Running out of connects on Upwork slams the brakes on your job opportunities and stops you from being competitive. Here is how I never run out of connects on Upwork and never pay for them.
Connects are the virtual currency that runs Upwork. You use them to bid on projects, boost your proposal rankings, and display your availability. It's a lucrative profit source for Upwork and can be highly detrimental to a new freelancer who can't afford to spend them on each proposal.
This 3-step system is a way that will stop you from having to purchase connects. It will make you stand out on the job feed and reduce Upwork fees by significantly reducing your customer acquisition cost. When your freelance work consists of small jobs or large jobs, each job requires you to spend connects on Upwork. The more free connects you can earn, the less you have to buy connects, and the more visible you become. Ready make freelancing on Upwork a breeze?
How do I earn free connects on Upwork? Here is my 3-step process:
Ensure that your hourly rate is on the low end of the average rate
Ensure that your profile uses category keywords that Upwork uses to sort profiles
Respond to every project invite and receive 10 free Upwork connects when the client responds
Earning free connects is the difference between the top 1% of freelancers and the rest.
Earning free connects allows you to bid on more projects and submit more proposals.
I don't buy connects, ever. It's far too easy to earn free connects, but it takes some strategy. If you think of it as "farming" on a video game for a unique item, you can earn plenty of connections without needing to purchase them.
This virtual currency Upwork uses can make or break your freelance career, but when I look on social media networks like LinkedIn, there are major complaints from new freelancers who struggle to manage their connects.
You can get free connects on Upwork easily and it only takes a little while to get your first job when you earn connects by responding to invites. Paying clients are much more likely to hire you when you respond to invites rapidly. The moment you get an invite, respond, it should be one of your primary tasks day to day to help you find jobs on Upwork.
How to adjust your hourly rate to earn free Upwork connects?
Getting paid what you want is the beauty of being a freelancer.
Using strategy, you can profit by earning free additional connects on Upwork. Before you purchase additional connects, try this:
Login to the client side of the Upwork app
Start posting a job that you would want
Check the hourly rate range, it's highlighted in dark green
Adjust your hourly rate to the highest spike
Increase your chances of being invited to a project
By receiving 4-5 invites per day on Upwork, I've optimized my profile solely to gain connects. I typically earn 10-20 free connects on Upwork per day. By optimizing all parts of my profile to appeal to clients searching for freelancers, even if I don't want the project, I accept the invite with the sole purpose of earning more free connects.
How to use keywords in your Upwork profile to get more invites?
Upwork tells you what they need you to have in your profile to attract clients.
Profile optimization is critical for success as an Upwork member, and attracting invites makes your life much less expensive when you have more connects to submit proposals instead of eating into your customer acquisition cost by using paid connects.
Here is how I find the right keywords to attract more clients and get more invites:
Back to the client side of Upwork
Start a Job Posting
Look at the categories Upwork has defined
Use those categories in your profile Headline and Body
Ensure you use all 5000 characters when writing your profiles
Want applicable advice to write your Upwork profile today? Check out, How do I write a great Upwork profile?
Respond to Upwork invites even if you don't want the project!
Declining project invites is a bad idea. Accepting each invite increases your chances of earning free connects on Upwork.
You may think the project is too small or too large, but you never know what the opportunity could hold if you decline an invite. The worst case scenario is if you accept an invite, then start a conversation. You get 10 free connects. No one will force you to complete the project unless you want to.
Here is how to increase your chances of getting a client to respond to an invite:
Keep your response short
Ensure that your response has a question in it
Make the response conversational to increase the likelihood of a response
Once the client responds, you get 10 free connects. Do this a few times a day, and after a week, you'll have hundreds of free connects that can help you win each job proposal. Each time a customer responds to your free invite proposal, you earn a one time connects bonus of 10 connects on Upwork.
When potential clients invite you to more jobs, and you keep responding, Upwork's algorithm seems to push your Upwork profile to the top simply because you're constantly responding. By building up large amounts of free connects on Upwork, when large jobs come along, you can boost your profile when you submit proposals for an even greater chance to be seen.
Your freelancer account will burst with connects on Upwork when you optimize it for invites. The Upwork platform also seems to reward users who receive many invites and respond to all of them by giving them greater visibility. However, this is opinion only but makes sense since there is so much data on your profile about response time to invites. It must be an essential factor.
How to earn connects on Upwork