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7 Tips To Get Premium And Long-Term Upwork Clients

As the freelance industry becomes more competitive, landing long-term, premium clients on Upwork is what most people aim to achieve. In the US alone, this year’s number of freelancers increased by 2.9 million from 2022. With 47 percent of the global workforce now made up of freelancers, the industry is becoming increasingly competitive.

Upwork has become a platform for many freelancers to find potential clients and offer services. Many freelancers from all over the world use Upwork to connect to business owners and secure high-paying projects.

With its features, it’s no surprise that Upwork has become a highly competitive platform. Recent data shows Upwork has over two million registered freelancers and 750,000 active clients. Therefore, your approach must be strategic and intentional to attract clients. You must become a top-rated freelancer, and your Upwork profile will be critical.

This article will cover tips on getting premium, long-term clients on Upwork.

Ready to become an Upwork freelancer? Read on.

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Types of Payment Options on Upwork

If you’re a freelancer on Upwork, you’re probably wondering what payment options are available. Here are the three primary payment schemes you can choose from on Upwork.


The majority of freelance jobs on Upwork are on an hourly basis. Freelancers log their time using the Upwork Desktop App, which tracks their activity levels. Clients can monitor work progress using the freelancer’s work diary, where Upwork saves six screenshots of the freelancer’s work. This is great for freelancers who want to earn a steady income from regular clients, as clients can easily see the value of the freelancer’s work.

Clients can accept manual billing or set a weekly work limit in an hourly payment method. For example, the client can set a 40-hour work per week for a freelancer at a $10 hourly rate. This means the freelancer can maximize the set hours and earn $400 weekly.

If clients are happy with the output or need to increase the workload, they can increase the number of hours they are willing to pay for. Upwork’s minimum hourly rate is $3/hour, which is lower than the industry standard, but a good starting point for new freelancers.

Examples of hourly jobs on Upwork include copywriting, graphic design, and transcription.


Upwork jobs with a fixed rate have an agreed-upon rate and deliverables. The freelancer gets a deadline to complete the project. The payment will be the same regardless of how many hours the freelancer works or if they complete the project earlier than expected.

This scheme is perfect for those who prefer to have a clear understanding of a project’s scope and cost upfront. Most clients will pay upon project completion, which is great for freelancers who want to receive payment quickly. This is best for short-term projects because they can get the payments once the client completes and accepts the work.

Examples of fixed-rate jobs on Upwork are digital marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and social media management.


Clients can also pay freelancers based on the progress of their work. They will divide the project into milestones and pay the freelancer an agreed-upon amount based on the progress. Milestone payments are ideal for long-term or complex projects.

They give clients peace of mind that their project is progressing as planned. It also allows freelancers to earn regular payments as they complete each milestone. However, it is essential to note that milestones come with a flat-rate payment, which means that freelancers don’t receive payments for the actual hours they have worked on the project. It is similar to a fixed-rate contract, but the payments are in escrow.

Milestone jobs on Upwork include web development, WordPress management, and software development.

Freelancers can maximize their earnings and build a successful career on Upwork by clearly understanding the payment methods. For example, a freelance writer on an hourly payment package of writing 10 articles can work diligently to maximize their weekly earnings.

Tips for Securing Premium, Long-Term Clients on Upwork

Securing premium, long-term clients is the ultimate goal of most freelancers on Upwork. While it can be challenging, it is certainly achievable through these tips and tricks.

1. Identify your ideal client

The first step to getting Upwork clients is identifying your ideal client. You need to know your niche and industry and ensure it matches your skillset. Start by creating a client avatar and researching potential clients. Knowing their business, pain points, and what they’re looking for in a freelancer can help you craft a more personalized proposal.

2. Optimize your Upwork profile and proposals

Your profile is the first impression clients get, so make it count. Write a compelling profile that showcases your skills and experience. A complete profile gets more invitations from clients. Also, write personalized proposals that address the client’s specific needs.

Don’t rely on templates you see online. You should make your proposal your own. Your cover letter should reflect your capabilities and how your skills will address a business owner’s needs. Highlight what makes you unique. Let them know your unique selling point (USP) and why hiring your services will be a valuable investment for their business.

If you have a solid LinkedIn profile, you can include the link in your proposals.

3. Deliver high-quality work

Whenever you secure a client, ensure you’re giving your best effort. Delivering high-quality work is the cornerstone of any successful freelancing business. It establishes trust and credibility with clients.

Maintain a good relationship by communicating with clients throughout the project. Ask for feedback and make revisions as needed to ensure the client’s satisfaction.

4. Cultivate positive client relationships

On top of proving your worth with your work, developing a healthy working relationship with your clients is essential. Think beyond the current project you are working on. They will give you more projects when they’re happy with your work and attitude. If they have a referral, they will recommend you.

Going above and beyond to exceed expectations can result in positive testimonials from clients. Testimonials are an excellent way to get new clients. Take note that most top-rated freelancers have a high job success score.

Here are the criteria to become a top-rated freelancer on Upwork:

  • Maintain a job success score of 90 percent or higher
  • The first project is at least 90 days old
  • Maintain the status of Rising Talent for 13 out of 16 weeks
  • Complete job profile
  • Updated availability
  • Good standing with no accounts on hold
  • Current platform activity in the last 90 days

5. Set realistic expectations

One of the key things to being a successful freelancer is setting realistic goals. You can’t expect to get clients as soon as you create your profile. Remember that Upwork has millions of freelancers. A considerable percentage are top-rated freelancers with high job success scores.

It’s also critical to be mindful of what projects to accept. Some freelancers aim to have multiple clients and commit to projects. They fail to recognize their limitations. Ultimately, they end up failing to finish their commitments and burning out.

6. Expand your services

Offering additional services to existing clients helps identify opportunities for long-term partnerships. Eventually, this can lead to a profitable freelancing business where you may need to manage finances. Once you have a steady stream of clients and a flow of income, it’s critical to recognize the best ways to scale offerings.

7. Leverage Upwork’s resources

Upwork provides several resources to help you succeed. Utilize their messaging and collaboration tools to communicate efficiently with clients and manage projects. Participating in Upwork’s community forums can help you connect with other freelancers and learn from their experiences. Upwork provides educational resources that can help you improve your skills and knowledge.

As a freelancer, it’s crucial to continuously learn and improve your skills to stay relevant and attract high-paying clients. Upwork is a competitive platform with millions of freelancers from around the world. Clients always seek freelancers with the right skills and expertise to handle their projects.

Learning and improving your freelancer skills will help you stand out and attract more clients to your profile. Clients are more likely to hire freelancers with expertise and a track record of delivering high-quality work.

Additionally, continuous learning and improvement help you to stay updated with the latest freelancing trends, technologies, and industry standards. As a result, you get the right skills to handle different projects and deliver top-notch results to your clients.

Continuous learning can take many forms. You can take online courses, attend webinars and workshops, read industry blogs, and work on personal projects to hone your skills. Invest time and effort into developing your skills continually. This helps you maintain a competitive edge and thrive as a freelancer on Upwork.

What makes Upwork worth it?

Upwork is optimal for freelancers for several reasons. It provides a platform for freelancers to find work and connect with clients from all over the world. You have access to a global marketplace and can find work opportunities that wouldn’t be available to you otherwise.

Also, Upwork has a straightforward and user-friendly platform. Freelancers can easily navigate the website and apply for jobs that match their skills and interests. The platform has features such as a work diary and messaging system. This system makes it easy for freelancers to communicate with clients and keep track of their work progress.

It has a secure payment system as well. Clients are required to deposit funds into escrow before work begins. This ensures that freelancers get their payment for their work, eliminating the risk of non-payment or late payment. Keep in mind that it remains a significant concern for freelancers. Organized and secure payment systems help freelancers steer clear of scams.

Upwork offers a range of payment options, including hourly rates, fixed-price contracts, and milestone payments. This flexibility allows freelancers to choose the best payment method for them and their clients.

Finally, Upwork has a robust community and educational resources. Freelancers can connect with other freelancers and share knowledge and experiences. They also offer educational resources, such as webinars and blog posts. These resources help freelancers improve their skills and succeed on the platform.

Become a Top-Rated Freelancer on Upwork

Upwork is worth it for freelancers looking for a flexible and reliable platform to find work and build their careers. Upwork offers a wealth of opportunities and support for freelancers. It is a global marketplace with a user-friendly platform, secure payment system, flexible payment options, and community and educational resources.

Becoming a top-rated freelancer on Upwork requires dedication, hard work, and patience. When you follow these tips and strategies, you can set yourself apart from the competition. This will increase your chances of securing premium, long-term clients.

Remember to identify your ideal client and optimize your Upwork profile and proposals. Don’t forget to deliver high-quality work, cultivate positive client relationships, and set realistic expectations. It’s also wise to expand your services and leverage Upwork’s resources.

By consistently implementing these best practices, you can boost your job success rate, receive positive testimonials and referrals, and build a successful freelancing career on Upwork.

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Written by Ivan Serrano

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Ivan has been a technology and business writer since 2015 working with companies like SmallBizClub, StartupNation, Namecheap and Time Doctor. He's obsessed with our constantly evolving fast-paced society and finding new ways to integrate that into amazing content that teaches readers something new.

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Reviewed & edited by Alex Skinner, at Millo.

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