How to get “YES I want to speak to you!” responses on Upwork (without a portfolio or testimonials)

Sending proposals on Upwork can make you feel like…


You see these cool-sounding copywriting jobs. Send out a proposal. And then…crickets. 

And that happens…over and over again.

So what gives? 

Well, it could be a number of things. But the most likely culprit is either your profile or those proposals you’re sending out (or both). 

I’ve hired on Upwork before. And when I was looking for a designer, I didn’t care about what they wrote. I just wanted to see a nice design portfolio. When I hired a virtual assistant, I wanted to see clear communication and timely responses.

And, while I’ve never hired a copywriter before, I know what I’d want to see in a proposal: that (surprise, surprise!) the candidate knows how to write good copy. 

My point is this: Be intentional about the way you write your proposal and Upwork profile description.

Screw the portfolio and testimonials. Sure they help, but I’ve gotten work with a barely-there portfolio and zero Upwork reviews (and no, not bottom-of-the-barrel type work. Legit jobs). 

I even had someone reach out to me and say this…

(Oh and he did become a client). 

A few months ago, I landed another client on Upwork. This time I sent a (very simple) proposal. And he responded immediately (literally within minutes). 

And a few days ago, I sent yet another proposal and got this uber-excited response: 

So how can YOU send proposals on Upwork that get those kinds of responses? 

Well, I’ve got a few ideas for ya…

Stop talking about you.
And start talking about your client.

You wanna know what I said to stand out amongst 50+ submissions? 

On our call, the lead told me that in my responses and on my website, I spoke to HIM. And that’s something that apparently nobody else did.  

I know…so simple, right? 

Here’s what I said in my proposal: 


It took me no more than two minutes to write AND it got me an EXCITED response from the client. 

So start writing your proposals like the awesome *copywriter* that you are.

Write as if you’re actually talking to the person you’re addressing (I mean…that’s what a copywriter is supposed to do, right?). Write like you speak.

Tell the client how you can solve their problems and make their life a whole lot easier. 

So instead of saying something boring like “I would love to write the copy for your website because I specialize in eCommerce copy,” start the sentence with “you” and then explain exactly how you can help them (and make them moolah). 

Also think of any objections that they might have and counter those objections head-on. 

Many of your potential clients are inevitably worried about hiring a copywriter that doesn’t get them results (and wastes their money). 

So address that fear, and tell them how you will do whatever you can to make sure that doesn’t happen. Think: unlimited revisions or some sort of guarantee.

Show instead of tell

Throw those ol’ school, formal cover letter templates out the window. 

Saying things like “I’m detail-oriented” or “I think I’m the best fit for this job” aren’t gonna get you anywhere (I mean…did they ever?).  

Everyone says that so a) it doesn’t stand out and b) it isn’t believable. 

Instead, SHOW how you’re the best copywriter out there for the job. 

Sooo if the client provides their website, give them some feedback on it. 

You could create relevant work samples (if you don’t have any) or share a story of a similar project you completed in the past.

Add a lil' personality

You could also share unexpected nuggets of information (after all, being unexpected is one of the keys to making your message—and you—stick in the client’s mind). 

Add a little personality (come on, copy is supposed to be FUN to write—you aren’t writing a dissertation here). Make the person on the other end *feel* something. 

And don't forget about your website

In your proposal, you should provide a link to your website. 

But same thing applies here: You website (and your Upwork profile) should be ALL about them. 

For example, your hero headline shouldn’t read “I’m an eCommerce copywriter” (unless you want to bore your client to tears). 

Instead, it should address their problems (ie: “eCommerce copy that sells products like hotcakes”). 

A lil’ more compelling, wouldn’t ya say? 

Alright, I think I’ve bombarded you with enough tips for now (I don’t know about you but there’s only so much Upwork I can handle in a day). 

So now I’m gonna pass on the baton to you. Go on and be the unexpected in a sea of blah. And start reeling in those cannot-wait-to-speak-to-you responses.

Want to get more of my secrets to landing clients (on *and* off Upwork)? Then you’re gonna LOVE the Nomad Copywriter Starter Kit, which gives you all the tools and resources you need to master the copywriting basics, land your first clients and become a digital nomad.

Tap that juicy red button below to get started. 

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