It’s the autumn and for many freelancers, that’s the busy period. Almost every year without fail, October has taken a sharp upturn in the volume of work. Just last week, I was receiving 3-4 invitations to interview every day on Upwork. It also means I will rarely use my connects to pitch for work. Autumn is a freelancer’s market. If you want the best person for your writing work, you’re going to have to step up and make your contract an attractive proposition. That means writing a great job description at the very least but now you’ll have to step it up another gear.
A word of note: It’s important that clients put the effort in here. Top Rated freelancers are Top Rated for a reason and it’s not because they are indiscriminate about the work they take. It’s because they take care to select the right clients based on – yes – pay, but also on the likelihood of agreeable outcome for both. We can afford to turn down work most of the time and we will. Top Rated freelancers on Upwork are rarely desperate for work.
I can’t insist on the necessity of this enough. If your payment system is not verified and if you have no work history, a Top Rated freelancer on Upwork won’t even bother to read the job description. In all likelihood, they will think you are a scammer, even if you’re not, and move on. These are the jobs we know we should never take. There may be a little leeway with a long-standing account who is unverified due to a payment system expiring and needing updating, but that’s about the only circumstance. Even then, you should ensure your payment system is up to date. Letting it remain unverified for too long makes you look unprofessional and careless about your business’ financial integrity.
While I know what Proof [ENUS-ENGB] Req 12CET means due to five years of experience, a lot of other people won’t. For the record, it means “I have a document to proofread to translate from US English to British English. Needs completion by 12PM Central European Time.” Most people will just move past that in confusion, thinking it has something to do with website coding or technical speak. They don’t know what it means so they won’t bother trying. Put a clear description in the headline “2000 word company brochure required for proofreading” or “Looking for a writer able to research electrical appliances“. At the other end of the scale are the “Content Ninja wanted for exciting opportunity”. Firstly, I’m a content writer and my Ninja days (if there ever was) are behind this 43-year-old body. Secondly, the “exciting opportunities” rarely are anything of the sort. Confusing headlines don’t make for killer job descriptions.
Promote the Job, not the Organisation
“We’re one of the world’s fastest growing tech providers in the US, delivering excellent customer service to B2B customers nationwide. We had a WhatTech magazine 97% approval rating amongst our customers every year since 2011. Last year, we filed for 12 patents that will advance mobile technology for business over the next five years. Soon, you’ll be seeing our brand all over the country. We are staffed by 500 people in 12 states with plans to expand into Canada and Mexico by 2025. Our CEOs are a husband and wife team who have won an accolade of engineering and technology awards in the last five years.”
Great, but it’s not necessary for me to know any of that. While it helps to know your line of business, selling your company to a potential employee is vastly different from that of a freelancer. The former needs to know that their future is secure in your hands, that the growth of the company guarantees good pay and stability, and that their skills will be valued in a way to allow them to develop within your company. The latter needs to know what you require from a task and whether what you need is in line with what they can deliver.
Be Clear About Price
Not every client knows what to charge, granted. Some vastly underestimate while some don’t want to risk being ripped off. If you don’t know what a job will cost then state “I have no idea what this will cost so please bid accordingly”. The problem with Upwork’s system is that for flat rate jobs you simply must put in a fee. If your figure is arbitrary, then say so. However, there is no harm in Googling typical fees for the job you require and using that as a guide. If you don’t know then make that clear in the job description or the introduction when inviting freelancers to interview for your task.
This is no guarantee of having a Top Rated freelancer apply, but it will make them pay attention to what you are offering. If you want the best, you have to attract the best by making them not want to pass up your contract.