because they’re going, I wonder if this person can help me.

That is what somebody thinks whenever they come to your profile page or your website page. And so, I’m a coach and I’m [00:23:00] launching a new course, and they come down and see a portfolio piece that Lisa did. It said, sales page and emails for launching a new course for a coach. And they’re like, that’s me. So human beings are always trying to find what is them, can they see themselves in that work?

When you really get out of your own head, I say this all the time, don’t communicate what you do. Communicate [00:23:30] what they get. Because people only care about what they’re going to get in a very nice way. I don’t mean selfishly, but use their language. Sit on the other side of the screen and go, if I was looking at my stuff, what would I want to know?

So putting that really great title on your portfolio piece. And then when you click into it, Upwork literally gives you free reign to say whatever you want. So you should talk about what was the problem and how did you fix it. Include the [00:24:00] testimonial, include a link to the work that you did.

I just think that shows a high level of professionalism. It shows attention to detail and gives everybody a chance to go look at the work before you even get on a call with them. 

Jody: Love it. I think doing all of those things just helps to justify you putting yourself on there, as that expert level, right?

Because people are going to see an experience firsthand what is setting you apart already and the value that you are going to be [00:24:30] bringing to them. Because that kind of level of detail, that’s what is maybe subconsciously preparing them to go, oh, okay, this is quality stuff here, and this is what I’m going to be getting if I work with this person.

Lisa: Let me add to that Jody. Yes. Especially. What’s really interesting about that too, all of this is Upwork is a marketplace, which means you are in competition or comparison with other freelancers. And I can tell you that freelancers are not doing this. [00:25:00] They’re not filling in their portfolio section really well.

They’re profiles half this. They’re not getting the reviews. It’s one thing to come up to see a really great profile, but when you are a client and you’ve got 10 that you’re looking at, And one is filled out and has intention and is thoughtful and the other ones are not quite, you better believe you’re going to stand out.

That’s what I mean the bar is so low. Just fill in all of the spaces and you’re already ahead of the game and put a video up. My first year [00:25:30] I got hired for so many gigs. And I thought I was like, wow, I am like a unicorn. Like I am. Wow. 

No. They were like, you know what? I’ve interviewed a lot of people. You’re pretty good. I don’t want to interview anybody else. Let’s just do it. And I was like, oh. 

And so if you understand that clients don’t want to spend their days interviewing freelancers. They don’t really want to look for another person. They don’t want to get on another Zoom call. They just want to find somebody that can get the [00:26:00] job done for the most part.

And so it’s what I mean when I say the bar is really low. If you just show up and act professional and do what you say that’s more than half the battle.

Jody: And again, I think a lot will go to Upwork or they’ll go to hire someone. And I know I’ve done this myself, and you get to a point of ‘oh my gosh, I just need someone now’, they’ve been thinking about it for a while.

I need someone now. As long as you’re breathing, you’re hired. So it’s like that, and you know when that happens as well, that’s actually [00:26:30] red flags because sometimes things won’t be ready for you as you come on board. So that might be one where you are leaning out and you might say not this one.

Lisa: I don’t touch urgent clients. I don’t touch clients that have complained about other people. That’s why discovery calls are really important. You know what, what have you been doing before that wasn’t working? ‘Oh, we fired two people because they didn’t know how to…’, and you’re like, oh, okay, I see where this is going.

You’re right. You become a bit savvy when you are interviewing them as much as they think they’re [00:27:00] interviewing you. That sets the tone really well and it’s so amazing how people lean in when you lean out. Just having that little bit of an attitude is good.

Jody: Absolutely. I’m glad we touched on that. Looking for these red flags, like you said, if they’re saying, I’ve been working with this one or this one, and it’s been like a graveyard of past freelancers or ad agencies that they’re talking about, or I just need to get someone, I’m doing this next week.

They’re all red flags. And that’s up [00:27:30] to you and your business to go, actually I don’t work with clients in this situation. So you just go, look, I don’t think we’re the right fit at this stage. Because someone else will come along. When you take on a client that’s not a good fit, you are taking the space of someone who is going to be an ideal client and be a good fit.

Because I see Upwork as like a street here down in Brisbane, it’s just a street that’s full of car yards. So if you’re looking for a car you go to car sales now, but if you’re looking for a car, you go there because it’s like this is the place to [00:28:00] go where all the cars are, where I’m going to look.

And I see that’s what Upwork is like. It’s that place where those business owners who are more digitally savvy or more online savvy which for us ad managers, are the kind of clients that we do want to work with. That’s where they’re going. So by being there, having that presence, doing these things that you’ve mentioned there, Lisa, of optimizing your profile, making sure it stands out addressing those responses or those call outs, giving them links to your [00:28:30] profiles and inviting them over to discovery calls.

All the ways that you’re going to position yourself as the expert, stand out and be able to charge those expert rates. 

While we’re mentioning rates there, what about those Upwork fees? Because people will say, oh my gosh, I get hit, whatever that cost is. What tips or advice or do you have about Upwork?

What does Upwork even actually charge these days? Take from what you’re getting paid? 

Lisa: So there’s two or three ways that Upwork [00:29:00] makes their money. Actually probably more four or five. Because it’s a two-sided marketplace, they’re making money on the client side. The clients do pay a percentage of whatever the invoice or whatever you they’re paying you. They pay a percentage to have the opportunity to come on the platform and hire you.

So that’s one side that Upwork makes their money. Another side is, as a freelancer, you can join Upwork for free. It doesn’t cost you anything to get started. They give you a few of the credits to be able to [00:29:30] apply, they’re called Connects, connects to apply to a job. And you can opt to do the Upward Pro version.

In the US it’s $14.99 a month, and it gives you three or four perks, I think. It’s not a huge thing. And then they give you a bunch of Connects. I have to say it’s almost similar to if you were getting the free version and had to buy extra Connects. They I’ve done the math, it works out the same.

But the other way that most freelancers feel the sting [00:30:00] is that today, Upwork takes 10%. It’s a flat rate now of all work billed. For many years up until just earlier this year, it was 20% of the first $500, then 10% of the next, I think maybe $5,000, and then 5% of anything above that. It was on a scale.

So you can see where those freelancers that are doing gigs under $500 are the ones getting [00:30:30] hit the hardest. That’s a hundred dollars off of every $500. 

Jody: That’s substantial. 

Lisa: That one’s a little bit harder to swallow than if you have a $10,000 project, right? And you might get the first $500 is at 20%. It’s a hundred dollars and then it’s 10% from there. 

Here’s what I have to say about it. And I have a lot to say about it because when I’m coaching and I’m doing my masterclasses I always get a gamut of people that either understand the platform or are on there kind of [00:31:00] peeking around.

But there are always complainers that they have to pay for connects, which I think are 15 cents each. And they have to pay Upwork for the commission. And I say, but the amazing part about this whole thing is that they’ve curated a platform where there are thousands upon thousands of potential clients with their wallets out, ready to hire.

Where else are you going to find [00:31:30] that? And then second is, the cost of doing business. You can call it a marketing expense, but you’re not running a website. You don’t have to run Facebook ads, you don’t have to hire a sales team. There’s so many things you don’t have to do, and so I think it’s when they are newer freelancers or wannabe freelancers who somehow think starting a business is free.

So I always say, if you’re worried about that money or paying 15 [00:32:00] cents for a connect, your head is not in the game. I said, you are not quite there, and that’s okay. But you’re going to look back on this and realize, oh my gosh, I may have spent $2,000 over the year to pay Upwork for these fees, or whatever it might be, or a little bit more.

But I made $100k, right? So it’s the cost of doing business, and if you don’t want to pay that, then go to Instagram and see how many leads you can get in a month on social media.

Jody: Exactly. As much as I love Facebook ads. They [00:32:30] bring in sales, they bring in leads. They’re amazing. 

But it comes back to, you either have that sweat equity or that financial equity, right? So if you don’t have a $100 or $50 a day, to put into Facebook ads to generate leads then you go over here because like I was saying, if that’s going to be $50 a day, you’re looking at, what’s that, $1,500 a month. 

Will you pay that with your Upwork fees? Not initially. You’ll pay that when you sign up your clients. And then those commissions will get taken. [00:33:00] But then you can also go okay, I actually want to be making say, a thousand dollars on this client. 

You have that discovery call and you price in and factor in, yes, okay, Upwork’s going to be taking this percentage of commission and 15 cents for a contact. Stop having the Starbucks for a little while and get some clients on board. Because, that will pay for it. It’s an investment into your business.

A hundred percent. Then when you look at, okay, I’m going to go over here and run Facebook ads, you might pay [00:33:30] $50 to get someone on a booked call. It’s a much colder, they’ll see your ad, they’ll think, oh, that’s interesting. But then we know 30% of them won’t show up for the calls.

Lisa: You’re paying in advance, I guess on Upwork you’re paying after you’ve been hired and you’ve been paid and they take a cut out of it. I’m trying to remember back in the early days when I used to pout about paying the upward fees, and I understand that, and then I look back and I thought, wow, for the first two years I didn’t even have a single website.

I didn’t even have to [00:34:00] pay for this. I didn’t have to pay for that, and I had clients paying me. So it’s just one of those things I think you wrap your head around. And I love what you said about is there sweat equity or money? And Upwork now has different ways where if you want to boost your post, yes, it costs you a little bit more, but you don’t have to do that.

There are ways to spend a little bit more money to try to get a little bit more attention. That’s what I’m hearing people complain about these days. People will always complain.   

Jody: They will. That’s all right. But we need to [00:34:30] remember, this platform is actually here, you can use it for free to some extent.

Like Facebook ads. People complain about, I’m seeing your ad in my newsfeed, blah blah blah. You’re welcome. I’m paying for it for you. 

Same sort of thing as Upwork. It’s this platform that’s created an amazing community of people around the world. Upwork is where I got started as well. Pretty much, there was some local stuff, but it was where I got a CNN News anchor and a few others from Upwork. and 

That’s where I got my biggest [00:35:00] opportunity where I ended up working with this company in Canada. We just connected on Upwork with that as my response, didn’t do the loom and all that kind of wonderful stuff, but it was these are the results that I’ve got. So I was speaking to what they were after and what their benefits would be.

And so from there that turned into a full-time gig and multiple six figures working with them. I know Upwork can have this perception of that’s where people go to get cheap work done. But you can position [00:35:30] yourself as the authority. Yes, you’re putting it out there with all the wonderful stuff that you’ve said here.

I am the expert and the authority and I’m qualifying my clients and who I’m actually going to work with. So you are going to be lucky to actually work with me, and I’m going to make it so that you’re going to want to work with me. 

Lisa: Yes. 

Jody:  If I don’t want to work with you, then I’ll let you know. You have that power. 

Lisa: There are in any community, any organization, anywhere there are people, there are going to be people who want [00:36:00] the cheapest, there are going to be people who want the fastest and there are going to be people that want the best. That is it. They are just people who I identify as somebody who only wants the best.

When you understand that and you stop getting hung up on the people that are like, my budget is $5 or my budget is $50, and you go, who do they think they are? I’m like, stop wasting your time and move on. And I find somebody that is somewhere in the ballpark, and I know that when they meet me, and they see my [00:36:30] profile and they get on a discovery call and I send a proposal, whatever price I put, they’re like, that’s what I want, because I didn’t know that’s what I needed.

I always tell freelancers, most clients don’t know what they really want. They don’t really know how long it’s going to take or how much it’s going to cost. And if you as the freelancer have this antagonistic resistant chip on your shoulder, people are out to get you. You are going to get that energy back.

But I take a kind [00:37:00] approach, and I assume that people on Upwork are overworked, overwhelmed, struggling. They’re there because they need help. They couldn’t figure it out on their own. And they’re sending out a lifeline. So when they meet me, I’m like, Hey, I know you’ve probably tried doing this on your own.

Let me show you a different way, and this is how much it’s going to cost. I have met some of the most beautiful people. I have met in person. I have relationships, I have friendships with some of these people. There are [00:37:30] amazing human beings on Upwork. There are also some jerks. I get that. You just have to sift through and have a good sales funnel process to not get hung up in friction and bothered by those that aren’t your right customer.

There’s lots of different ways to do that. We don’t have time to go into it, but by curating your brand and messaging correctly and showing people what you do, you will attract your type of client. And so again, it just takes some [00:38:00] intention and it takes a little bit of time to figure that out. 

Jody: Love it. And it was just making me think of, the house hunting shows. I like to watch those and they’ll go, this is our budget. And then the agent will take them to, here’s this premium place. And then here’s the ones that’s in your budget. And go, Ooh, I want this one. And that’s what we are doing with positioning ourselves in such a way that we are that premium provider.

Lisa, that’s been excellent information and I really hope it’s encouraged some people to go [00:38:30] out and go, okay, Upwork, if you are needing to get leads, if you are wanting to get more clients, that’s a whole global community where people are there looking for these expert services and position yourself as the expert.

Don’t be afraid to set your price. You don’t need to go, oh, they’re only going to pay this much. That’s fine. Go on to the next person who is going to pay for your expertise. So where can people learn more about you? 

Lisa: Lots of places. I have two [00:39:00] communities that are very engaged and very, very much a community.

I do it on Facebook. One is called Full Thrive Freelancers, which is somehow where we got connected. I’ve got quite a few Facebook Ads Manager people in there, which I love. I coach them as well, not on what they do. But actually on how to position and do proposals and discovery calls and things like that.

And so that’s the Full Thrive Freelancer Facebook group. And there’s so many free trainings in there. I’ve got free masterclasses on Upwork. Of course I have some paid things, but a lot of [00:39:30] the stuff I do Jody, is really enough to get anybody who’s just getting started for free. If they took the course, if they took those free masterclasses and applied, they could be really doing well for themselves.

Some want a little bit more advanced things. And then I have a new community for copywriters. Because I’m a copywriter, I’m now applying everything I’ve taught about the sales part, but also copywriting, and I call that one ‘Full Thrive Copywriters’.

Why do I call it ‘Full Thrive’? I say it’s not full-time [00:40:00] it’s full thrive, which means you work with clients you like on work that you love on your own schedule, and you get paid what you’re worth. That could be 20 hours a week, it could be 40 hours a week. Full thrive means something different for everybody, but it means you are making the choices and you are choosing the type of business that you want to have.

And so everything I teach is around empowering you to feel good and proud of the business that you’re building instead of feeling like a victim or feeling like it’s happening to you. So those are two Facebook groups, that’d be a [00:40:30] great place to jump in. Then from there, there’s courses that you can take.

Jody: Fabulous. Thank you so much, Lisa. Guys, you know where you can find Lisa and dive into all the fabulous Upwork stuff. And yes, I know some of the ad managers who are in your training there for Upwork and I’ve seen what they’ve been putting out and so that’s been amazing. 

Thank you so much for your time today, Lisa.

Guys, if you’re not on Upwork, go check it out. If you’re wanting to get leads, then that’s a great place to dive in and just start testing and [00:41:00] positioning yourself as the expert that you are. 

Lisa: Yes. 

Jody: Thanks for joining us today for this episode. That’s it for now. See you next time.

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