Zlatko Bijelic ⚡️

Zlatko Bijelic ⚡️



It took me 4 years to turn my freelancing career into a 7-figure agency. 99% of freelancers have no clue how to land clients, communicate properly, and deliver results. Here is the playbook to dominate Upwork and print money:

The biggest mistakes freelancers make on Upwork: • Copy/Paste the same message for every job application. • They don’t read the post and miss important info. • They don’t respond quickly to messages and miss the boat. • They don’t ask to get on a video call.

Plan of action: • Create a great profile: picture, intro, make it personal. • Create a boilerplate template & adjust it for new clients. • Don’t be a robot; you won’t stand out. • Focus on one type of job (for me it was PM).

How to send effective applications on Upwork: • Read the full post & make sure you can be valuable to the client. • Give them a unique solution for their needs. • Have a list of previous work you have done. • Request a video call.

How did I land jobs quickly: • I set up an advanced search on Upwork. • Created an RSS Feed. • Added the RSS feed to Slack. • I get immediate notifications for relevant work. • I would be one of the first people to apply.

Here is what I did: • First 5 months: outreach, outreach, outreach. Get the reps in. • I sent out 20-30 applications per day. • Once I landed a few clients, reworked my profile & add new skills. • Raised my hourly rate every 2-3 new clients. • Asked for reviews.

Low-hanging fruit: In the beginning, I didn’t care how small the project was. I wanted to deliver results, get reviews, and keep growing. My strategy was: Once someone works with me, they get the results they expected, they will be happy, and I will be happy.

How to communicate effectively on Upwork: • If you get invited to a job, respond asap. • Showcase your expertise by providing a solution in your response. • Communicate with confidence. • Don’t be a bullshitter; it leads to poor reviews.

What did I charge? • I started at $30/hr when I landed my first two clients. • After I get two 5-star reviews, I would raise it to $35/hr. • After a few more reviews, I was quickly at $75/hr. • Then I got up to $250/hr. • Now I have a minimum $20k project cost.

My qualities: • Communication. • Technical knowledge. • Eye for design. • Staying on top of deadlines. • Actually giving a fuck about the work I was doing. I considered myself a well-rounded PM.

The type of clients I did PM work for: • SaaS companies with new products. • Agencies that needed help managing multiple clients. • Individuals that needed easy and quick projects completed. Most of these led to long-term relationships.

What I realized about Upwork: • There is a ton of great talent. • You need to focus on one thing; for me it was PM. • You need to request a video call the same day if you get a response. • You need to follow up with clients every couple of days. (continued...)

• When you successfully complete a few jobs, the algorithm kicks in. • I started to get bombarded with new jobs. • Bigger clients started to take notice and wouldn't flinch about the rate I was charging. • Badges really help to stand out from other people on the platform.

Clients always need more: Once I got in the door with the client as a PM, they always needed more. Usually: • A designer. • A developer. I started to let clients know “Hey I have someone I know personally that can help with X.” That led to the next step...

How I started my agency: • After 1.5 years of freelancing, I started subcontracting designers & developers. • I created an agency account on Upwork. • When I started to (finally) get invites to jobs, I would apply under my agency. (continued...)

• I had built a network of freelancers around me that did great work. • After the first year, 50% of the jobs were going through my agency instead of my personal profile. • Once my agency account grew, I started getting bigger jobs. We were now a real business.

Next couple of years: • I earned the Top-Rated on Upwork & then upgraded to Expert Vetted (top 1% of talent). • My agency was top-rated. • We landed our single biggest client on Upwork ($100K) project. • I never had to apply for another job; it was 100% inbound.

Summary: • Create a clear profile. • Respond quickly to requests. • Create an RSS Feed for relevant jobs. • Be human. • Request video calls with clients. • Constantly follow up w/ the ones that are idle. • Request reviews. • Raise your hourly rate.

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