Common Upwork Mistakes You Should Definitely Avoid

Upwork is a popular freelancing marketplace that offers hundreds of opportunities across various categories. While it may seem simple to just create a profile and be active on Upwork, it is quite challenging to get projects because of immense competition.

Of course, competition should not stop you from trying and applying for jobs. But, you need to think smarter and be on your feet all the time.

In my few years of freelancing experience, I have realized that the best freelancers do not work hard, but they work smart. They do not spend hours finding the best job, writing wordy cover letters, and applying for jobs every time. Instead, they spend time working on the quality of applications and upskilling themselves.

So, why do you think it is important to focus on QUALITY and not only QUANTITY? That’s because you should avoid these common Upwork mistakes and increase your chances of converting the job.

Common Upwork Mistakes to Avoid

In this article, I am going to help you figure out 10 common Upwork mistakes which you should definitely avoid. If you make any of these mistakes, it is time to rectify that right away.

Rushing to Apply

The most common Upwork mistake committed by any freelancer is the urge to apply for a job the minute you read about it. With the competition level being so high, you always want to stay at the top of the ladder and never miss out on any opportunity.

But, when you rush to apply, chances are that you don’t care about the quality. Sometimes, you would only skim through the job details and apply without understanding. This will reduce your chances of conversion.

Take some time to read the description, judge if it is the best fit for you, and then go ahead to apply for the job.

Charging less or equal to the client’s budget

Another most common Upwork mistake is to charge less than or equal to the client’s budget.

When posting a job, a client shares his estimated budget. But sometimes, he is not aware of the budget and posts a low figure randomly. If you are a beginner looking to build your Upwork profile, chances are that you will agree with the client and take the work at a lower budget. That should NEVER be the case.

You need to understand your worth, and what is the expected charge for the client and pitch accordingly. I have seen many cases where freelancers are paid double, sometimes triple, of the client’s budget. It all depends on how you pitch yourself.

Using a copy-paste Upwork proposal

As mentioned earlier, with increasing competition, everyone wants to stay at the top. You are always in a hurry to apply for the job posting, and use the same template proposal every time.

Clients get many applications in a day. They are experienced and can spot a copy-paste template easily. The minute they understand a copy-paste Upwork proposal, your application is straightaway REJECTED.

This is one of the most common Upwork mistakes because it shows that you are not interested in the job, and do not value the work.

So, if you want to increase your chances of converting a job, write a customized application letter for the client and genuinely show your interest. Check out this Upwork proposal sample that will surely land you a job.

Not applying when a client has poor feedback

Most freelancers do not want to apply for jobs where a client has a poor rating or does not have a verified payment method.

This is one of the most common Upwork mistakes that you can commit. Of course, you should check the client’s history, but why should you stop applying for jobs. If you are a beginner, it is your chance to shine there because these job applications would not have high competition.

In fact, sometimes a client’s feedback does not matter if you have good expertise speaking for you. So, do not let any opportunity pass by when applying for jobs.

Fear of asking questions

Another common Upwork mistake is not asking questions.

You may think that the clients will not like it if you ask a lot of questions before joining, but it is the exact opposite of that. If you ask relevant questions, the clients will surely appreciate you. It shows that you have spent time understanding the job requirements and the client’s interest.

It can also increase your chances of converting a job because everyone wants to hire people who are genuinely interested in the work. It is actually one of the eight best Upwork tips to win clients.

Offering cheap rates

A common Upwork mistake is to offer your work at cheap rates. It is because of this thought that offering cheap rates can increase your chances of getting the job.

Well, this thought signals a huge problem.

Why do you want to bid for a cheaper price when the client is willing to offer a greater amount? Bidding your services for a low price is a sign of underconfidence. You will never see professional freelancers bidding for a lower price because they know that clients want a dedicated effort, and should be willing to pay for it. So, NEVER offer your work at an under price.

Not answering additional questions

Most Upwork proposals have a section on additional questions after the cover letter. Have you ever noticed it? If not, then this might be the reason for you not converting your applications.

One of the most common Upwork mistakes is to avoid answering these additional questions. Or, not paying much attention to these and writing very generic answers.

The additional questions are shown on top of the client’s dashboard. So, if you have missed answering these, you are losing out on creating your first impression. Moreover, it also shows that you just focus on the compulsory questions so that you can apply, but not genuinely interested in getting the job.

Hence, it is important to take some time and write these answers effectively and treat them as a priority, not an afterthought for the client.

Begging to hire

When you are eagerly looking for jobs, it is natural that you want to show your best side to the clients, tell them everything about you, and how you can help them achieve the desired results.

This eagerness makes you a sleazy salesperson, sometimes without even realizing it. This is one of the most common Upwork mistakes because your proposal screams that you are begging to get hired.

Try to keep yourself on the other side of the court, would you want to hire someone who begs until you give in? Of course, not! Instead of begging for the job and being all sweet, you need to be professional in your approach and convince the client about your expertise and show that you are the best fit for the job.

Not being prompt in your replies

If you expect your clients to be professional in their response, they expect the same from you. Sometimes, it so happens that a client has left an interview message, but does not get any reply from you.

This is one of the most common Upwork mistakes and needs to be rectified on priority. The client will not wait for your reply and move on with the next applicant. That’s why you need to be prompt and active in your replies to increase your chances of conversion.


It is important to avoid these common Upwork mistakes when submitting your next job application. Show the client that you are actually interested in getting the job and can justify the work. 

So, start applying for Upwork jobs with a fresh mind and dedicated effort. If you have any questions, feel free to connect with me at [email protected] for any queries. I would be happy to help you! Join the Discord community of like-minded freelancers here.

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