Here’s me in Entrepreneur’s Handbook on how anyone can copy my Upwork success.
I’m a big fan of Upwork. I’ve used it for three years, and continue to use it even as I run my startup. It’s a powerful tool for freelancers and skilled workers, in general. And as far as I know, it’s the best platform in the online freelancing space. Nothing else even comes close.
To elaborate on one of my points in the article, underselling yourself is really important in the early stages of your startup or freelancing career. I talk to too many people who just aren’t willing to work for free, or to put in the 70-hour weeks to get their career off the ground. They act like they’re too good for that.
I’ve even heard this attitude couched in terms of ROI—“I’m not going to do something if I’m not sure it’s going to have a high ROI.”
Well I’m sorry, but the fact is you don’t know something’s ROI until you try it. And the more things you’re trying, the more you’re going to learn about where’s the highest return on your time.
Speed is a part of this. I read a tweet this morning that sums this up.
“The speed at which the founders move.”
Not timing, traction, or product-market fit.
Those things are important, but they can all be fixed. But not if the founders aren’t moving fast and deliberately and working their asses off.
The fact is, while I’ve made a lot on Upwork, I’ve also left a TON of money on the table, and undersold myself to Upwork clients FAR too many times. I made massive mistakes with several clients, and ended up making pennies for work that should have paid my entire month’s rent.
All because I was doing too much, too quickly, and without thinking very deeply about all the implications.
But I there’s nothing I would have changed, because there’s nothing else that would have got me to this point—a place where I can point back to my online freelancing successes, and ride my Upwork score/reputation to literally dozens of unsolicited requests for work every single week.
Underselling yourself is the only way to break into a crowded market. The only-do-high-ROI-things perspective is better put aside until you’ve established some momentum.
And I mean, come on—if you’re not working because you don’t see a obviously high-ROI use of your time, what else are you doing? Fortnite?