To start with I am going to say that it is really good for you that your Upwork profile was not approved! If your new account was not approved it just means you did not do your research or put the time and effort into creating your profile. With these Upwork profile approval tips, you’ll be closer to a yes!



Upwork Profile Approval Tips

Like I mentioned in the beginning that it is good that profile are not approved automatically anymore. Upwork is selective who gets approved. This is good thing for you! It may not feel like it when you get a decline message but trust me, this is good for you and your freelancer business.

Why so?

Upwork is the worlds largest online freelance marketplace. Thousands of new accounts are created every single day! If they approved everyone, marketplace would suffer and nobody would be working soon.

One of the biggest problems with Upwork from a clients side is getting way too many proposals from freelancers who are obviously not qualified. Or copy/paste proposals. These two alone drive clients out of the platform and I can’t blame them.

Ok, but let’s talk about what you should do to get approved.

Behave like a business owner

Way too many freelancers still have employee mindset when they start freelancing. But you are really creating a business and you need to start thinking and behaving like a business.

A business owner knows their clients, what keeps them up at night and how much they are willing to spend to work with a solution provider.

A business have assets and an email address is one of them – no more yahoo email addresses! You can use Google’s Gmail service to create a business address eg. Does not that sound way more professional than or (both real examples by the way, but some details changed to hide real email address I saw).

I have hired thousands of freelancers and time and time again I see profiles that are written with employee mindset – they are looking for a job rather than a business partnership. Many Upwork clients want B2B relationship, not to hire an employee.

Upwork wants you to succeed

And that is why they decline new accounts. You really have to want to do this in order to make money on Upwork or as a freelancer. When you are serious Upwork helps you out but you gotta be in to win it.

Give Upwork all the necessary information about you and your skills. But before you do that, do some research into what type of freelancers are in demand.

You are able to choose job category and make sure you use this opportunity. Do not add random categories but ones that suits your background really well.

Same goes for skills. Tell Upwork what you can do for clients and what skills should they use to promote you.

Niche and Experience level

With freelancing or any other business you need to consider two things: your niche and your experience level.

Ideally you portray yourself as an expert in a niche that is in high demand.

It may not be the niche you though but it is a niche that brings you better clients for higher rates.  Choose you Experience level on Upwork based on your actual experience and knowledge, not your years (or lack of) as a freelancer!

Way too many freelancers undersell them every day and have “more clients the better” mindset. When you position yourself as a top solution provider, you can demand high rates. You need just a few clients to make exact same income as a lowballing freelancer. Result – way more free time, less stress, exciting projects and great client relationships.

upwork profile approval experience level

Here’s experience level/suggested rate for my niche – inbound marketing. I am in the expert category and you should aim for expert level as well.

If you can’t be the cheapest, there is not point being the second cheapest.

This is so true, and where many freelancers go so wrong. I’ve seen profiles with tens of thousands of hours of high level work and they charge $15 per hour…. Of course this will keep them busy but if they tripled their rate (which they are more than qualified), they would be making way more money in less time.

Earn More & Work Less is Reality

I have never worked full-time via Upwork because I don’t need to. My charges are higher and I use fixed contracts, it allows me to focus on life and time off. On my freelance business, I decline more clients that I accept. <- #freelancergoal

You niche research will tell you more about how you should position yourself in order to be accepted by  Upwork. It is better to be a big fish in a small bond that small fish in big bond.

Do your research to find profitable niche for your freelance business. Reflect your findings on your profile.

Fill out your profile

As in add all relevant information including experience, education, other skills and take couple of tests. Do not just copy/paste your CV to your profile – you are not looking for a job, remember.

When you work on your profile, get a friend to proofread it and use tools like Grammarly. Small typo does not end the world but it may cost you a client.

Do add a profile image, but do not add your passport photo!! I know Upwork suggests passport photo but do not in any case use a that! I have yet to see a decent passport photo that conveys professionalism and friendliness.

Add portolio items – be creative about these and if you do not have one, create it! Showing results is the best way to show a new client what you can achieve.

Show you are a real person

Link your accounts with few services such as Linkedin, Facebook or niche relevant sites. If you use social media accounts, make sure you do not have fully public profile – hide those family holiday shots and keep public profile professional. And check your profile photo too. It can of course show personality but still keep it professional.

I cant tell you how many times I’ve come across party photos, beach photos, beers in hand and more over the years hiring on Upwork.

It is often the little things that make or break your freelance business.

Still being rejected?


This means you need to work on your freelance business plan.

Who do your serve, what kind of solution do your provide, what keeps your ideal clients up at night and so on.

If you don’t have a clear picture of what your business is doing, how could Upwork?