DEV Community

Cover image for How I Became Top Rated on UpWork

Posted on • Originally published at on

How I Became Top Rated on UpWork

WOOHOOW!!! The "Top Rated" badge!

How did I obtain this so quickly? And that, with only 23 hours on 3 jobs?

This is written from my POV with my free UpWork account => very few connects at my disposal.

1. Research the platform.

I first researched how to get jobs on UpWork by listening to YouTubers like Josh Burns Tech and Cody Codes.

Their advice:

  • Don't be proposal number 80, try to be within the first 15.
  • The first 2 sentences matter.
  • Set filtered job alerts.
  • Take profile inspiration from e.g. top UpWork earners.
  • ...

2. Land a job.

I target jobs where I have an edge. This edge can be skill-wise, project-wise, geographical, having things in common e.g. native tongue, ...

I also increase my odds by having a portfolio with (passion) projects to show & tell about my relevant experience. For example, I applied a job post for a Tinder-like app by leading with my Tinder-like dog adoption app coincidently built with the listed technology.

And, I put out content (YouTube, tech blog, ...) to grow my reach (potential clients), experience and to build trust and authority. I can confirm that this results in hot-leads.

Explain your process (how you go about your work). This also helps to gain trust and authority. If you don't have a process yet, borrow one ;).

Show / tell your potential leads:

  • how you can help them.
  • how you tackled a similar problem.
  • a (pro-active) task breakdown / estimates.
  • ...

3. Build a work-relationship.

I obtained this "Top Rated" badge by bringing clients to the platform to then deliver project milestones resulting in customer satisfaction, 5-star reviews and a high job success score. Don't be afraid to ask for / negotiate a positive review.

The majority of jobs I completed, didn't come from UpWork but I dealt with my clients through the platform since it's trustworthy with useful tools for both parties.

Go the extra mile(stone).

It can be a great privilege to serve your clients from the comfort of your own home and/or at your own pace. This allows me to be the most efficient and productive. The trade-off may be that you need to fill multiple "roles", you are not just the programmer. This means, being available at odds hours and being pro-active on all fronts of the project. It may not all be "billable" work.

The result is what matters for your client and for your 5-star reviews. Not the amount of hours you put into it. It's your job to estimate the work appropriately and to deliver on it. Estimate & communicate!

Estimate and time track the work even if it has a fixed price.
Scope creep and underestimations are part of the game.


  • work progress
  • hiccups & how you'll solve them
  • (re-)align expectations
  • scope creep
  • when you'll attack the tasks at hand
  • ...

Don't (accidently) keep your client in the dark until after you're done.

A win for the client can also mean a big win for (future) you.
Being pro-active, solution oriented will build your relationship and reputation which will open-up future opportunities.


UpWork has opened my eyes to what it takes to be a freelancer and to what is possible. It's a great stepping-stone into the (remote) freelance world.
That said, I'm not putting all my bets on it since the majority of my gigs didn't come from UpWork. There are good reasons for that:

Saturation: in a matter of hours, there can be 50 to 80 proposals on jobs that fit my active skillset. This may mean that my skillset is not niche enough.

With my free account, I can hardly do 2 proposals each month due to the high cost to apply. I could go premium or buy connects with the earnings. I'll have to come up with a better strategy. Until then, my wonderful "Top Rated" badge won't do much.

If you are interested in more of my work, you can find it:

Thank you for taking the time & interest in my work.
Kind regards, Auguste @

Top comments (0)