From Tech Director to Freelancer: My Journey on Upwork

In 2015, I began a new position as a CTO at a web development company, where I was introduced to Upwork, a platform that the company utilized for project sourcing. I remember registering on Upwork, intrigued by the prospect of global freelancing. At that time, one of the features on the platform was the "skill tests", a collection of assessments aimed at verifying a freelancer's expertise in various domains.

I was asked by my company to take all tests related to our skill tags. Using my personal profile as a training ground, I passed tests and managed to score in the top 10% in all tests, a feat considered as an exemplary achievement on the platform. Curiously, when I undertook the same tests representing the company, my scores dipped a little, sparking a playful bout of ribbing from my colleagues.

Though I had completed my profile with all the necessary information, I found myself not utilizing it at all initially. However, a few months later, upon leaving my previous company to pursue independent freelancing, things took a significant turn. I received an invitation on Upwork to take on a Drupal developer role. Even though my experience with international clients was non-existent, I viewed this as a golden opportunity and started preparing for the call.

The interview was a success, and my first client on Upwork was Bob, a man from the Netherlands, who was developing an ERP system on Drupal. It was a happy coincidence that I had led a team in the past that specialized in building ERP systems using Drupal. This highly specific experience landed me my first contract on Upwork. Though the pay was a modest $12 per hour, it was a stepping stone that introduced me to the dynamics of Upwork, allowed me to refresh my English skills, and ultimately kickstarted my freelance career on the platform.

Within a month and a half, I received an invitation for a larger and more exciting project. Having gained significant experience, I requested Bob to release me from our contract. This goes to show how even a small, low-paying contract can be a gateway to lucrative opportunities on Upwork. The key takeaway is to always showcase your unique experiences; they could be precisely what a client needs, helping you secure your first contracts.

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