I am aware that I am not so good at interact with clients, but I am also aware that I am a skilled programmer with years of experience in many fields, actually my work rates are higher than the average, the problem is that once in a while some clients takes advantage of the fact that I am not able to "sell myself" in the proper way or I am not good in imposing myself when it comes to contracts etc, in fact I was ok as employee when I just had to do my job and other cared about selling, payments, etc, but with crisis in this moment what I can do is freelancing, but I'm ok with it.

Because of that, I thought that maybe I could take advantage myself of some more impersonal way of work as it could be a freelancer site like Upwork for example, also they offer a payment guarantee where the client will make deposits for the project.

What I want to achieve is to be active in Upwork (to say one of them) but not playing the "lowest price" competition with others, I don't want to have huge amount of underpayd jobs, I want to have a few good paying jobs that I can develope with quality in the proper amount of time.

I want to enter with my actual hourly rate which is higher than the average (still is not between the highest), because I want to be payd for what I can do and I don't want to work 16 hours a day in competition with ridicolous prices like I saw there $7/$10 per hour which is impossible, my prices would be around 10 times these ones.

Also, english is not my main language, I can easily read, write, communicate efficiently in written form (within my limits), but when it comes to skype meetings I think I would be in difficulty to keep a good conversation (while in general I would be enough good to express myself and understand spoken english).

Do you have any experience in that? Do you think that is it possible to do what I want to do? Is it a normal path to start with very low prices close to zero and then raise them as you complete work?

Any advice or suggestion is warmly welcome.

  • 1
    You have to start somewhere on any freelancing website. Show off your skills by completing the tests ( upwork has tests ) and write a good cover letter. :)
    – Aslam
    Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 9:20

2 Answers 2


I understand your problem. What helped me to develop a profile is the following:

Make clear from the beginning your prices and years of experience. Don't justify it, there are always jobs/projects that require skilled people, and projects that don't. Act accordingly to your experience.

If you have many years of experience a portfolio with a few huge/hard projects and former employees testimonials would be nice.

Use a short brieff and be goal oriented. My customers value that the most.

If you have an engineering degree use it, show it off. A customer once hired me instead of her daughter because of my degree and seriousness. People value formal education, especially if they know that their position requires it.

You need to apply the right projects and choose carefully your words (be patient and work hard). Price is always a competitive factor, be aware that there may be people as skilled as you with better profiles and lower rates.

All the above is as valuable as Just do it.

Hope it helps.


The short answer is 'yes', you can start with a higher rate. People who participate in the race to the bottom form a separate layer - you don't start there and then work your way to the top. By pricing yourself higher you immediately say that you're of a different caliber.

I write this from the perspective of someone who hires on UpWork. The one thing that sets applicants apart from the rest is excellent customer service. If you take the time to understand and respond to the client's brief you're already doing more than 80% of applicants.

You do this by:

  1. Actually reading the brief
  2. Send a personalised response that specifically answers how you would do the work
  3. If you can, already produce some work. I'm not a supporter of free work but that is the one thing that has swung it for me many times. Not because I get free work but because it allows me to quickly see how trustworthy and skilled the applicant is. Tests are one thing, actual work quite another.

Apply these diligently and you will find well-paying work.

These are taken from a more in-depth article here:


Best of luck!


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